Johannesburg: Gauteng has put a clear plan in place to ensure that textbooks are delivered in schools on time before the start of the 2013 academic year, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy announced on Tuesday.
Briefing Members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on the procurement of textbooks, Creecy said: “We have put in place clear processes to ensure that all textbooks are delivered in schools on time before the start of the new academic year.
“There are no expected delays in deliveries; however, it should be noted that publishers take between 8 to 12 weeks to print and deliver the orders placed.”
The MEC said this week, a senior management team will be visiting all schools across the province to ensure that the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) processes are on track and ready for the 2013 academic year.
She said publishers have been identified at national level and national prices for the approved textbooks have been agreed upon with the publishers.
This, she said, was being done to ensure that remedial measures are put in place at schools where there is insufficient preparation and readiness for the new academic year.
Creecy will also conduct school visits on Friday, especially in the Sedibeng area, as part of the school readiness programme.
“We will ensure that schools are on track and they are optimally utilising their resources in preparation for the next academic year. The LTSM process for 2013 has been adjusted to ensure timeous delivery of both CAPS textbooks for the new implementing grades and top-up materials for the [other] grades,” Creecy said.
According to the MEC, the process of appointing EduSolutions as a service provider has been fair, procedural and cost effective. EduSolutions is paid a management fee for providing management, ordering, procurement, warehousing and distribution services in the delivery of LTSM to schools.
Creecy said the procurement of LTSM was managed centrally for section 20 schools. These schools are not self-managing and are dependent on the department to procure on their behalf.
In the 2012/13 financial year, section 20 schools received R73 million earmarked for LTSM for the 2013 academic year, while self-managing schools (section 21) received a cash transfer from the department to manage directly.
In total, R588 million was transferred to section 21 schools for LTSM procurement for the 2013 academic year.
The MEC said the procurement process for section 20 schools for top-up LTSM for Grades 1-4, 6-10, 11 and 12 began in June 2012, with schools placing orders through the appointed service provider.
The service provider is responsible for sourcing, procuring, warehousing and delivering LTSM to schools.
“They in turn ensure that schools receive their deliveries before October 31, 2012 for orders placed in June this year. As we speak, deliveries are already underway at schools,” said Creecy.
She said the contract was awarded to EduSolutions with the provision that based on their good performance, the contract would be extended for a further and final two-year period.
She said after the performance review and legal compliance checking by internal and independent auditors on March 30 last year, the department extended the contract for a further two years and it will end in March 2013.
The department is also centrally procuring LTSM for the literacy and numeracy subjects across the primary school grades. The materials include lesson plans for teachers, graded readers and library materials for schools.
Creecy said the delivery of Workbook 1 for the 2013 academic year has begun and will be completed by the end of November later this year. Workbooks used in schools are part of a national programme by the Department of Basic Education.