The report states that five schools are currently in commission, that the department “envisages rebuilding” 12 more schools by 2019, and that it “has made an application to the national Department of Basic Education for Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (Asidi) funding with the intention to fast track and replace the remaining 12 asbestos schools within the next two financial years”.
The report mentions nothing about the 214 partially asbestos schools.
When asked what the GDE intended to do about those schools, Bodibe said: “The department is planning to replace all asbestos classrooms over time.”
In the 2014 Gauteng school infrastructure project list, the only one the province has made publicly available, budget was allocated for only 13 of the 214 partially asbestos schools before 2030.
By that time, this year’s grade ones would have finished matric, and Noordgesig Secondary’s teachers and learners would have had to wait 13 years for their dilapidated asbestos classrooms to be replaced.
According to Isaac Ramrock, chairperson of Noordgesig’s school governing body, some of the school’s asbestos classrooms have already started to crumble and break, exposing the asbestos.
Ramrock’s statement is in a founding affidavit filed by Equal Education in a case it is bringing against the minister of education and the provincial education MECs to “fix” the norms and standards regulations.
If the law is allowed to stand as it is, Noordgesig Secondary and other schools like it will have no claim on the government as far as the inappropriate structures deadline is concerned, hence the #FixTheNorms court case, said a spokesperson for Equal Education.
The GED’s spokesperson said: “The replacement of asbestos schools and classrooms are budget related – meaning it depends on the availability of funds.
“The department’s infrastructure budget is revised on an annual basis; this includes the revision of the infrastructure project list,” he said.
“The latest revision is currently under way and the outcome of this process will determine by when the individual asbestos classrooms at existing schools will be replaced.”
But even if the law is changed to include all 243 schools, and the project list is revised, given the GDE’s track record with deadlines, it may be many years before even the 29 schools on the entirely asbestos list are replaced.
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