‘Declare education an essential service’

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IOL pic jan25 gwede mantashe

Independent Newspapers

The ANC and the government will make sure education is declared an essential service, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said. File photo: Boxer Ngwenya

The ANC and the government will make sure education is declared an essential service, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.

"The lekgotla agreed that a mechanism to monitor all-round accountability in the [education] sector be devised as a matter of urgency," Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

"As a number one priority, the ANC and its government will leave no stone unturned in making education an essential service."

He was speaking after the African National Congress's lekgotla, held last week in Irene, south of Pretoria.

"If you disrupt education, though you are not threatening a life... you do threaten the growth and survival of society."

He said all sectors of society needed to get involved.

"We are a government party. We must think broader than trade union interests."

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, who chairs the ANC sub-committee on education, said the country needed to reach consensus on education. She said a regulatory framework would need to be looked at.

The sub-committee had given itself until July this year to discuss the issue.

"We want the ethical dimension that people working in the sector should understand that they can't interfere in the progress of education," she said.

"What we are seeking is a commitment from all who work in the sector to actually focus on the delivery of education."

She said it did not mean there should be legislation. Society as a whole needed to recognise education was an essential service, she said. - Sapa


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