Education

Department to challenge textbook report order

Sapa

The basic education department intends to go to court over a ruling compelling it to deliver monthly reports to a non-governmental organisation.

The basic education department's failure to provide textbooks for several Limpopo schools violated the Constitution, the North Gauteng high court ruled this month. (Oupa Nkosi, MG)

The department of basic education plans to ask the High Court in Pretoria to review its decision to compel the department to deliver monthly status reports on its turnaround strategy in Limpopo, as it could set a worrying precedent, Business Day reported on Tuesday.


The concern was that having a government department report to a non-governmental organisation on its policy decisions could be problematic in the long term as oversight was already being provided by Parliament.


After rights group Section 27 brought an application to the North Gauteng Court, Judge Jody Kollapen ruled earlier in May that the department’s failure to provide textbooks was unlawful. He ordered that textbooks be delivered by June 15, and a catch up plan be lodged with the court.


He also ordered that monthly status reports on the catch-up plan be made available to the court and the applicants—represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies—to measure compliance.


Education spokesman Panyazi Lesufi said the department had no intention of challenging the order that textbooks be delivered and a catch up plan be implemented.


He said the department was “on course” to meet deadlines, saying deliveries of textbooks to affected schools had already begun and more than R250 million in orders had been placed with publishers.

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