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Special Report: A possible silver lining to EC schools debacle

A year after EWN revealed serious problems at EC schools, a follow up probe shows progress here & there.

A teacher reading to her class at the Samson Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

LIBODE - A year after Eyewitness News exposed serious problems at Eastern Cape schools, a follow up investigation has revealed there has been some progress, but it appears many are still lagging behind.

The primary school at the centre of last year's investigation has been upgraded with new furniture and infrastructure.

But several more schools that EWN visited are still without basic facilities, despite President Jacob Zuma having assured the nation in June 2014 that furniture problems in the province would be dealt with.

He said, "Furniture will be delivered in all Eastern Cape schools by the middle of August 2014."

EWN recently revisited the province to assess the situation in schools.

After years of teaching in overcrowded mud structures with no proper furniture or infrastructure, teachers at the Samson Primary School say they're happy government finally delivered on its promise.

Teachers say attendance at schools is better than before.

The Samson Senior Primary School in the Easter Cape was refurbished after local government was taken to court over poor conditions at the school. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

The Legal Resources Centre was at the forefront of the fight for proper school infrastructure in the province.

Spokesperson Cameron McConnachie says they're delighted there's now a healthy education environment for the children.

"I've got no doubt that this is going to have a really positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning at the school."

WATCH: EWN's follow up investigation:

But while teachers and pupils enjoy their new classrooms, desks and proper sanitation, a number of other schools have seen little or no improvement in the last year.

Thenjiswa Mkhundlu is a teacher at Magila Senior Primary School, which is one of many in the province still without furniture or adequate infrastructure.

She says what drives her to continue teaching is the children's hunger to learn despite the conditions they have been forced to endure.

"The learners are eager to learn, that's why I keep coming to school."

Samson Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape was refurbished after the local government was taken to court over poor classroom conditions. Picture: EWN

The Basic Education Department's Elijah Mhlanga has acknowledged it's facing a number of challenges in the province but says many schools like Magila are getting assistance.

"We want all our learners to also learn and work in an environment that is conducive."

Government says it plans to eradicate all mud schools in the Eastern Cape by the end of 2017.