from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
DURBAN, (CAJ News) –THE damage to schools during the recent violence in South Africa is worsening the education emergency in a country where thousands of pupils had already dropped out of school during the coronavirus pandemic.
No less than 30 schools, including one for children with disabilities, have been damaged.
At least one school is reported to have been burnt to the ground.
Save the Children supported nine of the schools damaged during the violence and looting that rocked the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“We are gravely concerned for the future of children in South Africa,” said Steve Miller, Save the Children South Africa Chief Executive Officer.
“In the midst of our turmoil we are forgetting about our children and they are pushed even further behind,” he lamented following the damage mostly in KwaZulu-Natal.
Miller said the destruction of schools was a direct infringement on children’s right to a basic education, and further compromised the ability to get children safely back into school.
“Children with disabilities have also been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, so it is especially grievous that a school supporting them has been damaged.”
This spike in violence came days after the Department of Basic Education announced that 1 718 schools across the country were already undergoing major repairs, following a spike of burglaries and vandalism during the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to data from the latest National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey, an extra 500 000 children have dropped out of school during the pandemic.
School dropouts have reportedly tripled from pre-pandemic levels of 230 000 to approximately 750 000 in May 2021.
“We are facing an education emergency. The longer that children are out of school, the greater the risk that they will not return,” Miller said.
At least three children died during the violence that left 212 people dead.
– CAJ News