South Africa: Workbooks and textbooks a right for every learner

Pretoria – Proper textbooks and workbooks is a right that every school-going child should have, says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Speaking at a colloquium where education officials and experts held a discussion on how workbooks can be tailored to address the department’s specific needs, the minister said good textbooks could not be compensation for weaknesses in teacher preparation and commitment.

“Teachers and textbooks are both vital and go hand in hand, without guidance students may not have an automatic interest in books and without knowledge and interest, teachers will not have an interest in using them effectively, so we need both teachers and texts,” Motshekga said on Wednesday.

The minister said the colloquium, which brings together various education stakeholders, needed to go beyond lamenting about how badly children and teachers are doing and rather begin to identify and tackle specific areas of weakness.

She noted that the National Teacher Development Stakeholder Conference held in 2009 had led to a research and consultative process that was now coming to fruition with several proposals that need to be finalized with Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande.

“Whereas the Department of Higher Education and Training will be focused on proposals related to pre-service education, the Basic Education will be and is focused on proposals related to continuing professional education and development,” Motshekga said.

Among the recommendations to consider include those for development of courses targeted at specific officials and teachers.

“These courses need to be both pedagogically sound and content rich, they need to help us address those content gaps that this colloquium should help us tease out.”

The department is also in a process of developing workbooks in maths and literacy for Grades 1 to 6 that will be distributed to schools next year.

Source – BuaNews – by Gabi Khumalo