On the edges of Dieplsoot stands a half complete municipal building. Once intended as a library and offices, it has been surrendered to decay before it even came to life. A few years ago it seemed to symbolise a governmental intent to recognise and modernise Diepsloot. Now it’s just an unexplained shell. A free brick and building parts store.
Yesterday SECTION27 received the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) progress report on the implementation of the catch-up plan (this and the catch-up plan are attached). While we are still studying and seeking expert input on the catch-up plan, we believe that it is inadequate and a clear violation of both the 17 May order of court and the settlement agreement between SECTION27 and the DBE which was made an order of court on 26 June.
SECTION27 has noted various unfortunate statements on the text book crisis in Limpopo as well as attack on the legal action of SECTION27 and comments by COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. Below we set out the facts about how this crisis has unfolded in the last seven months.
We believe there has been a collective failure of many organisations that represent the poor, including COSATU, SADTU, the churches, the ANC, school governing bodies, and civil society in allowing an educational crisis, such as that in Limpopo (and other parts of the country) to develop over months and years.
The most important lesson of the Limpopo text book crisis is a reminder of the need for ongoing monitoring and action to protect and advance the rights of the poor and vulnerable in South Africa, in this case learners.
SECTION27 and the Department of Basic Education released the ‘verification report’ into the delivery of textbooks to learners in grades 1-3 and grade 10 in Limpopo Schools.We thank Professor Metcalfe and her team. Not only have they done a great amount of work in the last two weeks, but they have made a personal sacrifice out of a commitment to the right to basic education.
SECTION27’s intention is not to vilify any particular person. However, we maintain our position that once the National Executive (Cabinet) decided to intervene in Limpopo under s100(1)(b) of the Constitution they assumed, through the DBE, full responsibility for meeting minimum standards for the delivery of basic education services within the Province.
SECTION27 together with the Department of Basic Education will release the report on the verification of textbook delivery in Limpopo conducted by Professor Mary Metcalfe and her verification team at 12h45 today, Monday 16th July, at SECTION27’s offices: 6th Floor, Braamfontein Centre, 23 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.
The DBE and Section 27 have agreed that Prof. Mary Metcalfe will lead an independent verification of the progress reports relating to delivery of textbooks to
schools in Limpopo. This is necessary both in order to assess the state of delivery of the current textbooks, and to provide recommendations that will assist in future years. The verification exercise will focus on learning materials to learners in grades one, two, three and 10 in Limpopo.
SECTION27 and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) held a press conference today, 28 June 2012, regarding the delivery of textbooks to Limpopo learners and compliance with the court order and settlement agreement coming out of SECTION27’s litigation against the DBE and the Limpopo Department of Education. SECTION27 is calling for an independent verification of the report that textbooks have been delivered. Read SECTION27’s full press statement by clicking “read more” below.
On 21 June 2012, 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 parties reached a settlement agreement, a summary of which can be read by clicking “read more” below.
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.