Equal Education has called for the government to consider a basic income grant or to continue the top-up of child support grants. The organisation said research has shown that there is a strong link between socio-economic status and the way that learners perform at school.
Earlier this year, the department said providing learners with meals while they are at home is more expensive than when they are at school. This is why Equal Education is not impressed by the fact that the department will not get more funds from the National Treasury.
The department was taken to court after it had stopped feeding learners during the nationwide lockdown in March. In July, the High Court ordered the Department of Basic Education to immediately provide food to all learners who qualify to be part of the feeding scheme.
There were however, some problems along the way, like the department failing to follow through with other requests in the court order.
The department has struggled to provide learners with meals since many learners have not been going to school to fetch meals. Some learners had trouble with finding transport and some had trouble with the rotational timetable introduced by the department.
The rotational timetable meant learners would either go to school once every few days or once a week. Now that the timetable has been in effect for some months, it has not been working as well as it was expected to work.
“It is unacceptable that learners and families may be unaware that they can fetch the school meals they are entitled to because of poor communication from education departments, or because they might not have transport to school.”
In June, the National Treasury cut the Basic Education budget by R2.1 billion. This reduced the department’s budget from R25.3 billion to R23.2 billion.
These budget cuts have affected nearly 2 000 school infrastructure projects, leaving many schools with little to no money for textbooks and school furniture.
Equal Education has requested for the government to classify the Department of Basic Education as a frontline department that is active in the fight against Covid-19.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé