Principals take govt to court

The Progressive Principals’ Association has turned to the courts over SA’s education system.

The Progressive Principals’ Association says it is concerned about the state of the country’s education system. Picture: RSC Inc.

CAPE TOWN - Shockingly low literacy and numeracy standards at schools and the state's failure to deliver textbooks on time are among the reasons a group of principals are taking government to court.

The Progressive Principals' Association (PPA) says it is concerned about the state of the country's education system.

The association's Riyaadh Najaar says, "Maybe through this action we can bring to their attention the urgency of the situation. We are extremely concerned about what's happening."

In legal papers, the association says government has failed to provide the majority of pupils in public schools with sufficient literacy and numeracy skills, among other things.

Attorney Jonathan Mort says, "They are seeking a declaratory order that the government has failed in these specific areas. They are then asking for a mandamus, which is that the government must take such steps to deal with each one of these failures."

Papers have been served on various departments.

The group accused officials of failing to take reasonable steps to equip all teachers with adequate skills and curb absenteeism.

National and provincial education departments have been cited as respondents in the matter.

A principal at a Mitchells Plain high school says government needs to work smarter to improve the country's education system.

Glendale High School Principal Achmat Chothia says the poor pupils suffer the most.

"We find that within the poorer communities, schools are still struggling. Although we're supposed to charge school fees, with poverty these days you'll find a lot of parents cannot afford it."