The Department of Basic Education says it is eliminating toilets in at least 1,000 public schools nationwide this fiscal year.
This was announced by Deputy Minister of Basic Education Regina Mhaule at a mini-plenary debate during the vote in parliament on the budget of the department.
The budget allocations of the Department for 2022/23 of the current financial year amount to 29 billion rubles.
Mhavle says eliminating unsafe toilets is just one of the top priorities this year.
Last year, the South African Commission on Human Rights found that about 3,000 public schools in six provinces have pit toilets. The commission’s report also cites that some problems in these schools include issues of sanitation and lack of water.
The Deputy Minister says that part of the department’s priorities is the elimination of dimpled toilets in the current financial year.
“The remaining sixteen schools under the acid program this financial year will receive a full set of appropriate toilets. Similarly, the remaining 1,550 schools under the safe program will be replaced by a full set of appropriate toilets. As for the use of the allocated budget, we can proudly say that we used 100 percent of the grant for school infrastructure and 99 percent of the grant for basic infrastructure, ”Mhaule said.
In some provinces, problems of gender-based violence, bullying and racism in public schools have escalated. And the deputy minister says that a comprehensive campaign with related agencies has been developed to solve these problems.
“A multisectoral approach has been adopted by the Department, which recognizes the enormous challenges faced by all students and teachers in response to trends of bullying, gender-based violence and femicide. The campaign is supported by other related departments such as the Department of Health, Social Development, Home Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Development, Communications and Digital Technologies, and the South African Police Service. The campaign will be deployed in the other six provinces, especially in the hotspot in the coming financial years, ”Mhaule explains.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga also said at a virtual meeting that as part of tackling unemployment, they have created nearly 600 jobs for young people in the basic education sector.
“From December 2020 to date, we have been able to create more than 596 jobs for young people in various fields, and we have allocated a budget of Rs 13 crore. I also want to inform this house about some of our strategic areas so that we can be judged by what we have said we will do. Our six priorities to remind home are that we are committed to continuing to lay a solid foundation for a quality and efficient education system, as well as providing some skills in the future, ”says Motshekga.
The Minister noted that school meals will also receive a larger share in the budget allocations for the financial year in question.