Equal Education condemns the disruption of examinations and the violence used on learners, teachers & against school resources at Thembelihle High School by members of The Congress of South African Students [COSAS] on Friday 13 November 2009.
In order to confirm media reports Equal Education conducted its own investigation on Friday. COSAS members forced their way into the examination room, tearing up question papers and answer books arguing that the young people from Thembelihle High School (from our townships) should fail so they go to the Lagunya Finishing School in Langa. The potential closing of the Lagunya Finishing School is the apparent cause of the violence and disruption.
Equal Education is movement of learners, parents, teachers & community members working for quality and equality in South African education, through analysis and activism.
Equal Education believes strongly in the need to struggle against poor education and inequalities in our society. However we will not use violence in any struggles for a better education.
Our struggles must first of all be for all learners to receive a good education that gives them an equal opportunity to compete in life. If this was happening we would not need finishing schools. But many young people are failed by the system, and therefore Lagunya has a role. It is slated to be closed by the WCED and we join COSAS in expressing our deep concern that learners currently enrolled at Lagunya will be left out in the cold.
COSAS's strategy of being prepared to disrupt other schools in order to keep Lagunya open is ill-conceived and misdirected. Thembelihle High School had nothing to do with the closing down of the finishing school that COSAS is concerned with.
Equal Education sees COSAS as a fellow youth organisation with a progressive history. We are not a rival to COSAS but part of the same cause, but such anger will lead only to low expectations of youth leadership if a youth organisation destroys school infrastructure and the future of other young people of this country.
A spokesperson for Minister Motshekga has announced that she is interested to meet COSAS on these issues. Whilst we encourage the Minister to engage with all youth structures, it is problematic that she has responded to violence but not to the mass peaceful mobilisation organised by Equal Education.
Many Equal Education members & supporters are advocating for better resources, infrastructure and teaching and learning in our schools and not destroying what we have.
We continue to fight for the rights of the children and youth and fundamental rights to human dignity, equality and in particular education, using democratic avenues and peaceful means to advocate for better education for all.
Down with the spirit of violence & disruptions of schools, and Viva democratic struggle for libraries, & good education for all!