By Minister Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:
The WCED regards teaching and learning resources as essential to the effective running of our education system.
To assist all learners to reach their full potential, the WCED has invested considerable funds in providing learners with a textbook for each subject.
This year the WCED opened the online ordering system for textbooks on the 17th of June 2015, for textbook procurement for the 2016 school year.
This may have seemed early to some, however we wanted to ensure that schools had ample opportunity to assess their needs and order textbook top-ups well in advance. This is to ensure that all learners will have textbooks for each subject in 2016.
A total of 925 schools in the Western Cape submitted on-line orders for the procurement of CAPS top-up textbooks in readiness for the 2016 school year.
The orders submitted by the schools were placed with 19 publishers as contracted by the WCED to supply and deliver the required CAPS textbooks.
A total of 448 727 textbooks have been ordered for the 925 schools. To date 80% of the textbooks have been delivered to the schools – finalisation of the delivery process is 30th October 2015 which allows schools time to report any incorrect deliveries, shortages or errors before the end of the school year, as well as complete their arrangements for book distribution within their school.
The WCED is obliged to ensure the effective management, use and retrieval of textbooks and other learning and teaching support material (LTSM).
All Principals are therefore required to ensure that sound management processes are in place in order to manage the use of textbooks.
In November 2013, the WCED published the “Framework for the management and retrieval of textbooks supplied to schools” which provides a basic framework for the management of textbooks and textbook retrieval in the WCED.
A copy of this can be found here – http://wced.school.za/circulars/circulars13/lgsp.html#e51_13.pdf*e_inf_top.html#e51_13.html
Schools need to implement adequate systems to retrieve textbooks at the end of each year. Schools have a retrieval target of 95% of textbooks, and cover the costs of the remaining 5% from norms and standards funding.
Retrieval is therefore crucially important.
It is therefore advisable that schools put plans in place now to retrieve the textbooks that are in use during the 2015 academic year. They should aim to retrieve as many as possible, if not all books, so as to minimise the top-ups that need to be ordered at the end of the year.
I therefore appeal to schools to take the process of textbook retrieval seriously and learners and their parents to take responsibility for keeping their books safe and in good condition, and for returning them at the end of every academic year.
Government cannot afford to keep replacing books.
It is vital that we succeed in this process to ensure that all our learners are properly equipped for the new school year.
Today I visited Trevor Manuel Primary School to monitor the textbook delivery process.
I was pleased to see that Trevor Manuel Primary School has already received all workbooks and textbooks for the 2016 school year.
The school Principal said that it is a challenge to get the textbooks back from the learners at the end of every year and is trying to find new ways to ensure that books are returned.
It is unfortunate that many learners do not return their textbooks at the end of the year, which means that more money must be spent on replacing books. This is simply irresponsible and inconsiderate and a complete waste of money that could be better spent on other educational opportunities. .