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Eastern Cape
Mar 9 2012 8:31AM
 
Schools take on the big guys as they challenge Department of Education
CHALLENGED: Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga is being bought to court by two mud schools. Picture: THEMBA MASEKO
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Mawande Jack

Two mud schools in the rural hinterland are part of a court application by human rights groups in the province to force the education department and minister to prescribe standards for acceptable school infrastructure.

Mwezeni and Mkanzini Primary Schools in Libode, in the Transkei region, together with the Equal Education campaign, announced yesterday that they had filed papers in the Bisho High Court against education MEC Mandla Makupula, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

This is probably the biggest court challenge ever launched against the national government and all nine provinces could finally compel the government to expedite eradication of all improper school structures.

This could result in thousands of pupils, especially in farms and rural areas, being provided with decent school buildings with proper services.

The Equal Education campaign head of policy, Yoliswa Dwane, said the organisation has been campaigning for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure for two years.

She said the education minister “had failed to exercise the powers she has as set out in Section 5 of the South African Schools Act to prescribe minimum norms and standards”.

“Because of Minister Motshekga’s refusal to prescribe norms and standards, pupils are still taught under unacceptable conditions,” said Dwane.

The department is also locked in a legal wrangle with several rights groups including the Legal Resources Centre, Save our School and Community in Grahamstown, and the Catholic Institute of Education to put the Section 100 (b) intervention into full gear. The matter will be heard in the Bisho High Court on March 20. Education spokesperson Loyiso Pu-lumani said they will challenge the action.

There are about 400 mud schools in the province and less than 50 of these schools in the Transkei region are in the process of being provided with adequate classrooms and proper services.

Mwezeni Primary School was destroyed by storms in February 2010 and has not been provided with emergency classrooms for its staff and pupils. Principal of Mkanzini Primary School Zanemvula Jama, said pupils were crowded into a tiny shack to learn.

Mawandej@thenewage.co.za
 

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