OP-ED: Before we debate changes to sex education, let’s ask why the State is writing its own textbooks

OP-ED: Before we debate changes to sex education, let’s ask why the State is writing its own textbooks By Warren Kliphuis

16.5.2019

OP-ED: Before we debate changes to sex education, let’s ask why the State is writing its own textbooks By Warren Kliphuis

The Department of Basic Education has announced plans to write and publish its own school textbooks to save costs and combat shortages in schools. This may seem like a good idea but it will, in fact, have a negative impact on teachers, school children and the economy.

Schools do not have effective book-retention plans in place. This makes it difficult for some schools to retrieve books at the end of the year.

Schools face several challenges that compete for the budget. This means that funds allocated towards textbooks sometimes must be used for other priorities, such as repairs and maintenance.

Teachers will be stripped of their right to choose the textbooks that they want to use in class. Instead, they will be issued with a single state-published textbook;

Teachers with new ideas or unique works will struggle to get published when local publishing houses begin to shut down. This means that they will lose the incentive to write and share their knowledge;

Thousands of people will lose their jobs and livelihoods due to the closures;

The companies that are left over will inflate their prices to cope with lower demand, which, in turn, will make classroom resources more expensive;

Existing state-published textbooks are not “free”. A recent example showed that they are charged for, which negates the argument that substantial costs will be saved.

The DBE should call all interested parties to develop new textbooks;

The DBE should roll out a national procurement portal that allows schools to access real-time enrolment data and their budgets when ordering textbooks;

The DBE should budget for schools to order “buffer stock” of textbooks so that damaged or lost books can be replaced immediately.

Teachers can continue to contribute as authors, receiving acknowledgement and royalties for their work;

The local economy is stimulated, and economic growth in the sector is achieved.

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You sound like you are one of the authors of the books that will be kicked out or you own a publishing business. Having a prescribed book doesn’t mean you should be confined to it, it’s a teachers’ duty to recommend other useful reads and incorporate them into their teachings. Because it is cheaper

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