Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Mystery of Missing textbooks solved"

Article from Sunday Times, May 13, 2012, "Three tons of books sold to Eastern Cape warehouse owner in cleanup'"
     As thousands of Eastern Cape pupils struggled through last year without textbooks, three tons of new books -- worth millions of rand -- were dumped at a warehouse for recycling.  The Sunday Times found the books at a warehouse used by King Box Manufacturing. The discovery comes on the eve of a high court bid by public interest to force the national Department of Basic Education to supply textbooks to the province's school.
     Some of the books in the warehouse have been replaced by ones in grades 1 & 3, and Grade 10, as a result of the implementation of Curriculum and Assessment. But books still being used by pupils in other grades were also in the building.  Teachers and teachers' union official Sadtu has described the dumping of the books as "scandalous."  He asked why the Eastern Cape Education Department hadn't distributed them last year?
    Warehouse owner Riaan Erasmus said 20 to 25 bakkie-loans of books were sold to him in mid-November. . Primary School head in King William's Town, said it was "a shame" that books which could have benefited pupils were dumped in a warehouse.
   "It's millions of rands down the drain," he said.  "The books were unopened -- they were still in their plastic seals.  It's really unbelieveable to do something like that."  The primary school finally received its English workbooks on Thursday, after the Sunday Times had twice highlighted the fact that the English-medium school had been given books in Xhosa.
   Erasmus said:  "In November, a lot of these brand-new books were returned to us by guys claiming they were old curriculum stuff."  He said one of the drivers had told him they were clearing them out the offices to make way for books issued for the new curriculum. . . Maybe those who got the contract should be held responsible."  He said he was offering the books to schools because teachers had said that they could still be used.
   "They're delighted.  One teacher said she had had two books for 40 pupils, now she can give a book to every one.  It's my personal responsibility to do something with them instead of throwing the stuff away."  Erasmus said he would have to go through old paperwork to established how much he had paid for the books. .  Eastern Cape Education Department spokesman, Loyiso Pulumani, said the department would launch an urgent investigation, and added that the destruction or recycling of textbooks was not a policy of the department.  Meanwhile, section 27 will be hoping the High Court in Pretoria will on Tuesday grant an order forcing the Department of Education to supply textbooks to Limpopo schools by no later than May 31.

No comments:

Post a Comment