20,000 learners, parents, community members and activists march on Parliament with Equal Education for a Quality Education, demanding the Minister of Basic Education to adopt Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.
The SABC Radio News reporting on the concert and march was not factually accurate and misrepresented the true scale of the event. SABC Radio reported that “hundreds” attended the event; we would like to refer you to this photo gallery which shows the true numbers in attendance.
PURPOSE OF THE MARCH
This march was part of Equal Education's on-going campaign which has focussed on key infrastructure, including school libraries. Minister Angie Motshekga wrote to EE promising Minimum Norms & Standards for School Infrastructure by 1 April 2011. The purpose of this march was to ensure that the Minister understands that we expect her to keep her promise.
This is not simply a promise to the members of Equal Education, but also to the learners and teachers struggling to realise quality education. On 10 June 2010, as a result of EE's campaigning, the Minister published the 'The National Policy for an Equitable Provision of an Enabling Physical Teaching and Learning Environment'. This policy also sets the date for adoption of Minimum Norms & Standards for School Infrastructure as 1 April 2011.
If the Minister fails to deliver on this commitment Equal Education will need to take legal action.
LOCAL ARTISTS DJ OSKIDO AND FRESHLYGROUND PERFORM CONCERT ON THE GRAND PARADE
EE members, learners, parents, community members and activists gathered at the Grand Parade in Adderly Street for a performance by headliners DJ Oskido and Freshlyground, as well as local artists Ruffness, Gqabi, Sound Masters Crew and the Undecided Crew.
EE MEMBERS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ADDRESS THE GATHERING
The crowd was addressed Unathi Mnani, an 18 year old EE member from Joe Slovo High School:
“As learners of township schools we are suffering also. We are not treated equally, our education is not equal. We know that many learners go to school in the suburbs and have classes of 25 learners each, all the textbooks they need, teachers that are well trained and well paid, and libraries where they can do projects and homework. They also have books in their houses, and extra lessons when they need them. We don’t want to take these things away from anybody, but we are going to fight until everybody has them.”
Representing parents, Andiswa Kolanisi of Macassar gave an account of parents working together with EE to find a solution to get their children back to school when they unfairly removed due to unlawful changes in the language policy. In addition to this, she said:
“This is a new South Africa. Things must change for the youth. They are hungry for education… Our schools still today do not have libraries, laboratories and computer labs and it looks the same as the education we were getting before 1994. We know that in the suburbs, in the rich schools, they have all these things. We as parents will be demanding these same things for our children in the townships and rural areas, because it is their right.”
Mugwena Maluleka, General Secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), said that “SADTU supports Equal Education in campaigning for justice and empowerment” and quality education is underpinned by quality teachers, and we need investment in learners and in education.
EE’s head of Policy, Yoliswa Dwane said:
“Many young people are passing Matric but they are not able to write application letters of fill out forms. They are not getting jobs and are not able to access opportunities. We know that the education system is dysfunctional and unequal and doesn’t prepare the working class and the poor for a better future, but we should fight against this violation of our rights.
We will not rest until we see all schools functioning properly, with proper physical resources distributed to all schools equally! After seventeen years of democracy, many of us are still struggling for basic infrastructure, such as electricity, water, libraries, and functioning laboratories.
While we are demanding that government have an action plan with set deadlines and targets for school infrastructure, fight corruption and incompetent officials; we also hold ourselves accountable by campaigning against late coming and encouraging learners to be responsible and to take their education seriously.”
20 000 MARCH ON PARLIAMENT
The gathering then marched on Parliament to present a memorandum of demands to the Minister of Basic Education and President Jacob Zuma. Dingane Ngobeni, Chief of Staff for the Minister, accepted the memorandum on her behalf.
We are disappointed that the Minister was not present to hear our demands and to accept the memorandum in person. We trust that she has heard the voice of the youth and will not go back on her promise to adopt Minimum Norms and Standards, and realise the right to basic education for all South Africans!
EE will caucus on future action to ensure that government addresses the problems facing the education system.
VIEW PICTURES FROM EE'S CONCERT AND MARCH FOR QUALITY EDUCATION, 21 MARCH 2011 HERE!
For further information, please contact:
072 342 7747
082 733 5000