Poor access to water : the experiences of learners and educators within a rural primary school in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
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Water is an indispensable basic human need which is protected by several provisions within legislation. However, despite extensive legislation access to water is problematic for many rural schools in South Africa. The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and national goals that are time bound are not possible with the structural barriers that loom. This research study, sketches the experiences of learners and educators who have been exposed to poor access to water within a rural primary school in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This research study employs a qualitative research paradigm using a case study method to provide an in-depth understanding of the schooling context where there is poor access to water. The main aim was to explore in-depth how the schooling community is affected and what coping strategies are employed to deal with poor access to water. The research study was approached using ecological systems and social justice perspectives. Findings suggest that the consequences of poor access to water at school level are numerous and become even more complex when there is a lack of water at community level. In a compounding manner the consequences have the potential to, in the long term, have irreversible negative effects on learners and their potential to access quality education. Furthermore educators and management are placed in an invidious position to accommodate the challenges associated with poor access to water at school as part of their everyday teaching routine. Educators are failing to teach and learners are failing to learn thus the education system is rendered dysfunctional. The recommendations echo those of the participants who maintain that the community and the school must have access to water in order to improve the quality of life of all. Changes at the structural level in terms of how access to education is defined are a necessity. Co-operative governance, more stringent monitoring and evaluation of the education system, approaching education from a child-friendly perspective, adopting a human rights approach to fiscal spending and the involvement of chapter 9 institutions to ensure social justice are examples of the structural changes required and are part of the recommendations.