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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

CCL and LRC stand by mud schools report

The Department of Basic Education has criticized the launching of a publication commissioned by the  Centre for Child Law, Mud to Bricks, which tracks school infrastructure spending. The Department complains that the report is outdated and misleading.

In fact, the report is dated Jan 2014. After undergoing an editing and reviewing process, it was  published earlier this year and had been on the Centre’s website for over a month. Parts of the report have already been included in court papers filed several months ago, so the Department has  been aware of the report’s existence and main findings for some time.

At the official launch of this report that took place on Thursday 22 August 2014, the presentation on  the report included up-to-date figures and information that contextualised the report.

The up-to-date facts presented at the launch speak for themselves: The target set by the Department is 510 schools in 3 years. Those 3 years are up, and the current numbers are as follows:

70 schools have been completed, 55 are in the process of being built and for 165 the service providers have been appointed to start the process. Add those together and you reach 290. So there is still quite a long way to go. 

The speakers at the publication launch also acknowledged the complexity of the task. However, we must continue to monitor the delivery rate of the replacement of inappropriate structures. The LRC on behalf of the Centre, together with 5 schools, obtained an out of court settlement last Thursday (22nd) requiring proper plans to be placed on the table. This is because despite repeated requests for information to be placed in the public domain the Department had to be taken to court to agree to this process.

Yesterday (Monday 25 August) the LRC visited 5 schools on the Department’s list provided in April this year. The 5 schools are earmarked for replacement. Of those visited, one was found to have closed down in 2007, two are proper mud schools and in need of help, and two are not in bad shape and do not need replacement. So this proves that proper planning is necessary - and that the monitoring that the Legal Resources Centre and the Centre for Child Law is undertaking needs to continue until every child is learning in a decent environment.

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NOTE: For more information please contact:

 Cameron McConnachie (Attorney, LRC Grahamstown Regional Office) 083 387 8738

 Ann Skelton (Director, Centre for Child Law) 082 4432702