Equal Education slams MEC for dodging pupils

2016-07-01 20:19
The pupils camped outside Schafer's home. (Equal Education, Twitter)

The pupils camped outside Schafer's home. (Equal Education, Twitter)

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Cape Town - Equal Education (EE) on Friday criticised Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer for not speaking to 80 school children who protested outside her house about a recent education audit.

EE’s social audit report found eight problem areas in schools around the province. The group claimed it was sent to Schäfer’s office two months ago, but was being ignored.

Of the eight areas, the finding that received the most attention to date was corporal punishment. The vast majority - 83% of the schools audited - used corporal punishment, according to the report. School fencing, robberies and sexual assault were also of huge concern.

On Thursday, dozens of young people stood outside Schäfer’s Bergvliet home for two hours in a bid to discuss the results of the audit.

“We want to engage. This was a move of desperation,” provincial EE head Nishal Robb told News24.

A video EE posted on Twitter shows Schäfer walking out of her front gate to her car while police stand in front of the organisation’s representatives who call out to her.

Schäfer said on Twitter last week that she never saw the findings of the audit.

‘Lies, insults’

The MEC’s “comfort” did not trump township pupils’ safety, EE said on Friday.

Neither the Western Cape education department’s district directors nor the MEC had responded to the data, despite two months of emails and social media engagements.

“Despite claiming that she has never seen these findings, the MEC, her spokesperson and even Premier Zille have consistently implied that the audit’s methodology is illegitimate – only they can say how this makes sense.

“These lies and insults” led EE to picket at the MEC’s home.

“The decision wasn’t taken lightly. The threat of arrest and violence from police and private security was discussed fully, and the resolution was that the MEC should not be allowed to rest in comfort while her department continues to ignore the experiences of learners in her schools.”

Schäfer’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said that on Friday they downloaded the spreadsheet from EE’s website, as the organisation never sent them the requested information.

“The spreadsheet that we received is just the information that appears on the pieces of papers, which makes it difficult to investigate the claims.”

Shelver said the department’s directors would respond to the information in full on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  protests

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