Thousands of pupils reportedly still without textbooks - Annette Lovemore

DA MP calls for independent investigation into City Press claims

DA requests independent inquiry into non-delivery of textbooks

Thousands of learners in the North West, Limpopo and Northern Cape are without textbooks three months into the school year, according to a City Press article (see here).

This situation is wholly unacceptable and disgraceful. 

The DA calls on Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, to implement an urgent independent inquiry into the reasons for the non-delivery of textbooks, as well as a full list of recommendations as to what measures should be put in place to correct this as soon as possible.

The inquiry's investigation must provide answers for the following:

  • Why were textbooks not delivered;
  • Who was responsible for managing the process;
  • The terms and conditions applicable to suppliers involved - and if those were met; and
  • Are there textbook shortages in other provinces.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Minister Angie Motshekga made a promise that by the beginning of 2014, every child, in every grade, will have his/her own textbook. Yet, despite this promise, the DBE continues to drop the ball. 

This failure costs our children the opportunity to access a quality education which they will need to get a job, and live a life they value. It is a great shame that we cannot allow to continue.

The DA is committed to turning this around. As outlined in our manifesto, we are committed to ensuring a textbook for every child, in every subject, delivered on time. 

We believe education outcomes can be improved by:

Better management: Excellent provincial administration of the education system to ensure that every child has a textbook, a trained and motivated teacher, and enough time in the classroom to master schoolwork. The DA has shown in the Western Cape that a good provincial education department can get results. 

In the DA-led Western Cape, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has a robust textbook procurement process in place, which they have implemented in stages over the past three years in an effort to meet a 100% textbook delivery target. Mechanisms in place to ensure timely delivery of textbooks include, electronic catalogues, textbook exhibitions to allow educators to make informed decisions, and the utilisation of a central online ordering system. The Western Cape also has in place an electronic monitoring process that assesses whether schools have ordered, received, issued, used and retrieved the required textbooks at given dates. 

In 2013, the Human Rights Commission found that the Western Cape was the only province to deliver 100% of textbook orders for the year. 

Minister Motshekga should utilise the Western Cape Education model, which has a successful track record of textbook delivery. 

The South African public needs to throw the book at President Zuma's ANC. A vote for the DA on 7 May will ensure that our learners are provided with textbooks, in every subject, and on time. 

Statement issued by Annette Lovemore MP, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, March 9 2014

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