/ 20 January 2014

Section 27 commends education department on textbook delivery

Some pupils in Limpopo will do final exams without in-depth knowledge of their textbooks.
Some pupils in Limpopo will do final exams without in-depth knowledge of their textbooks.

Civil society lobby group Section27 is impressed with the state of text book deliveries in Limpopo for the 2014 academic year, it said on Monday.

"We commend the department of basic education and the Limpopo department of education on their improvement in textbook delivery for the 2014 academic year," Section27 spokesperson Nikki Stein said in a statement.

Stein said the organisation used a sample of 80 schools in the area, and that all schools had confirmed delivery of textbooks. The school governing bodies in the sample told the organisation that the Limpopo education department would address shortages reported to them without delay.

This positive news comes after two years of disputes between Section27 and the department of basic education. Section27 first took successful court action against the department over its failure to deliver textbooks to schools in Limpopo during 2012. The provincial department of education was at the time under government administration.

In May 2012, the nongovernmental organisation sought and were awarded an order compelling government to deliver the overdue books by June 15 of the same year, with the high court in Pretoria declaring their failure to do so timeously a violation of Limpopo pupils' constitutional right to basic education.

Section27 undertook to monitor government's delivery of textbooks to thousands of pupils by the prescribed deadline as well as the implementation of a catch-up plan, but their working relationship soured when months passed and the books still failed to arrive. This led to further legal proceedings and an order that the department devise adequate remedial measures for students who had not received books.

Despite the lobby group's court success, problems continued into 2013 as many pupils entered the new school year without learning materials.

Stein encouraged schools to continue reporting textbooks shortages in the province to both departments and the lobby group to ensure that shortages were addressed as soon as possible. – Sapa, Additional reporting by Staff Writer