Education Dept on schedule in procuring textbooks

2014-07-28 00:00

THE Education Department in KwaZulu-Natal is a month ahead of its own deadlines to procure textbooks and stationery for the province’s public schools.

On Friday, department head Nkosinathi Sishi met with publishers on the department’s decision to procure and deliver books without engaging the services of a managing agency.

This happens as the department had planned to reduce the workload of the managing agent and to do most of the procurement in-house.

It also happens as the managing agent has yet to be appointed while the books procurement tender is scrutinised by Provincial Treasury before an announcement is made.

Sishi said in an interview last week the department had initially hoped to give itself a transitional period to take over the procurement of textbooks and stationery while it built its own capacity.

“The thinking was we were cautious of moving directly into buying the books ourselves,” he said in an interview.

But, it has turned out that most of the public schools have already placed orders through the department.

The department said 98% of 6 248 schools have already submitted their requisitions for books and stationery.

Now the department plans to place orders for books with publishers by August 15, and then have them collected by schools at 50 warehouses by October.

“It is a breakthrough. In the past it was done by the agent, but this time around it is being done by ourselves.”

Sishi said the department’s direct procurement would go a long way in realising savings and the dream of ensuring each pupil has a book.

“What is important is to make use of every cent and ensure our children benefit more.”

He said the department planned to use FET colleges across the province as warehouses to store the books, which would be collected by school governing bodies.

“We are to make sure warehouses are closer to the schools. In this year we are to save money and buy as many books as possible.”

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