Limpopo: Dept disputes no-textbook claims

2013-02-17 19:26

The basic education department has denied that two schools in Limpopo have received no textbooks this year, despite teachers from the schools saying so.

During a snap survey of schools in the province last week, City Press spoke to staff at two schools who claimed not to have received a single textbook, and staff at another which said they received the wrong books. Seven others reported not having received enough books.

But department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi has denied these claims, providing details of the delivery of the books.

Lesufi sent City Press a spreadsheet which he said proved that books were sent to Tshivhilidulu Primary and Tshiulungoma Primary schools.

On Sunday, Lesufi tweeted that Tshiulungoma had received its first textbook delivery on December 15, which was signed for by staff member Mpho Muhali.

After “shortages were indicated ... a consignment was delivered to the school on February 1” Lesufi said on Twitter.

At Tshivhilidulu Primary, Lesufi said a delivery was made on November 15 and signed for by Victor Mudau at 10am. The second delivery to the same school was made on January 15 and signed for by Mudau just after 3pm.

But a senior staff member at Tshiulungoma Primary in the Vhembe region claimed that the school did not receive a single textbook for Grades 4, 5 and 6.

This year the department is introducing the new syllabus, called the curriculum and assessment policy statement (Caps) in those grades, as well as for Grade 11.

Last year it introduced the new syllabus to Grades R, 1, 2, 3, and 10 and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga promised that by the end of that academic year, all schools would have received all their textbooks.

A Tshiulungoma teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing victimisation, said: “We don’t have textbooks for any of the learning areas for Grades 4, 5, and 6. We did order the books. We also don’t have any textbooks for the foundation phases. We only have 20 workbooks for Grade 1 and another 20 for Grade 2.”

At the Tshivhilidulu Primary School in the same region, another teacher said: “We have none of the Caps textbooks from Grade R to Grade 6. Absolutely nothing.

“We did place the order last year. The only thing we got was Afrikaans books and we don’t have Afrikaans at this school. We teach Tshivenda,” the teacher said.

Meanwhile, staff at Northam Primary School in Thabazimbi said they had not received a single book for life skills, maths, natural science or technical science for Grades 4, 5, and 6.

A teacher who asked not to be named said: “We have been reporting to the department. They have a toll-free number schools can call to report book order shortages.

“They promised to deliver within 10 days but we are still waiting”.

When City Press spoke to Noordeland High School in Polokwane on Wednesday, the school had not received textbooks for its Grade 11 pupils.

However, staff didn’t want to comment further, saying they had made arrangements with the department and the school was on its way to fetch the books from a Polokwane warehouse.

Lesufi said that at least a few books must have been delivered to all schools.

“Remember, we are not yet in a position to provide all learners with a textbook for all the learning areas. We do have such a policy but it will be effective only from 2014.”

He blamed pupils who moved from one school to another at the beginning of the year for the shortages.

However, Brenda Nel at Laerskool Phalaborwa Noord said it was not true. Shortages were caused by pupils changing schools.

“Some of the grades haven’t received any of the books we ordered. We have to make copies and it’s costly to buy a lot of paper.”

Matome Raphasha, secretary of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union in Limpopo, said the department should stop lying about the textbooks.

“We say books have not been delivered. Most schools don’t have textbooks. We have a list of all the schools without textbooks,” he said, adding that the union has compiled a list of schools with textbook problems.

Desiree van der Walt, the DA’s education spokesperson in Limpopo, who also has a list of schools which are yet to receive textbooks, said Limpopo Education MEC Dickson Masemola should resign.

Last year, some Limpopo children spent seven months without textbooks because of the department’s bungling.

Mark Heywood, executive director at Section27, the advocacy group which took the department to court last year to force it to deliver textbooks, said: “We have heard there are some schools which are still without textbooks and we urge the department to send books without delay. However, the department has been very responsive this time and we appreciate it.”

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