29 June 2010
WCED Responds to EE’s Letter of Demand
On Thursday 24 June, the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) replied to Equal Education's Letter of Demand stating that the department is conducting a survey to find out about textbook shortages and related costs. This survey is slated to be completed by the beginning of the third term. Kwamfundo and Chris Hani Senior Secondary Schools are among the schools being considered for additional textbooks and will be informed by District Director of the outcome of the survey. Equal Education has requested a copy of the results of this survey.
Should the WCED fail to provide textbooks to all schools found to have shortages among matric learners, this would contradict the MEC’s statement that “[t]he Western Cape government is fully committed to the provision of textbooks to all our learners, as we believe they are an indispensable learning tool.” (WCED Media Release, 22 June). Moreover, it would amount to an abdication of the WCED’s responsibility to purchase books and ensure that adequate books are available for “non Section 21 schools” like Chris Hani and KwaMfundo. Non Section 21 schools, by virtue of their classification, do not manage their own funds – the provincial department does so. These schools therefore cannot procure their own textbooks. Thus, any failure by the department to provide textbooks where shortages in those schools exist, places these schools in an intractable position.
In light of the WCED’s undertaking to complete their assessment of the situation regarding textbook shortages among matric learners in the province, EE has decided not to lodge an urgent application at this stage. However, if textbooks are not provided by the end of the first week of the school term, 16 July 2010, an application will be made to the High court for an order accordingly. This application will be brought on an urgent basis, given the urgency of the need for the learners to be able to prepare for the matric exams, and the continuing prejudice which they are suffering.
For more information please contact Yoliswa Dwane at 021 387 0022 or 078 964 2816. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org