16 July 2021
Equal Education media statement: Stop the destruction of the school infrastructure that we have fought so hard for!
“The vandalism of schools makes me feel bad and broken because the very same schools help us get education that trains our minds and abilities to acquire knowledge. Teaching and learning will mostly be affected as classes are damaged, so where will we learn? Our communities need to think about what will happen after schools have been damaged. The small schools and infrastructure we have come after many difficulties.”- Naledi, Grade 11 member of Equal Education, KwaZulu-Natal
“I’m heartbroken because this simply means that we are destroying our future and delaying our learning process since it will take time to go back to school and it will be too late. Learners will have to stay home and that means we are not going to be able to learn, even if a teacher tries to help online they will have a problem since we do not all have access to cellphones. Learners in these schools will be left behind and have a lot of work when they go back to school. Let us protect our schools, schools belong to the community and the people who live in it. If we are destroying schools, we are also destroying our property.”– S’nethemba, Grade 11 member of Equal Education, KwaZulu-Natal
The current civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has reportedly resulted in 31 schools being vandalised and one school being burned to the ground. The destruction of our schools must be condemned! School communities across South Africa, led by the members of Equal Education (learners, post-school youths and parents), have been fighting for proper school infrastructure for over 10 years! Sicela umphakathi, abazali, abaholi bamabandla kanye nezakhiwo zomphakathi zokuphepha ukuthi bazame ngazozonke izindlela ukuvikela izikole zethu kules’khathi esinzima.
We support the efforts of the KZN Department of Education (KZN DoE) to protect schools, but we also warn against the police and military using excessive force against people.
The destruction of schools comes at a time when schools are preparing to safely reopen their gates to learners in ten days from today, after the July school holiday was extended to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the third wave. Abafundi abaningi bazosala dengwane, and this will make worse the inequalities that have been highlighted by the pandemic.
Our schools are not only places of learning – they are where learners need to get a meal, through the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). The unrest has caused food shortages, at a time when the number of households reporting child hunger is almost double what it was before the pandemic.
The KZN DoE is already behind with decreasing the school infrastructure backlogs, and with complying with the Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure (Norms and Standards). Tens of thousands of people fought for the Norms and Standards to be adopted by government in 2013, and every school that is fixed or newly built is a huge victory for that school’s community and for all learners, parents and teachers in South Africa.
Siyacela ukuthi imiphakathi yaKwaZulu-Natali ikhumbule ukuthi amaqembu athinteka kabi kakhulu ekucekelweni phansi kwezikole kanye nokubambezeleka kokuhlinzekwa kwengqalasizinda yezikole nguhulumeni ngabafundi abangenakugwenywa.
To arrange for for an interview, contact:
Jay-Dee Cyster (Communications Officer, Equal Education ) 082 924 1352 or firstname.lastname@example.org