Over four weeks after schools resumed for the 2016 academic year, school students in Johannesburg are reported not to receive their textbooks yet. This is rather disturbing as parents wonder how their children would cope without textbooks.
The books which are meant for schools in Lenasia, Eldorado Park, Soweto and Rosettenville, remain sealed and locked up in one of the classrooms at Funda-UJabule Primary School, situated within the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus and are yet to be distributed to students as teachers and principals are yet to collect them for their students.
The textbooks which was alleged to have been packed at Gauteng Department of Education’s Johannesburg Central district since December, was moved to the primary school as the department had no space to occupy them. Among the list of textbooks found in the classroom are maths, technology and science books for grades 7, 8 and 9.
Giving possible reasons why these books are yet to be collected, a district official said its because teachers and principals assigned to do so make use of their own vehicle and they will do so during their spare time. Hence, If they cannot find the time or don’t have transport to get there, the books will not be collected.
According to the official, schools have the responsibility of collecting the books, and their slow response to this is disturbing. So far 30 schools had collected their books, and a about 36 are still outstanding and it will be tedious for district officials to distribute these books as they only have one van.
“We have a challenge of teachers not fetching the books. Schools are aware that they should come and collect them. We’ve been telling them that they need to come between 8am and 3pm but they are doing it in dribs and drabs,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the DA’s Gauteng spokesman on education, Khume Ramulifho said the failure to deliver the books was an indication that districts were dysfunctional. He said he was alerted that the books had not been distributed despite the fact that schools had long been open.
According to Ramulifho, the districts were supposed to be offering support to schools, but that was not happening. “They expect the schools to come and pick up the books. Why should they do that when they have support in the form of districts? Poor management is the reason why the books are here,” he said.
The department official said they are hopeful that distributions will be concluded by the end of this week.