NEW EQUAL EDUCATION VIDEO: “FIGHTING FOR SANITATION IN SOUTH AFRICA’S SCHOOLS” FOR YOUTH DAY
SHORT FILM DOCUMENTS YOUTH-LED SOCIAL AUDIT OF SCHOOLS THAT CULMINATED IN DRAMATIC SUMMIT IN SOWETO
YOUTH DAY MARKS DEADLINE FOR GAUTENG MEC FOR EDUCATION TO KEEP PROMISE TO FIX SANITATION CRISIS IN SCHOOLS
In honour of Youth Day, Equal Education has released a short film about our Gauteng Schools Social Audit, “Fighting for Sanitation in South Africa’s Schools: Social Audit for Social Justice.”
Coming on the 39th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, this film tells the story of how Equal Education student members, “Equalisers,” are fighting for their right to education. In March and April of this year, 500 students, parents, teachers and grandparents came together to audit the learning conditions of 200,000 students in over 200 schools in more than 20 communities in Gauteng – or about 10% of the township schools in the province.
The audit found a sanitation crisis in our schools.
- In 30% of the high schools audited, over 100 learners were sharing a single working toilet
· 1 in 5 toilets were either broken or locked
- 70% of schools have no access to soap and 40% have no access to toilet paper or sanitary pads
- Over 25% of schools have more than 400 students for 1 maintenance staff member
Exactly one month ago, we held the Gauteng Schools Social Audit Summit in Soweto to announce the results of our audit. We demanded that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) fix the sanitation crisis by 16 June. In order to do this, we called on the GDE to:
- Establish a Gauteng-appropriate standard/ratio for sanitation. The World Health Organisation sets a ratio of 50 males to one toilet plus one urinal and 25 females to one toilet.
- Improve the ratio of maintenance staff per student
- Provide a model budget for schools. Principals say they don’t have the money to buy supplies. A model budget must show how schools can afford soap, toilet paper, sanitary bins etc. It may show the need to increase funds to schools.
- Publicly begin blacklisting contractors who under-perform.
- Fully fund the GDE request of R350m to maintain school toilets and ring-fence this money.
As shown in the film, MEC Lesufi “fully accepted [our] demands unconditionally.” As such, today also marks the deadline for him to keep his promise. Over the past month, we have written to MEC Lesufi’s office and requested a meeting with his staff to follow up on these promises as well as discuss our audit results. However, as of writing, we are yet to receive a response.
At the Summit, MEC Lesufi made a number of other bold promises that he has said would be completed by July 20, the beginning of the third term. These include:
1. The 50 worst schools in Gauteng will be demolished and rebuilt. He promised to provide a list of these.
2. Every Matric classroom in a township in Gauteng will get new ceilings, floors and toilets.
3. Every chalkboard in Gauteng will be removed and replaced by smart boards.
4. 21 000 dignity packs will be distributed to female learners monthly.
We will be monitoring implementation of these promises.
Tshepo Motsepe, Co-Head Equal Education Gauteng – 071 886 5637
Nombulelo Nyathela, Equal Education Spokesperson – 060 503 4933
Adam Bradlow, Co-Head Equal Education Gauteng – 072 347 3027