LISTEN | SA’s education equity gap and those aiming to bridge it
SA is nearly 28 years into democracy yet the right to education, which is a constitutional right, is not a reality for many pupils in this country, with the SA education system still facing many challenges.
Included in the long list of issues are dilapidated infrastructure, poor sanitation, a lack of learning material and resources, overcrowded classrooms, transport problems and poor curricula, particularly in the public schooling system within the inner cities, townships and rural areas.
One of the organisations seeking to redress these issues is Equal Education, a community, membership-based organisation, that advocates for quality and equality in the SA education system. Since its establishment in 2008, Equal Education has made great strides in redressing some of these issues through analysis and activism.
One of its biggest achievements to date was its influence in the revival of the National School Nutrition Programme for over 9 million pupils across SA to receive meals at home after the programme was suspended during the hard Covid-19 lockdown period. According to deputy general secretary at Equal Education Tracey Malawana its members realised the need to campaign for this because of children going hungry during the lockdown.
Some youth such as 11-year-old Solomon Mangoye, aka Solly The Pro, a grade 6 pupil at Phoenix College in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, have also taken it upon themselves to help in the fight towards ensuring that everyone is able to exercise their basic right to an education.
Since the start of the lockdown in 2020, Mangoye has been assisting his peers with online maths revision lessons to help those who are struggling, particularly since the implementation of online learning. “I started doing this to help children love education, and to also help children with subjects they were struggling with,” says Mangoye.
Once contact learning was resumed Solly took his online classes offline as he implemented after-school classes at his school where he also taught other subjects. Two years later and the demand for Solly The Pro’s help continues to grow as children within his community also require his help.
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