Three months into the year and still no textbooks

2014-03-09 14:00

Thousands of pupils in North West, Limpopo and the ­Northern Cape still have not received all the textbooks they need for the 2014 academic year.

During his budget speech this week, Limpopo’s Finance MEC Rudolph Phala said textbooks had been delivered to all schools in the 2014 school year.

But a visit by City Press to eight schools in two of Limpopo’s districts, Capricorn and Mopani, revealed shortages across grades and subjects – although the province is nowhere near as short of books as it was during 2012’s textbook crisis.

The schools that are short of books are Moleketla Primary, Khethapoye Primary, Thaphane Primary, Modumela Secondary, Kabelo Secondary and Moremotse Secondary.

The principal of Moleketla Primary, Sipho Mothobuka, said: “They are making noises all over the radio saying books have been delivered, but they are not and it’s a problem.”

The school has no English and Sepedi books for grades 1, 2 and 3; has no Sepedi, English, social sciences and life skills books for Grade 4; no English, maths, social sciences and life skills books for Grade 5; and no maths and social sciences books for Grade 6.

Daniel Ramatladi, a maths teacher at Moleketla, said ­teachers had to write the whole textbook out on the ­blackboard ­because there were no books.

At Khethapoye Primary, a teacher who didn’t want to be named said: “We have to do copies. Sometimes there is no electricity and we can’t photocopy. Sometimes the copier is broken. The most important thing is that we can’t even give them homework. We spend a fortune on ink and paper.”

Teachers at the schools said they made do by making photo­copies for the pupils.

At Moremotse, which has no physical science textbooks for grades 10 and 11, teachers say toner cartridges, which cost about R500 each, last for no more than two weeks before they have to be replaced.

Johannes Maphoto, a Grade 12 pupil at Modumela, said his class was using Grade 11 textbooks for Sepedi because their own hadn’t arrived.

“Our teacher said we should use Grade 11 ones while we wait for ours. They are holding us back and we could fail. What if the books don’t come at all? What is going to happen to us?”

The department of basic education’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, said the migration of pupils from province to province at the beginning of each year was a challenge because the department then struggled to provide each pupil with a textbook for every subject.

“The period from January to March is used to get feedback from schools regarding shortages,” Mhlanga said.

About the situation in Limpopo, he said: “The department has since delivered 90% of the books delivered by publishers. A similar exercise of ascertaining shortages for grades 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11 was engaged with schools. Schools had until ­February 28 to ­report shortages. The department has ­finished capturing the lists of shortages and a top-up order for these grades will be placed with publishers.”

In North West, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union told City Press that several schools were still short of textbooks across grades and subjects.

These include:

.?Ramokonyane Middle School, which doesn’t have enough English, commerce, accounting, business economics and Setswana textbooks;

.?Kopela, Dipati, Bopanang, Logaga, Bahentswe, Thipanyane and Mateane primary schools, which haven’t received any textbooks for Grade 7;

.?Diphetogo Primary, which has no textbooks for Grade 7 in any subject;

.?Redibone Secondary, where grades 8 and 9 don’t have enough Setswana and technology books, and Grade 8s also need natural science, maths, English and economics ­textbooks;

.?Gaenthone Secondary, whose grades 8 and 9 have no textbooks at all; and

.?Malebelele Primary, which has neither textbooks or workbooks.


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