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Overcrowding in school classes must be dealt with urgently, says Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

31 July 2022 - 13:35
Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Image: GCIS

ANC national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said a programme must be put in place to urgently deal with overcrowding in schools.

“This will be done by communities and schools to build extra classes, instead of going through a long process. They have already started with that and they find that it’s cheaper,’ she said.

Presenting a discussion document on health, education, science, technology and innovation to the ANC's national policy conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg, Dlamini-Zuma said on Saturday there was a need to decongest classrooms.

“If you look at our commission at the subcommittee, it deals with almost the foundation of everything because education and skills, health is central to everything that a country does, whether it’s in the economy or other sectors.”

The conference decided there must be a skills revolution that was examined during the discussions.

The curriculum was also on the agenda.

“The discussion was about ensuring that there are three streams to that education instead of kids starting school, right up to matric. A decision has been taken now. It’s a matter of accelerating so that a lot of the children when they finish matric, they would have had a skill.

“And those skills will be useful to [strengthen] the economy because a lot of kids drop out before they reach matric. But if you give them skills, so that we don’t have people spending 12 years and not having anything they can do.”

Another issue that was discussed was schools for children with special needs.

“We need to pay attention to that because some of the kids are not even identified because they go to normal schools but they actually have special needs.”

Dlamini-Zuma said there must be a proper programme to identify such children attending normal schools.

Delegates also spent a lot of time discussing higher education and skills.

“There was a lot of discussion about TVET colleges that need to be rolled out more and the colleges should offer courses that will equip young people to contribute to the economy or to start their own businesses ...” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Another issue that was discussed was schools for children with special needs.
Another issue that was discussed was schools for children with special needs.
Image: Nolo Moima

The role of SITA’s and state-owned entities in training was also discussed.

“In the past SOE’s used to do a lot of training and we should be looking at that but the emphasis was really on getting skills.”

She said vocational schools are also important because it will assist with developing simple skills.

A discussion was also held on entrepreneurship looking at universities because when people come out of the universities they think about jobs instead of creating jobs.

She said this was important because the government does not want to produce job seekers. “We also want people who will create jobs themselves and go into business.”

On health matters, Dlamini-Zuma said the priority was the national health insurance (NHI).

“The bill is in parliament but the preparations for its implementation is what was discussed because people have to be registered for NHI.

“The registration is ongoing. There are more than 15-million [people] who have already been registered. It’s something that has to address the equal access to health care because at the moment the access depends on whether you have medical aid or live near a hospital.”

There was a call to increase the number of ambulances on the ground so that they are speedily available to serve communities.

Access to clean water, having a balanced meal, living in a clean environment, healthy lifestyles and living in clean conditions were also discussed because they affect what happens in the health sector.

To remedy this, she said health needs to work closely with other departments.

“There was also a discussion about substance abuse because it has a lot of influence on health and contribute towards violence and gender-based violence.”

On science, technology and innovation Dlamini-Zuma said: “We must use technology to solve societal problems, advance the economy and to look at issues around climate change.”

Another matter that was discussed was opening a state-owned pharmaceutical company.

“This is about skills, health, science and technology. That must be accelerated. We must add medical equipment on this. We are also looking at should we be producing our own vaccines and developing our own capacity to produce vaccines.”

This can be done with the assistance of the Brics countries to enhance SA’s capacity, she said.

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