The Case for Equal Education in South Africa

Nearly twenty years after apartheid, some South African state schools still lack basic resources such as classrooms, desks, toilets, and electricity, while other state schools in South Africa have libraries, playing fields, swimming pools and science laboratories.

Equal Education’s campaign for clearly articulated infrastructure standards has built massive public support and involved actions including marches, pickets, petitions, and a sleep-in outside parliament. When negotiations with the Minister of Basic Education broke down, Equal Education instituted litigation to compel the Minister to adopt minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure, as required by the South African Schools Act.

See a short and compelling video used to garner public support for the case.

After almost a year, the case was settled out of court three days before the hearing was scheduled to take place. In what was widely celebrated as a victory for the campaign, the Minister conceded to the demands of the applicants and promised to adopt the regulations as required by the Schools Act. Months later, however, when the Minister released draft regulations for public comment, they fell far short of what was expected and what the Schools Act required. Equal Education is now faced with further challenges after what has proved to be a short-lived victory.

Date: February 6, 2013
Time: 12:151:15 p.m.
Jonathon Fairhead and Dmitri Holtzman