The Western Cape Government welcomes the interim report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on textbook delivery country wide. The interim report indicates that the Western Cape has delivered 100% of its textbook requirements to schools for the 2013 school year.
In the last few years, the Western Cape Education Department has tested and implemented a electronic process of textbook procurement to ensure that all textbook requirements at schools are ordered and delivered.
This process begins with explaining to schools and other relevant role players in Districts and Head Office the provisioning process. This includes the expected date of receipt of the national catalogue of CAPS textbooks and specific guidelines on how to capture their individual CAPS textbook selections using an online ordering process. The online function has been developed by the WCED based on the textbooks in the national catalogue.
The national catalogue is then distributed to schools electronically.
In order to assist schools in making appropriate textbook selections, the WCED, in collaboration with publishers, holds book exhibitions at selected venues in all education districts. Teachers are encouraged to attend these exhibitions where approved textbooks are on display.
Schools are then required to capture their CAPS textbook selections on CEMIS within the relevant timeframe, which is communicated to schools.
Once this process is complete, the selected service providers are invited to send quotations, prices are agreed to and orders are prepared per publisher. The textbooks are then printed and delivered to individual schools by publishers.
The WCED monitors textbook delivery using the School Improvement Plan System (SIPS) – an online management tool that requires each principal to submit and update a set of school-based information, including textbooks.
If schools identify shortages due to learner growth, school expansion and/or the addition of a new grade or subject, the WCED will then order and supply these books during the first quarter of the term.
This process, as described above, proved successful during the 2012/13 textbook provisioning process in the Western Cape.
CAPS textbooks were ordered by primary schools and secondary schools using the online ordering system in July and August 2012 and books were delivered to schools by the 30 November 2012.
In January and February 2013, various schools reported textbook shortages due to learner growth or subject changes. These textbooks were ordered and delivered to schools before 28 March 2013.
We are, however, cognizant of the fact that schools may require further textbooks throughout the school year for a variety of reasons, such as to provide for new learners entering the province or changing schools, or to cover losses of textbooks by the learners. Schools are required to urgently use their Norms and Standards funds to procure these textbooks, as required.
I am delighted that the Western Cape has been acknowledged for its management of textbook delivery and look forward to a smooth procurement process for the 2014 school year.
We are now preparing to roll-out the next stage of our plan to include learners in Grades 7 to 9 and further textbooks for Grade12. R175.8 million will be allocated to this third and final roll-out in the next financial year. Schools are encouraged to show their commitment to their learners by ordering their textbooks timeously.
Once this has been completed, I will have fulfilled my commitment that I made in the Legislature over two year ago, to ensure that all learners in this province will have in their hands a textbook in every core subject they are taking by the end of 2013/ 2014.