Today, 21 March 2012, over 2 000 learners joined Equal Education’s (EE) Human Rights Day march for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure. The march was the culmination of 10 Days of Action that had occurred in schools across the country, following the announcement that EE has launched a court case against the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.
Learners gathered at the Manyanani Peace Park, in Khayelitsha, at 09h00 this morning. They were addressed by members of EE and learners from the community. Yoliswa Dwane, head of Policy, Communication and Research, explained the importance of minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure to learners before the march: “Without quality and equal education in South Africa your future will not be bright. We have to reject unequal education in South Africa. 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 for school infrastructure South Africa’s education system, and the learners it produces, will continue to be defined by historical inequality.”
School infrastructure is a vital component of a basic education. At present schools are not required by law to have functioning libraries, effective sanitation facilities, well stocked laboratories or even safe classrooms. Minister Motshekga has herself 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.
Ntuthuzo Ndzomo, part of Equal Education’s Youth Department, also addressed the crowd: “Today we are marching for learners across the country because there is inequality in South Africa’s education system. There are schools here in Khayelitsha that are in a terrible condition but this is not a Western Cape issue – this is a national issue. Today we are marching for every school in South Africa.”
Before the march started learners came up onto the stage with placards displaying the cell phone number of the Director-General of Basic Education, Bobby Soobrayan. Ntuthuzo Ndzomo told the crowd: “I want everyone to take down this number and send Mr Bobby Soobrayan a sms. Tell him you want minimum norms and standards for your school.”
The march stretched for more than a kilometre down Mew Way, the main street in Khayelitsha. As learners marched through the streets they sang, handed out pamphlets and answered questions from residents. The marched ended back at the park where learners sang the national anthem before leaving.
For more information please contact: Yoliswa Dwane 072 342 7747 or 021 387 0022/3 or Doron Isaacs 082 850 2111
For high resolution pictures of the march please contact Kate Wilkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org