Limpopo needs 42 000 books
Department admits it still owes schools in the province some learning materials.
The department of basic education has finally admitted that Limpopo’s schools are still short of textbooks.
The department has come clean after two reports, compiled by the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools revealed, school by school, that more than 42 000 books are still outstanding.
The federation conducted a snap survey of schools in Limpopo in mid-January after some principals complained to it, saying they had either received no textbooks or too few.
A follow-up survey was conducted again about a week ago.
The results of both surveys were sent to the department.
Pupils in Grades 4, 5 and 6 across the province are still short of some 25 000 textbooks.
Grade 11 pupils are still waiting for more than 17 000 books.
According to the federation’s report, a high school in Phalaborwa doesn’t have 3 513 textbooks.
Another, in Mookgophong, is short of 1 537.
A Groblersdal school is without 2 958 of the books it needs and a primary school in Tzaneen reported being short of 2 311 books.
One in Mokopane reported that its pupils still needed 2 270 books.
The department is introducing new Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements for Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11 this year.
The curriculum was introduced to Grades R, 1, 2, 3 and 10 last year.
City Press was handed copies of the reports. Contacted for comment, the federation confirmed that the documents were genuine.
The federation’s chief executive, Paul Colditz, said: “Principals can’t comment as the department is threatening them with disciplinary action.
“I’ve heard that the principal of Duiwelskloof Primary, who wrote a letter to parents apologising for the lack of books, is being threatened with disciplinary action.”
But the department’s spokesman, Panyaza Lesufi, said disciplinary action wasn’t focused on whistle-blowers – it was directed at principals who didn’t help the department identify and fix textbook-supply problems.
Lesufi said: “We have asked all schools in Limpopo to alert us as to their requirements. We are asking for basic information – what titles for what subjects in what grades and for how many learners schools are experiencing shortages.
“The department will not hesitate to take action against principals who fail to comply with this directive and they then turn around to cry foul.”
Colditz told City Press the federation had sent both reports to the department – the first on January 16.
“They said: ‘Thank you very much, we will return to you,’ and never did. I sent the second one last week and we don’t know if they are addressing the problems.”
Lesufi said he had asked all schools to give him the relevant information by Wednesday.
“The department already has books stored in district warehouses and shortages will be dealt with within 24 to 48 hours to enable learning to proceed without any further delays,” said Lesufi.
He insisted that some reports of shortages were not true, but did not elaborate.
The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union in Limpopo said it was true many schools in the province were still without textbooks.
“We can confirm the province is short of books. Even where the department claims to have delivered books, there were only a few,” said the union.