Newsletter 266 - School Development & Improvement Planning 2006-2009 - PART 7
TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT:
- Ensure that, before any budget cuts are taken with respect to the funding of education, all less restrictive alternatives are considered; and that even during a period of resource scarcity the most disadvantaged are protected and prioritized.
- Reverse recent budget cuts and ensure that spending per learner increases incrementally in line with inflation to meet actual needs.
- Progressively phase out fees at all remaining public schools that still charge pupils for education, prioritizing the primary level, whilst ensuring that any loss of funding is met through sufficient government budgetary allocations.
- Review and reform the equitable share formula to ensure that it fairly allocates resources to all provinces taking into account the respective needs of each. In particular, ensure that it takes into account (a) that it is cheaper to provide education in urban areas owing to economies of scale and population density together with a better provision of goods and services and (b) the unequal starting points of historically disadvantaged and under-funded schools.
- Ensure that provincial education departments have sufficient funds to comply with the 2013 Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.
- Set concrete targets and deadlines for addressing all school infrastructure that requires upgrading and commit to meeting them by 2023 at the latest.
- Ensure all schools have access to adequate and safe water and sanitation, including replacing all unsafe and unsanitary pit toilets by end of 2020 and eradicate all pit toilets completely by 2023.
- Ensure that where targets are not met, appropriate remedial action is taken including holding both ministers and officials to account for any failings.
- Review and amend the policy on scholar transport to ensure that it provides sufficient and clear guidance to provinces to ensure that all learners who require and qualify for state-subsidized transport to school receive it. Specifically ensure criteria reflect the range of challenges pupils face in travelling to school in addition to distance.
- Ensure that no school exceeds the teacher-pupil ratio of 1:35 per class at primary level and 1:27 at secondary level.
- Review the workload of teachers, including by exploring ways for reducing the amount of paperwork in order to free up more time for teaching.
- Review teacher training to ensure that teachers are equipped with the necessary practical skills as well as content.
- Urgently address teacher retention and recruitment by examining and addressing the root causes.
- Enhance the capacity of School Governing Bodies through increased resources and training particularly those serving schools in poorer/disadvantaged communities.
- Review and reform the means by which all schools including private schools are inspected to ensure that there is a comprehensive and effective system for assessing the quality of education.
- Strengthen the regulatory framework with respect to private sector actors drawing on the Abidjan Principles.
- Ensure that the government’s data collection system is able to collect comprehensive and reliable data, disaggregated by all prohibited grounds of discrimination and other relevant criteria, in order to enable the assessment of the level of enjoyment of the right to education, particularly among disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups.
- Conduct a participatory needs-assessment involving learners, parents, teachers, administrators and civil society to build consensus on the steps necessary for providing quality education for all.
TO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS:
- Ensure that poverty classifications of schools better reflect the poverty characteristics of the actual learners who attend those schools, and not just those of the surrounding communities, through collecting and analysing accurate and up to date data.
- In combination with the national government set concrete targets and deadlines for addressing all school infrastructure that requires upgrading by 2023 at the latest and develop appropriate policies and plans to deliver.
- Ensure that all schools have access to adequate water and sanitation, including replacing all pit toilets by 2023.
- Ensure that all schools do not exceed the teacher-pupil ratio of 1:35 per class at primary level and 1:27 at secondary level.
- Ensure that all learners who require and qualify for state-subsidized transport to school receive it. Specifically ensure criteria reflect the range of challenges pupils face in travelling to school in addition to distance.
- Improve data-collection, with a view to collecting comprehensive and reliable data, disaggregated by race, gender, province and other relevant criteria, in order to enable the assessment of the level of enjoyment of the right to education, particularly among disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups.
- Develop and apply appropriate human rights compliant indicators regarding the implementation of the right to education as well as other economic, social and cultural rights.