In 2010, the Western Cape Education Department announced an infrastructure plan that included the building of 25 new schools, 20 replacement schools, additional classrooms and mobile units over a three year period.
In April 2013 – the end of this plan – the WCED is expecting not only to meet those targets but to exceed them.
Therefore, a new infrastructure plan has been developed for the 2013/14 -2015/16 year period.
A feature of this new plan is that it has been based on a substantially improved analysis of the nature and trajectory of infrastructure provision in the province.
The new plan augments past methodology by introducing spatial analysis across a wide variety of scales as well as the assessment of infrastructure needs at a micro level. This was made possible by the development of a new electronic tool for improving infrastructure planning for education in theWestern Cape, namely the Geographic Information System (GIS) for Infrastructure Planning.
The new GIS for Infrastructure Planning uses as base information the utilisation levels of schools depicted geographically. In addition to this base information, it includes school-specific data such as learner enrolment levels and trends, the actual and required size of school facilities; whether schools operate from leased premises or are built with inappropriate materials.
The new GIS – which is available and operational for all our districts – has provided us with a better opportunity than before to interrogate and diagnose systematically school provisioning issues that may require investigative, planning and delivery attention in the Western Cape.
It also has provided us with a much more accurate picture of the “gap” between existing demand and existing supply.
Key elements of the new plan:
After analysing the needs of each of our eight education districts, the Department has finalised a three-year plan for infrastructure that includes a shift in infrastructure spend in the direction of maintenance and the building of new schools.
The plan focuses on building new schools in areas of high and/or increasing pressure, an emphasis on maintenance, repairs and refurbishment, the replacement of schools originally built with inappropriate materials, the expansion of schools and the provision of additional mobile units and Grade R classrooms.
The WCED has allocated a budget of R771 million for 2013/14, R780 million for 2014/15 and R823 million for 2015/16 to give effect to this plan.
The three largest allocations will be spent on new school buildings, replacement schools and on maintenance. The remainder of the budget will be spent on additional classrooms and Grade R facilities, mobile classrooms and specialized education school infrastructure projects.
The budget will be allocated as follows:
|Replacement schools *||30%||17%||11%|
* The budget indicated for the replacement school programme above does not include the province’s proportional share of funding received as part of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI) programme.
In total, the infrastructure plan intends to build within a three year period:
· 26 new schools (11 secondary schools and 13 primary schools, and 2 special schools)
· 46 replacement schools (21 WCED funded schools and 25 ASIDI funded schools)
· 5 replacement classroom projects
· 124 Grade R classrooms
Therefore a total of 72 new and replacement school structures will be built during this period.
In terms of maintenance:
· 420 schools to receive maintenance and refurbishment over the 3 year MTEF period. A further 45 schools will benefit from life cycle maintenance.
New school buildings:
The demand for new education infrastructure, particularly in some areas, is further exacerbated by the fact that the school population in theWestern Capeis growing year on year due to both natural growth and inward migration.
For instance, in 2012 there was increase of over 11 000 learners enrolling at public ordinary schools in the province compared to the enrolment for 2011.
While some areas have infrastructure that is under-utilised, in other areas there is a greater demand. That is why the Department is allocating significant resources to eliminate the backlog in new schools as quickly as possible, increasing the percentage allocation for infrastructure from 39% in 2013/14 to 45% in the final year of the new plan.
The WCED will build 26 new schools over the MTEF in the following districts:
|District||Number of new schools|
The Western Cape Government plans to replace 46 schools originally built with inappropriate materials. 21 of these schools will be funded through the WCED’s infrastructure budget and the balance being funded by the ASIDI programme.
46 replacement schools will therefore be built in the following districts:
|District||Number of replacement schools|
The replacement of classrooms originally built with inappropriate materials will be rolled out at 5 schools in the following districts:
|District||Number of classroom replacement schools|
Ensuring that our schools are kept in a suitable condition is a major feature of this new plan.
The plan envisages shifting maintenance expenditure from its current 17% of the overall infrastructure budget to 40%.
The shift towards maintenance in this plan is not just about increasing the portion of the budget to maintenance. It is also about fundamentally changing the way maintenance is conceived and executed.
In the past, the majority of our maintenance interventions were defect driven as opposed to being based on life-cycle analysis and maintenance. The plan envisages day-to-day maintenance by schools, therefore decreasing the need to repair defective stock resulting from neglect.
In terms of scheduled maintenance, the WCED has compiled a priority list of maintenance needs for a period of 3 years, which have been consolidated into a maintenance list.
A hierarchy of needs has also been established:
1. Roof repairs
2. Sewerage and ablution facilities
3. Water supply
4. Electrical supply
5. Structural repairs
6. Gutters and facia boards
8. Perimeter fences
During the first two years of the MTEF (2013/14 – 2014/15) 280 schools * will benefit from scheduled maintenance projects in the following districts:
|District||Scheduled maintenance projects|
* A further 140 schools will benefit in the 2015/16 financial year. These schools are yet to be determined.
In terms of lifecycle maintenance, the WCED will be tackling 45 schools over the three-year period.
These schools will be identified once a life-cycle survey has been completed.
Tackling the infrastructure backlog is a daunting task. However, the analysis undertaken in formulating this plan suggests that it is feasible to address the challenge over time.
Using the new GIS as part of our infrastructure planning for education, we are better equipped to make informed decisions with regard to, for example, the development of new school infrastructure, the maintenance of existing school infrastructure, as well as the closure or merger of schools.
We must, however, remember that the environment within which our education system operates is evolving all the time and needs to be accommodated if it is to not impact on the system to the detriment of our learners.
We need to be planning and responding better to the changing demands on our education system. With the new GIS and the implementation of this new three year infrastructure plan we are confident that we have been able to do just that.