The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today rejected the academic catch-up plan for Limpopo as presented by the Department of Basic Education.
The plan presented provides scant details on steps to be taken by the national Department of Basic Education and the Provincial Department of Education in Limpopo to ensure that learners affected by the textbook crisis are adequately supported. It conveniently provides no basis on which progress with the roll-out can be monitored and it does not explain how the same team of national and provincial officials who caused the educational breakdown in Limpopo will either be removed from the system or capacitated to deal with the crisis.
The DA has repeatedly called for details of the catch-up plan to be presented to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. We were, however, disappointed by the quality of the presentation today and by the fact that the two deputy directors-general who did the presentation were unable to answer a number of key questions posed by committee members – including questions on whether all learners now have access to textbooks, whether additional tuition would be provided to affected learners and how implementation will be monitored.
The catch-up plan was central to the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in May, which confirmed that the Education Department’s failure to provide textbooks is a violation of learners’ right to education. The current plan does not provide sufficient detail on how this right will be realised.
The Department will appear before the committee again next week. We hope that this presentation provides more insight into how Minister Motshekga’s team will ensure that learners do not continue to be the victims of the department’s administrative failures.