Department on a counting drive

2013-07-07 14:00

The basic education department has lost count of how many pupils, teachers and schools it has in two of its most troublesome provinces, Limpopo and Eastern Cape.

Now the department has called in Statistics SA to help.

In Limpopo, it wants a more accurate count of how many pupils are enrolled in its schools. In Eastern Cape, Stats SA’s enumerators will have a much bigger task.

There, they have been asked to:

» Count pupils and teachers and gather demographic information;

» Count the number and type of schools (primary or secondary), including their names and precise locations;

» Identify how many teachers have no staff number, known by government as a “Persal number”, and how many are contract workers;

» Establish each of the schools’ language(s) of instruction, their education streams and which

subjects they offer;

» Determine how many pupils are enrolled in each grade in each school and establish, one by one, which subjects every pupil in the province is taking; and

» Determine how many pupils are disabled and the nature of their disabilities.

City Press was told by a source with knowledge of the process that EduSolutions, the company whose contract to deliver textbooks in

Limpopo has ended in court action, took the department’s database with it when its contract was cancelled.

The department, however, has denied this.

It has previously conceded that it doesn’t have a database of pupil numbers in Limpopo and has given this as a reason for not being able to deliver the right number of books in the province.

Speaking about the Limpopo headcount, department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said: “The report thus far is that 80% of schools have been completed. The exercise commenced at the beginning of January.”

They are hoping the Eastern Cape data will be ready by next month.

Nikki Stein of Section 27, an NGO that has been fighting the department over textbook delivery in Limpopo, said it was an embarrassment that the department did not have such statistics readily available.

“It’s a huge problem. They can’t deliver unless they know who they are delivering to. How do they supply books, stationery (and) sanitation ... if they don’t have those statistics?” she asked.

Meanwhile, City Press has established that the department is parting ways with UTI, the logistics company it contracted to deliver textbooks to Limpopo after canning EduSolutions’ tender.

UTI was brought in last October on an emergency basis, without a tender. According to Lesufi, the contract was “for a specific period and has come to an end”.

He said: “A new procurement process is in place to procure the services of a service provider for the delivery of textbooks in Limpopo.”

A new company was set to be appointed soon to deliver textbooks for next year’s academic year, and delivery would start in September, according to Lesufi.

He also confirmed that, since it is an open tender process, EduSolutions could bid again. The tender is due to be advertised on Friday.

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