The Gauteng Department of Education has launched a campaign to urge all pupils who received tablets and textbooks from it this year, to return them promptly.

Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, said this will enable other pupils to be afforded the same opportunity in the next academic year.

Lesufi launched the Textbooks and Tablet Retrieval Campaign at Sebothoma Hall in Hammanskraal. The purpose of this campaign is to instill discipline and a sense of responsibility among pupils regarding the adequate management and care of the department’s resources.

In 2015, when the Paperless Classrooms were launched, 16 000 tablets were outstanding by the end of the year, most of which were gradually retrieved.

“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, we are ready to commence with teaching and learning. 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,” the department said.

“It is therefore vital that all textbooks and tablets be returned to schools after final exams, as this impacts on the achievement of access to quality education in South Africa as a whole.”

The department called on parents 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.