Some Schools Have Over 100 Learners In A Class In South Africa
Public school overcrowding is still a problem in many parts of the nation. A initiative has been started by the Department of Basic Education to help address this issue.
There are two main causes of the overcrowding problem in South African schools: insufficient resources and a lack of teaching staff.
Overcrowding has a dire effect on the quality of teaching and learning that takes place at these schools. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) addressed concerns around this ongoing problem in a Parliamentary response earlier last week.
Department Has Overcrowding Plans:
A Special Intervention Programme for Overcrowding in Schools (SIPOS), which was unveiled during a public statement in 2022, is the DBE’s proposed solution to the overcrowding problem. This program’s goal was to increase the number of classes available to impacted schools while minimizing costs.
Through a strict direct transfer of funds from the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) to the schools and self-built classrooms, these additional classrooms are to be built in a shorter amount of time.
In most cases, traditional procedures of procurement and the selection of service providers would be used, but the Department had to choose a different path because of the significant expenditures and drawn-out procedure that would be involved.
Discussions about funding between the Department and the National Treasury are currently at an advanced level.
The DBE has put in place a number of temporary fixes while they wait on a funding decision. This includes establishing satellite schools to house unplaced students and offering mobile classrooms to schools with a capacity issue.
Until the self-built program can start, specialist rooms are also being used to prevent crowding.
Still a Problem: Overcrowding
Despite the appropriate learner to educator ratio of 30:1, many teachers in our public schools are juggling as many as 50 children at once.
In some schools in the Eastern Cape, there are frequently up to 120 students in one classroom due to extreme overcrowding. Students frequently have to sit on the floor or share desks due to a lack of furniture. The level of schooling these students can obtain is drastically affected by this.
The Department has made assurances, but these problems have not yet been rectified.
Gauteng faces a similar issue, where an estimated 70% of schools in a township are overcrowded.This is also due to a lack of infrastructure and shortage of teaching staff, resulting in teaching having to be halted.
The Gauteng Education Department (GED) was informed of parents’ concerns, but they were not given a resolution.
While these plans have been in progress for months and South African learners continue to underperform, the Government needs to deal with this issue urgently in order to give learners a quality education that meets the international standard.