The DA welcomes the findings of the Public Protector into the lack- and incorrect delivery of workbooks to schools in the Eastern Cape. We feel that our complaint has been vindicated by this report, especially in the light of the Education Department’s unresponsiveness to the concerns we had been raising.
Our recommendation, that specific action to be taken against the national DG Bobby Soobrayan, is also welcomed, but we call on the Minster of Basic Education, Angie Motshega, to fire him.
The Head of Department at provincial level should ensure that dedicated officials are appointed at both provincial- and district level concerning the planning and delivery of school workbooks. Schools must have dedicated personnel appointed to take charge of delivered stock and document management.
The DA supports punitive action against those in authority of education in the Eastern Cape, should there be a failure to comply with implementing these corrective measures.
The DA laid the complaint in 2012 due to workbook shortages identified by school visits and monitoring in the Port Elizabeth and Queenstown districts. An inspection of an Education Department warehouse in the Port Elizabeth district had discovered thousands of textbooks being returned by schools.
In many cases isiXhosa learners had been ordered seSotho workbooks by the Department. Afrikaans and English speaking learners had received isiXhosa workbooks.
This was due to the Education Department’s botching of orders for workbooks for Eastern Cape children for the 3rd and 4th quarter of the year, starting on 16 July.
A lack of consultation from the national Department’s side and a chaotic workbook delivery process by the provincial Department has led to hundreds of schools in the PE district alone being left without any literacy and numeracy workbooks for children in Grades R – 7.
The workbooks contained important exercises and study plans that help learners come to grips with the new curriculum. Learners who don’t receive these books were unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their rights to equality and a basic education.
The report has found that:
- There were no dedicated officials at provincial or district level to deal with workbooks;
- Out of a sample of 66 schools, 31% had received books in the incorrect language, and 75% had shortages; the Public Protector also notes that schools reported late delivery of books (findings apply also to 2013);
- All provincial and national Education Department officials interviewed by the PP conceded there were problems with workbook delivery;
- The Basic Education DG provided evidence of numerous correspondence with the provincial SG enquiring about shortages, with delayed responses;
- There were supply problems, and the entity responsible for delivery was the Department of Basic Education;
- Neither the provincial Department of Education nor the Department of Basic Education consulted schools on numbers needed, which caused shortages;
- There is no project implementation plan, or coordination with schools when it comes to workbook delivery;
- It is undisputed that “there is no proper procedures or plan” to manage workbook delivery;
- First term books were delivered as late as March;
- In terms of Constitution, both the Department of Basic Education and provincial department are accountable for workbook delivery;
- There was no follow-up on written communication and no audit of successful delivery (DG Soobrayan specifically fingered); and that
- The Department of Basic Education was guilty of maladministration for not establishing norms and standards.
Edmund van Vuuren
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/12/education-dg-should-be-fired/