Angie announces textbook hotline

2012-08-01 20:15
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (File, City Press)

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (File, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has set up a call centre for Limpopo schools which have not yet received their textbooks.

Addressing the media in at the Greenside Primary School in Polokwane on Wednesday, Motshekga said teachers and principals can use the hotline to inform the department if they have not received their books consignments.

This comes in the wake of complaints from schools that they still have not received textbooks despite promises by Motshekga that all schools will have received their foundation phases and Grade 10 textbooks when they reopened for the third term last month.

“There are areas where we had challenges. There are schools which didn’t receive books because service providers dumped them.

"There are schools that may not have received textbooks because of the sabotage we experienced in the province. Some [service providers] may not have dumped them but they are still in their trucks.”

Last month, a 44-year-old clerk in the department of education was arrested and charged with malicious damage to property after two consignments of books were dumped under a bridge in the Letaba River near Tzaneen and in Giyani.

Catch-up plan

Motshekga also announced the rollout of the catch-up plan which is aimed at ensuring that foundation phase and Grade 10 learners get to grips with the content they missed during the first and second terms as a result of the lack of books.

As part of the catch-up plan, Saturday classes will be introduced for Grade 10s. Motshekga also announced a spring camp for Grade 12s to ensure they are well prepared for the year-end exams.

Onica Dedren, a senior manager in the department said the catch-up plan was based on a questionnaire the department had sent to teachers. “We asked them what is it that was not covered during the first and second terms. We analysed the [new] curriculum and looked at the changes.

“In most of the subjects, the content has not changed. In other subjects there are minimal changes. Most of the teachers indicated that they covered the content irrespective of whether they had textbooks or not. Others indicated that there are topics which they struggled with.”

She said the department opted to develop subject guides which will help both teachers and learners with the catch-up plan. “The guides focus on topics which teachers say they struggled with. As soon as the guides hit the schools, teachers will have to infuse the content into their day-to-day teaching.”

On reports that many learners had failed as a result of the lack of books, Dedren said the department will have to analyse the mid-year exams to see if indeed learners failed as a result of the unavailability of books or underperformance.

Motshekga said it could not be concluded that learners failed as a result of the lack of books unless their results were compared with those of the past two years.

Meanwhile, the DA challenged the ANC to adopt its strategy to ensure that by 2014 all learners have their own books by the beginning of the academic year.

DA leader in the National Assembly Lindiwe Mazibuko, who was in Polokwane, said the ANC should: order the right books for the right learners, eliminate corruption in the procurement of textbooks, match the DA’s textbook funding allocation, deliver the textbooks before the beginning of the academic calendar and provide a textbook for every child for every core subject in their grade.

Motshekga said she would meet will all MECs on Thursday to discuss ways to ensure that all learner and teacher support material is delivered on time for the next academic year.

Read more on:    lindiwe mazibuko  |  angie motshekga  |  polokwane  |  textbook saga
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