Teachers are tired of supplying students with stationery

Peeved teachers have had it with forking out for pupils’ stationery.

Several of them have taken to Facebook ahead of the reopening of schools, Netwerk24 reported.

A teacher at a rural school says in the past she’s often paid for stationery herself, but no more.

“The parents expect the school or teacher to provide it and if I don’t give them a pen or pencil, the pupils won’t have anything to write with.”

She has 45 pupils in her class, 15 of whom buy some or all of their own stationery.

Lending pencils to pupils also isn’t an option.

“Some pupils literally chew up a pencil within two days.”

Pupils must ‘work hard’ for pens

She said most of the parents are unemployed and don’t have any money for stationery. She’s spoken to them, “but they don’t do anything about it”.

Stationery does not come cheap. Even for a learner in Grade 0 it could cost around R370.

A teacher at a farm school has also had enough.

“I spent about R900 per term, but no more.”

She doesn’t know what she’ll do with pupils who don’t have stationery. “I’ll probably give in… but it’s not as if teachers get good salaries.”

A teacher at a school in a poor area says he’s managed to get sponsors for pens, but “the pupil must work hard for it and gets only one pen”.

National Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says provincial departments are responsible for providing stationery to state-funded schools. It varies between schools and provinces, but each pupil will get the “minimum basic items”.

The deputy head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, Dr Jaco Deacon, says the quality of the stationery at times is poor.

Limited school budgets

Article 21 schools that have opted out of the centralised provincial purchasing system have to buy the stationery themselves from money allocated to them by the province.

Some of that money must also go towards water, electricity, maintenance and textbooks.

Schools are only allowed to spend a certain percentage of the money on books and after those have been paid for, little is left for stationery.

Deacon said stationery should be covered by the school fees parents are expected to pay.

The school’s budget is approved by parents at a meeting at the end of the year.

Deacon said parents should attend and ask if all the items on the list are essential. Every item should be justified.

In Gauteng, the stationery needed for a Grade 0 pupil at Northmead Primary School in Benoni costs R370.

The 22 items needed include scissors of a specific size, chalk, plastic bags, a wooden puzzle, a stick of glue, water paint and a colouring-in book.

At Pierneef Primary School in Pretoria, a Grade 1 pupil’s stationery costs R440. The 32 items include a skipping rope.

Grades 4 to 7 pupils at Voorpos Primary School need, among other things, a dictionary and mathematics and oil pastel sets.

By Jeanne-Marié Versluis for Netwerk24

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