“Now that money is available at a national level, we can setup processes that will enable us to make that necessary dent. New schools will be opening up at a rate of one school per week in different communities,” basic education Minister Motshekga told CNBC Africa on Monday.
Mothshekga said that while she will be able to provide basic structures and sanitation programmes in each province’s education sector, the responsibility to maintain schools, education curriculums as well as policies still lies with the provincial Members of the Executive Council (MEC).
“The only time I can work in the provinces is when we have special funds available, yet it is limited to specific projects”, she stated.
Motshekga adds that her authority only goes as far as advising the MEC’s of each province which issues to address in their region, but it is ultimately up to each council on whether or not they will take action to resolve the matter.
“As a national minister, I make policies as well as monitor, evaluate and support them. However, its implementation lies with the MEC,” stated Motshekga.
“If for instance there is a school in the Eastern Cape without a roof, all I can do is request that the MEC does something about it and that’s as far as my powers go.”
On the other hand, she believes that progress is being made in the quality of education in South Africa, even though the public may disagree.
“South Africans are misinformed because they believe that education is going down, however, in recent international assessments, you will notice that the country’s quality of education is on an upward trend from 1999 to 2011,”Mothshekga explained.
She added that the public needed to keep in mind that the quality of South African education in the past was not assessed according to international benchmarks. As a result, the public were not aware that the educational system was in such a poor state.
It is only due to recent international benchmark tests that the country now knows the true state of the system.
“In terms of where we come from, we have made a great leap compared to other countries that are bench marked with us and this should encourage us to work on the issues,” Motshekga concluded.