Schools in the rural areas of South Africa have starkly different levels of infrastructure provision and aesthetic appeal as compared to schools in urban centers. Mud buildings, pit latrines, broken windows, coupled with no sporting facilities, as well as a dearth of libraries are the norm in rural areas. In order to rectify this historic imbalance, the Department of Basic Education has launched several programs that seek to improve the environment within which learners and educators work.
The Limpopo Provincial Department of Education embarked on a program to rehabilitate/rebuild and upgrade certain storm damaged schools in the province. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was mandated to oversee the implementation of the program. The upgrades also included additions of facilities which were lacking before the schools were damaged. ETL was appointed through our partner Lehuma Consulting Architects to handle the civil engineering components of the project.
There are a total of 15 schools within the project. The first phase, which included the design of all the storm-water facilities, parking areas, drainage, sewerage facilities and water supply systems, is now complete and ETL is awaiting approval to embark on the next stage which is procurement and bid adjudication. It is envisaged that the program will commence shortly, before the existing structures deteriorate further and possibly become unsafe for occupation, especially by school children.
It is also safe to assume that the upcoming rain-free season would be ideal for construction work, thus the DTI may wish to press on during this opportune time and get as much building work done as possible. New facilities which were not there before the upgrade will include all or some of the following facilities per school: Resource centres, feeding scheme and nutritional centres, additional classrooms, libraries, office blocks, administration centres and parking facilities for educators.
ETL is committed to proceed with the project as it considers the upgrading of our educational facilities as one of the most important and critical elements to the overall advancement of the quality of life in the country