Limpopo MEC takes hands-on approach in challenging education sector

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga. File Picture
In any conversation where the basic education system is evaluated, the name of Limpopo Province is likely to come up.

The province has come under the spotlight for a variety of reasons, from the textbook saga of 2012, the Michael Komape incident of 2014, the matric exam paper leak in 2015, the Vuwani shutdown of 2016 and, several months ago, the arrest of young people who attend five different schools for the alleged murder of Thoriso Themane.

These are a few notable challenges the Provincial Education Department has had to deal with. The efforts of the education MECs who have come and gone have not counted for much when compared to the challenges they have had to deal with.

There is hope, however, that we can overcome our challenges if we could extend ourselves towards the disenfranchised and vulnerable. One person who has taken a keen step to be a shield is the new MEC for education in Limpopo, Polly Boshielo.

At the recent summit of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) held in Polokwane, she was particularly touched by the life experiences of learners who revealed that, among other hardships, they had lost their mothers.

One female learner, Kayleen, said she did not know her father; she had suffered from acute depression and lost out on five months of schooling after being raped.

She revealed that she was proud to be an RCL member because she had overcome a lot to be recognised as a school leader.

In her address to the RCL learners earlier, Boshielo encouraged the learners to keep away from alcohol, unsafe sex and violence and rather focus on their studies in order to have a better future.

At the break of dawn on Tuesday this week when schools reopened and she and her counterpart at Limpopo Community Safety, former education MEC Dickson Masemola, were already in Zebediela to ensure that schools were back to normal following a shutdown in the area by members of the community. 

The two MECs had to instruct officials to cut the gate locks to ensure teaching and learning took place.

MEC Boshielo will need to ensure that all stakeholders are on board and play their parts to create a conducive environment. Parents and the community have a huge responsibility to ensure that quality education is realised. MEC Boshielo is leading from the front.

* Elijah Mhlanga is the head of communications at the Department of Basic Education

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media.