Eastern Cape learners stuck at home without school transport

Department says it does not know how many learners need transport

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Learners at Sakhululeka Senior Secondary School in KwaNojoli during a protest about water in March. Some learners at this and other Eastern Cape schools have not been able to attend classes this year because of a lack of school transport. Photo: Mkhuseli Sizani

Thousands of learners in the Eastern Cape were not able to attend school in the first term because they do not have transport.

Last year provincial transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose told GroundUp 140,000 learners were in need of scholar transport but the department was only able to transport 125,000 on its budget, leaving 15,000 learners stranded. This year, Binqose said, the budget would be up to R694-million from R691-million. He said the department would only know how many learners would need transport during the course of the second school term.

“We started this year transporting 125,000 learners and we may remain on this number or not.”

In KwaNojoli, formerly known as Fort Beaufort, learners from Sakhululeka Senior Secondary School are behind in their studies because they can’t get to school, says School Governing Body chair Joe Ndlebe.

“We have 54 learners who are on the waiting list for scholar transport. Some of them are unable to come to school. They live in Krumie Farm and Hertzog which is about 20km away from the school.” He said private scholar transport would cost each parent about R400 a month and most parents survived on social grants and could not afford that.

Siseko Nodonti, the Council Speaker for the Sundays River Valley Municipality, who is also chairperson of the scholar transport committee, said about five schools have scholar transport problems in Addo.

At St Ignatious Primary, for instance, 373 learners had school transport but 107 did not, he said. “At Vusumzi Primary there are 42 learners who are transported and 54 are not. While at Samkelwe Senior Secondary School 120 learners are transported and 90 don’t have transport.”

Nodonti said the department had promised to consider these learners in the new financial year.

Malibongwe Mtima, provincial education spokesperson, did not respond to our questions about assistance offered to the learners who are sitting at home because they have no way to get to school.

TOPICS:  Education Transport

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