SECTION27 welcomes the decision by the Minister of Basic Education to send four senior managers to Limpopo to provide support in identified critical areas and thereby turn around the education crisis in the province.
The Limpopo Department of Education has been under intervention in terms of section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution since 5 December 2011. The crisis in education in Limpopo has been going on for many years. Despite this, there are still enormous barriers to quality basic education and serious violations of section 29 of the Constitution:
• Well into the third term, schools are still reporting that they have not received their full complement of textbooks for 2013;
• The infrastructure in many Limpopo schools is in a state of collapse and poses threats to the safety of learners who attend these schools;
• Although much progress has been made in constructing new sanitation facilities in over 400 schools in the province, thousands of learners still do not have access to adequate toilets and hand-washing facilities at school;
• More than 200 000 learners in Limpopo do not have their own desks and chairs;
• Due to the non-payment and under-payment of norms and standards funds, schools cannot afford to buy basic necessities such as paper, chalk and firewood to cook food. This was the cause of the interruption in the mid-year examinations this year;
• Sexual violence and corporal punishment are rampant; and
• Principals, teachers, parents and learners who report these challenges are harassed by officials in the Limpopo Department of Education.
These are all symptoms of a collapsing education system. Systemic change, including strengthening and developing the capacity of the structures responsible for the delivery of quality basic education, is needed to address the crisis.
As such, SECTION27 welcomes this effort by the Minister of Basic Education and calls on all stakeholders to work together to overcome the crisis in education in Limpopo.