Media Release

6 July, 2012

Textbooks and workbooks provided to Kraaifontein schools.

Statement by the Western Cape Education Department

The schools visited by the ANC and SADTU yesterday include:

  • Wallacedene Primary School

  • Bloekombos Primary School

  • Ekuthuleni Primary School

  • Enkululekweni Primary School.

The production and delivery of workbooks is the function of the National Department of Basic Education based on orders placed by schools.

Textbooks are ordered by schools under the overall direction of the WCED. The direct role of the WCED and of individual schools varies in this process.

All schools in the province are required to:

  • submit details of all workbooks and textbooks ordered by them;

  • submit details of all workbooks and textbooks received by them; as well as

  • notify the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) of any shortages that they are experiencing in this regard.

To date, the WCED has ensured the delivery of all textbooks which were ordered by the schools concerned and which were supplied by the service providers concerned. Textbook shortages are caused where there is a growth in learner numbers during the school year; where the school has not ordered sufficient books; and/or where the service provider is unable to provide the books ordered immediately.

According to information provided to the WCED by the principals of the schools visited yesterday:

  • Each school had received textbooks that they had ordered for the relevant grades at the beginning of the year; and

  • Each school confirmed delivery of the Workbook 1. Some but not all of the four schools confirmed delivery of the Workbook 2 (as explained above). These workbooks are due to be used in the second half of the school year. The WCED has reported these shortages to the National Department of Basic Education. Delivery of these books is expected before the beginning of the third term;

The WCED has written confirmation that Maths textbooks for Grades 1 to 3 and Reading schemes for Grades 1 to 3 were delivered to the relevant schools. These additional textbooks and readers were provided over and above what is nationally prescribed.

Included below is a copy of the data submitted by the principals of each of the schools concerned, which confirms the above.

In October 2011, Western Cape schools were required to order their workbooks for 2012 and were requested to report shortages to their respective education district offices. The language of instruction for learners in Grades 1 to 3 at Wallacedene Primary School is isiXhosa. Wallacedene Primary School ordered Maths and Life Skills workbooks in isiXhosa but did not place an order for English First Additional Language for Foundation Phase (Grades 1 to 3) learners. The National Department of Basic Education has confirmed delivery of the workbooks ordered. The school also ordered and received Maths textbooks and teacher guides for Grades 1 to 3 from the WCED. In addition, the WCED supplied Grade 1 learners with additional Maths textbooks and, due to learner growth, topped up the textbooks provided for Grades 2 and 3. The WCED also supplied the school with First Additional Language English readers for learners that speak isiXhosa.

We are aware of a limited shortage of textbooks at Bloekombos Primary School as a result of a default by the service provider. The WCED has re-ordered these books and we expect these to be delivered in time for the start of the third term. The school received the required workbooks for Grades 1 to 3 in March 2012. The school received an allocation of more than R330,000.00 for textbooks but placed a textbook order to the value of R113,861.66.

Ekuthuleni Primary School reported a shortage of Grade 6 workbooks in the first school term. The school received the workbooks ordered for Grade 6 learners from the National Department of Basic Education in March 2012.

If there are any additional shortages then these were not reported to the Department by the schools concerned. We will investigate and assist our schools should there be shortages reported.

One must also remember that it is the responsibility of the school to also ensure that they have the required textbooks and make additional orders in terms of their norms and standards allocation for textbooks, if necessary.


The fact is that the WCED has gone above and beyond in textbook allocation to schools. We are currently preparing to deliver about 1.6 million textbooks needed for the 2013 school year. This is over and above the additional R240 million that schools can spend on textbooks from funding allocated to them in terms of national norms and standards.

The department has publicly committed itself to provide the textbooks free of charge to learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11.

This is in line with the commitment we made last year that over a three year period all children from Grade 1 to 12 will receive a textbook in every subject that they are taking. This year learners in Grades 1, 2 and 3 received maths textbooks and readers and Grade 10 received textbooks in all the subjects they are taking. We are now preparing to roll-out the next stage of our plan to include learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11.

In order to make it easier for schools to order textbooks, schools also can now go online and use the new textbooks ordering system which was introduced last year in a pilot for the ordering of books for Grade 10.

Schools will now use the system to order textbooks for Grades 4 to 6 and Grade 11 from the national catalogues due for publication in July this year. The WCED will distribute the catalogues electronically as soon as it is published.

The system offers schools a choice of textbooks from the national catalogues of CAPS-approved textbooks while also making it as easy as possible to place orders online.

In terms of the plan, the WCED is investing R144 million this year on textbooks for schools.

The WCED has also asked schools to ensure that they update information on the department's central education management information system to ensure correct orders. The information must include the number of learners per grade, subjects and first and second languages.

Click here for a report on the online delivery of textbooks to schools.

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2012 Western Cape Education Department