Home South African Senior govt officials must send their kids to public schools – Saftu

Senior govt officials must send their kids to public schools – Saftu

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The union was reacting to a recent Public Protector’s report that revealed the shocking state of some schools, including overcrowding resulting in almost 170 pupils crammed into one classroom.

Saftu’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said the Public Protector report dealing with complaints in the basic education sector confirmed their worst worries. Picture: Itumeleng English, Africa News Agency (ANA)

THE SOUTH African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has accused the Department of Basic Education of sabotaging the right to quality education and challenged senior department and government officials to enrol their own children in public schools.

The union was reacting to a recent Public Protector’s report that revealed the shocking state of some schools, including overcrowding resulting in almost 170 pupils crammed into one classroom.

Saftu’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said the report dealing with complaints in the basic education sector confirmed their worst worries.

“Our worry has been and is still the impact on learning and teaching by lack of infrastructure, procurement of goods and hiring of educators,” he said.

“By example of two schools – Loyiso Secondary School and Cancele Primary School – the investigation by the Public Protector has painted an anecdotal proof of the true state of public schools in rural areas across our country.”

The report investigated Loyiso Secondary School in the Eastern Cape, which enrols 618 learners but only had 10 classrooms. This meant, on average, there should be about 61 learners per classroom. But, because learners were not spread evenly across grades, this meant other classrooms had more learners than the average. The PP found there were 116 learners in a Grade 9 classroom, 121 in one Grade 8 classroom and 164 learners in one Grade 10 classroom.

“This condition even robs learners who have barriers to learning from accessing education because an educator has no ample time to give each learner the deserved attention and would not be able to give adequate assessment feedback to all the learners,” Vavi said.

He said that the lack of infrastructure in schools was not only due to mismanagement, but also due to fiscal budget cuts. This led to staffing as an additional problem, which left the poorest schools (quintile one to three) most affected.

Further in the report, the Eastern Cape Department of Education indicated to the PP that they had about 180 schools that required maintenance in areas of one infrastructure service to the other, from ablution facilities to fencing to libraries.

“This is a serious crisis. The sad part is that the consequence of this crisis, borne by the working class, denies our children their basic right to education. No child can learn in this environment,” Vavi said.

“Meanwhile these politicians are bungling the public education, disadvantaging our children, they take their children to expensive schools in posh suburbs.”

Saftu has since demanded that executive members of government in senior positions – from ministers to district directors and managers – must all take their children to public schools between quintile 1 and 3.

“This is the only way we will begin to see a meaningful change in public schools, and other institutions of public service,” Vavi said.

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