Textbook woes impact rights

Johannesburg - The failure of provinces to adequately deliver textbooks to school pupils in 2012 affected their right to education, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Thursday.

“The children's enjoyment of the right of basic education was severely affected,” commissioner Lindiwe Mokate said.


She was briefing journalists in Johannesburg at the release of the commission's investigative report into the delivery of textbooks to schools in 2012.

The investigation took place after widespread media reports in 2012 indicated major shortcomings in textbook delivery in Limpopo.

“In response to these reports, Parliament requested the commission to report on actions it intended taking to address this matter,” said Mokate.

The commission then conducted a preliminary assessment into whether schools in other provinces faced similar problems.

While the preliminary study showed other provinces beyond Limpopo also experienced problems, the data collected was not sufficient for the SAHRC to make a conclusive finding and recommend remedial action.

As such, the SAHRC constituted a national investigative hearing into the matter, which began in mid-2013 and ended early this year.

The investigation showed there were vast disparities in textbook delivery between the provinces.

There were a number of “general and overarching range of underlying causes that account for challenges faced by the country”, said Mokate.

These included:

The commission recommended:

The SAHRC's next step would be to report to Parliament on its findings and its recommendations, and meeting policy makers in national and provincial governments.