EQUAL EDUCATION ENDS NATIONAL CONGRESS ON A HIGH NOTE
Equal Education held its second National Congress from the 4th – 8th of July at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville. The congress was held under the theme "Building our democratic movement for education justice and equality". Congress was attended by almost 400 delegates from the Western Cape, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, and Kwa Zulu Natal. Delegates were elected in meetings and included learners, parents, teachers, and staff members.
Over 4 days, delegates were tasked with reviewing the past 3 years and passing resolutions setting EE’s course for the next 3 years. A new National Council was elected and a final constitution adopted. Congress also had robust political discussions; there were panel discussions on the state of Education where academics, learners and teachers presented on their perspective. There was also a panel discussion on the state of South African politics where Vuyiseka Dubula of TAC and Mazibuko Jara from United front presented. The last panel discussion on Global youth politics had youth activists from Chile, Zimbabwe and Palestine presenting their organising work and current struggles in their country.
The second EE National Congress made the following resolutions:
– The National Council must ensure accountability for implementing and reporting more regularly to members on its political decisions.
– The Movement must consider organising parents in other provinces through EE campaigns, SGBs, community meetings, and schools for learners with disabilities.
– The Movement should involve more parents and teachers in its campaigns. EE members should also increase mobilisation in communities in order to build support, and grow the Movement.
– The Movement should develop strategies for informing teachers about the work of EE; building support from teachers for the Movement and its campaigns
– The Movement must engage with the possibility of creating training programmes for primary school learners.
– Larger membership in former Model C schools should be built. These schools should be more actively engaged in campaigns
– Before the next Congress, the National Council must ensure that the Movement launches an evidence-based campaign, working with progressive teacher unions (and with teachers themselves) to improve teaching and learning. The campaign must look at a range of measures to ensure better recruitment, remuneration, training, management, support and accountability of teachers.
– The Gauteng Sanitation campaign must continue to mobilise; ensuring the Provincial MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi keeps his promises around fixing sanitation in Gauteng schools. Other Provinces must support this campaign.
– The Movement should mobilise on specific issues within the schools where we are organised to create school-based campaigns. At the same time, we will build provincial and national campaigns to improve education for all South Africans.
– This Congress condemns racist practices at Curro Roodeplaat School and at any other school or anywhere else in South Africa. Curro Roodeplaat is a private school owned by a company called Curro Holdings Limited (Curro). Congress supports the Movement’s call for the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to divest from Curro. The PIC is owned by the South African government, and its money should not be invested in companies which profit from education, worsen inequality, or implement racist policies and practices. The Movement should continue this campaign.
– This Congress stands in solidarity with the struggles of young people around the world for equality and quality in education, such as those in Zimbabwe, Chile, and Palestine. Like ours, these education struggles form part of a wider struggle against capitalism and inequality. The Movement must take steps to show more active solidarity with these international movements; through protests, statements and other displays of public support.
– The Movement must continue to mobilise for the full implementation, on time, of the Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure.
– In addition to the Department of Basic Education, the Michael Komape Norms & Standards Implementation Campaign must be targeted at Government as a whole. This will ensure that we do not have a situation where the Department of Basic Education, or Provincial education departments, are able to use lack of funds as an excuse for not complying with the Norms and Standards time frames, and infrastructure requirements.
– We must continue to mobilise for scholar transport through militant activism in KwaZulu-Natal. We need a national scholar transport policy and an interim emergency plan to provide scholar transport to learners currently walking long distances. Mobilisation should include the building of partnerships and dialogues, include other Provinces, and should be aimed at all relevant parts of government. The Movement must work to involve parents in this campaign
– The Movement should call on South Africa’s government to create facilities at schools for students to report corruption and inappropriate behaviour to independent evaluators who are empowered to listen and immediately act on those complaints, whilst keeping the learners identities secret.
The full resolutions are available on this link: https://www.equaleducation.org.za/page/2nd-national-congress-resolutions
The National Congress elected the following people as the National Council along with permitting the National Council to co-opt additional members in the future:
Chairperson: Yoliswa Dwane
Deputy Chairperson Equaliser: Buhle Booi
Deputy Chairperson Post School Youth: Tracey Malawana
General Secretary: Tshepo Motsepe
Deputy General Secretary: Ntuthuzo Ndzomo
Treasurer: Doron Isaacs
Post School Youth Representatives: Niek Marutha
Parent Representatives: Daphne Erosi
Equaliser Representatives: Fanelesibonge Shezi
KZN Representative: Samukelisiwe Kunene
EC Representative: Anda January
Western Cape Representative: Thokozile Qalanto
Gauteng Representative: Thabang Mabuza
Limpopo Representative: Lesetja John Sema
Congress also said goodbye to some of its most dedicated and hardworking members; Brad Brockman and Dmitri Holtzman. Brad the outgoing General Secretary of Equal Education joined EE over 5 years. In his time at EE, Brad organised parents, organised learners; eventually EE nationally. Dmitri became the first Director of the Equal Education Law Centre, he was also EE’s first parliamentary officer and traveled the country building a case for EE on Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure. It was an emotional goodbye to these comrades that dedicated so much time to building the movement to what it is today.
Congress ended in high spirits with a renewed commitment by everyone to fight for equality and quality in education.
For More Information contact:
Nombulelo Nyathela (EE Spokesperson) 060 503 4933
Yoliswa Dwane (EE Chairperson) 076 706 2338
Tshepo Motsepe (EE General Secretary) 071 886 5637