Equal Education plans school march

By Drum Digital
19 March 2012

Lobby group Equal Education will march through Khayelitsha on Wednesday, Human Rights Day, as part of its campaign to put minimum norms and standards in place for school infrastructure.

The "10 Days of Action" campaign was aimed at making the government publish standards it could be held to for basic requirements schools needed to function properly.

These included access to electricity and water, ablution facilities, functional libraries and computer centres.

"For the last two years EE has been campaigning for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure," Equal Education said on Monday.

Unhappy with the progress of the government, the organisation brought a court case against Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and nine education MECs earlier this year. They seek an order requiring Motshekga to promulgate minimum norms and standards, as she is empowered to do by the South African Schools Act.

The standards were supposed to have been promulgated by March 2011, Equal Education said. In 2010, the government published the National Policy for An Equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment for comment. The document set out details such as how many classrooms are required in schools, the space which has to be taken into account for each pupil when desks are brought into classrooms, and the size of principals' offices.

In February, Motshekga told Parliament that around 1700 schools were without water supply and around 700 had no toilets.

There was an estimated shortfall of 63,000 classrooms, 15,000 schools were without libraries, and there were schools built entirely of mud.

In a speech at the ANC Youth League's national executive committee meeting in February, she said that through the accelerated school infrastructure delivery initiative, contractors had been appointed to build 49 schools in Lusikisiki, Libode and Mthatha. They had seven months to finish their work.

Contractors had also been appointed for the provision of water and sanitation to 88 schools in the Eastern Cape and for 78 schools in Limpopo. KwaZulu-Natal had started implementing 88 projects, of which 48 were in the construction stage, she said.

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