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SAHRC expresses concern about the suspension of school transport and nutritional programmes by the Eastern Cape Department of Education

Friday, 21 January 2010

The SA Human Rights Commission has written to the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Education to express concern about the decision of the department to suspend school transport and nutritional programmes. The department claimed that it had suspended these programmes due to lack of funds.

These are some of the programmes that have significantly changed the lives of thousands of poor learners from impoverished backgrounds.

The Commission is concerned that the suspension of these programmes will negatively affect the ability of the learners to enjoy their right of access to basic education. By having to walk long distances to school and going hungry through the day, the affected the learners will not be able to effectively participate in the classroom.

This situation becomes even more worse during rainy seasons. Heavy rains have often led to children without transport having to walk to long distances to school.
 
Given the fact that government has identified the improvement of access to education as one its key priority areas it is therefore unacceptable on the  part of the Eastern Cape authorities to claim that they have ran out of money.

These kinds of announcements are not new to the Eastern Cape. This is the same province that still has learners who are still learning in unsafe mud classrooms, some of which may collapse due to current heavy rains.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that thousands of learners in Mpumalanga were this week expected to be taught under trees due to the ongoing renovations of classrooms which affected about 252 schools after they were declared unsafe by the provincial department of education last year. Even though the renovations are welcome and are apparently expected to be completed soon, it is however worrying that valuable learning and teaching time may now be lost.

Concerns and challenges relating to the provision of infrastructure and its impact on the enjoyment of the right of children from poor communities to access education were interrogated and addressed in the Commission’s 2005 findings and recommendations report.

While the Commission is pleased that most of its recommendations have since been implemented, it however remains concerned that it appears that the sustainability of some of the programmes that it recommended may now be under threat, much to the disadvantage of the poor.
                                                           
ENDS

Further enquiries: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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