Essential Service Committee must declare minimum service level for school staff to protect our children

Issued by Ian Ollis MP – DA Shadow Minister of Education
26 Apr 2018 in News

The DA has submitted an application to the Essential Services Committee (ESC) to have a minimum service level declared for school staff.

Every year, schools across the country are afflicted by strikes which have a negative impact on learners. It is the duty of school staff to care for and protect children in the absence of parents and guardians.

However, when they are away on strike or at trade union meetings during school hours, the safety and security of children is compromised. We are submitting three key concerns to the ESC in requesting a minimum service level declaration:

  • Leadership and safety: There must always be a school leader present to communicate with emergency services or other authorities and make alternative arrangements where necessary. These leaders must also be present in non-emergency situations to ensure safety during strikes, for example.
  • Supervision: Crime and violence continue to increase at schools and there should always be adult supervision to prevent learners getting harmed in any way. Earlier this year, two Eldorado Park Secondary learners stabbed each other while teachers were on strike, showing the importance of adult supervision at all times. Learners who walk home or have to wait until transport arrives to take them home are exposed to danger and supervision will minimise any risks they face in such instances.
  • Nutrition, health and hygiene: Staff providing food and cleaning of school premises are essential in making sure that children have access to a safe and healthy learning environment. Some learners also have specific health requirements and staff members need to always be on hand to respond to medical emergencies. They also need to be available to care for learners who suffer from chronic illnesses and those who have special needs.

We have included the request for the establishment of a minimum service level for school staff as one of our demands for school safety. The demands can be viewed in our letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, which South Africans can co-sign at

Learners deserve to learn in a safe environment and the establishment of a minimum service level by the ESC would go a long way to ensuring the well-being and safety of children.