Advancing rural infrastructure for quality education: perspectives of Umzumbe Local Municipality.
Zondi, Samukelisiwe Purity.
MetadataShow full item record
Background: In South Africa, efficient, effective and responsive delivery of basic services has always been one of the yardsticks of good governance and development. As such, government is mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) to promote the achievement of equality and other measures intended to advance and protect the marginalised and disadvantaged. This mandate necessitates the commitment of local government, as the sphere that is at the centre of service delivery, to promote rural infrastructure development to ensure inclusive and quality service delivery, particularly in education. Objective: This research focused primarily on the impetus of rural infrastructure on quality education for the rural populace, drawing on the case study of Umzumbe Local Municipality (ULM) in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. In this regard, the study aimed to determine how the development of rural infrastructure affects the quality of education in schools within ULM. Methodology: The study used the qualitative research methodology to collect the primary data using focus group discussions and semi-structured in-depth interviews with the target population of 35 participants from ULM. The research adopted the non-probability approach by using purposive sampling to conduct the enquiry. The interview schedules were designed and used as a data collecting tool for the study. Findings, analysis and discussion: The findings of the study pointed to the marginalisation of rural communities and rural infrastructure inadequacy as mitigating factors that limit accessibility of quality basic education in ULM. The study further showed poor institutional capacity and limited revenue as major bottlenecks in the provision of rural infrastructure to fulfil the constitutional mandate of inclusive and quality basic education. As a result, the study concluded that ULM is struggling to meet the increasing rural infrastructure demands to upscale the quality of education. Recommendations and Conclusion: Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made that could assist rural local municipalities to advance rural infrastructure for quality education: Firstly, Intergovernmental Relations need to be fostered to boost the capacity of ULM to fund the increasing rural infrastructure demands; secondly, the frequent use of community consultation platforms must be encouraged to help local government identify the realistic rural infrastructure prerequisites that may address the plight of rural learners in accessing quality basic education; and lastly, local government should introduce policies that regulate monitoring and evaluation practices in order to uphold feedback mechanisms that are aligned to their performance targets and indicators. The study concluded that the rural infrastructure development policies and institutional arrangements in ULM are not context specific and do not address the unique characteristics and needs of rural communities and rural learners, in particular.