Public schools call on government to provide sufficient stationery

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Parents from underprivileged homes in Gqeberha are calling for government to provide sufficient stationery in all public schools. This as schools issue stationery lists to be bought by parents, despite the government delivering.

The school governing body of one of the public schools in Gqeberha claims that the stationery provided by the government is not enough.

Parents still need to add to the stationery, which includes cleaning materials. Underprivileged families are mostly affected by this, as they are faced with the challenge of having to buy school uniforms and stationery.

SGB member Nompumelelo Khasibe says even the cleaning materials for a school are insufficient and parents have to help.

“We do ask for stationery; we have to come to the parents to help us overcome the problems and difficulties we endure at school. The classrooms must be clean, which is why we must ask for soap and toilet paper. It is easy for us if we are working together with the parents to buy those things that we need here at school.”

One parent says, “The stationery list affects us as parents a lot because some of us are unemployed, some of us depend on grant money, and we do not have money at all. Even now, I haven’t bought anything. I have told the teacher I will buy them later, when I get my grant money. We are broke, but we do anything we can to support our kids.”

Another parent says, “It is very difficult because the grant we are getting from the government is not enough for just the stationery, so it is even worse because they need to buy other things besides the stationery.”

Eastern Cape Education Department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima says the shortage of materials at schools is sometimes due to over-admission.

“The shortage of stationery is due to individual school needs. The department does provide the core stationery to each individual school, despite that. To ensure that there is enough stationery each year, the department normally receives the request from the school, processes them, and then, after that, the school receives stationery based on the quest or an affordable budget. Secondly, an increased enrolment is due to a shortage because some schools do enroll learners in January, leading to numbers that have been above the number that was initially reported and budgeted for.”

It’s been a week since schools were opened for the 2024 academic year, and the parents are hoping the government will come up with a solution on this matter.

Report by Sinethemba Witi