23 February 2021
Media alert: Equal Education members will be protesting at Parliament from 12:30pm tomorrow against drastic education budget cuts as Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivers his budget speech
Tomorrow at 11am, Equal Education (EE) members will be protesting at Parliament in Cape Town to demand that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni reverse the cuts to the basic education budget, and to prioritise spending on education. Government is placing less importance on education when deciding how to spend its money, and last year Minister Mboweni announced that government would reduce education funding every year for the next three years. The consequence is that the right of learners to basic education is being compromised.
Members of EE – learners (Equalisers), post-school youths and parents – will be protesting at Parliament alongside other social movements, as we collectively demand a People’s Budget that prioritises basic human rights instead of austerity! EE members in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape will also be protesting against education budget cuts, at provincial legislatures and on social media.
National Treasury is failing to prioritise basic education and has shown this through the Supplementary Budget tabled in June last year, by taking R2.1 billion from the overall Department of Basic Education (DBE) budget. R1.7 billion was cut from the school infrastructure grants alone, and a further R4.4 billion has been reallocated within these grants to cover COVID-19 expenses. To add insult to injury, R276 million was taken from the basic education budget to fund South African Airways!
Almost 2 000 school infrastructure projects have been stopped or delayed in the 2020/2021 financial year. This includes new projects, maintenance and repairs, and upgrades. At a large number of schools in rural areas, learners and teachers are subjected to dangerous and undignified plain pit toilets and don’t have access to a reliable water supply. In many urban schools, overcrowded classrooms make quality teaching and learning extremely difficult. According to the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure, all schools should have been provided with enough classrooms, electricity, water, and toilets, and with fences, telephones and internet by 29 November 2020.
We are calling on Minister Mboweni to:
- Ensure that basic education funding grows (and keeps in line with education inflation);
- Ensure that National Treasury increases funding for school infrastructure;
- Ensure that the DBE, provincial education departments, and all government service providers use public money efficiently and effectively;
- Ensure that the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has the money needed to feed every one of the learners who qualifies for it – while our schools are open and where learners are not in classrooms every day; and
- Classify the DBE as a frontline department in the fight against COVID-19.
When: Wednesday 24 February 2021
Where: Parliament, Cape Town
To arrange an interview, contact:
Jay-Dee Cyster (Equal Education Communications Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org 082 924 1352