Mbizana district textbook shock

Not one textbook has been delivered to the Mbizana education district.  This shocking revelation was made on Wednesday (subs:  11 January 2017) during the annual oversight visits for school readiness to members of the provincial legislature.

I am deeply perturbed by this state of affairs.  Education MEC Mandla Makupula has indicated that 15% of textbooks for 926 high schools in the province had not been delivered and that procurement of these books only took place in November 2016.  On Tuesday (subs:  10 January 2017) he told the legislature that members would find schools without books and teachers.  But to find an entire district without books is indicative of the inadequate support this department is giving our learners to realise their dreams.

Education remains the best way to fight inequality and poverty.  This can only be achieved through good governance and a well-run province.

Mbizana district had placed an order for 863 904 textbooks for 214 schools from Grade 1 to Grade 12 to the amount of R73,863-million for a total of 94 084 enrolled learners.

Another shocker is that four new secondary schools, namely A.D. Tshayingca, Majavu, Mpeni and Gumzana opened their doors for new Grade 10s in 2014, but have not received any textbooks for any subjects for the past three years.  This implies that these learners were without books in Grade 10 in 2014, Grade 11 in 2015 and Grade 12 in 2016.

Despite not having these resources two of the schools performed exceptionally well in the 2016 matric finals, with Majavu and A.D. Tshayingca achieving pass rates of  91% (51 out of 56 learners)  and 60.3 % (126 out of 209 learners) respectively.

These schools were reliant on study guides and other literature.

Reports of the intermittent delivery of textbooks are also surfacing in other districts in the province. It is no surprise that the Eastern Cape has been the worst performer in the matric results for the past six years if the procurement of textbooks cannot be professionally managed.

The department continues to deny learners of the necessary resources to start their academic year.

It is bitter to the extreme that our future leaders can be treated with such disdain and can be neglected to the extent that they have to find their own way in the classrooms to prepare for the next day without that most necessary and basic textbook.

The DA demands immediate punitive action against te officials responsible for the late procurement.  The MEC should apologise to the whole district for the inefficiency of some of his officials.

Rest assured, in a DA-government, no child will start a school year without a textbook.  That is a promise. — Edmund van Vuuren MPL, Shadow MEC for Education