1.5 million kids without textbooks

2012-04-22 11:58

East London - Thousands of pupils in the Eastern Cape were still waiting for textbooks months into the school year, the Sunday Times reported.

Books for 1.5 million pupils at 5582 schools in the province were still in a warehouse on Military Road in East London.

Most children who were meant to have been supplied with the books at the beginning of the school year on January 9 only received them a month later, reported the newspaper.

The basic education department claimed this week that 99% of government schools had received textbooks. However, Eastern Cape education superintendent-general Modidima Mannya said there were still "serious shortages" with the wrong books delivered to schools in certain cases.

"I am not going to comment in the event I am accused of attacking somebody," said Mannya.

The department was responsible for printing 54 million books for delivery to 24 355 schools across South Africa.

Not the first time

Claims of books not reaching their destination emerged after Mannya commissioned a forensic investigation into several hundred schools that failed to pay a total of R75m to suppliers, even though they had received funding from the department, reported the Sunday Times.

Mannya said it was not the first time books had not been correctly delivered, or delivered in the wrong language.

Peter Moses, head of department at Breidbach Primary, said he notified the department on February 16 about Xhosa textbooks, and was still waiting for a response.

The department said in a statement that project teams to monitor delivery and "mediate blockages" had been set up. Proof of delivery resided with the service provider and was verified by means of an audit.

The SA Democratic Teachers' Union's provincial secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said: "The buck stops with Mannya, who is the chief accounting officer for education in the province. Every time something happens, he blames someone else," reported the Sunday Times.

Read more on:    education  |  textbook saga

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