Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) commends Mail & GuardianThe Times and The Star for giving pupils the opportunity to voice their opinions on the state of education in South Africa.

Mail and Guardian is no stranger to dedicating its coverage to issues of education,1 their story entitled “Forgotten schools of the Eastern Cape left to rot” (08/03/2013, p.8) by Victoria John,  sheds light into the appalling conditions of run-down schools in Eastern Cape. The article is dominated by some of the pupil’s views which emphasise how, amongst others, the problems of overcrowding, few teachers, desks and toilets are affecting them.

The Times also followed suit and published an article entitled “Motshekga under fire” (11/03/2013, p.8) written by Katharine Child. In this article Child relates some of the challenges faced by pupils in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. She gave space to five learners who unequivocally expressed their views and demands.

In the same vein, The Star article “Pupils lay into Motshekga” (15/03/2013, p.12) presented the opinions of children from different schools who attended public hearings2 hosted by an Education NGO, Equal Education in Johannesburg. The journalist, Nontobeko Mtshali, quoted one of the learners, who said “Motshekga must take this into consideration, this is our future we’re talking about.”

By sourcing children in their stories, the journalists have shown that they realise the importance of children’s voices in issues that affect them the most.

The articles also served as testimonies of children’s awareness of the challenges that beset the education sector and their ability to contribute to the public discourse on the issue of education.

In this regard, MMA congratulates Victoria John, Katherine Child and Nontobeko Mtshali for accessing pupils and reporting the stories from their perspective. We encourage them to continue to do such great work.

1. Click the link to see Mail and Guardian’s previous coverage on the state of education in South Africa:
2. The public hearings “allowed members of the public to make submissions on the draft Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure, which [Minister of Education, Angie] Motshekga gazetted in January.”