A STACK of textbooks left over from the previous year occupies a corner of a classroom. | KHAYA NGWENYA
A STACK of textbooks left over from the previous year occupies a corner of a classroom. | KHAYA NGWENYA

Learners urged to return loaned school textbooks

By Harvest Thwala Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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THE Department of Basic Education is calling on all learners to return loaned academic textbooks to ensure that every learner receives a textbook at the beginning of the new year.

“We are making a call to all grades, especially matrics, to return loaned textbooks so that it will be easy for both learners and teachers when the department tops up the books at the beginning of the year,” said Muzi Mahlambi, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson.

Low numbers of school textbooks are being returned to schools by pupils at the end of each year, costing the department millions of rand.

Sthembiso Sibiya, Principal at Bonela Secondary school in Durban, said that they were facing a big issue when it came to learners returning books. Last year, only 40% of the textbooks were returned.

“We have a retrieval policy that says on the day learners write the last paper of a particular subject they have to return those textbooks,” he said. “However, some learners don’t abide and there’s nothing we can do about it since the department won’t allow us to keep children’s progress reports until they bring back the books.”

The cost of providing new textbooks meant that in the senior grades not every pupil in KZN had a textbook of their own for every subject.

Speaking on the cost and availability of textbooks, Mahlambi said that at the moment the department could only provide one textbook per desk; however, if all learners can return their loaned textbook every learner can own a book.

“If all learners can return textbooks it means that when we top up textbooks at the beginning of the year the schools are going to have enough textbooks to give each learner,” he said.

Mahlambi said that if one learner does not return the book it affects a whole family.

“One child represents the whole family. If one learner doesn’t return a textbook, he/she is impacting the whole family of the child who’s suppose to be using the book.”

Sibiya has appealed to all parents to work with the schools in ensuring that textbooks were safeguarded and returned at the end of each year.

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