High court hears text book case

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An urgent application to force the department of basic education and the Limpopo education department to supply textbooks to schools in the province will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The application was filed on May 4 by Section 27, a public interest law centre, the Hanyani Thomo Secondary School and Tondani Lydia Masiphephethu.

“Despite resources being available, learners throughout Limpopo have not received a single new textbook this year,” Section27 said in a statement on its website.

“Learners in grades R, one, two, three and 10, who began a new curriculum in January, have still not received the support materials necessary to learn.”

It said the application would direct the departments to provide textbooks to pupils by May 31 and to create a “catch-up” plan to make up for those parts of the curriculum which had been missed.

“The application was set down for hearing on 14 May. However, despite indicating that they will oppose the application, neither the department of basic education nor the Limpopo department... has filed its answering affidavit,” it said.

The date was moved to Tuesday to allow the departments time to file their affidavits.

On Monday, the schooling organisation, Equal Education, said it supported Section27's application.

“It is widely acknowledged, including by the department of basic education, that school textbooks are critical to ensuring proper teaching and learning,” it said in a statement

“This is even more so where a new curriculum has been introduced, which has required the provision of (these) new relevant textbooks.”

Section27 was established in May 2010. It was named after the section of the Constitution which deals with socio-economic rights.

It describes itself as “a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights”. - Sapa

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