Activists protest against proposed changes to school laws

Education activists Equal Education (EE) marched to parliament on Thursday to protest against the proposed changes in school infrastructure laws (norms and standards) by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The organisation, made up of parents, teachers and learners, said if the proposed changes got approved, learners would not have safe and suitable schools.

In a statement, the EE revealed that Motshekga wants to remove the timeframes set for projects meant to improve the state of public schools.

“Basic Education Minister Motshekga signed the norms and standards into law in 2013 following years of tireless campaigning led by EE members [learners, post-school youths, teachers, and parents] – supported by legal action,” said the EE.

“Never did South Africa have a law that says what basic infrastructure a school must have, and by when it must be provided. We went to court in 2018 to get Minister Motshekga to fix gaps in the law, not to water it down.”

The EE alleges that Motshekga wants to eliminate the deadlines that put the pressure and responsibility on the government to get rid of pit toilets, provide basics such as water, electricity, classrooms, and libraries by specific dates.

“It is unhelpful that these changes have been proposed in a difficult to understand document, and that the public have been given a short period of time in which to make sense of the proposed changes and submit feedback to the Department of Basic Education.

“We want to remind government of its duty to guarantee learners a safe and dignified learning environment so that they can fully realise and enjoy their right to a quality basic education.

“We are also calling on the public to say no to the proposed changes to the norms and standards, and to make submissions to the DBE [Department of Basic Education].”

 

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