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Via Times Live (South Africa): "On Human Rights Day, March 21, a Sunday, 10000 high school pupils marched through the centre of Cape Town in school uniform. They were children, predominantly of working-class origins, from all over the Western Cape, rural and urban, black and white. Not a rock or a bottle was thrown and they dispersed peacefully to the trains that had been arranged to take them home.
Sixteen years after democracy, our young people are calling for schools that work, for places where they may study and for materials that will help them read and learn. As the organisation Equal Education points out, fewer than 7% of schools in South Africa have a functioning library. Perhaps 21% have some kind of structure called a reading room, but these are usually used for classrooms, are seldom stocked properly and do not have a library professional in charge to ensure that the right books are there and that they are used properly. The lack of libraries compounds the many problems, such as teachers' poor subject knowledge and poor access to textbooks, that plague our schooling system. These factors combine to make our reading outcomes, at all grade levels, among the worst in Africa."
(10,000 school children march for school libraries and school librarians in South Africa, and school districts around the United States are cutting without remorse. These are some strange days. -AndyW)