Workbook Programme expanded to more Grades

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretoria - The Department of Basic Education's Workbook Programme has been expanded to cover Grades 7, 8 and 9 learners with an amount of R811 million being allocated towards expanding the distribution of workbooks to Grade 9 learners.

Presenting the department's Budget Vote in Parliament on Thursday, Motshekga said this year 54 million books were being provided to learners at no cost to the parent or learner. "This is history in the making and we are proud of ourselves," said the minister.

"In line with our commitment to inclusive education, workbooks for Grades 1 to 6 were adapted and are currently being brailled. Grade 7 to 9 workbooks are also being adapted for Brailling," Motshekga said.

Responding to concerns raised regarding the programme, including packaging, delivery and quantities, Motshekga explained that with regard to textbooks, a national catalogue for Grades 1 to 3 and Grade 10 had been developed and distributed to provinces for procurement of core materials for schools.

"A national catalogue for Grades 4 to 6 and Grade 11 is being developed and will be finalised in June and July 2012. The development of a National Catalogue for Grades 7 - 9 and Grade 12 will be finalised during the current financial year," she explained.

About 4 424 500 Physical Science and Mathematics supplementary textbooks have also been distributed to all Grades 10 to 12 learners, in partnership with the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Turning on infrastructure, Motshekga announced that the total budget allocation for the Education Infrastructure Grant in the 2012/13 financial year was R5 822 398 billion - R93 215 million more than the adjusted budget of 2011/12 and R324 098 million more than the original budget.

She said that through the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), the department continued to do more to fast-track the provision and improvement of school infrastructure.

This programme has been given a further boost by being included in the work of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.

"The total Education Infrastructure Grant allocation for the 2011/12 financial year was R5 498 300 billion but during adjustments, this budget was increased to R 5 729 183 billion.

"Total spending on the adjusted budget as at the end of March 2012 is R5 254 316 billion or 92%. This spending is 12% higher than the 80% spending reported in 2010/11," she said.

Motshekga added that through the ASIDI, the department had set targets to meet, including the eradication of 496 inappropriate structures, the provision of basic water to 1257 schools, the provision of basic sanitation to 868 schools and the electrification of 878 schools.

Currently, 50 inappropriate schools are in construction for completion by the end of this year and expected to be ready for occupation in 2013.

In the 2011/12 financial year, 55 schools were provided with water, 115 with sanitation and 48 with electrification.

Motshekga noted that capacity challenges among implementing agents and contractors had resulted in programme delays, but that these were being rigorously tackled as the department was in the process of putting together framework agreements intended to provide to the sector more implementing agents, built environment professionals and contractors.