The Executive Director of Amnesty South Africa, Shenilla Mohammed, has warned that the country may lose “entire generations of children” if education is not improved there.
A report from Amnesty South Africa conducted prior to the pandemic suggests the minimum requirements set out for education, are not met in some state schools in South Africa.
“A child’s experience of education in South Africa is still very much dependent on where they were born”
Mohammed, explained that some schools in South Africa do not have access to running water so are unable to adhere to basic coronavirus precautions such as washing their hands.
She said: “A child’s experience of education in South Africa is still very much dependent on where they were born, how wealthy they are and the colour of their skin.”
“We are in a crisis when it comes to education because when the majority of your population of school going age are not getting an education for two years now if 2021 continues like 2020 did, you are looking at two generations of kids that are going to be lost.”
Mohammed added that the South African government use the coronavirus as an excuse as to why they haven’t achieved the goals they set out. The government has delayed the reopening of schools until 15 February and plan to revise the school calendar to recover lost time.
The charity’s report studied schools in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, South Africa.
The Department of Basic Education in South Africa deny the claims made by the report.
Elijah Mhlanga, from the Department, said “the sample is tiny and unreliable”.
Strategic outcome-orientated goals to improve the quality of basic education have been set out by the Department.
The goals include improving teacher capacity and practices and increasing access to high-quality learning materials.