Equal Education, SECTION27, the Legal Resources Centre and the Equal Education Law Centre are co-hosting a conference on the implementation of the new Regulations Relating to Minimum Norms and Standards for Public School
Infrastructure on 14 and 15 July at the Wits School of Education. The conference will focus on effective implementation of the norms and standards, which were promulgated into law by Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga on 29 November 2013.

The norms and standards define the infrastructural conditions that make a school a school. These legally-binding standards set clear targets for provincial education departments to work towards, and against which they will be held accountable. The norms and standards apply to all public schools in South Africa and this means that, once they are implemented, all learners and teachers will enjoy environments with adequate infrastructure that support learning and teaching.

For the first time it is now law that every school must be provided with water, electricity, clean and safe sanitation, electronic connectivity, safe classrooms with a maximum of 40 learners, and security. Thereafter schools must be provided with libraries, laboratories and sports facilities.

By 29 November 2016 all schools built from mud, wood or asbestos must be replaced, and all schools without water, electricity or sanitation must be provided with these amenities.

By 29 November 2014 each province must publish an implementation plan, and specify how they intend to meet the requirements set out in the norms and standards.

Ensuring that these Norms and Standards are implemented effectively within the defined time frames will take a collective effort from all stakeholders including government, civil society, professional fraternities and school communities. The conference is aimed at bringing all these bodies together to discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure that the norms and standards are adhered to and implemented, in order to ensure an equal and quality education for all South African learners. High school students from around the country will also attend.

The conference will honour Michael Komape, a young boy who tragically lost his life earlier this year after he fell into a pit latrine in his first week of school. Michael’s death is a reminder that many township and rural schools have inadequate and unsafe school infrastructure that place young children in danger every day. The campaign for proper school infrastructure is one that wishes to ensure that such tragedies do not occur. Mr James Komape will speak at the conference’s opening session. The next phase of Equal Education’s school infrastructure campaign, which is focused on ensuring implementation, has been named after Michael Komape.

The draft programme is available at: http://www.equaleducation.org.za/file/2014-07-09-norms-and-standards-conference-program

For more information contact:

Nombulelo Nyathela (Equal Education)
060 503 4933 nombulelo@equaleducation.org.za

Lisa Draga (Equal Education Law Centre)
072 650 0214

Nikki Stein (SECTION27)
082 528 7232

Cameron McConnachie (Legal Resources Centre)
083 387 8738