SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
It is now hours away from the agreed-upon deadline for the delivery of textbooks to schools throughout Limpopo. SECTION27 is concerned that the Department of Basic Education will not meet its deadline, but we do not have sufficient information or means of verification to say whether it will complete the delivery of textbooks today.
On 22 June 2012, SECTION27, the Legal Resources Centre, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the Centre for Child Law, Equal Education and the Equal Education Law Centre sent an open letter to the Minister of Basic Education. In this letter we detailed our concerns about the barriers to quality basic education and the urgent need to address the lapses in the administration of education. We requested an urgent meeting with the Minister in order to discuss a way forward.
Today representatives of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and SECTION27 met to try to resolve the ongoing challenge of availability of textbooks to learners in Limpopo and compliance with the court order of Judge Kollapen, which was delivered on 17 May 2012. The case was brought by SECTION27, Hanyani Thomo Secondary School and Mrs Lydia Masiphephethu. The parties agreed that all textbooks would be delivered to all schools by 27 June 2012 and that the DBE will develop a plan for extra tuition and support for learners and teachers to remedy the effects of the lack of textbooks for half of the academic year.
This week a task team made up of leaders of the National Association of School Governing Bodies and SECTION27 visited schools in three districts in Limpopo; Vhembe, Mopani and Capricorn. The purpose of the visit was to meet with members of SGBs, learners, teachers and school principals to report back on the May 17th judgment of the Pretoria High Court and to assess compliance with the Court’s Order, as well as to discuss other aspects of the deepening crisis in education in Limpopo.
SECTION27, the National Association of School Governing Bodies and Khulumani Support Group will be holding a community and media briefing on 15 June 2012 to report back on compliance by the Department of Basic Education and the Limpopo Department of Education with the court order relating to the delivery of textbooks to schools across Limpopo and the implementation of a catch-up plan.