A Democratic Alliance (DA) inspection of an Education Department warehouse in the Port Elizabeth (PE) district has discovered thousands of textbooks that are being returned by schools.

This is due to the Education Department’s botching of orders for workbooks for Eastern Cape children for the 3rd and 4th quarter of the year, starting on 16 July.

The DA witnessed hundreds of boxes of books being returned to the warehouse because schools had received the wrong language for their learners.

In many cases isiXhosa learners had been ordered seSotho workbooks by the Department. Afrikaans and English speaking learners had received isiXhosa workbooks.

A lack of consultation from the national Department’s side and a chaotic workbook delivery process by the provincial Department has led to hundreds of schools in the PE district alone being left without any literacy and numeracy workbooks for children in Grades R – 7.

According to the Department’s database for the PE district, there are now 25 370 literacy workbooks and 15 500 numeracy workbooks outstanding in the area. The problem is province-wide, however, meaning that tens of thousands more learners in other districts are also affected.

Once again the Education Department has put the future of thousands of children at risk through this blatant disregard for their education needs.

The books that have been ordered are only applicable for this year, meaning that public money will also go to waste.

The DA calls for a full investigation into the ordering process that led to this. We will also be submitting questions to the provincial education ministry to establish the full extent of the problem.