Human Rights Commissioner Judge Jody Kollapen yesterday handed down judgment in the application launched by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University, acting on behalf of SECTION27, Hanyani Thomo Secondary School and Tondani Lydia Masiphephethu, for the delivery of textbooks to schools in Limpopo and the implementation of a catch-up plan for Grade 10 learners.
Kollapen has ordered the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Limpopo Department of Education to deliver textbooks to all schools in Limpopo by no later than 15 June 2012.
He further pronounced that the failure by the DBE and the Department to provide textbooks to learners throughout Limpopo for almost half of the academic year is a violation of the right to a basic education.
The respondents have been instructed to formulate a catch-up plan for the schools and that a copy must be submitted to the court and the applicants by 8 June 2012. The catch-up plan must identify gaps in the curricula and the extent to which the quality of teaching and learning has been prejudiced by the lack of textbooks. The respondents are required to indicate which remedial measures will be put in place to address these problems. Furthermore, they are required to submit monthly reports to the court and the applicants on their compliance with the catch-up plan, which must be concluded by the end of this academic year.
“There are approximately 1.7 million learners at over 5 000 schools in Limpopo who will benefit from the declaratory relief and the order requiring the urgent delivery of textbooks,” says Zeenat Sujee, lawyer at the Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) leading the case.
In addition, Grade 10 learners throughout the province will benefit from the catch-up plan, which will assist them in closing the gaps in their syllabi caused by the late delivery of textbooks.