Education Court Case on Equality Set to Spark Debate

THE announcement by Equal Education (EE) that it has filed papers in the Bisho High Court against Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan and the nine provincial Education MECs, in an attempt to enforce the provision of equal infrastructure at every school in South Africa, is set to generate some interesting debate.    There can be no doubt that there is currently a huge disparity in facilities at schools across our country, largely as a result of the damage done by the notorious Bantu education system. It is also interesting to note that over the past 18 years of ANC rule the number of public schools has dropped as the more affluent sector of our population abandon public education for private schools.  The reality of the system is that the estimated cost of upgrading schools to an acceptable level is some R140 billion. Government claims that this money is simply not available. What they mean is that they believe there are other more urgent priorities – and perhaps they are right in this case.    Although the effectiveness of a teaching programme will be badly compromised by a lack of facilities and an inadequate supply of teaching aides, it hardly helps to build a new science lab when there are no science teachers available to use it. Indeed, a good teacher can compensate for an impoverished teaching environment but the opposite doesn’t apply – good facilities without accompanying good teachers will not result in good teaching.    Unfortunately, government’s political ties to the largest teacher union have led to an administration that is ham strung in aggressively tackling the issues of inadequate, under-skilled, unenthusiastic and unaccountable educators, leaving many of our schools with neither the teachers nor the facilities to reverse our dismal test results.    Tom Stokes, MPP Democratic Alliance KZN Education Spokesperson

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