On the 29th of May, more than 2000 Equal Education members and supporters from around the Eastern Cape marched to the Provincial Department of Education in Zwelitsha. The march consisted of learners, parents and teachers from schools built from inappropriate structures, or without proper sanitation, water or electricity, as well as community members from King William’s Town, Bhisho, Kieskammahoek, Ginsberg, Zwelitsha, Mdantsane, Butterworth and Grahamstown. Numerous community organisations and individuals supported the march, including Zwelinzima Vavi, former General Secretary of COSATU, and Ayanda Kota, Chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement.
At the march, EE made the following demands:
1. The immediate release of all 9 provincial plans for implementation of the Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.
2. Full implementation, on time, of the Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure
The implementation plans were released 2 weeks later.
This video gives a glimpse into what happened at the march, but most importantly it shows the conditions the learners are learning under. The learners also give personal accounts of their experience and how this affects them daily. The march, and the release of the plans, is a powerful example of the power of young activists who have taken up the struggle for quality and equality in South African education.
As Equal Education we are committed to ensuring the Norms and Standards are implemented. This is particularly important in a province like the Eastern Cape where the crisis in school infrastructure is devastating to teaching and learning, and to the health and safety of learners. For more than 3 years, our members mobilised and campaigned for the adoption of the Norms and Standards, a binding law for school infrastructure, and we will continue to work (preferably hand in hand with government) to ensure that its potential is realised, and that all students are taught in safe, dignified and proper schools.
The video is available to view on this youtube link: http://youtu.be/QLF5hIXi_kY
The original press release of the march is available at this link: https://www.equaleducation.org.za/article/2015-05-28-ee-to-march-to-the-ec-department-of-education-to-demand-the-release-of-the-implementation-plans-for-norms-and-standards-for-school-infrastructure