She said in many cases when they visit the schools they find different information than what the department provided.
The Department of Basic Education set Norms and Standards for South African school infrastructure in 2013, and provided its own deadline to fix the infrastructure standards by 2016, which it failed to meet. Equal Education campaigned against the missed deadline and when the department failed to engage Equal Education, it took the department to court. Equal Education won the case in the Bhisho High Court in July 2018.
“The 2016 date has come and passed, 2017 came and passed and the 2018 date has come and passed. There are still over 2,000 schools without toilets,” said Rinquest talking about the deadlines for the school norms and standards implementations.
Katiso Mosioua, a teacher at Chief Henry Bokleni High School in Libode, 34km from Mthatha, said they were happy with assistance from Equal Education which helped them get a state of the art school that was finished in June this year.
“In the previous school we experienced overcrowding with a class compliment of 98 students for one teacher, we had 1,500 students for 17 classes … It was difficult for teachers who had to mark 98 papers for one class and that affected the pass rate” said Mosioua.
He said they had not yet moved into the new school because there is no electricity, despite them having applied for it in 2014. He said the school is looking into getting generators so that the students can move into the new school in 2019.
Scholar transport victory
Equal Education Law Centre attorney Demichelle Petherbridge spoke about the victories in advocating for scholar transport in KwaZulu-Natal since 2014. Equal Education had taken the department to court, asking that they provide scholar transport for 12 schools in Nquthu in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
On 7 November 2017, KwaZulu-Natal departments of education and transportpromised in courtthat from 1 April 2018 all of the 12 schools would be getting transport.
“The rights to basic education includes the ability to actually have access to a school and that failure to provide scholar transport is a violation to the right to basic education,” said Petherbridge. “The state has a duty to provide scholar transport as part of its constitutional mandate.”
- This article was first published in GroundUp.