Education problems deepen inequality: NGOs

2012-06-25 22:27

Johannesburg - Problems in the education sector deepen racial and social inequalities, a number of non-government bodies (NGOs) said on Monday.

In an open letter to basic education authorities, they called for an urgent meeting to address what they regarded as problems.

"This meeting should identify short- and long-term interventions that will ensure the continuation of services and processes ... to resolve the many systemic barriers to the provision of education in this country."

These included what was described as a lack of norms and standards for school infrastructure, a failure to curb sexual violence and corporal punishment in schools and a failure to provided many pupils with textbooks.

The letter was compiled by the Legal Resources Centre, Section 27, the Centre for Child Law and Equal Education.

It was addressed to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and basic education director general Bobby Soobrayan.

Unequal education system

Other problems identified were that the department had not delivered on its promises to provide pupils with transport and school libraries.

The NGOs acknowledged that Motshekga had inherited many of these problems with her tenure and that post-apartheid South Africa had inherited an unequal education system.

"Yet, 18 years since the right to education was constitutionally entrenched, many of the structural inequities remain, some of which are outlined above," the NGOs said.

Quality education was only available to those who could afford it and as such "this state of affairs has profound and continuously deepening negative ramifications for the majority of learners who are black and poor".

While the NGOs believed solutions could be found without resorting to legal action, it would not rule out litigation if they found this necessary.

Also on Monday, AfriForum raised concerns over what it termed the department's lack of accountability.

Non-delivery of textbooks

Deputy chief executive Alana Bailey called on Motshekga to resign because AfriForum believed the department was "robbing youth of their future".

Motshekga should resign in acknowledgement of her responsibility for the thousands of pupils who had not received textbooks.

"Six months into the school year, some learners in Limpopo still have not received textbooks, while thousands of books are apparently being destroyed or remain in a warehouse."

Comment from the department and ministry of basic education could not be immediately obtained.

Motshekga previously apologised to parents and pupils over the non-delivery of textbooks in Limpopo schools, but denied blame.

She attributed the delay in textbook delivery to issues including cash flow and administrative problems.

In May, the North Gauteng High Court ruled the department's failure to provide textbooks violated the Constitution. The application was brought by rights organisation Section 27.

Judge Jody Kollapen ordered the department to devise a catch-up plan to remedy the consequences of the delay, and to supply the affected schools with textbooks by June 15.

The department failed to meet the court's deadline, but Motshekga said her department had met with Section 27 and agreed to move the deadline to Wednesday.

On Saturday, Congress of the People MP Tshilidzi Ravhuanzwo said "piles and piles" of textbooks and stationery had been dumped for disposal at a site in Seshego, near Polokwane.

Limpopo education department spokesperson Pat Kgomo said the matter was being investigated.

  • sally.lewitt - 2012-06-25 23:12

    This is an absolute disgrace and embarrassment and completely unacceptable! WHY has this been allowed to drag on..? The children are paying the ultimate price for pure lack of un professionalism!!! Shame on YOU!

      piet.boerie - 2012-06-26 06:09

      Its simple, the ANC gets most of its support from poor uneducated masses, so keep em poor and uneducated. Education brings you liberation. Education brings you freedom.

  • melania.nel - 2012-06-25 23:34

    They should call a meeting to talk about all these meetings.

  • christopher.collings.9 - 2012-06-25 23:46

    Burning your school down also helps NOTHING another bloody example of the incompetent anc dogs!

  • denise.ryan.5203 - 2012-06-26 02:51

    The problem is government. We need to blame the government 100 percent for the shocking state of our education. We need to really stop the pretence we call education. The minister owes the public answers for her lack of prioritisation. Motshekga is responsible for running the department. That makes her accountable. Poor leadership and an inability to realise a vision for the department is reason enough to 'recall' her. Education must take priority in government policies and non-performing ANC appointees should be kicked out forthwith. The business of suspension on full pay is an incentive to under-perform. Angie Motshekga is known for her infamous statement, in defence of Julius Malema, that an education is not a necessary requirement for leadership.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-06-26 05:50

    I am surprised that the ANCYL has not thought of marching school kids to parliament to demand a better education. They have bussed them in to marches before for much less important issues.

      piet.boerie - 2012-06-26 06:15

      I agree, this should be an outrage that they burn these kids future (and our tax payers money) in a rubbish dump. Disgraceful stealing these kids futures. Keep em poor and uneducated and you have your voting base. The ANCYL are not repsrenting the youth but thier won personal political ambtions. Where are those hire a mouth piece COSATU idiots. Comrade Vavi where are you? Why are you not outraged and demanding answers. Cos they are not white. You have failed those that died for equality. You insult us.

  • Sharon - 2012-06-26 06:59

    For crying out loud its nothing to do with the past that was inherited. It's the incompetance of what you have now. You've had 18 years in power and it only takes half a brain to know you have to get school books to class rooms by the beginning of the school term. It's always someone else's fault in these people's eyes.

  • nkosingiphile.cofu - 2012-06-26 07:01

    The silence of the ANCYL and other youth formation concerning the problems in education in Limpopo in particular is very worrying. The people directly affected are young , their constituency, why there is this deafening silence? I would have expected the youth to lead the charge for demanding quality education,quality service from government regardless of whether they support the present government or not. The absence of the young voice is a sad indictment on the ANCYL leadership in particular.

      Sharon - 2012-06-26 07:09

      Well said!

  • winston.mullany - 2012-06-26 07:59

    I like how she doesn't accept blame and blames it on poor administration and cash flow! She herself needs an education, shes the minister and the buck stops with her! But then thats typical of the government, f^&* up and blame someone else.

  • martha.stclair - 2012-06-26 08:59

    What I don't understand is why the ANCYL is not marching and causing havoc about this? It seems that the only things they are interested in, land reform, nationalization etc are things that will give them something for nothing. Yet, education, a real youth issue, that you have to work at but that can give you the greatest chance of so called "economic freedom" is not a priority! What we need in this country is a new mind set. Get a good education, work hard and you can achieve anything!

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