THE FIGHT GOES ON “WITH EQUAL EDUCATION ON OUR SIDE”
By Mbalanhle Zibani
Moshesh Senior Secondary School has changed from a squatter camp to a normal functioning school.
This is after Equal Education (EE) had taken the Eastern Cape Department of Education to court accusing Moshesh of poor education and underperformance.
EE was invited by two of the school’s students in 2011, with the hope that their school would function as other high schools in the area do. The only high school in Queensmacy, Matatiele, had problems like few and unqualified teachers, no textbooks, improper infrastructure and purely “disorder”.
Students were taught with textbooks from the apartheid era and almost no teacher came to class. When students asked for outside help, those willing to help were chased away with claims that they threatened teachers’ jobs.
“There was no motive from our teachers to teach, we were expected to privately pay teachers from other schools at some point,” said Zamuxolo Moutloali, one of the two learners who wrote to EE.
“When we called teachers to class they said that we should leave them alone they know how to do their jobs,” Moutloali added.
Students had previously tried to involve the district department of education but it didn’t bring any change. In the process of EE’s intervention, the school was found bankrupt by the Hawks, and suspended school principal, Mr Leeu, refused to be accountable for anything going on in the school.
In June 2013, the Bhisho High Court found the school to be underperforming. The Department of Education had settled for a timeline, in a process to work with EE in resolving the school problems.
Moutloali said that two months after the newly appointed principal there are visible changes, school windows were now renewed, new teachers’ occupied subjects with no teachers and other teachers had been taken to assist schools with poor performance.
“Our school is now normal, simple things like no more late coming and full school uniforms are now put into place,” he said.
Moutloali also said that he is no longer mistreated at school for writing to the EE, and he is glad that his name will be in the media for something positive.
“I have been accused of dashing the school’s name in newspapers, sometimes I get scared to talk to the media.”
Equal Education is determined to give support to learners who are claiming their rights to equal education in South African schools.
Deputy-General Secretary of Equal Education (EE), Doron Isaacs said that it was important for the media and South Africans in general to understand that the organization did more than fight on behalf of learners but that it enabled learners themselves claiming their rights and speaking out about the injustices in schools, just like Moshesh learners did.
“So far there has been an improvement at Moshesh School, a new accountable principal has been appointed and teachers come to school on time and sober,” Isaacs said.