29 August 2022
Media alert: Equal Education members will tomorrow present to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Education Portfolio Committee on the urgent need for the proper implementation of the KZN Learner Transport Policy and for more money to be invested in learner transport
Tomorrow at 8:30am, Equal Education (EE) members will be at the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Legislature to present to the Education Portfolio Committee. EE members will be speaking about our #LongWalkToSchool campaign, speaking about the experiences of Equalisers (EE learner members) on their journeys to school, highlighting the need for the KZN Learner Transport Policy to be implemented thoroughly, and advocating for more money to be allocated to learner transport in KZN.
EE’s advocacy for a Learner Transport Policy began in 2014 when learners in Nquthu identified the need for transport because of the unsafe conditions they faced when walking long distances to school. Since then we have had many notable victories, including:
- Getting government-subsidised buses for three schools in Nquthu (northern KZN) in 2015;
- The publication of the National Learner Transport Policy in 2015;
- The delivery of buses and taxis to 12 Nquthu schools in 2018;
- Winning a public commitment from the national Department of Basic Education to work with National Treasury to explore the introduction of a conditional grant to fund learner transport; and
- The release of the KZN Learner Transport Policy in August 2021.
Though we have managed to secure these victories, there are still areas of concern. Among these are that many principals in Nquthu do not know what their role in implementing the KZN Learner Transport Policy is. Upon EE visiting schools in Nquthu, principals and learners in schools that have scholar transport shared that overloading (too many learners in the vehicle) is a major issue and have stated that more buses needed to be provided. In June 2022, Equalisers from Esikhumbuzweni Secondary School in Nquthu shared with EE, when we visited the school, that the provision of learner transport needs to go beyond providing vehicles and should include appropriate road infrastructure such as bridges. Learners of Esikhumbuzweni Secondary in Nquthu are often unable to get to school because there is no road infrastructure that makes it possible to safely cross the river that is along their way when it is raining.
Tomorrow, EE members in KZN will share these insights with the KZN Legislature and urge them to provide oversight in ensuring that the KZN Department of Education and KZN Department of Transport work together to fulfil and protect learners’ right to education.
When: 8:30am Tuesday 30 August 2022
Where: KZN Legislature Building, 244 Langalibalele St, Pietermaritzburg
Live Tweeting: @equal_education and @MceKunene (Mcebisi Kunene, KZN Junior Organiser)
To arrange an interview, contact Jay-Dee Cyster (EE Communications Officer) email@example.com 082 924 1352