Many schools still lack workbooks

2011-02-01 00:00

LOCAL schools are yet to receive the Numeracy and Literacy workbooks promised to them by the Department of Basic Education, three weeks into this new academic year.

In her budget speech in March last year, minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said a crucial pillar in the department’s determination to improve pupil performance would be the provision of workbooks. Previously, workbooks were only the luxury of well-resourced schools. Motshekga tasked a team of curriculum experts, material developers and translators with the mission of developing workbooks for all primary pupils in schools around the country. This intervention will see about six million pupils in grades one to six receiving their very own workbook in maths/numeracy and literacy/language in all 11 languages. The project is expected to provide support to approximately 180 000 teachers in nearly 20 000 schools around the country. Responding to a Witness query in the second week of January when inland schools opened for the 2011 academic year, department spokesperson Granville Whittle told the paper many schools got the workbooks in time for the opening day, but they had some difficulties in getting them to all schools. He had said that workbooks would be received by the end of January.

Whittle denied that workbooks were still being printed when contacted on Friday, sticking with his initial story that workbooks would be in schools by the end of the month.

However, a large number of local schools contacted by The Witness yesterday had not received any workbooks at all.

The few schools that had, either had an inadequate supply or received workbooks for only some grades.

For one school in Queensburgh, the delivery was not only insufficient, but the school allegedly received some workbooks in the wrong language.

One principal described the delay as unfortunate since the workbooks are “lovely”. Many local principals wondered if they, who are in the city, are still without workbooks, what would the likelihood be of schools in the rural areas receiving theirs soon?

Some principals added that the workbooks might have helped towards the annual national assessment (ANA) tests, starting next week.

ANA aims to improve performance in literacy and numeracy for pupils in grades one to six.

However, all the principals did attest to the fact that they had been called into a meeting last Friday, where the uMgungundlovu district manager, personally apologised for the delay. Principals were told that the workbooks should come any time now.

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