The Department of Basic Education established ASIDI with the aim of eradicating backlogs in school infrastructure in the 2010–14 strategic planning period and beyond, by applying a combination of strategies for immediate and medium-term improvements in infrastructure delivery.
ASIDI has the following primary aims:
• Eliminate the backlogs in school infrastructure
• Upgrade the standard of schools to meet the optimum functionality levels prescribed by the Norms and Standards for Schools Infrastructure
• Eradicate inadequate, unsafe and poor physical infrastructure by using allocated funds properly
Role of the DBSA
Its role in the formulation of the 2008 Education Roadmap and in infrastructure development more broadly has given the DBSA a deep understanding of the urgent need for schools infrastructure. The Bank is therefore perfectly placed to partner with the Department of Basic Education on various initiatives, including the establishment of a Programme Support Unit within the Department, the implementation of the Schools Building Programme, and the planning and preparation for delivering schools infrastructure in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Currently, 49 schools are under construction. Labour-intensive methods allowed the programme to create 617 temporary employment opportunities and benefit 23 SMMEs in 2011/12. Over 12 300 learners will benefit from the building of the first 49 schools.
The DBSA facilitated the establishment of the Programme Support Unit, which has given the Department the resources it needs to fulfil its oversight role in the building programme. The Unit transfers skills to identified personnel in the Department.
While it works with the Department to accelerate the delivery of school infrastructure, the Bank is also sharing knowledge, information and experience through the established joint committees and governance structures.
• Proper project design is fundamental to the successful implementation of projects. The rapid pace of the programme, with all 49 projects due for completion within seven months, demands detailed planning and design to minimise the possibility of failure.
• Contract management is crucial. The required resources were contracted timeously so that the construction programme could be planned, managed and monitored effectively. Additional resources were brought in to strengthen internal capacity for programme management. A programme team was also established in Mthatha to oversee the contractors on the ground.
• It is also crucial to manage the different expectations of the stakeholders. In this case, the Fund’s community facilitation capacity was used to engage the school communities in the Eastern Cape, reach consensus and ensure buy-in. The beneficiaries were also kept informed as the programme unfolded.
The ASIDI programme has allowed the DBSA to make its strategic corporate role as an implementer and advisor a reality in education.