Learners who refuse to return textbooks and tablets that were issued by the Gauteng Education Department may face criminal charges.
Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi issued the warning on Tuesday, during a launch of the Textbooks and Tablet Retrieval Campaign, at Sebothoma Hall in Hammanskraal.
Lesufi said parents need to “play a pivotal role in reminding their children that withholding the department’s learning material is tantamount to theft and they are likely to be prosecuted.”
Last year, the department said 82 000 tablets were issued to Grade 12 pupils as part of the pilot project, but 9 865 were not returned.
The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has since been pleading with all learners who were issued with textbooks and tablets by the department, to return them to schools in good condition, saying it will enable other learners to be afforded the same opportunity next year.
Lesufi also pointed out that the purpose of the Textbooks and Tablet Retrieval campaign is to instil discipline and a sense of responsibility amongst learners regarding the adequate management and care of the department’s resources.
“The safe return of study material enables the department to plan on time for 2018 so that when schools reopen for the new academic year,” said Lesufi.
“In addition, this will save taxpayers money, which can be redirected to other educational purposes, such as the implementation of the GDE Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) strategy, rather than procurement.”
In conclusion, Lesufi said it is therefore vital that all textbooks and tablets be returned to schools after this year’s final exams, “as this impacts on the achievement of access to quality education in South Africa as a whole.”