Pupils, teachers demand better schools

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By Mogomotsi Magome

Community organisation Equal Education (EE) has called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to urgently improve the condition of schools across the country.

The organisation, including pupils and teachers, picketed at the Union Buildings on Thursday to “remind” Motshekga that she had signed the norms and standards document for schools.

Thursday’s picket followed a march by thousands of EE members to Parliament on Human Rights Day to demand equal education for all pupils.

The protesters were carrying placards and banners expressing their grievances about the state of their schools and the lack of infrastructure.

EE spokesman Lukhanyo Mungona said the norms and standards document outlined what a South African school should look like.

“We have under-resourced schools and do not have libraries and laboratories required for proper learning.

“At the moment, 80 percent of schools that have well-resourced laboratories and libraries are former Model C schools and until this changes we cannot have equal education.

“We need the minister to commit to this so the standard of learning and teaching can improve in this country,” said Mungona.

It was not acceptable that the working class was being given substandard services in all spheres of government, including the departments of education, Mungona said.

“It cannot be that we just maintain the inequality that we see around our schools and society, where some people are better off than others.

“We see this happening across society and we want it eradicated in our schools,” he said.

Treatment Action Campaign activist Mark Heywood joined the EE for their picket and pledged to support their campaign until their demands were met.

“I was there in 1976 when we were fighting for equal education and now many years after democracy we are still fighting for equal education, Heywood said.

“You must not give up on your objectives until they have been met and there is equal education for all,” said Heywood.

Motshekga’s spokesman, Pan-yaza Lesufi, said the department shared the concerns and worries of the pupils and their teachers.

“The minister will respond to the memorandum you have submitted because she is also worried about the infrastructure in our schools, he said.

“We want to urge you to work with us in creating a conducive environment for teaching and learning in all our schools across the country,” Lesufi said. – Pretoria News 

Equal Education and the Treatment Action Campaign are Atlantic grantees.

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