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On Education, Health, House and Sanitation

Free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation.

1. Education: Education will be free up to undergraduate level and all pupils and students will be provided with adequate learning and teacher-support materials. For successful and sustainable economic development and growth, South Africa requires a concerted focus on the attainment of skills, education and expertise in various fields. The attainment of skills should necessarily respond to the massive skills shortages that define existent industries, but the education system should also be positioned to assist with new industrial developments. The approach to realising this noble objective should include, but not be limited to, the alignment of skills to industrial sectors, the expansion of post-secondary education and training, the transformation of higher education and training and the introduction of a new scholarship system that will provide educational and training opportunities to South African youth studying outside the country so that they can return after learning more than would have been possible within South Africa’s borders.

2. The alignment of skills to industrial sectors should be done in a manner similar to the approach adopted by developed economies, but in a more focused and properly resourced model that would necessarily include the establishment of focus universities. South Africa should establish and resource sector-focused institutions of higher learning. The EFF will encourage tertiary institutions to expand and deepen their qualitative focus in terms of course offerings and research, with a view to create centres of excellence across the tertiary education spectrum. Skills, education and expertise are an important feature of sustainable industrial and economic development for any economy. The South African government, in collaboration with industrial and manufacturing investors and practitioners, should put in place industry-linked training authorities, which will train, particularly, young people for various responsibilities in new industries and factories. Various sectors, including minerals beneficiation and industrialisation (eg diamond cutting and polishing) are highly labour-absorptive sectors and a training agency should be established for this sector to supply labour to this particular sector.

3. The post-secondary education and training capacity in South Africa presently does not respond to the quantities of aspirant students produced by the general education system. General education produces close to 1 million young people annually who graduate without any hope of further education or drop out of school for varied reasons, chief among them the problem of being excluded from opportunity along with many other socioeconomic reasons in the wake of widespread inadequate teaching methodologies. These learners should be provided with opportunities for post-secondary training, education and development through mechanisms which that will include higher education institutions, further education and training colleges, support for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME), and various other forms of vocational training.

4. As a matter of principle, the state should build capacity at post-secondary education and training level that will put the state in a position to absorb all learners who pass their senior certificates and/or leave school from grades 10 and 11. This entails, among other things that the state should heavily invest in the qualitative and quantitative expansion of higher education institutions, FET colleges, SMME mentorship programmes and other vocational training programmes and institutions. This should necessarily be accompanied by a comprehensive strategy aimed at realising free education. A critical role will be played by state-owned enterprises, municipalities and other state agencies in absorbing and training learners from tertiary institutions.

5. In this regard, a new scholarship funded by government, state-owned enterprises and the private sector should be established to fund suitably qualified students accepted in the best universities around the world. The South African government, at various levels, is already contributing to the education and training of medical doctors and other health professionals in Cuba. This should be radically expanded to a minimum of 10 000 students sent annually to various countries to attain skills, education and expertise on different, but critical, fields by 2016. The number of students sent to the best universities around the world should be reflective of South Africa’s demographics in terms of race, gender and class. Emphasis should be placed on the fact that the students sent to the best universities should have shown capacity to make progress because they should, indeed, make progress. These students will later contribute to the country’s socioeconomic development, economy and knowledge development.

6. At all levels of the education system, pupils and students will be taught to love their country, their people and their continent and will be taught the principles of social solidarity, progressive internationalism and the pursuit of social justice. Knowledge of technical skills alone is not enough to build a country. The EFF will therefore couple technical education with progressive civic education.

Healthcare:
7. The state should build massive capacity in healthcare, and remunerate medical practitioners in a way that attracts the best medical practitioners to the public healthcare sector. As an immediate programme, the state should regulate the cost of medicine and healthcare provision in order to prevent private hospitals from overpricing medical care, which is a basic human right. Secondly, the EFF will move with speed to set up a state pharmaceutical company to decisively intervene in the production and distribution of medicines. Thirdly, the EFF will urgently engage with doctors’ and nurses’ unions, including general staff unions that operate in the health sector, to exert working class power and control over the health system, with a view to improve the quality and quantity of health services. Issues that must be urgently addressed will include remuneration and career paths, skills development and training (especially the strengthening of nursing and other colleges), and the establishment of norms and standards for quality health services in clinics and hospitals.

8. Human Settlement and Housing: The state should, through the state housing-construction company improve the quality and size of low-cost houses. The state should further regulate housing finance through providing housing finance that does not exceed a period of 10 years. Integrated human settlement should, in the real sense, be definitive of all settlements led by the state, with guaranteed bulk services such as water provision, electricity, sewerage systems and more. House repossessions should be illegal.

Sanitation:
9. The state, at all levels, should have the obligation to provide sanitation wherever people reside. This is a fundamental human right, which should lead to the abolishment of bucket and pit toilets.

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