Equal Education Press Statement
For immediate release
30 March 2011
If the Minister will not come to us, we will go to Pretoria!
Following our 20 000-strong march on Parliament on Human Rights Day, Equal Education (EE) is holding a picket on the Union Buildings lawn, Pretoria/Tshwane, on Thursday, the 31st of March. A memorandum will be handed over at 2:00pm.
We want decent school infrastructure!
On the 21st of March, 20 000 people gathered to demand decent school infrastructure. EE leader Yoliswa Dwane told the crowd: "We will not rest until we see all schools functioning properly, with proper physical resources distributed to all schools equally!"
We want libraries and laboratories in our schools, and we want toilets that flush. We refuse to see children in the Eastern Cape going to school in mud structures, and we insist that rural schools are electrified and connected to water. According to government statistics, 3,600 schools have no electricity, 2,444 have no water supply and 92% do not have stocked libraries.
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, chose not to attend on Human Rights Day. This was an error of judgment. Her repeated non-attendance at EE marches means that she is missing opportunities to build alliances with thousands of young allies who want to work with her to fix education. EE reaffirms its commitment to work with the Minister to implement the Infrastructure Standards, once they are passed, and to support her leadership of education in South Africa.
Now let’s win School Infrastructure Norms & Standards for generations to come!
The key demand of the Equal Education youth is National Minimum Norms & Standards for School Infrastructure. This is not just our bright idea. The South African Schools Act itself, in Section 5A, gives the Minister the power to set Infrastructure Standards. Although this provision has been in existence since 2007, the Minister has failed to create Infrastructure Standards.
In 2010, because of EE's campaigning, a National Policy was passed, which said that Infrastructure Standards must be adopted by 1 April 2011. That is a commitment made by the Minister and not yet delivered. She now has less than 2 days to fulfil it, and EE will be picketing in Pretoria/Tshwane to remind her of this promise!
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