New year, same crisis at Limpopo schools

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textbooks feb 7

Independent Newspapers

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Johannesburg - The Limpopo textbook saga seems to have spilt over into the new year, with schools in the Modjajieskloof area of the province not receiving textbooks for some subjects since schools opened last month.

DA provincial leader and MP Jacques Smalle said the situation had been revealed in a letter to parents and pupils by the “despondent” principal of Duiwelskloof Primary School.

In a letter dated January 29, the school’s principal, Hennie Greyling, apologises to parents and the pupils of his school for the fact that there are still no textbooks.

“The same problem also occurs in our neighbouring schools and other schools in Limpopo,” he said.

The province’s failure to deliver textbooks dominated headlines last year, with some calling for Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s head.

Thousands of Limpopo pupils were without textbooks for the greater part of last year when education authorities failed to ensure that learning materials were delivered on time.

A task team appointed to get to the bottom of the crisis recommended an investigation into basic education director-general Bobby Soobrayan for his role in the delay.

“Schools in the Modjajieskloof area and elsewhere in Limpopo have not received a single textbook for core subjects two months into the school year. The education department has lied to the public on several occasions that all books have been delivered,” Smalle said.

He added that the DA would write to the provincial legislature’s education committee chairperson to request an urgent meeting where the department would be called to account.

“Duiwelskloof Primary School has so far only received textbooks for science, English home language and life skills. The life skills books are only in English, even though the school is dual medium.

“To compound the problem for the educators, they still have not received workbooks to enable them to implement the new curriculum,” Smalle said.

He said Greyling’s letter to parents was a clear sign that neighbouring schools had also not received textbooks, and that the problem was occurring elsewhere in the province.

“As a result of this, the school has had to postpone the first tests this semester because the learners will not be adequately prepared,” Smalle added.

Limpopo education spokesman Pat Kgomo said the department would make a statement, but failed to respond on Wednesday. Attempts to get hold of the head of department, Jackson Thamaga, were also unsuccessful.

Attempts by his colleague Desiree van der Walt for an urgent meeting with Education MEC Dickson Masemola to deal with the problem had been ignored, Smalle said.

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