Lack of textbooks hampering learning at schools

02 June 2016 - 15:35 By Bongani Nkosi

Thousands of pupils in the country complete the first quarter of their schooling year without the full complement of required textbooks. Statistician-General Dr Pali Lehohla has revealed that 25% of pupils went the entire first quarter of 2015 without a full set of textbooks.At a media briefing in Pretoria‚ Lehohla released a report detailing findings of the 2015 General Household Survey.The survey provides the latest statistics on education‚ health‚ the labour market‚ dwellings‚ access to services and facilities‚ transport and the quality of life in South Africa.A lack of textbooks in schools became a thorny issue in 2012‚ when the government failed to buy the critical learning material for Limpopo pupils. Racist textbooks brought to bookBasic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has appointed a ministerial committee to investigate discriminatory and racist texts and pictures that may be contained in school textbooks.Textbook crisis could get jab from health sector modelCould the answer to the country's textbook woes be found in a financing model found to be successful in the health and vaccine sector?The report says “access to textbooks was much more constrained in 2015”.“In this year (2015) only 74.9% of learners had access to textbooks in all their subjects in quarter one. This increased to 81.1% in quarter 4.”Lehohla said this “impacts negatively on education” because pupils needed to start the year with the required number of textbooks to be able to learn properly.“You seen when you're hungry you want food now‚ because if the food comes much later you'll be dead.“It's exactly the same for schooling. You need everything that you need for schooling in the first quarter‚ rather than it coming in the second or third quarter.”Almost all textbooks are delivered by the fourth quarter. “Now what's the use of bringing all books in quarter four when you actually need them throughout the year?” asked Lehohla.“I think this is a problem of how do we manage the logistics to make the books available from day one because‚ after all‚ you have to pay the same money.“What's the use of paying all the money but only for a quarter of the year instead of paying all the money for the full year for children to get access to books? I think this is an issue that needs attention.”TMG Digital/Sowetan..

There’s never been a more important time to support independent media.

From World War 1 to present-day cosmopolitan South Africa and beyond, the Sunday Times has been a pillar in covering the stories that matter to you.

For just R80 you can become a premium member (digital access) and support a publication that has played an important political and social role in South Africa for over a century of Sundays. You can cancel anytime.

Already subscribed? Sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.