NELSON Mandela Bay primary school pupils have still not received crucial workbooks required for assignments and examinations, despite the district department saying schools would receive full consignments by Friday last week.
The Herald reported last week that thousands of pupils in the district, and more across the Eastern Cape, were still waiting for literacy and numeracy workbooks for lessons after incorrect consignments were delivered.
The provincial Education Department said the outstanding consignments had arrived at the weekend and would be delivered shortly.
According to the DA, the problem is as a result of the provincial department not monitoring and updating information on its Education Management and Information System (EMIS). The provincial department has denied this was the cause of the glitch.
Meanwhile, Sapphire Road Primary School principal Sylvia Frans said the situation had not improved and the school was still waiting for workbooks. The school also returned Xhosa books that were delivered as it did not have any classes taught in the language.
"The children need those books as they contain assignments that are needed for tests and exams that are coming up,” Frans said.
Education Department district director Dr Nyathi Ntsiko said he had been getting the blame despite the national Basic Education Department being responsible for deliveries of workbooks directly to schools. "We [the district department] cannot give a timeframe on when the deliveries will take place because we are reliant on the national department,” he said.
"We have [education development officers] working closely with principals to find out what they still require so we can communicate this to the national department.”
DA spokesman Edmund van Vuuren said while the onus was on the national department to deliver the books, the provincial department needed to communicate and verify numbers to ensure consignments were correct. He said the DA had identified 20 schools that were experiencing the workbooks shortage but there could be more.
Last week, Ntsiko said only 10% of the district’s 170 schools had experienced incorrect consignments.
Van Vuuren said the national department received its numbers via the EMIS, which needed to be updated regularly by the provincial department to ensure it had accurate and up-to-date information.
"We believe both the national and provincial departments are at fault. The provincial department needs to follow up with the national department to ensure the speedy delivery of these workbooks,” he said.
The DA said yesterday it had also discovered thousands of textbooks that had been burnt in and around the Education Department district warehouse in Fort Beaufort. Boxes of books still in their packaging were also discovered.
Provincial department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said the textbooks belonged to the old Cape College building in Fort Beaufort that had been closed down for more than 10 years and was burnt by suspected arsonists last month. He said the textbooks that had been burnt were not used anymore.
Pulumani said the problem had arisen because the national department had to distribute millions of workbooks to schools across South Africa, and not because of incorrect EMIS data. "In future we hope to see the distribution done from province to ensure this problem does not happen again.”
Basic Education Department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi did not immediately respond to questions.