Pupils Speak Out: If you can’t give us textbooks, give us computers

This article is part of a weekly series by South African pupils. It offers them a chance to be part of the debate about their education system.

If pupils were given more textbooks, the pass rate would be higher. For example, at St John’s College in Mthatha pupils are given all the textbooks they need and the matric pass rate is between 80% and 100%, compared to Sea View High School in Zithulele, which doesn’t have enough textbooks and has a pass rate of less than 40%.

In Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape, there are more pupils than textbooks. For example, at Bazindlovu Senior Secondary School, 10 pupils share one textbook.

The minister should give computers to pupils if there is a lack of textbooks. It will make learning much easier for the pupils because it will encourage them to work harder.

Taking responsibility
Teachers at our schools say they have tried to order textbooks but they don’t get a response.

Some teachers give textbooks to pupils, who don’t take responsibility for them and they get lost. Other pupils don’t bring the textbooks back at the end of the year for future use, so it causes a shortage of textbooks for those who follow them.

Minister Angie Motshekga has said that all pupils need to have their own textbooks to study with and the department has tried to fulfil her wish by providing each and every school in the Eastern Cape with textbooks. But when schools are given textbooks, the teachers take some of them to give to their children in other schools.

The school governing body should oversee the teachers and how they are using the school’s money because the governing body members are the ones who care about the school’s progression.

The department must also take more control of textbooks. And the pupils should take more responsibility for their books by not losing them.

The pupils who wrote this comment piece are participants in a nongovernmental organisation’s writing programme that offers reading and writing guidance to grade 11 and 12 pupils at rural schools in the Eastern Cape. The pupils and the organisation asked to remain anonymous.

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