Hu­man rights body slammed over Lim­popo text­book is­sue

The Star Early Edition - - POL­I­TICS -

THE BA­SIC Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment has taken is­sue with the South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (SAHRC) for com­mu­ni­cat­ing a dead­line “through the me­dia” to de­liver school text­books in Lim­popo and will ask the com­mis­sion for a meet­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

The depart­ment had noted with dis­ap­point­ment the me­dia state­ment is­sued by the SAHRC, it said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

“It is ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate that the com­mis­sion has cho­sen to com­mu­ni­cate with the Min­is­ter of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion (Angie Mot­shekga) through a me­dia state­ment in­stead of en­gag­ing the depart­ment di­rectly. The com­mis­sion could have ben­e­fited im­mensely from fac­tual cor­rect­ness and other cru­cial in­for­ma­tion re­lated to the mat­ter had it con­sulted with the depart­ment or the Lim­popo Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment,” the depart­ment said.

On Fri­day, the com­mis­sion said the Lim­popo Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment should de­liver all out­stand­ing school text­books by to­day. The com­mis­sion also de­manded that Mot­shekga make a for­mal com­mit­ment to en­sure all text­books were de­liv­ered by this Thurs­day.

“The SAHRC re­gards the non-com­pli­ance by the Depart­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion and the con­se­quent non-de­liv­ery of text­books in a very se­ri­ous light,” the com­mis­sion said in a state­ment.

The two de­part­ments had not es­tab­lished the con­trols re­quired to en­sure that school pupils re­ceived text­books be­fore the start of the school year, the SAHRC said.

In its state­ment yes­ter­day, the depart­ment said it had al­ways co-op­er­ated with the com­mis­sion and con­sid­ered it an im­por­tant in­sti­tu­tion for the ad­vance­ment of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“It came as a shock to read via the me­dia that the min­is­ter had been given a dead­line to make an un­der­tak­ing about a task which the prov­ince was al­ready han­dling. It is, there­fore, un­clear what the mo­tive is for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the depart­ment via the me­dia.”

The depart­ment would re­quest a meet­ing with the com­mis­sion to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

“The de­lays re­late only to sta­tionery and not text­books. The Lim­popo Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment has since is­sued a me­dia state­ment to pro­vide an ex­pla­na­tion for the de­lays, which are linked to pro­cure­ment pro­cesses. Since 2012, more than R2 bil­lion has been spent on the pro­vi­sion­ing of learner-teacher ma­te­rial in Lim­popo. Ev­ery year, the depart­ment de­liv­ers sup­ple­men­tary ma­te­rial to aug­ment what has al­ready been de­liv­ered to schools.

“The provin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment is not de­liv­er­ing new sets of text­books, but only top-ups to cer­tain schools where short­ages were re­ported as a re­sult of lost text­books or an in­crease in learner en­rol­ment.” – ANA

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