Limpopo schools off to a shaky start, with textbooks and stationery undelivered

2017-01-11 19:02
Books. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Books. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Polokwane - Desperate educators at Limpopo schools are recycling stationery from 2016 and sharing textbooks among pupils after the education department once again failed to deliver learning materials.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) said the situation was disappointing and that its members were being forced to operate without crucial tools.

This comes after the department conceded that dozens of schools in the province were yet to receive stationery and additional textbooks.

Provincial education spokesperson Naledzani Rasila confirmed to News24 that distribution in the Vhembe district has not been completed.

When schools reopened on Wednesday, dozens of pupils and educators in Vhembe were left stranded after the department failed to deliver learning materials.

According to Sadtu, Grade 10 and 11 pupils were the most affected.

"We are extremely worried that the same situation we were subjected to in 2012 is about to repeat itself," said Sadtu provincial secretary Matome Raphasha.

In 2012, the province was embroiled in controversy when a court order declared that the non-delivery of textbooks to thousands of pupils was a failure by the provincial and national departments of education.

READ: Limpopo's top maths pupil wrote matric exams barefoot

Rural schools

The court found that it was paramount to a "violation of the rights to a basic education [and] equal dignity". The decision was taken on appeal and last year the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's findings.

On Wednesday, teachers at Lukau Primary School were forced to share sheets of paper ripped out from last year's note books among pupils.

School governing body chairperson Vincent Mariba echoed Sadtu's views, saying the department was failing dismally.

"As parents, we are disturbed that schooling is starting on the wrong footing. Now we don't know when the stationery will arrive," he said.

Mariba said they were worried that urban schools were given priority over rural schools.

The department said new stationery distribution companies had been brought in and this had triggered the problem.

"We are promising that at the end of the month every learner will be having all learning materials," Rasila said.

"We apologise to the pupils, educators and communities, this will never happen."

Read more on:    polokwane  |  education

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