In April 2014, SECTION27, representing Basic Education for All (BEFA) made an application to the High Court in Pretoria to force the State to deliver outstanding textbooks to schools in Limpopo. At the time, the Limpopo Department of Education short-delivered at least 793 567 books. SECTION27 and BEFA won this case, but the State has since appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
On 24 November 2015, SECTION27, representing BEFA argued, in the Supreme Court of Appeal that textbooks are an essential component to the right to basic education.
Below are the Heads of Argument:
Ahead of the court hearing, BEFA kicked off the #TextbooksMatter campaign shining the spotlight the poor state of textbook delivery and the impact on the learners in Limpopo.
#TextbooksMatter called on South Africans to record a short message and share on social media why textbooks matter. Why every child has a right to his/her individual textbooks to take home, study from and have throughout the year? BEFA aimed to create an Education Revolution on social media.
Some of the #TextbooksMatter highlights:
- We posted A daily video from thought leaders, authors, activists, artists on the importance of textbooks. These included author Margie Orford, Njabulo Ndebele, Justice Malala and Achmat Dangor. Daily updates were on Basic Education for All and @BEFA_SA
- A high-level Activist Dialogue at the school where it all started in 1976. We hosted a discussion at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto on Friday, 20 November 2015 at 16:00 with education activist Shaeera Kalla, Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi and Faranaaz Veriava.
- A community, learner, teacher and parent-led protest march took place in Giyani on 21 November 2015.
“A textbook in a child’s hands is a confirmation that every child’s education matters. Let us keep the promise of education to each child. It is the route to equality and liberation for all of us.”Gabeba Baderoon, poet and author
“Being able to read – and plan and dream and invent new realities – is the human potential that gives us more access to our creativity.”Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, author and performance artist
“Never again should any child suffer what people over the decades in South Africa have suffered, the inability to take their destiny into their own hands and use textbooks to progress their lives.”Justice Malala, Journalist, TV host and political commentator
Articles by SECTION27 staff:
Textbooks matter: the state goes to court again – Kate Paterson
Mail&Guardian – It’s best to teach pupils b the book – Faranaaz Veriava
Daily Maverick – Textbook court case – Faranaaz Veriava
Polity – BEFA hopes to win textbooks case at the SCA – Faranaaz Veriava
Sunday Times p1 – Prega Govender
Sunday Times p2 – Prega Govender