Friday, September 09, 2016

South Africa Education System Needs Transformation Built on the Foundations of People's Education
The public revelations of allegations of racism in various schools around the country, including Pretoria High School for Girls in Tshwane and Sans Souci Girls High School in the Western Cape have exposed the failure of the transformation project in our education system. COSATU condemns the leadership of these schools and commends the students and stakeholders, who have taken a stand and demanded real change in how these schools treat black students and on how they are governed.

This is long overdue and these students need to be given all the necessary support to win their fight against racial discrimination. This also talks to the privatization and commercialization of education that has created and exacerbated the existing inequalities and further marginalised and excluded certain groups from accessing and participating in education.

We also do not believe that the current fire fighting and piecemeal approach by the department of basic education is what will bring about real democratic representation in school governance. While, we acknowledge that students, parents and teachers now have democratic organisations available through which they can take control over education, it is obvious that the presence of these organs of people's power alone is not enough to help overhaul the apartheid apparatus that continues to strangulate our educational and cultural life.

The federation strongly believes that what is needed is the change from below ,that will dismantle the apartheid legacy and undermine the elite pact that has ensured that our flawed education system has remained untouched for over two decades. What we need is transformation built on the foundations of people's education.

We all need to work hard to ensure that there is active participation of all stakeholders and that our school governance guidelines and protocols are based upon the principles of co-operation, critical thinking and civic responsibility. This should not just be limited to governance but should also include policy formulation and curriculum development. The current top-down approach to education has shown less confidence in people's governing organs in South African schools.

COSATU wants government to recognize education as very fundamental for social development and justice; and therefore protect the education sector from privatization and commercialization. We also urge our affiliates, to organize and defend the rights of teachers, students, and parents in both the private and public schools.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794

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