Fix And Fund Public Schools! - Equal Education

Equal Education wants the Department of Basic Education to step up and fix and fund public schools. They believe there is inequality when you compare  public schools to private schools and that government is not doing all they can.

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Equal Education has penned a letter to President Ramaphosa, Minister Motshekga, Minister Mboweni, Minister Mkhize, and Minister Dlamini-Zuma demanding that they fix the massive education inequality in SA and provide more funding to public schools.

Roy Johane, a Grade 12 Equaliser and learner member of Equal Education said, "I feel as learners are not being prioritised here especially in government schools. We are told to shut down but no one realises the pressure that’s being put on us. School last year was very horrible and stressful. This is because private schools were operating and we couldn’t really. It didn’t sit well with me.”

The letter to the President and Ministers reads:

We fear that government is not doing all that it can to prevent the inequality in our education system from widening in the face of COVID-19, as public schools remain closed until 15 February while the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is unbothered with private schools reopening their gates or teaching remotely right now. 

These differences show the massive education inequality in our country, said the organisation.

When it comes to how the Department of Basic Education (DBE) plans to support elearning for public school learners, Equal Education says "there has been dead silence from the DBE".

There has been concern about all the lost learning time and how this negatively impacts public school learners. However, learners in private schools continued to learn from home and went back to school two weeks earlier than public schools.

Years of not providing public schools with enough money and other resources has made being hit by COVID-19 even more devastating. Over the years, we have seen government place less importance on education when deciding how to spend its money, and last year, education funding started decreasing year on year. 

Budgets cuts have also contributed to the already heavy negative consequences of the pandemic, says Equal Education. 

Public schools have become unsafe and undignified and many have overcrowded classrooms, unsafe toilets and a lack of water supply.

According to Equal Education, public school learners are being left behind and government is setting the public school system up to fail if it doesn’t give it the resources it needs.

They are also calling for the Minister of Basic Education to take accountability when it comes to controlling private schools. DBE told Parliament it has limited control over private schools. 

Without accountability, the private sector can grow in a way that is not properly planned and makes inequality worse.

Equal Education therefore calls for government to fix the inequality between schools and to use all of its resources to provide the public school system with what learners and teachers need for a quality education. 

"Education should be a right, but in our country it’s a privilege!"

Visit the Equal Education website here to view the full statement.

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