Education department lied about textbook deliveries

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The Mpumalanga Department of Education lied to the public in December last year when it claimed that all textbooks would be delivered to schools by December 8, 2012. MEC Reginah Mhaule must explain.

As part of the National Council of Provinces’ Taking Parliament to the People programme this past week, the DA came across a number of primary schools who have not been supplied with Natural Science and Technology (NST) textbooks for Grades 4-6, as well as workbooks for Grades R-4. This despite the department’s reassurance on 4 December last year that: “Textbooks for grades four, five, six and 11 have already been procured and 99.7% dispatched and delivered to schools.”

Of three schools visited, Sobhuza Primary School Grades 4-6 have not received any NST textbooks; Ezenzeleni Primary School had a shortage of 155 NST textbooks for Grade 4 and a massive shortage of workbooks for Grades R-4. Thokhozani Combined School had no NST Grades 4-6 textbooks.

It is understood that EduSolutions informed schools late last year that the books were not available on order, and that schools would have to do without until further notice.

While the DA is relieved that the books are being delivered as we speak, the fact is that two months of the school year have already gone by, denying learners the right to quality basic education, and putting them at an unfair disadvantage.

This of course begs the question: Did MEC Mhaule and departmental officials deliberately lie to the public about the textbook delivery, or did the department fail to check up on EduSolutions?

The DA will submit written parliamentary questions to MEC Mhaule asking her to explain whether EduSolutions informed her office of the unavailability of the NST textbooks, and whether this was communicated to schools. We will ask the MEC to explain what measures were put in place to deal with the shortages, and what, if any, measures will be taken to get disadvantaged learners up to speed.

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