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Eastern Cape teachers and learners to protest infrastructure crisis

Equal Education Press Release
For immediate release
1 July 2011

On Monday 4 July 2011, learners and teachers from schools around Libode and King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape will hold a picket outside the Bisho Provincial Legislature, where they will raise issues such as the dire lack of basic resources at their schools. The picket, which will also be supported by Equal Education, will follow after a weekend camp where the learners and some of their teachers will come together to discuss the problems they face at schools, the difficulties of having to work under such poor conditions and what it is that they can do together to ensure that government hears their concerns and takes action to address them.

The learners come from schools where there is a lack of electricity, water and sanitation facilities, insufficient classrooms, no libraries, computer centres or science laboratories. Many of these learners have attended and continue to attend ‘mud schools’ where the infrastructure problems are the worst in the country. The Eastern Cape is the most neglected province in the country in terms of school infrastructure.  It is the province with the second highest number of schools. Of these schools there are still 395 mud schools (out of 400 identified by the Department of Basic Education, across the country), over 1100 schools have no electricity, over 1100 schools have no access to water, and over 500 schools which still have no toilet facilities at all. These are just some of the realities these learners and teachers must face on a daily basis. 

The aim of the picket will be to ensure that the MEC will see the faces behind the numbers and  statistics, and to demand that the learners, teachers and parents of the Eastern Cape are given a clear explanation of how the Provincial Department of  Education together with the National DBE will be responding to the crisis in school infrastructure in the PR. National Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga has announced that her Department will ensure that all mud schools are eradicated by 2014, and she has also said that National Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure have already been developed and despite them not yet having been adopted are already being applied by the Provincial Departments to all new schools and to existing schools ‘to the extent possible.’

The learners and teachers will demand, among other things, that the MEC explains the way in which the Norms and Standards are being applied by his department and what his Department is doing to address the mud schools, schools without electricity, water and sanitation and the thousands of schools which are still without libraries, laboratories and computers.   

The march will start at 11am from Tyutyu L/H Primary School and will proceed to the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, followed by the picket starting at 12 midday. A memorandum addressed to MEC Makupula will be read and presented.

For more information please contact Lukhanyo Mangona at 082 595 8600

Carla GoldsteinEastern Cape teachers and learners to protest infrastructure crisis