East London – Rural schools in the far-flung regions of the Eastern Cape will receive focused attention from officials of the Eastern Cape Department of Education as they set off today on an eight-day itinerary to monitor the school start-up phase. Referred to as the “forgotten people” by a respected columnist in a leading newspaper last week, some remote communities are virtually inaccessible due to the generally poor road conditions.
MBSA, manufacturer of amongst others, the Mitsubishi Triton 4X2 bakkie, yesterday made available 12 of these ‘workhorses’ to the department for their school start-up programme.
“This is the tenth year that the department has been enjoying the support of MBSA for this programme. These vehicles are also most suitable for our unpredictable weather conditions,” said Nosipho Skenjana, chief director for institutional management development and governance (IMD&G) in the department.
As the province’s teachers and learners prepare to face yet another gruelling year of schooling, the Mitsubishi bakkies will assist department officials to travel to schools in 23 remote districts to monitor the readiness and start-up processes for the 2010 academic year and identify areas of improvement for future attention.
Handing over the vehicles, MBSA executive director and vice-president responsible for human resources, Johann Evertse said, “The state of education in the Eastern Cape Province, where MBSA’s manufacturing plant is based, is of interest to the company in that it draws the majority of its workforce from the region. Therefore we feel that this is a very good opportunity for us to invest in our province and support our local government in its effort to improve the quality of learning and teaching at all remote schools.”
“This year’s provincial matric results shows stabilisation in the Eastern Cape. This is an encouraging sign. Generally-speaking the rural areas are the ones most affected by low pass rates, because of the high levels of poverty and a lack of infrastructure. Therefore the use of our vehicles during this initiative will ensure that some of the harder-to-reach rural villages in the province can be included in the programme,” said Evertse.
The initiative runs from 13 to 21 January, across the length and breadth of the second largest province in the country, at nearly 170 000 km2, and home to 15,7% of the country’s population.