LEFT WITH NO CHOICE BUT COURT ACTION ON NATIONAL MINIMUM NORMS & STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE
For more than 18 months, "Equal Education" has been campaigning for the adoption of regulations providing for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure - which will specify the physical infrastructure standards that all schools must meet in order to function properly. Regulations are needed to give content to the constitutional right to basic education, and to establish a legally-binding benchmark against which communities can hold government accountable. Seventeen years after the end of apartheid, there remains a massive backlog and huge inequality with respect to school infrastructure in South Africa. While some privileged schools have access to an abundance of resources and more than adequate infrastructure, the vast majority of poor, mainly black learners, attend poorly resourced and often unsafe schooling environments.
A report released by the National Department of Basic Education in May 2011 reveals that, of South Africa’s 24,703 public schools over 3,500 schools still do not have access to electricity and a further 800 schools have unreliable electricity; over 2,400 schools still do not have access to any water and a further 2 600 have an unreliable water supply; more than 900 schools do not have any ablution facilities while a further 11,000 still have to use pit latrine toilets; only 7% of schools have stocked and functioning libraries; only 5% of schools have stocked and functioning laboratories; only 10% of schools have stocked and functioning computer centres.