Supply chain management challenges faced by public schools: an Umzinyathi district, KwaZulu-Natal case study.
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The South African Schools Act No. 84 of 1996 states that all learners should be provided with a high quality of education and in so doing to lay a strong foundation for the development of learners’ talents and capabilities. The act provides a clear framework so that everyone can understand the South African education system. However, the education system faces many challenges, particularly with regard to public schools. For example, there is a shortage of textbooks within the public schools, so that a considerable number of learners must share textbooks, which negatively impacts their learning. Against this background, the aim of the study was to identify the supply chain management challenges faced by public schools in the Umzinyathi district and to explore how these challenges could be managed and addressed. The study is descriptive and exploratory, and a qualitative approach was used. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 20 stakeholders in the DoE. The stakeholders were selected by means of a non-probability sampling method. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings revealed that the main supply chain challenges centred around three themes, namely, procurement challenges, service delivery or logistics challenges, and demand challenges. These challenges negatively impact on learners’ education. The study recommends that the public schools should be directly involved in the procurement processes to avoid any delays, shortages and over pricing, amongst other challenges. Furthermore, communication around supply chain challenges faced by public schools between DoE and school principals needs to be improved. The contribution of this study is twofold. Firstly, it adds to the existing body of literature by identifying the challenges experienced in the country’s public education and, secondly, the findings and recommendations could be useful in order to address the supply chain challenges faced by public school for stakeholders in the South African public education sector.