Provinces could have as much as 17 years to implement the norms and standards for school infrastructure that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gazetted on Thursday.
Covering areas such as minimum space per pupil in a classroom, toilets and electricity, the draft says: " … [these] norms and standards … must … be phased in before December 30 2030".
In publishing this second draft, Motshekga has complied with a July court order which said she must "by September 12 2013, publish for comments, amended draft regulations for minimum uniform norms and standards for school infrastructure …"
Nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Equal Education took Motshekga back to court in June 2013 for issuing a first draft in January, which was widely lambasted for its lack of specificity.
The new draft is open for public comment until October 11 and Motshekga must publish the final version by November 30.
Among other details, the draft says the average space for a primary school pupil in a classroom must be at least 1.2 square metres and these classrooms should have a maximum of 40 pupils.
Equal Education's deputy general secretary Doron Isaacs told the Mail & Guardian the new draft was "certainly a more serious effort than the prior draft" but that the NGO was still studying it.
"What we will be assessing over the next week is whether they meet the requirements of the South African Schools Act and the Constitution."