Fix SA Education & Wipe The Smile Off Verwoerd’s Face, Says Amnesty International

Riyaz Patel

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Human rights group Amnesty International has launched an innovative, some would say emotional campaign, aimed at fixing South Africa’s education system.

The campaign urges members of the public who care about the provision of quality education to “Sign the smile off Verwoerd’s face” by demanding that South Africa’s leaders urgently provide all children with the decent quality, basic education that is their birthright as enshrined in the constitution. 

Amnesty will put up smiling faces of former prime minister and the so-called “architect of apartheid” Hendrik Verwoerd up around Johannesburg.

“If Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid and apartheid education, looked back now, he would be smiling. Because unless we tackle the deep inequality he created in our education system, we risk fulfilling his legacy,” the group said announcing the launch of their #SignTheSmileOff campaign.

“The legacy of racial discrimination in the SA education system, characterised by poor outcomes, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate facilities and learning materials for tens of thousands of students, still looms large 25 years into freedom,” Amnesty said.

“SA’s education system “still mirrors the apartheid years.”

Amnesty International – SA Executive Director – Shenilla Mohamed

“Many schools serving our poorest communities rely on outdated and poorly maintained infrastructure and a dire lack of teaching resources that provides a wholly inadequate learning space for young people,” Mohamed said.

“While South Africa has made progress in providing access to education, it has yet to tackle the deeply entrenched legacy of apartheid, left by Hendrick Verwoerd, that continues to result in massive inequalities in the country’s education system,” she added.

Amnesty International is urging people to sign the petition to force the government to act.

“Together, we will urge South Africa’s leaders to guarantee all children their constitutional right to a quality basic education,” the rights group said.

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