Durban - Just weeks before the start of this year’s matric exams, some rural KwaZulu-Natal schools’ candidates are apparently still without some of their textbooks.
A source said the Zululand district was among those affected by a shortage of English literature textbooks.
She said at Welabasha High School, there were 203 matriculants but only 98 copies of the collection of short stories they were meant to be studying.
There were also only 98 copies of setbook Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa!
At Uyengo High School, she said, there were 113 candidates and no copies of the collection of short stories.
There were also shortages at a third school.
KZN Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said on Wednesday that the department was looking into these claims.
Two unions confirmed that they were aware of the issue.
Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie spokesperson Leann Roos said the situation was worrying.
“It is of great concern to learn that there are still schools that do not have sufficient learning materials for their matrics. Matrics start their final, and most important, exams in approximately two weeks,” she said.
She said this could jeopardise the department’s goal of improving the province’s matric pass rate by 10%.
Allen Thompson, the deputy president of the National Teachers Union, said his offices had already raised the issue of a textbook shortage with the HOD.
On Wednesday, he said, they wrote to the national department, requesting Minister Angie Motshekga to intervene.
Thompson told The Mercury that the issue was widespread in parts of the province.
National department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: "The Ministry has not yet received the letter. The Minister of Basic Education has instructed her officials to process the letter urgently to address the matter. The issues raised are very serious and all will be done to ensure that the learners are assisted immediately."