Pupils’ dig­nity still be­ing vi­o­lated

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - LER­ATO DIALE

RE­CENT re­ports on the state of san­i­ta­tion in Gauteng and Lim­popo schools show the prov­inces be­ing worlds apart on the pro­vi­sion of the ba­sic ser­vice.

Ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion Equal Ed­u­ca­tion (EE) found that while the Gauteng De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (GDE) was not out­right in vi­o­la­tion of the norms and stan­dards, main­te­nance of san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties needed ad­dress­ing.

“With­out a look at why san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties con­tin­ued to de­te­ri­o­rate de­spite up­grades and ren­o­va­tions, schools and pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments such as the GDE will re­main caught in an un­end­ing cy­cle of san­i­ta­tion up­grades,” said the re­port.

“The im­por­tant chal­lenges that need to be ad­dressed to im­prove the state of san­i­ta­tion in­clude high learner-to-toi­let ra­tios, and the de­part­ment needs to en­sure that schools are pro­vid­ing soap, toi­let pa­per and san­i­tary bins,” added EE co-head of re­search Hopolang Sele­balo.

In Lim­popo, pub­lic law in­ter­est cen­tre Sec­tion 27 found pupils’ rights to dig­nity and equal­ity con­tin­ued to be vi­o­lated by the san­i­ta­tion cri­sis.

At least 33 schools still had pit la­trines, 35 had in­ad­e­quate toi­lets, 11 had poorly main­tained toi­lets, 10 had a com­bi­na­tion of new toi­lets and old pit la­trines, and three had san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties that were ei­ther not age-ap­pro­pri­ate or dis­abil­ity friendly.

Sec­tion 27 la­belled the sit­u­a­tion “a man­i­fes­ta­tion of a lack of po­lit­i­cal will and a lack of un­der­stand­ing of the du­ties that stem from the right to ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion”.

Lim­popo ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment spokesper­son Sam Makondo said they were still study­ing the re­port.

MEC of Ed­u­ca­tion Panyaza Le­sufi wel­comed EE’s ac­knowl­edge­ment of the com­mit­ment to ad­dress the state of school in­fra­struc­ture.

“Most of the prob­lems that have been iden­ti­fied arise from poor main­te­nance or ne­glect by the schools.

“The de­part­ment will un­der­take re­pairs and main­te­nance on a case by case ba­sis and fully re­view the re­port and in­cor­po­rate sub­stan­tive find­ings into its plans ac­cord­ingly,” said Le­sufi.

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