Public Protector addresses education conference
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has told stakeholders attached to the education department in Gauteng to approach her office if government fails to address challenges threatening the public’s right to education.
Addressing a two-day conference organised by the department’s Gauteng East District on Tuesday, the Public Protector said the state has a responsibility to make education available and accessible to all, in line with the constitution of the republic.
“The architects of the constitutional democracy enshrined the right to education in the Bill of Rights.
“Clearly this places a responsibility on the state to make education available and accessible to all by delivering adequate infrastructure, providing learning material, recruiting capable and sufficient human resources and ensuring an environment conducive to productive learning,” she said.
The Public Protector noted, however, that government had made an effort since 1994 to give effect to the right to education as demonstrated by the annual expenditure on education and attempts to equalise the distribution of resources.
Some of the delegates complained about lack of adequate resources in schools, overcrowding in classrooms and an alleged unfair treatment of teachers belonging to certain labour unions by the department.
The Public Protector emphasised that in calling the state to account for its acts and omissions, she has a responsibility not only to check if the state’s conduct was lawful but to also establish if it was proper.
The conference, which was held at the Springs Civic Centre, brought together, among others, school principals, librarians, teachers, and officials from the provincial and national education departments.
It aimed to provide a platform where key stakeholders in the educations sector would collaborate to ensure functional libraries, financial accountability and sound management of resources in schools.
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