Department fails to meet textbook deadline

2012-06-28 18:00

Johannesburg - The education department failed to meet its second textbook delivery deadline to Limpopo schools by one percent, an official said on Thursday.

"A report on the progress... indicated that 99% of textbooks had been delivered to Grade 10 learners, and that all textbooks have been delivered to Grades 1, 2 and 3," spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi told reporters in Johannesburg.

Claims that some schools were still waiting for books was a concern to the department and civil rights body Section 27, which took the department to court over the non-delivery.

"We want to encourage anyone with information... to report shortages of textbooks, so that this can be investigated and corrected where necessary," Lesufi said.

Both parties were also concerned that information in the progress report could be inaccurate.

"The parties have agreed to appoint an independent [person with] competent capacity to do an audit and evaluation of deliveries," Lesufi said.

"An independent verification of the progress reports... is essential, both in assessing the state of delivery... and in ensuring that the crisis is averted in years to come."

Section 27 had requested the verification process.

"We request that a person/organisation be appointed within two days and that his/her report on the delivery of the books be made available by Friday 6 July," said the organisation's executive director, Mark Heywood.

"This has been a sad saga with an unknown cost to learners."

The department said it had started putting in place a catch-up plan, which included extra tuition for children and "content knowledge support" for teachers.

It had also approached the Nelson Mandela Foundation to convene an education summit between the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, non-government organisations, and education sector-based organisations to go through issues related to quality education.

On holiday

The department's director general Bobby Soobrayan said he was disappointed to learn that some school principals refused to go and receive the textbook consignments at their schools this week.

"Some of the principals went to the extent of switching off their cellphones, others were very rude to the distributors, and some principals... did not want to be disturbed, as they were on holiday."

He thanked those who co-operated.

"We cannot allow an independent person's lack of consideration to affect our learners," said Soobrayan.

A circular was issued to principals to notify pupils to collect their textbooks, but it was unknown if they were told. Pupils are currently on their winter school holiday.

Soobrayan said the textbook saga was "highly regrettable". Children had suffered and more needed to be done to fix the situation and avoid a repeat of it in future, he told reporters.

He explained that the procurement and delivery of textbooks to schools was meant to take up about 10 to 12 months. The books should have been ordered in August last year, not in April, he said.

The delay was attributed to the cancellation of a contract between the Limpopo education department and a service provider responsible for the procurement and delivery of learning material to schools.

In May, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the department to provide Limpopo schools with textbooks by 15 June, saying its failure to deliver violated the Constitution.

Section 27 met the department after the first deadline expired, and it was agreed it would be moved to 27 June.

On Thursday morning, the SA Principals' Association said not all schools in Limpopo had received textbooks.

"Even if one school didn't receive textbooks it is one too many," the association's deputy president, Ngoako Rapaledi, said.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-06-28 18:13

    This last minute rush must've been expensive... For the tax payer.

  • andre.ernstzen - 2012-06-28 18:16

    Yussis, how hard is it to deliver text books?

      scouter.fourone - 2012-06-28 18:42

      Not hard at all actually - but it does depend on your will to do so and your desire to keep your job ....... in a normal society that is, at least.

      andre.ernstzen - 2012-06-28 19:05

      And they probably paying someone a small fortune for the non-delivery

      scouter.fourone - 2012-06-28 19:32

      And you don't need to be a rocket scientist to guess the ownership of the delivery provider! They will find ways to salvage personal gain out of even a disaster such as this......

      andre.ernstzen - 2012-06-28 19:44

      Scouter don't get me started. I'm trying to be nice here lol. It's just shameful how our kids education is held to ransom. So sad..

  • shihungasi.khoza - 2012-06-28 18:16

    A verry sad saga indeed, i am not sure how they evaluate that 1% since my home school is stil waiting for them to be delivered! As an unemployed graduate from limpopo i feel verry sad as we should be involved in service delivery in our province but all the departments are good at is offering internships and let us go with the necessary skils

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-06-28 18:20

    Its unfortunate that after 18 yrs we are destroying the future of the african child. Many people died fighting for a better education system but now our own govt. cannot deliver textbooks to schools.I attended my primary school during the homeland system.The Ciskeian govt. led by Dr Lennox Sebe was doing better than the ANC. Educati. was not run by trade unions.Books were delivered before the beginning of the school calender.Academics are not recognised as long they are not members of the ANC

      reinette.berg - 2012-06-28 21:06

      Agree 100%, this is not about DA or ANC, this is about children, our future. We are past the half way mark of 2012, how on earth will the children catch up on the years work?

  • Thebigguyjim - 2012-06-28 18:37

    City Press is reporting that at least 2 BILLION Rand (YES 2 BILLION) difference between what was paid to publishers and what the publishers received. The amount of theft is staggering. Find the thieves and JAIL them.

  • pieriewaaier.zooms - 2012-06-28 19:10

    "A report on the progress... indicated that 99% of textbooks had been delivered to Grade 10 learners, and that all textbooks have been delivered to Grades 1, 2and 3," spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi told reporters in Johannesburg" Am I stupid or just missing something here? What about the books to learners in ALL THE OTHER GRADES? Especially grades 11 & 12 although the other grades are equally important. And this lunatic Lesufi appears to be proud of the achievement. Damn, it's required an order of the court to get you pitiful leeches do to their jobs and now his bragging about it. FOOL!

      scouter.fourone - 2012-06-28 19:40

      You are not stupid and you are not missing anything - there's a whole can of wriggling worms in this story. It must not be allowed to go away - there is a whole generation of childrens' future being messed with here through sheer incompetence and dishonesty.

  • lephans.lufuno - 2012-06-28 19:11

    You can fool some of us some of the times but you can't fool all of us all the time. Education should be a right to all of the pupils not a privellage, so they jeopordize somebody's right to education by this combradeship,now they are failing for the 2nd time to meet the deadline,mara eish, why????

  • keith.recore - 2012-06-28 19:13

    interesting, but seems Education department now is blaming some principals for non delivery issues. Has the Education department failed to blame anyone else for non delivery???

  • rufus.manyama - 2012-06-28 19:21


  • stefaans.blaauw - 2012-06-28 19:22

    Did we not know that they do NOT have the ability to meet the deadline. They could not deliver the books over the past SIX months. Now the WRONG books arrive at schools, AND in many cases not even 100 books for 1500 children. PATHETIC is not describing their integrity nor their mentality. This is what happens when LIBERATION happens without EDUCATION. THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED WITH THE WHITE GOVRNMENT...............

  • Phepishi - 2012-06-28 19:55

    Our govt. is very very disappointing. And no one's will roll. just a promotion for doing this mess!

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-06-28 20:15

    Dear Dept of Education. I have a friend called Tony who moved to Polokwane some 6 years back. I think that he opened a corner cafe that is proving quite successful. Anyway, he is a resident of Limpopo and so far I have not seen any education official pointing fingers at him for the non-delivery of text books. Please feel free to do so as you seem to be running out of people to blame. I am going through my address book and if I find any other names, I will be sure to pass them on to you. Cheers.

  • pieter.erasmus.1422 - 2012-06-28 20:39

    This is a new level of being pathetic, why does the courd need to set a due date, first they screwed up the country now they take away education from the youth......sis

  • joseph.tettey.9 - 2012-06-28 21:20

    Imagine you are given a budget to perform a duty and the courts have to give ultimatum to do exactly that.That's failure and regrettably a disgrace but you don't see any reason to admit failure.That can only happen if you dont have conscience.I am ashamed to believe this can happen in the 21st century and besides have blamed the colonial masters for over five decades for the incompetence l have seen on my continent.I will only say l am sorry.Just forgive me for my otherwise exuberance.

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