On 10 March 2013 Equal Education held a Secretariat meeting. The following resolutions were passed:
1. Teacher Absenteeism and the possible introduction of the bio-metric monitoring system
There is a real problem of teacher absenteeism, especially in deep rural areas. The EE Secretariat recognises the good intentions behind the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) proposed biometric system, and equally the concerns raised by SADTU. We intend to spend a couple of weeks conducting research and clarifying the facts around teacher absenteeism before commenting further.
2. The Unity of COSATU and the attacks on Zwelenzima Vavi
The EE Secretariat notes the politically motivated attacks on COSATU General Secretary Zwelenzima Vavi. The Secretariat also notes the subsequent SADTU press statement unfairly criticising Zackie Achmat for his comments on the matter. The Secretariat further notes that the SADTU statement criticised the letter drafted by various civil society organisations and circulated by EE Chairperson Yoliswa Dwane. The Secretariat feels comfortable that the letter calls for the independence and unity of COSATU, which remains our position.
3. The Campaign for Minimum Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure:
- The deadline for comment is 31 March 2013. EE will make a substantial submission, commenting on the Draft Regulations on Minimum Norms and Standards (released by Minister Angie Motshekga for public comment in January).
- EE will collect personal testimonies and submissions at the nationwide public hearings, currently in progress, and submit them to the DBE as part of the public consultation process.
- EE will support partner organisations and experts to make their own submissions.
- EE members are asked to support the public hearings through attendance and social media.
- EE’s legal team of the LRC, the EELC and counsel, will prepare for the possibility that the regulations released on or before May 15 will remain as inadequate as the current Draft Minimum Norms and Standards.
- Media coverage surrounding the Campaign must be increased.
4. Policy Questions relating to former Model-C Schools
The Secretariat resolves that EE should work together with the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) to run a workshop that will deal with the question of access to better-resourced public schools, drawing on the examples of EE and the EELC’s work relating to Rondebosch Boys High School, Welkom-Harmony and Rivonia Primary School cases, as well as research done on teacher post-provisioning.
5. Teaching as an Essential Service
EE will soon release a position paper explaining that education cannot legally be declared an essential service in South Africa.