Our vision is for quality and equality in the South African education system.
20 years after Nelson Mandela's release from prison, it is disheartening that the education received by young people in South Africa remains vastly unequal. Despite attempts to overhaul the system, class and race-linked inequalities remain entrenched. Education was the foundation upon which inequality was fashioned during the years of apartheid, but unequal educational opportunities still remain amongst the greatest obstacles to equality, dignity and freedom in today's South Africa.
EE is a community and membership-based organisation. It is vigorously campaigning for quality and equality in the South African education system and engages in evidence-based activism for improving the nation's schools. It is a leader in youth leadership development. EE's campaigns, based on detailed research and policy analysis, are aimed at achieving quality education for all.
We promote the constitutional rights to equality and education. Education is an end in itself. Also, education helps one to understand and demand the full realisation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution. EE believes that in the 21st century education is the key to advance the struggles of poor and working-class communities for equality and dignity. Led by young act ivists, EE seeks to improve the poor quality of education in South Africa by working together with communities, schools, teachers, principals, learners, parents, academics, researchers and the government. We build an understanding of the education system, whilst drawing attention to problems faced by schools and their communities. Equipped with this knowledge, EE offers a new way for people to participate in the democratic system and bring change to education and society.
The organisation began in February 2008 by conducting research in schools in Khayelitsha (a working-class township in Cape Town, with a population of approximately 700,000 people, and 54 schools). Schools in Khayelitsha, like those in other poor communities, are under-resourced, under-staffed and overcrowded – factors which have a significantly negative impact on academic performance. EE began with the aim of supporting the many hardworking teachers and determined learners within such communities who are battling in difficult conditions.
Today EE is known nationally, and has members active in most provinces. The Head Office remains in Khayelitsha, where it intends to stay. There are also regular meetings and campaigns in Bhisho, Grahams- town, Johannesburg, Kraaifontein, Libode, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, and Pretoria- Tshwane, Nquthu, Tembisa and Thoyandou.
Equal Education's most active members are called 'Equalisers'. They are high school students in grades 8 to 12. Equalisers have a leading role in the activities of the organisation. They, along with their parents, teachers, activists and community members, work with EE to improve schools in their communities, and set an example to their peers through their dedication to their own education.
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