In May 2016, Grade 12 learners at two Khayelitsha high schools were still without their textbooks. Equal Education (EE) intervened in the matter on behalf of these learners – some of whom were EE members – campaigning for them to be provided with their textbooks. In terms of achieving this objective, the intervention was only partially successful, securing textbooks for one of the two schools. However, it has laid a sound basis for future EE initiatives aimed at improving access to textbooks.
Why are textbooks important?
Quality learning and teaching cannot take place without adequate access to textbooks. Learners require textbooks to access information, do homework and study for tests and exams. Each learner requires his/her own textbook for every subject, which he/she is able to take home. Teachers need textbooks too. For many of them, they are their main source of subject content. Textbooks also help teachers plan lessons and assist in ensuring the right amount of time is spent on each section of work, so that the whole curriculum is covered. They also help teachers set homework, tests and exams. In other words, textbooks help teachers with both what to teach and how to teach.
What does EE have planned for the Textbook Campaign?
EE is committed to improving access to textbooks for learners. It understands that doing so requires addressing a whole range of issues related to textbook provisioning including: the high cost of textbooks, textbook procurement policy, late-delivery of textbooks, corruption around textbook procurement, and the poor retention of textbooks at certain schools. EE intends to do more research and campaign on all of these issues in future.