Education department under fire over pupil transport figures

PIETERMARITZBURG- The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has come under fire from Members of Parliament on Tuesday for not providing accurate information on the number of pupils that need transport.

The Head of planning at the DBE, Ramasedi Mafoko, presented a document to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education showing that 541 728 pupils countrywide had been identified as being in need of transport.

Only 448 930 of these were provided with transport this year.

According to the document, in KwaZulu- Natal 90 000 learners needed transport, but only 47 747 learners had been provided with it.

Ramafoko cast doubt on the document saying the 90 000 estimate in KZN was not correct and that the province had undertaken an audit to determine the number of learners that needed transport.  He said the audit was a logical step.

The DBE would go to schools to collect data on how many learners needed transport. Ian Ollis of the DA question why it had taken so long, since the committee’s last meeting in May, to finish a database of learners who needed transport.

“It is now November and the progress doesn’t look good,” Ollis said.

When asked about transport for disabled learners, Mafoko could not answer but admitted: “We do need to get numbers from provinces on disabled learners who require transport.”

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