Scholar transport programme underway
At present, some 54 500 scholars benefit from the formal Scholar Transport Programme (STP). The programme allows scholars to be transported for free, while the Department of Basic Education pays the cost of the service.
The Department of Education has identified these schools through an application process at its respective schools. The names of the approved scholars were captured onto a database. The department currently is in the process of preparing identity cards for these scholars so that the transport operators will know who were approved for scholar transport.
In addition to the formal Scholar Transport Programme, some 33 000 scholars make use of other services subsidised by the department: 24 000 make use of Algoa Bus Company every day, 7 000 of AB350 and 2 000 of Mayibuye Transport Corporation. The department distributed more than 12 000 bicycles to deserving scholars throughout the province.
If all these are taken into consideration, the department is helping more than 99 000 scholars to get to school. However, both the Department of Transport and the Department of Education are aware that the need for scholar transport is closer to 120 000, but the current budget allocation does not allow for the expansion of the programme. The Department of Transport regularly meets with the Department of Education and the Provincial Treasury to address these issues.
The Scholar Transport Programme includes eliminating fraud and corruption by improving systems and procedures and through closer management of the project, as well as using legitimate public transport operators. Each school completes a weekly proof of delivery form to indicate that the allocated scholars were, in fact, transported. This proof of delivery is then used by the department’s contractor, One Future Development 46, to generate an invoice, which is submitted to the department. The department pays the amount of the invoice to One Future Development 46, who in turn distributes the money to their individual members according to the actual services rendered.
The department is also working closely with One Future Development 46 to improve the distribution of the money to the individual operators.
For more information on how learners in your community can access the Scholar Transport Programme, call the Department of Basic Education on 012 357 3000 or their toll-free hotline on 0800 202 933