Education Dept hits back at critics

A group known as the Progressive Principals' Association plans to take government to court.

The Basic Education Department says the country’s education system is improving despite challenges. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Basic Education Department on Tuesday hit back after a group of principals announced they were taking government to court for failing to deliver on its mandate.

A group known as the Progressive Principals' Association says government is not meeting its obligation to provide all children with basic education.

Low literacy and numeracy levels and the department's inability to deliver textbooks on time were cited as reasons for the case.

The department denies claims it is failing to deliver on its mandate.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says the litigation is unnecessary.

"The department is aware of everything they are talking about and something has been done to deal with it. It's unfortunate that those people went to the public with things that the department diagnosed years ago."

Officials say since 2009, they have made progress in a number of areas.

Authorities say they are feeding more children at schools and distributing more than 50 million workbooks annually.

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele also slammed the country's education system earlier this year.

She accused government of not prioritising education and failing the youth.

Ramphele also slammed the required pass rate of 30 percent.