Basil Alexander MPL
DA Spokesperson for Education
Members Statement issued in the Free State Legislature
Speaker, the Honourable MEC for Education yesterday announced in the media that the Free State does not have a crisis with textbooks in the Free State.
The DA yesterday submitted a list to the Public Protector (attached), who last week announced that she will be conducting investigations on the availability of books in the Free State. If, as the MEC announced, the Free State does not experience problems with books, why is the Public Protector investigating the province?
Honourable Speaker, the department’s puzzling statements in January this year cast a doubt over the MEC’s announcement in Monday. During the beginning of the year, the Spokesperson for Education unequivocally announced that textbooks were delivered to all schools in the Free State. More recently, media reports suggest the contrary and it has come under the attention of the DA that there are various schools across the Free State that have not received their CAPS text books to date.
A more recent survey conducted at 46 schools across the province indicates that, of these schools: • 24 schools do not have textbooks for every subject for every learner.
• 19 Schools stated that not all (ordered) stationery and LTSM was delivered.
Furthermore, our own research into the availability of CAPS books found that an alarming number of schools have not received any or inadequate CAPS books more than halfway in the year. It is unacceptable that at least six schools across the province have not received any or very little CAPS books.
The DA welcomes the honourable MEC’s urge to address the recent problems with textbooks on the highest level.
However, we would like to know why, only now, eight months in the year, the department attends to the matter. Surely, one would expect that the highest level of the department was initially part of the text and CAPS books process.
Honourable Speaker, clearly the department have misled us about the delivery of textbooks and is still doing so. The DA believes that education forms parto one of the cornerstones of improved socio-economic conditions that benefits all our learners. The DA will continue to monitor the situation and report any shortages in the province to the relevant authorities.