PPEN MEMBERS LAUNCH PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION AIMED AT SECURING THE RIGHT TO BASIC EDUCATION FOR ALL
A group of educational activists associated with PPEN (Public Participation in Education Network) has taken advice from IFAISA (The Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa) concerning the prospects of success in litigation by way of direct access to the Constitutional Court. This public initiative is aimed at exacting respect for, promotion of, and actual access to the right to basic education, which is guaranteed to all in terms of the Bill of Rights.
Many discussions, protests and court actions have occurred over a long period of time to support the realisation of children’s right to basic education. We are aware, and supportive, of other cases currently being heard at different levels of the judicial system. We see our public initiative as complementary to other similar efforts as we simultaneously support the momentum for community and social mobilisation for quality public education. In essence, we seek to engage in a constructive spirit to bring about a better dispensation that is able to more effectively and efficiently deliver that which the Bill of Rights promises: basic education for all. There can be no doubting that the way in which basic education is being delivered will exacerbate the present situation and result in the ever increasing number of functionally illiterate and innumerate ‘push outs’ from the basic education system, posing a real danger to the future of peace, progress and prosperity in the land.
We have commenced with preparatory work on the court case and to mobilise wide support for our public interest litigation. Because the case is brought in the public interest, it is obvious that the more individuals, organizations, networks and communities who either participate directly in, or give their support to our efforts, the better.
The following are some basic priorities that we will argue are both achievable and necessary in order to realise our children’s constitutional rights. It is by no means exhaustive. You are invited to motivate any additions or modifications:
* Proper nutrition and decent early childhood development programmes to properly
prepare children who enter the formal education system to do so “on the front foot”.
* School infrastructure that is fit for purpose.
* The use of mother tongue based education in at least the foundation and intermediate phases”. (This implies a minimum of 6 years).
* The promotion of skilled educators via professional development and the development of accountability and support structures at the school level.
* Provision of appropriate education support materials and ensuring that they are in classrooms timeously.
* Restructuring the school funding models to ensure the realisation of quality educational provisioning for all children.
In legal terms, we aim to achieve a Supervisory Order from the Constitutional Court which commits it to play a more active supervisory and accountability role in ensuring – in practice – the right to a quality basic education for all children. The matter is urgent – the lives of children are affected.
We appeal to all individuals, organisations, networks and communities to publicly support this initiative in the interests of advancing a quality public education system for all. For further information please contact: Enver Motala: 0824634189, John Samuel: 0829924444, Jean Pease: 082 6553363