Overcrowding across the country's schools seem to be a forgotten reality for those in positions of power. It was and still is a major issue that affects teaching and learning.

 I have recently visited a school where I was invited by my peer as part of our Inter-School Twinning Programme to teach a certain chapter to his learners. This experience humbled me as i was exposed to real difficulties that many of the schools under rural districts are still faced with. Post a minor briefing with the teacher, we headed off to class, where I was met by learners at the door and could hardly make my way inside the classroom and reach the chalkboard. I approached my colleague and whispered in his ear, "How many learners are there in this classroom?" He looked at me, smiled and answered, "A hundred and fourteen".

The faces of those learners were filled with eagerness and somewhat desperation to be educated. I immediately became accustomed to the kinds of difficulties that this teacher and others in the school are faced with on the daily basis. I could not move around the classroom as my movements were restricted to the front of the class. And just like that I was immediately exposed to a number of challenges arising from the overcrowding. There were some disciplinary problems due to the large number and keeping track of the learning progress was difficult. I could not even take proper note of individual learners who might have had learning difficulties or barriers to learning, not to mention keeping track of assessment activities for all the learners in the class.

Surprisingly, according to the NATIONAL MINIMUM NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE document (2009:5), one of the most visible forms of inequalities in the provision of resource inputs has been the physical teaching and learning environment; the key elements which include infrastructure, basic services, equipment, furniture, books and instructional materials. However, the reality tends to differ for many poor schools that are expected to function without the adequate infrastructure. However, the issue of overcrowding in South African public school is one that still prevails. There's insufficient human resources and even lesser learning material.

Clearly, a lot still needs to be done in terms of the provision of adequate infrastructure to assist teachers in fostering adequate and quality education to groom young South African minds.

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