Today Equal Education (EE) will hold a public hearing on school infrastructure regulations in Cape Town. The hearing will be the culmination of a nationwide tour that saw hundreds of people attend public hearings in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng. Learners, teachers, parents, concerned citizens and organisations will attend the public hearing to make submission on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s draft Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure (Norms and Standards).
DATE: 20 March 2013
VENUE: Good Hope Centre (corner of Sir Lowry Road and Christiaan Barnard Street)
The public hearing will be chaired by Justice Zak Yacoob and EE Chairperson Yoliswa Dwane.
WEAK DRAFT NORMS AND STANDARDS
EE campaigned for two years to get Minister Motshekga to publish Norms and Standards. In a court settlement in November 2012 she agreed to publish them. They were published for public comment on 9 January 2013 [PDF]. The 10-page document is a disappointment. It provides weak Norms and Standards, with vague definitions and avoids commitment or timelines. It does not empower learners, parents, teachers and communities to hold government accountable for inadequate school infrastructure.
Minister Motshekga will consider submissions until 31 March 2013. She will publish the final Norms and Standards on 15 May 2013.
ATTENDEES AT THE PUBLIC HEARING
Learners, parents, educators and concerned citizens will attend the public hearing to comment on the draft and make submissions to Minister Motshekga. They will give testimony on the inadequate school infrastructure they experience every day.
Out of the 1,464 public ordinary schools in the Western Cape:
• 1,082 schools don’t have functioning libraries,
• 1,205 schools don’t have functioning science laboratories,
• 971 schools don’t have functioning computer centres [SOURCE].
Last year August Filander, a teacher and department head from Alpine Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain, described the inadequate toilets at his school in an affidavit for EE’s court case against Minister Motshekga: “…There are not enough toilets for the students. There is one bathroom for the boys and one for the girls. There are approximately 6 seats available for 700 girls, but many of the toilets are broken and not functioning and often there are only 2 working toilets.” [PDF]
Principal Mogamad Gasant from Lantana Primary School described how learners at his school were vulnerable due to inadequate perimeter security: “…Flimsy fencing means that gangsters are able to enter the school and target the learners. We refer to the gangster intruders as “tax collectors” because they enter the school and threaten the learners with violence or even death if they do not give them money. Thus learners’ lives are put at risk by this infrastructure deficiency.” [PDF]
Some of the testimonies and submissions will be delivered in isiXhosa or Afrikaans. Translation services have been arranged both attendees and journalists. Journalists wishing to make use of translation services must contact Kate Wilkinson.
There is parking available in the basement parking structure of the Good Hope Centre.
For more information please contact
Yoliswa Dwane (EE Chairperson) on 072 342 7747
Kate Wilkinson (EE Media Officer) on 082 326 5353
Gina Fourie (Organiser) on 071 682 4515