by Simone Cadwell

Education for all

The textbook saga sees improvement ahead of 2013

Education is a basic human right
Textbook saga shows improvement

The missing textbooks saga was one of the worst events within the education sector and caused many to point fingers at education authorities.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and her department came under fire for failing to deliver school textbooks to Limpopo timeously this year.

It seems like the 2013 school year will be off to a good start as Motshekga has confirmed that school textbooks will be delivered before 15 December.

"Deliveries to schools, final reconciliation of left-over stock, and further distribution to districts and circuits for possible school top-ups, will be completed by 7 December. The final administration of the entire project must be completed by 13 December," a statement issued by her office said.

Deliveries to schools had already begun earlier this month, and would be accelerated so that 200 textbooks are delivered a day.

The costs involved in the delivery of textbooks had been reviewed and publishers had been asked to reduce their prices.

The department managed to order a total of 4.9 million textbooks, at a reduced price of R236 million. This cut the costs by 38 percent, compared to the lowest original price of R383 million. Procurement and delivery of stationery for the 2013 school year would cost R129.12 million.

This was a 49.8% saving compared to the cost of stationery for the 2012 school year, which amounted to R259.8 million. "I am confident that come the first day of school, all the learners and educators will have learning and teaching materials. The National Treasury had committed R380 million for the 2013 procurement and delivery process, with additional funding for stationery packs," said Motshekga.

She confirmed that the department had procured textbooks for Grades four to six, and Grade 11, as well as stationery packs for all grades. This could spell relief for so many underprivileged children whose parents are already battling with fees. 

In order to avoid the same issues faced such as the  delivery of textbooks going straight to dump sites and not the classrooms they need to be developed at, the department has tasked distribution company UTI to handle deliveries. The new strategy aims to ensure proper receipting of stock and planning for delivery. A recorded 95% of stock had already arrived at the main warehouse.

In an attempt to be forthcoming, the department will load information on delivery progress onto their website on a weekly basis. Implementation will be monitored daily.

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