Education’s R450 million workbook bonanza

2010-11-24 18:57

The Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) decision to develop 105 workbooks in-house has saved the department R450 million.

DBE will be spending a total of R300 million out of an initial budget of R750 million, according to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

She said the saving resulted from the fact that the department hired the very people used by publishing houses to develop the workbooks, therefore the department owned the intellectual property rights.

“It saved us a lot of money on royalties, and it meant that each time we review these workbooks and wanted to change something, we did not have to re-do the process,” she said.

Although the tender will only be awarded on Friday this week, Motshekga was confident that the 12 million mathematics and literacy workbooks for grades one to six, would be delivered timeously a week before schools reopened in January next year.

Motshekga said the saving would be redirected to more pressing areas of education. “We asked treasury to allow us to use the savings to enrich the curriculum.

“For instance, we can get technology to support teachers at poor schools or where teachers are under-qualified. We have already sensitised the minister of finance about it,” she said.

Professor Veronica McKay, who headed the workbooks development team, said the workbooks that will be distributed in January next year would be the first volume consisting of 12 million workbooks for grades one to six.

The next volume of 12 million workbooks will be delivered to schools in July next year due to time constraints, McKay said.

Motshekga also revealed that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) decided, among other things, that textbook procurement would be centralised to ensure that every learner in the country had textbooks.

Motshekga said the decision was influenced by the progress in the implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) whose intention was to provide teachers with a single curriculum document per subject, per grade in each phase.

“A major consequence of the CAPS is the development of new textbooks. These will be screened, listed and secured as from July 2011.

“In addition, CEM mandated the national department to examine cost effective models for textbooks to ensure that every learner has a textbooks, for every subject.

“Procurement powers were with the provinces and that made it difficult for us as the state to ensure every learner had textbooks,” Motshekga explained.

In 2012 CAPS will be introduced in grades three and 10 and in 2013 in grades four to nine and 11. Lastly, in grade 12 in 2014.

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