The crisis in Eastern Cape Education cannot be overcome without sustained national intervention, and Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure
The school year in the Eastern Cape began with multiple crises. The public and media are invited to join members of Equal Education’s grade 11 and grade 12 Khayelitsha youth groups who will be setting up a school classroom, with desks and chairs, outside Parliament on Thursday 17 February. The picketing and vigil will include the following:
An exhibition of photographs from our visit to the Eastern Cape “mud-schools”.
Political art made of mud to remind our Parliamentarians of the conditions in hundreds of schools.
Speakers who are coming from No-ofisi Senior Primary School near Bulungula in the Eastern Cape. They are travelling especially for the picket. Come and support them.
Poetry, songs, and presentations by members of Equal Education.
Why are we picketing Parliament?
TEACHING POSTS: More than 4,000 temporary teachers arrived at schools on the 17th of January this year to find that their contracts had not been renewed because the ECDoE can no longer pay them. This hit rural areas hardest. An investigation is needed to find out why some schools apparently have extra teachers ('double-parking'), and others are understaffed and losing the temporary teachers.
TRANSPORT: The funding crisis in the ECDoE means the transport programme was stopped in January 2011 leaving more than 100,000 learners without transport to school. The ECDoE says it needs R247 million to pay service providers, and has only raised R60 million. Many learners currently have to walk long distances to school in the heavy rain that the province has been experiencing.
NUTRITION: The School Nutrition Program in the Eastern Cape has been stopped due to lack of funds, despite huge underspending in previous years. Tens of thousands are going hungry.
MUD SCHOOLS & INFRASTRUCTURE: There are 395 "mud schools" in the Eastern Cape. One of the reasons for this is that no national Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure exist. There is no standard that a school must meet. These Standards are called for by Section 5A of the SA Schools Act, but no Minister has acted on this provision since it was introduced in 2007. The National Policy for an Equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment, passed (due in part to EE’s campaigning) in June 2010, states: “National Norms and Standards will be developed and will be fully adopted by the end of the 2010/2011 financial year.” This means the deadline for finalising these regulations is 31 March 2011. We look forward to celebrating these before the deadline, and to helping the Minister implement them in every province, in every district and in every school.
FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT AND CORRUPTION: The Eastern Cape Education Department has received a negative audit from the Auditor General for the last three years. Due to a settlement in recent litigation between seven mud-schools and the national and provincial departments, R6.3bn has been allocated to replace all inadequate structures by March 2014. There is little chance of the dysfunctional ECDoE implementing this on its own.
A strong national response is critical.
Section 100 of the Constitution allows for the national Department of Basic Education to take over the administration of a provincial department if that department cannot fulfill its obligation. Minister Angie Motshekga has visited and assessed the problems first hand, but resolving the crises will require her direct and ongoing leadership.
The national Department of Basic Education must fulfill its constitutional responsibility by stepping in and resolving the ECDoE crisis:
We demand a detailed plan of action from the National Department of Basic Education that is geared towards resolving the ECDoE crisis;
The National Department must take over the financial administration of the ECDoE to ensure that the school nutrition plan and school transport system are restarted immediately;
We call on the National Department to build capacity within the ECDoE to facilitate the delivery of basic education services to learners.
DATE: Thursday 17 February 2011
TIME: 6:00pm until 7:30pm
VENUE: Parliament, Corner Pleinand Roeland Streets.
Equal Education leaders will give a first-hand eye-witness report based on their recent visit to the Eastern Cape mud-schools, and there will be a photographic display.
Phone: 021 387 0022
Fax: 086 516 9396