Towards the end of June, members of Equal Education who are in grade 12 at Chris Hani and Kwamfundo High Schools in Khayelitsha, Cape Town do not have textbooks and some are sharing textbooks with others.
The Western Cape Department of Education launched a 100% pass campaign that encourages learners to prepare for their final (grade 12) examinations. Messages from the WCED billboards also require “every learner to have a textbook for each and every subject area in order for them to be prepared for final examinations”. These messages of motivation are advertised on billboards around the township of Khayelitsha.
Although Equal Education fully supports the 100 % pass rate campaign and some of the initiatives the government is taking towards achieving this goal, the reality of many young people who are currently in grade 12 is that they do not have textbooks necessary to fully prepare for the final examinations as the WCED prescribes.
For example, Olwethu ‘Shakes’ Matyesini (19); a grade 12 learner from Khayelitsha, a member of Equal Education and one of the key note speakers at the 2009 Ashley Kriel Memorial Lecture. Six Months in his matric year, he has yet to receive a science textbook although this is a critical and difficult subject. He is doing seven subjects and only has a textbook for Life Orientation and shares IsiXhosa prescribed texts with other learners. He hopes to pass his matric and enroll at the University of Cape Town and further his studies in Languages and Communication.
The National Department of Basic Education requires “that each learner should have a textbook for each of his subject to take home, do homework, and study from”. Curriculum News: Planning for 2010 and Beyond. The Western Cape MEC Donald Grant emphasised in his budget speech that “quality teaching can only take place in a text rich environment” and “providing textbooks to our learners is a non- negotiable”.
The failure to provide textbooks in grade 12 classes of these schools is not in keeping with the standards of the Department of Basic Education that every learner must have a textbook in all subject areas. With only three months remaining between the beginning of term 3 and final examinations, there are learners who are struggling to do their homework and studies because among other things they do not have textbooks.
Equal Education is disappointed that the WCED is not ensuring that every child in this province has textbooks in all subject areas; especially with regard to no fee schools where the department knew that there were shortages of textbooks.
A letter of demand has been sent to the WCED to provide these learners with textbooks for all of their subject areas when school resumes on the 13th July 2010.
The failure of WCED to meet these demands will force EE and its members to lodge an urgent application in the Cape High Court