In expressing their concerns, teachers and the entire school decided to hold a Book Retrieval Awareness Day at the school on May 29.
Pamphlets, posters and banners with the importance of keeping textbooks safe and neat on them were pasted all over the school walls on the day.
Learners who were tasked to perform drama and poetry on stage also made sure they sent the message across to other learners in a fun way as they performed interesting drama and poems about book retrieval, while others were holding up posters behind those who were performing.
Other learners moved from the gate around the schoolyard carrying posters and pamphlets with the aim of sending the message to other learners.
This is actually a common problem all over the country as the Department of Education spends a lot of money on buying textbooks.
If learners do not return the textbooks to the school it has a negative effect on the department’s budget.
Bertha Mahlatji, a teacher at the school who came up with the idea of having the campaign at school, said the situation is bad.
“If each and every learner can look after the book loaned to them, the department can use the money they spend on the textbooks every year on doing something else which can benefit and improve learners’ education.”
She mentioned the steps the school takes in order to make sure the number of textbooks lost every year is reduced:
• We request that the learners cover the textbooks so they won’t get damaged and dirty.
• We involve parents by making sure they sign forms that indicate their children did receive textbooks.
• If a learner has lost textbooks, parents are requested to make an arrangement with the school to pay back the value of the lost textbooks. Either they buy a new book and return it at the end of the year or pay a fine of R100 per book.
Mahlatji said this reduces learners damaging and misplacing textbooks.
She encouraged children to take care of the textbooks.
“One textbook these learners read today will help to benefit the next generation if they take care of it. Even if the syllabus changes the information contained in the textbooks does not change. So it is guaranteed that these textbooks will help these children’s children as well as their grandchildren,” Mahlatji said.