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Gauteng Schools Are Overcrowded, Says Education Activists Report

Overcrowding has been identified as an obstacle to quality teaching and learning at some Gauteng schools. This is according to a report launched by Equal Education (EE) on overcrowding at nine schools in Etwatwa, and Ekurhuleni.


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Research by Equal Education( EE) has found that over 70% of classes in schools in a Gauteng township which they inspected are overcrowded.

The findings from the report were discussed during the launch of their #NoSpaceForUs campaign on Saturday in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni and published on EE website. 

The campaign follows years of advocacy by Equal Education to get the Minister of Education to get all schools to meet a minimum standard of infrastructure, the EE says.

On 29 November 2013, the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure policy was included in the South African Schools Act by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. This policy defines the basic infrastructure every school must have to function properly.

A school can be considered overcrowded when there is a shortage of school resources and a lack of school autonomy. Some class sizes grow to the extent that teachers’ and learners’ ability to create an effective learning environment is limited.

Findings on the EE report are as follows:

  • All of the nine schools that were researched had some classes with too many learners.
  • 74% of classes that were inspected had over 40 learners.
  • Seven out of the nine schools had at least 15% more learners than the building was designed to hold.
  • 66% of the classroom buildings that we measured were too small for the number of learners that they held.
  • 82% of the classrooms buildings we inspected had too little furniture for the number of learners inside them.
  • 65% of the teachers that were interviewed were all overworked.

Between September 2019 and June 2020, Equal Education surveyed nine schools in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni. The researchers collected data on 751 classes, measured and inspected 105 classrooms, and interviewed 51 school community members.

According to the EE Head Researcher, Hopolang Selebalo, the report of the survey was published on Monday to mark the eighth anniversary of the adoption of the Norms and Standards.

The Equal Education report further recommends the following guidelines:

  • The GDE must create a school infrastructure development plan that puts an end to current overcrowding and prevents future overcrowding, by preparing for growth in the number of learners.
  • The GDE must spend its budget in a way that prioritises fixing overcrowding.
  • The DBE must develop school capacity norms that limit the number of learners a school can enrol and that the GDE is forced to stick to. 
  • The GDE must place teachers and support staff in schools where they are needed most.

The education activist organisation concluded that Gauteng schools are overcrowded and that the quality of teaching and learning is affected.  


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