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Equal Education Embarks on 10 Days of Action across South Africa Calling for Minimum Norms and Standards

This morning Equal Education (EE) embarked on 10 Days of Action in schools across South Africa. From today until Wednesday, 21 March 2012, learners will mobilise before and after school and during break time calling for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure.

The 10 Days of Action follow EE’s announcement that it has initiated legal action against the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and the nine provincial MECs for Education. As EE Coordinator Doron Isaacs explained last week at a press conference: “The papers seek an order compelling Minister Motshekga to prescribe minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure. This is the most far-reaching court case about the right to basic education to have been launched in democratic South Africa.”

School infrastructure is a vital component of a basic education. At present schools are not required by law to have safe classrooms, effective sanitation facilities, well stocked laboratories or  functioning libraries. Minister Motshekga herself has recognised that school infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, is in an appalling state. Almost 3,600 schools do not have electricity. 92% of schools do not have a functioning library and in the Eastern Cape there are still 395 mud schools. The right to a basic education cannot be seen as separate from the conditions under which learners are taught. Without a uniform standard across the country South Africa’s education system, and the learners it produces, will continue to be defined by historical inequality.

The 10 Days of Actions will draw attention to the state of school infrastructure in South Africa and the importance of minimum norms and standards. Today learners will be holding a day of drama at their schools where they will put on plays for learners, teachers and principals. These plays will focus on the importance of infrastructure such as electricity, libraries, toilets and running water. Tomorrow, Tuesday 13 March, learners will distribute petitions in their schools and collect signatures in support of the campaign. On Wednesday, 14 March 2012, learners will take part in a day of school pride where they will help clean up their schools, clear up litter and tidy their classrooms. Thursday, 15 March, will see learners going door-to-door in their local communities explaining the campaign to their neighbours.

The 10 Days of Action will culminate next week on Wednesday, 21 March 2012, with a Human Rights Day march in Khayelitsha.

For more information please contact Yoliswa Dwane 072 342 7747 or 021 387 0022/3 or Brad Brockman/ 072 267 8489

Carla GoldsteinEqual Education Embarks on 10 Days of Action across South Africa Calling for Minimum Norms and Standards