DBE explores ways to abate load shedding in schools

DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said pupils have been negatively affected by the continuous planned power cuts as Eskom battles to keep the lights on.

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JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Basic Education (DBE) said it's exploring ways to abate the energy crisis – which affects learning at schools.

But it has been met with challenges such as theft of solar panels and generators along the way.

DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said pupils have been negatively affected by the continuous planned power cuts as Eskom battled to keep the lights on.

Mhlanga said security had become one of the many considerations they’ve had to make while trying to effectively intervene.

He said they were concerned pupils - especially those in matric - are losing out on valuable learning time.

Mhlanga said theft and vandalism have thwarted efforts to shield pupils in rural communities from the unreliable power supply under load shedding.

"In some of the rural schools that I visited in KZN [KwaZulu-Natl], where they had solar panels – break-ins have taken place and batteries for those solar panels have been stolen.”

Mhlanga said the power crisis had become an added anxiety for pupils in all communities – especially matriculants – as this parent from Fourways explained.

“My son is in matric – and with Stage 6 being implemented – it has been so destructive they are preparing for their prelims at the moment and it has been difficult.”

Mhlanga said the department has had to factor in the possibility of some pupils having to rewrite practical exams – such as computer science – where schools don’t have alternative power sources during a bout of load shedding.