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1999

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


GOVERNMENT MUST DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY CEDRIC FROLICK, MP

In responding  to a question in Parliament, to the Minister of Education, some shocking revelations regarding the influence of the withdrawal of transport subsidies on the access of learners to education was exposed.

The answer by the Minister revealed that 5 580 schools were affected by these subsidies’ cut. This amounts to more than 1 939 438 learners affected by what is clearly an ill thought through decision by Government.

When we start looking at Provinces particularly then it is the  Northern Province with almost 2 million learners that scream in desperation about this clearly shortsighted  approach. Why is government under these circumstances surprised about the poor (worst in the Country) results that this Province is achieving in Matric Results?

The Eastern Cape with at least 263 schools affected, and estimated 12 854 learners, raises further concern. The UDM believes that this number is not complete and that the actual figure is much higher.

In the province of KwaZulu Natal no reliable statistics could be provided, but it can only be estimated that more or less 300 schools – with no estimation of the number of learners, were provided.

The UDM believes that every single learner not attending school is one too many. When this happens in the poorest of poor provinces and affecting the least fortunate in the community and is the doing of Government – then the situation becomes an embarrassment and shame.

This is clearly a situation of pennywise and pound-foolish. The  right to education is a basic right – putting obstacles in the way of this is criminal. The price for pittance savings is just too high. South Africans and Government will pay a high price morally and otherwise for disempowering these millions of young people to have an opportunity to carve a better future for themselves.

The UDM calls on the Minister of Education to immediately rectify this scandalous situation. Illustrate your commitment to education by making it possible for these learners to have access to education

ENQUIRIES:
CEDRIC FROLICK, MP

21 October 1999

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