Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Government plans to resource libraries fully

In September 2010, Dr J.C Kloppers Lourens (DA) asked the minister of basic education whether the Government has taken any steps to resource school libraries fully.

In her reply the minster was asked to address plans and proposed time lines for her department to provide every school in the country with a (i) properly equipped library and (ii) trained school librarian.

Children from schools in and around Soweto surrounded by books at a READ-CNA in-store reading.
In her reply the minister pointed out that this is something the department had been working on To address the infrastructure provisioning holistically two significant documents have  been developed namely the: 

  • National Policy for an Equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment. Through this policy, the department says it will realize the provision of all essential spaces and facilities, including school libraries. This policy is to be followed by the Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure. 
  • National School Library and Information Services Guidelines. Through these guidelines provision and support of libraries in the system will be addressed.
In terms of the Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure all new schools will have libraries. National Treasury has allocated an additional R2b for the next two financial years to provide libraries, laboratories and grade R classrooms 2011 and 2012. This amount is over and above the infrastructure budget allocated to provinces. The department is said to be in the process of developing a strategy that aims to accelerate the delivery of schools infrastructure and more specifically, aimed at the improvement of existing  schools infrastructure to achieve Optimum Functionality level in targeted schools infrastructure  within the 2010-2014 Strategic Plan Period and beyond. The targets related to this initiative are being finalised. From their budgets this year, provinces are meant to be providing 146 libraries to new and existing schools.

The minister added that the provision of teacher librarians would have to be made within the context of broad post provision according to priority needs.

We trust government will deliver on the said targets and that all children will have access to the ultimate windows of the world...Books

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