Today in Labour History
The Right to Learn
South Africa's school system reflected the apartheid policy. During the 1970s and 80s many student strikes, boycotts, and violent actions expressed opposition to the educational system. In June 1976 students in Soweto organized a protest march against the new requirement to make Afrikaans the language used at school. Police opened fire on the children and thus sparked off race riots that killed more than 500 people. By 1986 the philosophy of apartheid began to wane. Forced by ANC and black teachers' organizations, the South African government raised its budget for black schools. Adult illiteracy decreased from 23.9 percent in 1980 to 14.8 percent in 2000.