I deserve 8/10, says Angie
While the country's education system lurches in a crisis, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga believes she deserves an almost perfect score for her performance.
Speaking at the launch of study materials to help more than 100000 matric pupils this year, Motshekga was pushed by the media to rate her performance. She said she had done "many things well".
"I would give myself eight out of 10," she said.
Motshekga said she should be judged on the policy she had introduced and not on the problems the department found itself in.
"I don't deliver workbooks. I am not in the classroom. I don't know what all 12 million learners are doing," she said.
Pushed to explain where she had succeeded as minister, Motshekga said she had implemented the new Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement system for Grades 1-3 and Grade 10.
She said she was also proud of having delivered more than 88 million workbooks to pupils across the country.
The department is, however, facing huge challenges.
Several non-governmental organisations have brought a number of court cases against it, with many commentators calling the situation a "crisis".
In May, Motshekga was taken to the Pretoria High Court by rights organisation Section27 to force the department to deliver books to schools in Limpopo by June 15.
In his judgment, Judge Jody Kollapen said the department had violated the constitution.
The department later asked for an extension to June 27. However, many of the textbooks were found dumped in parts of the province.
Three task teams are investigating the Limpopo textbook saga.
One is headed by education specialist Mary Metcalfe, another was appointed by President Jacob Zuma and the third by the Limpopo provincial government. It is headed by the province's director-general, Rachel Molepo-Modipa.
Motshekga said she could not comment on the saga until the investigations were complete.
Yesterday, the department also asked for a postponement in a case brought against it in the Grahamstown High Court by the Legal Resources Centre for failure to fill 3200 teachers' posts in Eastern Cape.
Ann Skelton, who was in court yesterday, says in some schools pupils were not being taught at all.
Skelton said the minister's lawyers appeared unprepared and "without a substantive argument".
DA education spokesman Annette Lovemore said the Eastern Cape education department, which is under administration, is R19.6-million in arrears in teachers' salaries.
In a separate case, Equal Education - whose supporters took part in a march in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, to demand better education yesterday - has taken the minister to court for failing to determine norms and standards for schools, arguing that all schools should have a basic level of infrastructure.
Papers were filed in March and the minister only responded last week.
"Despite the minister not denying the facts of our case, she has decided to continue with business as usual," Equal Education's Doron Isaacs said.
Yesterday, Motshekga said she did not know the details of the court cases and refused to comment further.
Last year, the department achieved a 70.2% matric pass rate, a 2.4 percentage point increase compared with the previous year's performance of 67.8%. - Additional reporting by Sapa