The annual State of the Province Address (Sopa) Schools’ Debating Competition took place at the East London Convention Centre (ELICC) on Saturday, tackling where a wide variety of topics, such as healthcare and crime. were tackled.
The five-year Phumulo Masualle-led provincial government (from 2014 to 2019) was examined.
Winners from previous years graced the event, armed with an array of topics as talking points.
In his opening remarks, Eastern Cape education HOD Themba Kojana said the steady increase of matric class performance was owed to the systems of monitoring in place throughout all grades.
“Project management is also one of the tools that we’ve focused on as a department, and our aim is to ensure have all educators have access to laptops, so that there may be effective communication,” Kojana said.
Issues raised during the debate included:
Integrated human settlements and building cohesive communities;
Promoting quality education and skills development;
Stimulating rural development;
Land reform and food security;
Intensifying the fight against crime and corruption;
Transforming the economy to create sustainable livelihoods, strengthen the developmental state and good governance, and
Better healthcare for all.
Mzomhle High School’s Athule Mqoqi, on the point of human settlements, said one of the challenges of local government is that the demand is greater than the supply.
“People should be employed with building their houses and be involved in the design. In this way, it will put money back in people’s pockets,” Mqoqi said.
Speaking on education, Aleta Sibi, from King Edward High School, in Matatiele, said infrastructure development and strengthening administration were key factors in the portfolio.
“Bursaries are needed, adult education centres should be built, and the department should strive to move forward faster to get with the times,” Sibi said.
2015 English category winner Qhawe Bula was stern in discussing the fight against corruption, and said one needs to understand it from a historical context.
“Historical debt was incurred after 1994, yet there were years of corruption within the apartheid regime which happened in secret.
“During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a precedent was set that some high-ranking officials were above the law.” Bula asserted.