'Gauteng textbooks won't be late'
By Angelique Serrao
The Gauteng department of education and a company contracted to deliver textbooks and stationery to schools has promised that all books will be in schools when they open next month.
This follows a story in The Star that schools had not received their textbooks by the time schools closed on November 30. Many of these books and textbooks are for the Grade 12s who will be writing a new syllabus next year and need a whole new range of textbooks.
The GDE responded that many of the textbooks had already been delivered to schools - despite school governing bodies saying otherwise.
"The information at the disposal of the department indicates that the service provider (EduSolutions) has received 47 percent of the total amount of materials ordered from suppliers. EduSolutions have to date delivered 89 percent of the materials ordered."
EduSolutions, on the other hand, said they had received and dispatched 59 percent of all materials to secondary and primary schools, and dispatched 78 percent of orders to Grade 12 schools.
Kathy Callaghan, spokesperson for the Governors' Alliance, said orders for textbooks were given to schools only in November - far too late in the year for orders to be made on time.
EduSolutions spokesperson Moosa Ntimba said, however, that they received their budgets later than they had expected.
"When the MEC for Education, Angie Motshekga, set the target date on November 30, we expected the whole system to kick in smoothly, but to achieve this meant that all the orders needed to be placed with the publishers by June 2007 to meet the deadline for delivery," Ntimba said.
Also, many schools submitted incorrect orders or submitted them late, thereby holding up the process."
The company has promised to work around the clock over the holidays to make sure books are delivered to schools.
Marks Ramasike, the spokesperson for the Schools Governing Body Association in Soweto, says he was told that the department had asked principals to be available to take deliveries at schools over December.