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Wednesday, 28th October 2015 I For immediate release
The Salvation Army has expressed its support for student demands for affordable, high quality education, saying that every child and young adult has the right to education – but at the same time has urged students to get back to their studies.
The Church organisation also called for an end to any looting and violence associated with the protests, adding that the students now need to “knuckle down” and complete their academic year.
Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army, Colonel Keith Conrad, said: “The students have made a very important point and have ensured that the authorities have heard them. Now it’s up to government, business and universities to work out how to implement the promise of no fee increases in 2016. It is not going to be easy to balance affordability with quality, and there should be no dilly dallying in setting about the task.
“In the meantime, students have an academic year to complete, and they must get on with it. We simply cannot afford to lose a year of tertiary academic education because examinations cannot be held.”
Colonel Conrad said he had been encouraged to read reports on social media of how students had, in many instances, cleaned up after their marches at the end of last week.
He added: “Despite promises made by world leaders, 58 million children are still being denied their right to education, and schools and school children are being attacked. Every child in the world should be able to go to school without danger or discrimination.”
In South Africa, The Salvation Army earlier this year pledged its support to one of the biggest petitions in history – #UpForSchool – demanding that world leaders take immediate action to get every girl and boy into school. Salvationists, friends and students of Salvation Army education establishments were called on to join the petition.
In September 2015, UN global education envoy Dr Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the UK, presented Dr Ban Ki-moon with 10 million #UpForSchool signatures, calling for education to be made available to all. They included 70 000 signatures collected by almost every Salvation Army territory and command. The Salvation Army’s contribution was recognised during a celebration in New York Town Hall – just off Times Square – where more than 1 000 young people, campaigners, celebrities and leaders gathered to support the demand to world leaders to recognise the right of every child to get an education – no matter who they are or where they were born.
The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.
ISSUED BY QUO VADIS COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION ARMY
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