24 July 2012

South Africa: Blind Limpopo Learners Get Books for the Sighted

press release

The Democratic Alliance has identified a school for the blind in Limpopo which has only received books meant for fully sighted learners.

The school's name is Siloe School, a lower primary in Ga-Chenue with some 160 blind and partially sighted learners. Instead of receiving Braille books as was ordered for these learners, they received ordinary textbooks that can only be utilsed by fully sighted learners.

As Minister Motshekga holds textbook talks in Limpopo today, she simply cannot ignore the chaos that her Department is creating. We demand deadlines from the Department and a public delivery schedule of when all books will reach Limpopo learners.

An order for Braille books is so specific that it cannot escape anyone's attention. Amid the mayhem caused by the late delivery of textbooks in Limpopo, this case is simply inexcusable.

According to general standards, it will take at least two years to convert these ordinary books to Braille format. For now these books can only be used by the educators, leaving the learners with nothing to study at home or to use when they prepare for exams.

This cannot be justifiable.

Our most vulnerable citizens cannot rely on this government to provide them with the tools to become more self-reliant citizens. This incident must be seen in the context of incomplete and incorrect orders of books being received by schools across Limpopo.

We also challenge Minister Motshekga, now that she is in Limpopo today, to visit this school to personally witness for herself the extent of the hardships suffered by learners as a result of ineptitude both at national and provincial departments of basic education.

Desiree van der Walt, DA Spokesperson on Education in Limpopo

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