Parents in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa are demanding 'one teacher for one classroom.' They say that the teacher shortage is seriously damaging children's education.

One parent described how headteachers sometimes have to knock on parents' doors to ask them to look after a class. The education minister responded by saying that the situation was not confined to the Eastern Cape and that the problem could be 'solved' by closing rural schools and transporting the children to 'bigger units'. 

At a public meeting to discuss the parents' demands, protesters were angered by the administration's banning of the media from the event.

More than 90% of the schools in Eastern Cape have neither libraries nor laboratories. Many have intermittent or no electricity supply, thousands have inadequate sanitation and hundreds have no water supply at all. Many of the schools are built of mud, and campaigners are demanding that such schools be replaced by buildings made of suitable and safe materials. 

The minister's statement that rural schools be closed to 'solve' these problems as well as the teacher shortage, because the state simply cannot afford to keep them open, is the same old argument for cuts which is being heard from governments around the world as they continue to attack public services, even as corporations and wealthy individuals avoid taxes and reap bigger and bigger profits.