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Press Release: Edu­ca­tion depart­ment deliv­ers text­books in face of lit­i­ga­tion threat

For Imme­di­ate Release: 01 Decem­ber 2016

 

 

In Octo­ber this year, the LRC were approached by two schools in the East­ern Cape, Nom­bulelo Sec­ondary School in Gra­ham­stown, and Bethels­dorp Com­pre­hen­sive School in Port Eliz­a­beth. Both schools had not had a large pro­por­tion of their text­books deliv­ered for the 2016 school year. Both schools are “no fee” schools which rely entirely on gov­ern­ment sup­port to func­tion.

 

The com­bined value of the text­books miss­ing for both schools was R356 677,59. Despite their best efforts to obtain an expla­na­tion for the non-delivery from the East­ern Cape Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, the schools were left wait­ing. As a stop­gap, the schools were forced to make pho­to­copies of text­books which they could not afford, and require chil­dren to share one book between mul­ti­ple learn­ers, which badly impacted on the qual­ity of edu­ca­tion received by the learn­ers.

 

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in 2015 that it is the duty of the State to pro­vide every learner with every text­book pre­scribed for his or her grade before the com­mence­ment of the teach­ing course for which the text­book is pre­scribed. The sit­u­a­tion per­sist­ing in Nom­bulelo and Bethels­dorp by Octo­ber was there­fore clearly unlaw­ful.

 

After a let­ter of demand threat­en­ing lit­i­ga­tion was sent, and shortly before an urgent appli­ca­tion was launched, a set­tle­ment agree­ment was reached with the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion. Nom­bulelo Sec­ondary School and Bethels­dorp Com­pre­hen­sive School have now received early deliv­ery of their text­books for the 2017 school year. This expe­dited deliv­ery was agreed to by the East­ern Cape Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion.

 

The schools can now take com­fort in the fact that this sit­u­a­tion that occurred in 2016 will not be repeated in 2017.

 

The LRC will con­tinue to keep a close eye on deliv­ery of text­books in the East­ern Cape for the 2017 school year.


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