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Supplementary information on the LTSM procurement and delivery Processes in Limpopo, 17 December 2014

 

The Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statements, popularly known as the CAPS, were implemented in Grades 1-3 and 10 in the 2012 school calendar year; Grades 4-6 and 11 in the 2013 school calendar; and finally in Grades 7-9 and 12 in the 2014 school calendar year.  The phased-in approach to the implementation of the CAPS was a strategic decision taken by the education authorities to allow among many other reasons, for the proper training of educators; and to give adequate time for the publishers to produce the CAPS-aligned textbooks in a systematic way.  It is important to recall that the production of textbooks was preceded by a rigorous process of the compilation National Catalogues for CAPS-aligned textbooks for each of the Grades.

 

Any procurement and delivery process of the requisite learning and teaching support materials (LTSMs – both CAPS-aligned textbooks, and stationery packs) is dependent on accurate and reliable learner data, and more importantly on the availability of a budget for this purpose.  It has been widely reported that during the 2011/12 financial year, the Limpopo Department of Education did not have a budget for the procurement and delivery of LTSMs for the 2012 school calendar year; despite the first phased-in implementation of the CAPS in Grade 1-3 and 10 in 2012.  It is also important to recall that the LTSM procurement and delivery process of the ensuing year is customarily done a year earlier.  Therefore, during the 2011/12 financial year, the Limpopo Department of Education could not procure and deliver the CAPS-aligned textbooks for Grades 1-3 and 10 for the 2012 school calendar year; but could only afford to procure and deliver stationery packs for all Grades for the 2012 academic year.  This was the main source of the textbook crisis during the 2012 school calendar year in Limpopo.

 

As part of the section 100(1)(b) intervention, a conscious decision was taken to utilise the 2012/13 LTSM budget for the 2012 LTSM procurement and delivery processes.  Again, it is important to emphasise the point that these funds were intended for the 2013 LTSM procurement and delivery processes (i.e., for the CAPS-aligned textbooks for Grades 4-6 and 11; and stationery packs for all the Grades).  It must also be stated that the National and Provincial Treasuries made funds available during the 2012/13 budget adjustment process to enable the Limpopo Department of Education to procure and deliver CAPS-aligned textbooks for Grades 4-6 and 11, and stationery packs for all the Grades (Grades R-12).

The discounted prices referred to, were as a result of focused negotiations with publishers for the reduction of textbook prices to levels much lower than those published in the National Catalogues.  The reduced prices generously offered to the Limpopo Department of Education by the publishers, was for us, a clear indication of the social consciousness demonstrated by the publishers, especially at a time when the Limpopo Department of Education was faced with serious budget challenges.  The condition to the reduced prices was specifically tied to the Grades and the school calendar year in which the CAPS were implemented.  Therefore, at all times, it was ideal for the Department to capitalise on the resultant economies of scale as far as was practicably possible, pending the availability of the budget.

 

The 2014 school calendar year is the last year for the phased-in implementation of the CAPS.  Therefore, as from the 2015 school calendar year, the Limpopo Department of Education, similarly all other provincial education departments, will be topping-up the consignments already delivered to the schools.  We also wish to remind you about a national policy for the retrieval of textbooks by our schools, which determines that schools must retrieve a minimum of 90% of the textbooks per Grade already delivered to the respective schools.  Textbook top-ups by their very nature, do not imply the procurement of the complete consignments of textbooks already delivered, but a reasonable quantity of those textbooks.  If schools had adhered to the 90% minimum retrieval rate per textbook per Grade, the Limpopo Department of Education would have topped-up each textbook per Grade by a reasonable 10%.

 

The administrative management of the Limpopo Department of Education decided to top-up all CAPS-aligned textbooks for all Grades by 20% instead to create a buffer considering the history in the province. This was the case only with Limpopo as all other provinces only ordered 10% as required.  This was done to keep a reasonable buffer stock at the central warehouse.  As indicated earlier, one of the essential factors considered in LTSM procurement and delivery processes, are learner numbers.  The fact that there are learner movements among schools within the province, and movements of learners from schools in other provinces to Limpopo (in some cases neighbouring countries), a need does arise to augment to the quantities of textbooks already delivered to the schools.  The buffer stock is intended to deal with situations such as these.

 

We therefore wish to emphasise that the Limpopo Department of Education benefitted enormously from the reduced textbook prices offered by publishers.  We further wish to deny that there was failure by Government, and more particularly the Limpopo Department of Education, to take advantage of the “discounted prices by the publishers”.  Government, and particularly the Limpopo Department of Education, benefitted from these discounted prices to the extent necessary.

 

 

At a meeting with the administrative leadership of both the Limpopo Department of Education and the Department of Basic Education, the publishers themselves indicated that the reduced textbook prices could not be feature in perpetuity. 

We agreed with the publishers as the reduced prices were in the first place, offered specifically for the Grades in which the CAPS was implemented, and strictly on the year of the CAPS implementation.  The bona fides of the officials could have been questioned if they had denied any knowledge of these conditions.

 

Below is the information on the basis of which textbook top-up orders for the 2015 school calendar year were based.  The quantities of textbook orders placed for the cluster of Grades are tabulated below:

 

Table 1: The quantities of textbook orders placed for the cluster of Grades in Limpopo

Date

Grade

Decision of data

Quantities ordered

Quantities delivered by Publishers

April 2014

1-6 & 10-11

For Grades 1-3: same quantities as those ordered in 2012;

For Grades 4 & 10: 20% of the quantities ordered in 2012; and

For Grades 5, 6 & 11: 15% of the quantities ordered in 2012

 

 

 

 

1 180 072

 

 

 

 

1 180 072

August 2014

7-9 & 12

20% of the quantities ordered for 2014

1 090 621

1 090 621

November 2014

4-6 & 10-12

Requisitions received from schools & uploaded in the system

960 949

588 138 (61.20%)

(as at Friday, 15 December 2014)

TOTAL

3 231 642

2 658 303

 

It must be noted that the CAPS-aligned textbooks delivered to Grades 1-3 included what are called “Readers”, “Big Books”, and “Phonics”, which in the main are resource materials for educators.  Simply put, these materials can be regarded as teacher guides so to speak.  These materials are delivered as packs of 10.  We suspect that the City Press might have counted these resource materials as individual books, instead of packs of 10 per consignment – hence the bloated numbers of 4 315 793.  It is a pity that the City Press totally relied on its informant, who we must be allowed to say, we have no desire to elevate his / her importance by responding.

 

All the textbook quantities tabulated above, are part of the 2015 top-up orders.  It must be stated that as at Friday, 12 December 2014, the South African Post Office had delivered 20% of the CAPS-aligned textbooks per subject per Grade to all schools in Limpopo.  These deliveries exclude the orders placed in November 2014, as those textbooks are part of the buffer stock, which will be delivered to schools as per verified needs.

 

We must state that an analysis of the requisitions submitted by Limpopo schools, shows that there are schools that placed orders for more than twice their enrolments per Grade per subject on the average.  The most disturbing revelation, were orders equivalent to 510% of the consignment per subject per Grade delivered to Limpopo schools.  This implies that five CAPS-aligned textbooks were ordered for a particular subject per learner for a particular Grade by the affected schools.  Surely, such levels of pervasiveness cannot be condoned, and schools must be made to account.

 

Conscientious South Africans must continue to make a clarion call to schools to retrieve the textbooks at the end of each school calendar year.  Our CAPS-aligned textbooks have been quality assured for a five-year shelf-life.  Everyone – learners, parents, and educators – have a responsibility to look after our textbooks, and more importantly return these textbooks at the end of each school calendar year.  While the State has a responsibility to promote the rights of access of children to quality education, it must be the responsibility of all concerned to ensure that State resources do not go to waste.  There is no country in the world that can afford to constantly procure and deliver textbooks for such high numbers of learners.  It puts a responsibility on all of us, to ensure maximum textbook retrieval at the end of each school calendar year.  With the current fiscal constraints facing the country, no department, the Limpopo Department of Education is no exception, is absolved from ensuring the maximum and economic utilisation of its resources.  The CAPS-aligned textbooks are such an important resource, which should not be allowed to go to waste.

 

The quantities of CAPS-aligned textbooks as tabulated above are budgeted for.  The requests by schools, which culminated into the orders placed in November 2014, resulted in a potential budget shortfall of less than R10 million, which the Department can cover.

 

The intervention in the five Limpopo provincial departments in terms of section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution, which include the Department of Education, was a determination of the national executive – Cabinet.  It can only be Cabinet with the concurrence of the National Council of Province that can pronounce on the status of the section 100(1)(b) intervention in the Limpopo Department of Education, and its four sister departments.

 

The Administrators seconded by Cabinet to the five Limpopo provincial departments are still in those five departments, until Cabinet determines otherwise.  The choice for the Administrators to leave those five departments, is definitely not theirs, but that of Cabinet.  In a nutshell, it is the prerogative of the relevant authorities to revoke the intervention in terms of section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution from the five Limpopo provincial departments.

 

Despite the financial challenges in Limpopo in 2012, the province has procured textbooks for all grades since 2012 to the value of? The negotiation with publishers to lower prices allowed the province to procure sufficient quantities to provide a textbook per learner per subject, in addition to graded readers and teacher guides. The quantity of books procured is significantly higher than other provinces in comparison, and with lower budgets. For the grades 7-9 and 12 alone the province ordered 4 969 213 textbooks at an average cost of R45.00 compared to larger provinces such as EC and KZN that ordered 4 333 127 and 1 605 466 respectively for these grades at an average cost of above R90.00 per book. The total number of CAPS textbooks ordered for grades 4-12 over the past years is detailed in the table below:

 

Table 2: The total number of CAPS textbooks ordered for grades 4-12 from 2012 - 2014

Grade

2012

2013

2014

Supplementary 2014

Grand Total

4

 

691 467

136 282

69 952

897 701

5

 

709 201

131 411

54 523

895 135

6

 

700 677

130 906

53 597

885 180

7

 

 

1 673 663

 

1 673 663

8

 

 

1 591 390

 

1 591 390

9

 

 

2 189 747

 

2 189 747

10

958 762

 

3 989

77 663

81 652

11

 

1 011 546

2 911

54 881

1 069 338

12

 

 

882 659

31

882 690

Grand Total

958 762

4 465 210

6 742 958

338 286

11 546 454

 

The status of delivery of top ups for the 2015 school year to date are detailed in the table below:

 

Table 3: The status of delivery of top ups for the 2015 as at 17 December 2014

2015 SCHOOL DELIVERY SUMMARY @ 17 DECEMBER 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISTRICT

SCHOOLS IN PROVINCE

SCHOOL ORDERS  RECEIVED

SCHOOLS PICK

SCHOOL DELIVERED

VARIANCE OUTSTANDING(SCHOOLS)

PERCENTAGE  OUTSTANDING

PERCENTAGE DELIVERED

CAPRICORN

914

910

910

910

0

0.00%

100.00%

MOPANI

688

687

687

687

0

0.00%

100.00%

SEKHUKHUNE

910

908

908

908

0

0.00%

100.00%

VHEMBE

954

953

953

953

0

0.00%

100.00%

WATERBERG

446

446

446

383

63

14.13%

85.87%

Total

3912

3904

3904

3841

63

1.61%

98.39%

 

Retrieval of Textbooks

 

Reports received from Limpopo province shows retrieval rate at an average of 90% for all grades. This is in keeping with reports received from other provinces and is the outcome of the process of institutionalising textbook retrieval in the sector. It therefore stands top reason that the LDoE has more than addressed textbook shortages given that procurement was as high as 25%

 

Issued by the Department of Basic Education

Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 1/11/2016
Number of Views: 2883

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