While the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department and the National Department of Basic Education play the blame game, the education of thousands of learners in the Eastern Cape are at risk.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Education was placed under administration in March 2011. After the Democratic Alliance (DA) exposed thousands of workbooks being returned to government warehouses as a result of ordering mistakes both the provincial and national administrations have attempted to do political damage-control by blaming each other.
The Provincial Department laid the blame at the door of the Department of Basic Education as the latter is responsible for the national roll-out of workbooks. The Basic Education Department has, however, indicated that incompetency within the Eastern Cape Education Department has led to the blunders.
This situation has again highlighted how the delays in the finalisation of the Monitoring, Support and Intervention Bill aimed at regulating interventions of national government in provincial departments have left a vacuum of accountability in key service delivery areas. In the absence of legislation or even a protocol to guide national interventions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pin down those responsible for service delivery failures.
I will be submitting questions to the Minister of Basic Education to determine:
There have been too many allegations of corruption, incompetence and political interference in our education system, with the learners and their futures being the worst casualties.
Government, on both the national level and in the Eastern Cape, must get its act together.