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Response to WCED Announcement on Libraries


ACTING Head of the Western Cape Education Department [WCED], Mr Brian Schreuder said that the WCED will advise schools to allocate 10% of their teaching and learning funds to library materials and that the WCED plans to appoint library specialist in the province’s district to advise schools on how to establish and manage schools libraries.

Equal Education [EE] welcomes the WCED’s commitment to advise schools in the province to spend 10% of the allocation for teaching and learning materials to library materials. EE urges the WCED to make this 10% mandatory.

This announcement is in response to EE’s Campaign for School Libraries. It is a victory for community and youth activism. It shows what progressive organising, research and policy work can achieve. But it is only the beginning.

EE urges other provincial education departments to follow the WCED in taking this progressive step.

WCED’s plan to appoint specialist librarians in the province’s districts sounds promising, however, more needs to be done by this province and our country as whole to make sure that every child is provided with a functioning library. The creation of specialist librarian posts in the district will not improve the burden on teacher-librarians in schools that do not have extra funds to appoint dedicated librarians.

Many teachers from public schools that cater for working class communities are overburdened with paperwork as required by the new curriculum and never-ending activities such as safety and security and librarianship. Many of the department’s interventions are implemented by the teachers. The key to providing libraries is the creation of specialist posts for librarians and/or library administrators in every school. Teachers should be left to concentrate on teaching and producing good quality lessons by preparing, being on time and ready to teach the young people of this country. This has been affirmed by the Polokwane Resolutions and it is in line with our country’s commitment to provide every child with good education. Once there are libraries, these must of course be integrated into teaching plans.

It is our commitment as civil society to make sure that the rights of children to education, equality and human dignity are realised. We are advocating for a good quality education for all, particularly the poor and working class majority in this country.

In our country, education has been a privilege of the few whilst the working class majority are left to fend for themselves. This is an injustice and a violation of our rights to education, equality and human dignity. In order to transform this unequal society, we have to start with leveling the playing fields by providing basic facilities and training and supporting the teachers of this country.

Equal Education demands a national policy that provides:
– a library for every school in South Africa
– 10% of LTSM funds be allocated for schools’ library materials
– the allocation of librarian or library administrator posts to all schools
– expand the QIDS-UP library project to provide shelving, computers and 3 books per learner
– teachers, parents, learners & SGB members to participate in workshops about the role of a library and its place in a school’s program.

On 22 September more than 1500 learners, parents, teachers and community members will walk from Salt River High School to City Hall, Cape Town to raise the demands.

For More information contact: YOLISWA DWANE 072 342 7747 DORON ISAACS 082 850 2111 LUKHANYO MANGONA 082 595 8600

Response to WCED Announcement on Libraries