Department of Basic Education on 4th Quarterly Performance Progress Report 2010
The Department of Basic Education briefed Members on its Fourth Quarterly Performance Progress Report for the 2010/11 financial year. The Department gave an overview of progress in its main programmes. Key issues in administration included converting the Draft Education Laws Amendment Bill into three: the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, the Higher Education Laws Amendment Bill and the Higher Education and Training Laws Amendment Bill in line with the Department's re-organisation. The National Education Evaluation and Development Unit Bill was presented at the Minister’s Management Meeting. The European Union funding for the Primary Education Sector Policy Support Policy programme was received into the Reconstruction and Development Programme account at National Treasury. The South Africa-China Basic Education Agreement was signed in March 2011 in Beijing. Key curriculum issues included the Workbook Project, and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, Documents and Training. The Minister hosted discussions on information and communication technologies in education. The Learner workbook, Book 1 for Grades 1-6, had been developed and distributed to 19 000 public primary schools in the nine provinces. The second volume of 105 workbooks was handed to the printers between 22 February and 31 March. It was envisaged that the books would be printed and the second consignment of books delivered to 19 000 Public primary schools by 24 June 2011. Grades 1-4 English and Afrikaans workbooks for numeracy and literacy were adapted to Braille. Grade 1-2 workbooks and a selection of Grades 10-12 textbooks were submitted for Braille reproduction. Other issues highlighted included the following: an analysis of the profiles of Funza Lushaka graduates showed that most bursaries were awarded to Further Education and Training phase specialisation. Few Foundation and Intermediate Phase bursary beneficiaries were able to teach in an African Language. In 10-15 years, over 90 000 teachers were due to retire. Interest in teaching as a career had shown significant improvement. Over 30 000 applications for the Funza Lushaka bursary were received. 10 073 students were funded. The Annual National Assessment tests were distributed to provincial education departments in January and February 2011. Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System progress report and targets were presented at the Education Management Information System Heads of Education Departments Committee Sub-Committee Meeting of 16–17 March 2011 and at the System’s Steering Committee Meeting of 15 March 2011. The Integrated plan for School Sport had been approved by the Council of Education Ministers. Preparations for the establishment of School Sports Leagues had been completed. Ministers of Basic Education and Police signed the Protocol on collaboration for safe schools. Safe School Committees had been established in 10 263 schools, whereas the target had been 8000 schools nationally. The training of adjudicators and conductors for the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod in 2011 was conducted from 29 – 30 January 2011. A project to train teachers in multi-grade teaching was for the first time implemented nationally. Empirical research had been completed to develop a Social Cohesion Toolkit for schools and school communities to support excellence in education. Financial statements were presented. The Department believed that the link between planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation was improving progressively across the Department.
Members asked what happened to the remaining 20 000 applications to the Funza Lushaka scheme, for copies of all the laws governing the provision of education in South Africa, the Department for details of its School Governing Body support tool, for clarity on the Annual National Assessments tests, about the Department’s National School Nutrition Programme, appealed that every school should have a safe school committee as a matter of priority, asked how the Department ensured that these school safety committees really did meet regularly and effectively with the police, about the integrated quality management system, if there had been a need for the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit Bill, if the European Union funding for primary schools would be for curriculum or for infrastructure and what its focus was, if the basic education agreement with China was posted on the Department’s website, about information and communications technology in education, about teachers and human resource development, about the role of education development officers, the delays in the supply of learner work books in particular in the Eastern Cape, about school governing bodies and capacity building for them, said that there was need to assist provinces that were largely rural such as Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga, and asked how students could access bursaries in rural areas, asked if the Department had any clear programme on implementing its programmes for school sports, did not accept the roll-over of funds to provinces and seriously questioned under spending, asked from where Members could obtain the policies on school hostels, asked also about the training of teachers for multi-grade teaching, asked the Department to ensure that learner workbooks reached schools on time, and requested the dates of the distribution of the Workbooks. The Acting Chairperson asked for full information about the vacancies that remained in the Department of Basic Education. There were still too many officials in acting capacities. Many questions remained unanswered since concerned officials were unable to be present. The Acting Chairperson listed the documents that she expected from the Department within two weeks: the addresses of all the bursary schemes, the report on information and communication technology in basic education, the document on the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, the report on all the vacancies, the report on supplementary examinations, the report on Annual National Assessment tests, the report on integrated quality management system positions and the 100 posts that existed, the report on compensation of employees, and the progress report on school sports policy.
Election of Acting Chairperson
In the absence of Ms H Malgas (ANC), who was engaged on official business in Pretoria, Ms N Gina (ANC) was elected Acting Chairperson.
Apologies were received from some absentee Members and Mr Bobby Soobrayan, Director-General, Department of Basic Education, who was engaged on official business.
Department Of Basic Education. Fourth Quarterly Performance Progress Report for the financial year 2010/11. Presentation
Mr Anton Schoeman, Acting Director-General: Administration, Department of Basic Education (DBE), outlined the presentation. Part A gave an overview of progress in the main programmes of the Department of Basic Education as presented in the Fourth Quarter Report of the 2010/2011 Financial Year. Part B gave 2010/2011 financial information.
Key Issues in Administration were that the Draft Education Laws Amendment Act had been converted into three Bills: the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELAB), the Higher Education Laws Amendment Bill (HELAB) and the Higher Education and Training Laws Amendment Bill (HETLAB) in line with the re-organisation of the Department of Education.
The drafted National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) Bill was presented at the Minister’s Management Meeting.
The European Union (EU) funding for the PrimEd Sector Policy Support Policy (SPSP) programme was received into the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) account at the National Treasury. Funds were in the process of being transferred to the DBE. (Slide 4)
Mr Gerrit Coetzee, Director/SER: Rural Education, dealt with Administration: Activities.
The proposed 2013 School Calendar had been finalised for public comments. The draft 2014 calendar would be discussed in the new financial year.
The monitoring of provincial education spending against budgetary allocations and strategic plans for the fourth quarter was done; the analysis was then submitted to the Director-General (DG) and the Minister.
All provincial human resource (HR) Plans were analysed and reports forwarded to provincial education departments (PEDs).
The South Africa (SA)-China Basic Education Agreement was signed in March 2011 in Beijing. (Slide 5)
Curriculum key issues were the Workbook Project, and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), and CAPS Documents and Training. The Minister of Basic Education hosted Round Table Discussions on information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education aimed at exploring practical and workable ICT solutions that the Department could implement in the classroom to support and improve quality of teaching and learning. (Slide 6)
Curriculum activities: the Learner workbook, Book 1 for Grades 1-6 had been developed and distributed to 19 000 public primary schools in the nine provinces. The second volume of 105 workbooks was handed to the printers between 22 February and 31 March. It was envisaged that the books would be printed and the second consignment of books delivered to 19 000 public primary schools by 24 June 2011. Grades 1-4 English and Afrikaans workbooks for numeracy and literacy were adapted to Braille. Grade 1-2 workbooks and a selection of Grades 10-12 textbooks were submitted for Braille reproduction. There were 569 General Education and Training (GET); (GET) Grade R Foundation Phase toolkit content resources in all official languages uploaded on Thutong in this quarter.
80% of the CAPS documents had been sent to the publishers for the development of textbooks. Training of 200 provincial, district officials and School Management Teams (SMT) of all schools for the Deaf and Blind, were trained in visual and hearing impairment in March 2011. (Slide 7)
Teachers and human resource development (HRD) key issues included the launching of the National Planning Framework for teacher education and development by both Ministers of Education. An analysis of the profiles of Funza Lushaka graduates showed that most bursaries were awarded to FET phase specialisation. Few Foundation and Intermediate Phase bursary beneficiaries were able to teach in an African Language. In 10-15 years, over 90 000 teachers were due to retire.
The Human Resource (HR) Connect Project was finalised. A Database of existing qualifications and subjects qualified to teach had been established to identify shortages. Data would be received from the service provider. Discussions on the Draft Teacher Performance Appraisal instrument, as well as on the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) for both office and institution based educators, were continuing in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC). (Slide 8)
Interest in teaching as a career had shown significant improvement. Over 30 000 applications for the Funza Lushaka bursary were received. 10 073 students were funded.
All public schools had implemented the Policy on Learner Attendance as part of national norms and standards for the recording, managing and monitoring of learner attendance.
Whole School Evaluation personnel visited seven provincial whole school evaluation teams in three provinces.
The target for the 2011 Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) in School Leadership (SL) intake was exceeded by 38 when 1 488 principals were placed in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in 8 provinces.
The following documents had been finalised:
Framework document on Districts; and
The Roles and Responsibilities of Subject Advisors.
The following tools were in the process of being finalised:
The School Governing Body (SGB) Support Tool; and
The Annual Academic Performance Reporting Template. (Slide 9)
Planning, quality assessment, monitoring and evaluation: key issues
An analysis of all Provincial Department of Education PEDs Annual Performance Plans for 2011/12 and their alignment to “Action Plan to 2014” was completed. Not all elements of the Action Plan were fully implemented by PEDs.
The Annual National Assessment tests were distributed to PEDs in January and February 2011.
The framework for the backlogs grant and the Infrastructure Grant to provinces were finalised with National Treasury. (Slide 10)
The irregularities for 2010 examinations were investigated and resolved.
The process of Remark/Recheck was closely monitored. The conduct and administration of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) was monitored and daily examination reports were produced.
The first consignment of the Senior Certificate May/June 2011 examinations was distributed to PEDs on 15 March 2011.
The Annual National Assessments (ANA) tests were administered in the week of 8-11 February 2011. The tests were administered to +/- 6 million learners in Grades 1 – 6 and 9 in the country in +/- 1 300 schools.
The NEEDU Bill, alongside a narrative document, had been drafted.
The hostel policy had been finalised with inputs from stakeholders’ and provinces and from directorates in the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
The Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS) progress report and targets were presented at Education Management Information System (EMIS) Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) Sub-Committee Meeting of 16–17 March 2011 and at the LURITS Steering Committee Meeting of 15 March 2011. (Slide 11)
Social mobilisation and support services: key issues
At a seminar on 07 March 2011, the Deputy Minister announced the Draft Integrated Strategy on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deﬁciency Syndrome (AIDS) 2012-2016 and formally opened the consultation process. The strategy charted a comprehensive approach by the schooling system to HIV and AIDS over the next five years.
Provinces had received 100% of the total allocation for the HIV and AIDS Life Skills Education conditional grant.
Through the National School Nutrition Programme, 8 125 695 learners were fed in 20 250 quintile 1 – 3 primary and quintile 1 – 2 secondary schools. The initial target had been 6 539 271 learners.
In partnership with Transnet’s Phelophepha Train, approximately 27 879 primary school learners received health screening services in the Free State. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) dedicated the month of March to the School Health Screening Programme focusing on lower quintile primary schools. 30 954 learners received health screening services.
The Integrated plan for School Sport had been approved by Council of Education Ministers (CEM).
Preparations for the establishment of School Sports Leagues had been completed. (Slide 12)
The Ministers of Basic Education and Police had signed the Protocol on collaboration for safe schools. The plan targeted 9 000 schools (1 000 schools per province) to be linked with local police stations. 11 822 schools had been linked to police stations.
Safe School Committees had been established in 10 263 schools, whereas the target had been 8000 schools nationally.
The training of Adjudicators and Conductors for the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod in 2011 was conducted from 29 – 30 January 2011.
Nine provincial visits were conducted in January 2011 to establish provincial readiness to undertake the school HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign.
The Girls and Boys Education Movement (GEM/BEM) Back to School Campaign provided an opportunity to introduce thousands of learners and participating teachers, to Speak Out resources, as well as engaging in discussions to tackle sexual abuse in schools. (Slide 13)
A project to train teachers in multi-grade teaching was for the first time implemented nationally. 104 teachers, 16 district officials and eight provincial officials were trained in multi-grade education in the eight provinces (with the exclusion of the Western Cape).
LeadSA [a Primedia Broadcasting initiative, supported by Independent Newspapers] and the South African Interfaith Council had partnered with the Department to promote the Bill of Responsibilities in schools, places of worship and the general public.
A training manual on Human Rights and School Governance, to support the training of School Governing Bodies and Representative Councils of Learners in all provinces had been developed and submitted to the Minister for approval.
Empirical research had been completed to develop a Social Cohesion Toolkit for schools and school communities to support excellence in education. (Slide 14)
Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO), presented Part B of the presentation, on 2010/2011 finances, firstly describing the allocation against actual expenditure per programme for the 2010/11 financial year: the table included also variance and expenditure as a percentage of final appropriation (table, slide 16).
Secondly the allocation per economic classification (compensation of employees, goods and services, interest and rent on land, transfers and subsidies, payments for capital assets) for the 2010/11 financial year, showing final appropriation, actual expenditure, variance, and expenditure as a percentage of the final appropriation was described (table, slide 17).
Thirdly the allocation over the 2010/11 financial year by economic classification (compensation of employees, examiners and moderators, transfers to public entities, other transfers, conditional grants, earmarked funds, departmental operations, and projects), showing final appropriation, actual expenditure, variance, and expenditure as a percentage of the final appropriation was described (table, slide 18).
Fourthly, details of earmarked allocations/transfers over the 2010/11 financial year by project/activity through earmarked funds were described: Kha Ri Gude Literacy Project, NEEDU, integrated quality management system (IQMS), EMIS, Systemic Evaluation, National Assessments: Grades 3, 6 and 9, and National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP); through conditional grants: Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation Conditional Grant, Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation Conditional Grant, and HIV and AIDS (table, slide 19); through transfers to public entities: National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS): Fundza Lushaka Bursaries, South African Council of Educators (SACE), Umalusi, and Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); and through other transfers: Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (EDTP-SETA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Membership Fees, Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), Childline South Africa, Guidance Counselling &Youth Development Centre: Malawi, and Households (table, slide 20).
Ms Molalekoa explained the reasons for under spending. The Workbooks had been developed internally. The Department had not used a service provider except for printing and distribution. So the Department could not spend all. There had also been late receipt of invoices. With the conditional grants there was a low expenditure in some provinces so the Department had to withhold funds, hence the variance and request for a roll-over.
The link between planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation was improving progressively across the Department.
The Action Plan to 2014 and the Delivery Agreement would increasingly serve as useful instruments for planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation in 2011/12. These instruments had been clearly reflected in the Strategic Plan 2011/14 and the Annual Performance Plan 2011/12 (slide 21).
Mr C Moni (ANC) asked about the Funza Lushaka bursay. He noted that 30 000 applications were received and 10 000 applicants were being funded. What happened to the remaining 20 000?
Mr Coetzee replied that, on the one hand, the Department was grateful for the larger increase in the applications for potential teachers in the profession. This was a good thing. However, the Department needed sufficient funding in order to provide bursaries to accommodate this increase in demand. That was where the Department had a challenge at present. One of the obstacles faced by the Department was that the funding for Funza Lushaka was, at present, limiting the Department to accommodate the bigger demand for teachers to enter the basic education system. It was interesting to note that there appeared to be a higher demand from prospective student teachers to enter the profession at the secondary and further education and training (FET) levels. On the other hand, there was a dip in the number of prospective students who wanted to be trained at primary level. One of the tasks that the Department had to assume was to determine how to market Funza Lushaka and ensure that there were applicants across the system including the primary school level.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) thanked the presenters for giving Members this information. She asked the Department to provide Members with copies of all the laws governing the provision of education in South Africa. This would assist Members to understand the law as it applied to education.
Mr Themba Kojana, Chief Director/SS: Social Inclusion & Mobilisation in Education, replied that education laws had been changed because of the split of the Department of Education into the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training.
Ms Mushwana asked the Department for details of its School Governing Body (SGB) support tool.
Mr Kojana replied that it was important to note that the reason for developing a support tool was due to the electoral changes and the prevailing levels of literacy in communities. So it was therefore important for the Department to develop that support tool for the SGBs. As Ms Mushwana had correctly reflected, the Department always did the training of the SGBs, hence the Department believed that it was important to develop the aid tool so that the same problems would not be repeated.
Ms Mushwana asked for clarity on the Annual National Assessments (ANA) tests. It was good that the Department had distributed this to schools. However, she asked the Department to deliver the tests to schools earlier.
Mr Kojana replied that, in terms of delivery, it was not like the continuous assessment. The ANA tests were tests themselves which were given at the end of the year. The Department was talking about the distribution of those particular tests. It was supposed to have distributed them by the end of November, but because of the strike action, the Department had agreed to postpone distribution, hence the tests were distributed in the following January and February as reported.
Mr Schoeman added that the challenges on ANA were the same as those with the workbooks, since the Department had worked on the same database. That had now been updated. The results were now under scrutiny. The Minister had indicated in the CEM that she would issue a press release on or around 23 June 2011.
Ms Mushwana was going to ask about the Department’s National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) with regard to quintiles but then said that the matter had been covered.
Mr Kojana replied that Members would recall that there was an implementation for this particular programme at the secondary school level. The point that Ms Mushwana had raised was quite fundamental. The answer depended on how the Department rolled out the programme in different provinces to ensure that it met the target of ensuring that quintiles one, two and three were provided with this particular programme.
Ms Mushwana said that schools needed to be very safe. For fear of personal safety, some learners had armed themselves to protect themselves and had been proud to do so. This had been reported in the newspapers. She appealed that every school should have a safe school committee as a matter of priority.
Mr Kojana replied that it was necessary to ensure that every school had a safe school committee. One was looking at a framework of collaboration between the Department of Basic Education and the South African Police Service (SAPS), and linking those schools to police stations. The collaboration agreed between the Ministers of Basic Education and Police was such that the Department used to have committees for safe schools, but the Department had not previously ensured how effective these committees were. The issue was a dual mandate between the Department and SAPS together with a framework of collaboration to ensure that every school had a policeman who formed part of the school safety. The Department had provided those schools with guidelines and wanted to ensure regular meetings on how to deal with reporting systems. The Department had now ensured that the safe school committees actually met regularly and dealt with reporting, so that the Department could be able to monitor their effectiveness. The difference now was that collaboration with SAPS had been established for the safe school committees.
The Chairperson asked how the Department ensured that these school safety committees really did meet regularly and effectively with the police.
Mr Kojana replied that the Department had developed a tool that would tell it how effective the school safety committees were. Currently, the Department had dispatched a team to the Eastern Cape, as this province was experiencing some problems. This team was going to districts and actually meeting with police and principals to ensure that these committees were functional. The Department, however, had developed a tool to ensure that it had a system to inform it how effective these committees were.
Ms Mushwana asked about the integrated quality management system (IQMS). If under spending included IQMS, then Ms Mushwana believed that educators were underpaid. If educators then went on the streets to protest, then South Africa came to a standstill. She appealed to the Department to ensure that if there had to be under spending, it should not be on IQMS.
Mr Schoeman replied that the slide showed the personnel expenditure around that. He explained how the Department had introduced IQMS; the Department had created 100 posts additional to the staff establishment and appointed people to these posts to do this work. At present, 85 of these posts were filled. The problem was that some of the appointees were retired teachers from the provincial education departments, or people who had left the service for other jobs. So there was a 15% vacancy rate which accounted for the low spending. The Department advertised these posts as regularly as possible in order to fill them.
Mr D Smiles (DA) asked if there had been a need for the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) Bill. He asked if its subject matter could have been dealt with under the personnel administration measures.
Mr Coetzee replied that it was necessary for a bill if one took into account the need for autonomy of NEEDU. The Department had created NEEDU as a function within one of the Department’s branches to obtain start-up funding and a budget flow. However, for NEEDU to move out and fulfil its monitoring function it should be moved outside the Department. The only way to move it out of the Department was through a bill. It was as if it was to become a parastatal.
Mr Smiles asked if the EU funding for primary schools would be on curriculum or on infrastructure, and what its focus was.
Mr Coetzee replied that the Department had received €35 million in EU funding on the first tranche. The EU funding was for primary schools and the main indicator was for early child development (ECD) teacher training. The Department had also submitted to the EU a request for a second tranche. €22 million was guaranteed, and there were expectations of a further €22 million, making €44 million altogether. For the time being, the focus of the funding remained ECD teacher training.
Mr Smiles asked if the basic education agreement with China was posted on the Department’s website so that Members could find the details for themselves. He had been unable to find it.
This question was not answered.
Mr Smiles asked about ICT in education. There was a Futures in Education Exhibition in Johannesburg at which the Department of Basic Education had had a stand. What was the presentation about? Moreover, how did the Department envisage the classroom of the future?
Mr Schoeman replied that he would try to obtain a copy of the presentation and submit it to the Committee.
Mr Smiles asked about teachers and human resource development (HRD). He welcomed that subject advisers would now be told that this was their mandate. There was a concern, especially in the Eastern Cape. There the subject advisors were called education development officers (EDOs). There was a shortcoming in that mandate. Mr Smiles had been ten years in the Eastern Cape; the job of the EDOs had been basically just to deliver letters. He asked if there was no proper job description for those people. As far as Mr Smiles was concerned, an EDO was like a school inspector and should not just deliver circulars and letters. The position of EDO entailed much more.
Mr Kojana replied that it was correct to say that in the Eastern Cape these individuals were called educational development officers (EDOs). However, in the presentation, the Department had been more concerned with developing a job description for these positions around the subject advisers. This was because in the model of the Eastern Cape, there were subject advisers but one also found EDOs. The Member was correct in understanding that the subject adviser was the one responsible for governance and supporting the management of schools instead of being subject orientated. He agreed that it was important to get the nomenclature right across the system with clear definition of roles and responsibilities.
Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) said that South Africa had a problem about learner work books, in particular in the Eastern Cape. When one heard comments in the media about what was happening in the Eastern Cape, it was really unacceptable to find learners at this stage of the school year without work books. He asked what measures the Department had taken to prevent that situation from happening again, even in other provinces.
Mr Schoeman said that there were two issues around the learner workbooks. Firstly, there were workbooks that the Department had distributed from grades 1 to 6; these were the Minister’s initiative and the workbooks came from the Department.
Mr Schoeman said that, secondly, there were the normal books procured for schools. Each province had procured by itself by means of a process of tendering. At the moment, the Department, as a ministerial initiative, was trying to prevent this, since the present process resulted, for example, in obtaining different mathematics books in different provinces. The Department would, subject to agreement with the National Treasury, go out on a transversal tender. Specifications would be defined to ensure that schools all had the same books. Then the provinces would be involved.
The tender amount awarded to the Department for the workbooks for grades 1 to 6 by the National Treasury was R750 million, on the base of National Treasury’s calculation on the basis of around R40 per book. This was for the developing, the printing and the distribution. The Department then developed the book itself, so the copyright remained with the Department. However, the Department had invited tenders for the printing and the distribution. There was a saving on printing and distribution due to the fact that the Department had developed the Workbook by itself (slide 19). Workbook 1 was complete, but there were shortages. The shortages came from the Department’s data that was not 100%. However, the Department had since established a ‘very good’ data base. Workbook 2 had been developed and was currently with the printers. The distribution would start very shortly. In order to ensure that the Department did not face the same issues as with Workbook 1, especially around the data, which the Department had picked up, the Department was going to address several issues. For example, there had not been satisfactory negotiation with the provinces. Some schools did not know what to do with the Workbooks. Some schools did not want to receive them. Principals were not aware of them. The Department was going to work through the various provinces. All schools would be informed. Taking into account that the Department’s data base was now ‘very good’ and its communications doing well, the Department did not foresee any further problems in that regard.
The Department was now inviting tenders for phase two, since it was a three years project, and would try to have the books in schools before the end of December. The distribution and printing of Workbook 2 would go more easily than for Workbook 1. One of the main issues around Workbook 1 was that in the printing stage the Department had changed some of the pages and that had delayed the process. The Department was also appointing a project management team to oversee the process and ensure that it ran smoothly. The Department had updated its data base and all the schools were now included in it.
Mr Mpontshane also asked how the Department made provinces accountable on such matters. There was a breakdown in communication and failure of accountability between the Department and the provinces. This situation was worrisome and something must be done about it.
Mr Mpontshane asked about school governing bodies (SGBs) and capacity building for them. There was much talk about them, but it had to be asked if South Africans could be proud of the efforts made thus far to develop members of SGBs. It was necessary for SGB members to be able to interact with issues that were functions of the SGBs. Some SGBs, even today, could not draft a budget. It was important to follow-up on this. It was not sufficient to talk about financing and capacitating the SGBs without getting clear information about capacity on the ground.
Mr Kojana replied that he had responded to this earlier on. Please see his response to Ms Mushwana’s second question.
Mr Mpontshane said that there was need to assist provinces that were largely rural, such as Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga; he asked how students could access bursaries in rural areas. It was not enough to say that information was given to the regional and circuit offices. He asked for details of all bursary schemes and the addresses of the offices from which the bursaries were administered so that he could give the information to members of the public.
Mr Coetzee replied that he did not work directly with the bursary schemes. However, he acknowledged that it was more difficult and complex for learners in rural communities to access information. One had to go beyond just posting it on the internet and making pamphlets available. There were other strategies that had to be explored through local structures within communities so that this information could be made available. The Department would make available the addresses of the offices to be contacted for applications for these bursaries.
Mr Mpontshane asked if the Department had any clear programme on implementing its programmes for school sports, since these programmes had been discussed since 2009. Now the Department had developed a plan, but how was the Department going to implement it in all provinces?
Mr Kojana replied that the issue of school sport had a long history. The Department was at the stage of finalising policy, while noting that there were two departments which had a core responsibility around school sport. Hence previously the Department had a framework of collaboration with the previous two ministers and had felt that it was imperative to have a policy to regulate school sport, because there were other stakeholders that were implicated by law. It became a function of SGBs. There was also the role of sports federations in schools. Hence the Department thought that it was proper to have a policy route in that regard. The Department had had a draft on which it was consulting. However, the two Ministers felt that it was important that there should be developed a very clear programme of school sport. Members would be aware that it was more about the roles and responsibilities of the two departments in supporting the school sport codes. Two weeks ago there was a workshop convened by the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) to see if the federations could support school sport codes. However, for it to really happen, one had to consider establishing leagues in schools. Fortunately, the Department had support from sponsors, for example, Adidas, and the Department of Basic Education had nominated four codes to begin with – rugby, cricket, football and netball. The reason was that the World Cup had taught the Department a lesson that it was possible to have leagues in schools. So there was a focus towards establishing leagues in schools.
Mr Mpontshane did not accept the roll-over of funds to provinces. It was necessary to be realistic when talking of roll-overs. It was because of roll-overs that there was a problem of delivery. The Department must engage all the provinces which were requesting roll-overs and check what their problems were and why they had not spent that money.
The CFO noted the Member’s concern over roll-overs. However, she explained that the roll-overs were in connection with the secondary schools recapitalisation grant; the Department had not transferred funds to the provinces because the provinces were not spending. However, subsequently the provinces had made a commitment to spend. Hence on this basis the Department could request roll-overs. The provinces that were under spending were the ones which operated through the Department of Public Works in dealing with their workshops. So the process took a little bit longer. This was why roll-overs had been requested.
Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) asked from where one could obtain the policies on school hostels and at what level the documents were. Were they still in draft form? A few years ago, public schools literally had to close their hostels, because subsidies had been withdrawn. Some of those schools had done very well in terms of results of all grades of learner. He pleaded for the continuation of school hostels and the provision of subsidies for them.
Mr Coetzee replied that the hostel policy was at its beginning stages. A document had been developed in cooperation with stakeholders. However, this document still needed to be discussed at the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) and with the heads of education in the provinces. The issue of subsidies had not been on the table at all. It might be on the table in the future.
Mr Dikobo said that it was very good that the Department was reporting against targets. However, he had not seen any targets on the training of adjudicators and conductors for the schools choral eisteddfods.
Mr Kojana admitted the Department’s mistake in not writing the target nationally. The Department trained conductors and adjudicators nationally. The target was five adjudicators and five conductors per province. So the target altogether was 90.
Mr Dikobo asked also about the training of teachers in multi-grade teaching. According to the Department, only 104 were trained. What was the target?
Mr Coetzee replied that this was the first time that there was focused attention from the Department of Basic Education on the issue of multi-grade in schools; for a long time it had been left it to the provinces to deal with it. The Department also knew that multi-grade in schools was a complicated and historical issue. In that context the Department had identified a selected number of schools [where multi-grade could be practised] and teachers to be trained within the country. What the Department learned from that roll-out would be integrated within the broader multi-grade community. Mr Coetzee replied that the Minister of Basic Education was very passionate about introducing ICTs as one of the strategies to assist and intervene in schools with multi-grade classes. The Department was in the process of investigating and looking at the possibilities of learning from some of the best practices experienced at some of the schools here in the Western Cape. The Department had reported on the target that it had set for this first small step.
Mr Dikobo was fascinated by the CFO’s choice of words; she constantly mentioned savings; he could understand saving when the Department was producing books by itself; in other words, the service was rendered, but the cost was less. Otherwise, it was not saving, but under expenditure. Under expenditure, as Mr Khosane was saying, meant a service undelivered, which was no cause for celebration.
Mr Dikobo linking with the question asked by Mr Moshane, noted that the reason why there was under expenditure on IQMS was that temporary educators were used; he could find no relationship between the two. He did not see what temporary educators had to do with it.
Mr P Mathebe (ANC) [from the Higher Education and Training Portfolio Committee] also asked about the bursary scheme. There must be an open platform so that everyone must be able to access them as early as possible, so that as students engaged with institutions of higher learning, they must know what they were supposed to obtain and where.
The Acting Chairperson asked the Department to ensure that learner workbooks reached schools on time, before the beginning of the academic year, not in the second semester. She asked the Department to please expand on the reasons for the delays.
The Acting Chairperson asked further about the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document. There had been misunderstandings. Originally the union had not agreed. How did the Department resolve issues with the stakeholders? Had the Department succeeded in implementing the document with the blessing of all concerned?
Mr Schoeman said that none of the delegation was conversant with the CAPS document; he asked permission to respond in writing. The member of staff who worked on the CAPS was in the Eastern Cape.
The Acting Chairperson asked further about subject advisors. The Department had announced two years ago that it was working on a document. She was happy to hear that it had been finalised, but she asked when it would be implemented. How would the Department make sure that the scheme was fully implemented in each and every corner of the country?
The Acting Chairperson asked further about the challenges around the ANA tests and when the Department had delivered on them. The Committee wished to know the results.
Mr Schoeman requested permission to respond in writing. The officials concerned were in the Eastern Cape.
The Acting Chairperson said that the Department had spoken of the Bill of Responsibilities in relation to school governance. Could the Department say that we were making our schools function better?
Mr Kojana replied that the training manual was to assist school governing bodies on the constitutional values. It was not a new initiative but it was intended to empower school governing bodies to deal with human rights issues in education. So it was not another programme.
Mr James asked for the dates of the distribution of the Workbook.
Mr Schoeman replied that the distribution for Workbook 2 would begin on about 24 June 2011, and for next year’s books, the distribution was planned to be at the end of the current academic year.
The Acting Chairperson asked how long it would take.
Mr Schoeman replied that the distribution would take three weeks.
Mr W James (DA) asked about the Department’s arrangements for releasing the supplementary examination results.
Mr Schoeman asked for permission to respond in writing since no members of the delegation had any dealings with the matter.
Mr Smiles noted the total budgetary under spending of 11% (slide 16). His concern, however, was the under spending of 46% on the programme of curriculum policy, support and monitoring (slide 16). It was curriculum delivery that was the Department’s concern. If the Department failed on that, it had failed. He said that you could call him ‘mad’, but he saw a direct link between under spending and learner outcomes at the end of the year. These would be 46% less this year unless the Department produced a catch up programme. It was disaster at the end of the year across the board.
The CFO replied that the under expenditure reflected in the curriculum branch was because of the Workbooks. The other small amounts were because of under expenditure on other small items, like IQMS, annual national assessments and withholding of conditional grant transfers. The 46% specifically on the Department’s Programme 2 was because of the workbooks.
Ms Mushwana asked for more information about under staffing at the circuit offices. Was there a plan to provide more curriculum advisers? One working across a region was not enough. Circuit offices needed a full complement of staff.
Mr Schoeman requested permission to respond in writing. The officials concerned were in the Eastern Cape.
Ms Mushwana asked if it would not be better for the school safety committees, as soon as established, ‘to adopt a cop’ from the nearest police station at the own initiative of the safety committees. Why not leave it the way it used to be?
Mr Kojana agreed with Ms Mushwana. The Department was working together with the SAPS to identify the schools and to ensure that a senior official was actually part of the safe school committee. It was not an issue that was left to a school to decide. Previously the Department used to encourage schools to ‘adopt a cop’. Now it was a deliberate matter, since the learning environment needed to be protected at all times in order that schools were conducive to teaching and learning. Hence it became a mandate of the two Departments – Basic Education and Police. So when workshops were held across the country, they were meant for both the Department of Basic Education and the SAPS.
Mr Dikobo said that part of his question had been covered by Mr Smiles. However, elsewhere, on curricula, he agreed with Mr Smiles that it could not be considered a saving. It was, on the contrary, under expenditure. The Member still did not understand, since there was 85% staffing at the present, on IQMS, what these people were doing. The Department said that people had been employed to do the work. What was the work in relation to IQMS?
Mr Schoeman replied that the integrated quality management system (IQMS) was implemented in 2008/09.
Mr Dikobo said that he himself was a teacher and did not understand why people at head office did IQMS.
Mr Schoeman replied that the 85 posts about which he had been talking were additional to the Department’s staff establishment. They were not all sitting at head office. There was a small monitoring team which was at head office. However, in order to assist the provinces, what the Department had done was only to manage IQMS from the national Department. The 85 people were in the field in the provinces. The Department only paid the salaries.
The Acting Chairperson redefined the question: the 85 people were in the provinces and everything to do with IQMS was done within the schools except the management of it; she asked what the mandate and function of these 85 people in the provinces were. What did the Department pay them for?
Mr Kojana said that it was important that the Department provided Members with a full and detailed report on the functions of those 85 people; to respond in the absence of the officials concerned would just be to give a token response. He asked for more time for a comprehensive response which would indicate the changes that had taken place in the schools that had been monitored.
Mr Smiles asked in what capacity those 85 officials visited schools–as EDOs, subject advisers, or IQMS inspectors. What was their status?
The Acting Chairperson assured Members that the response would be in the report that the Department had promised the Committee and which it expected very soon.
Mr Schoeman said that the Department would give the Committee a report on the compensation of employees. This issue emanated from the split of the Department into Basic Education and Higher Education. At the time of the split, National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) indicated that the spilt must be accomplished without additional funding or human resources. It was done according to a ratio of 52:48, with the Department of Higher Education and Training receiving the smaller portion because of the transfer of skills development from the Department of Labour. The only money received for the creation and filling of posts was R8 million for the Department of Higher Education and Training, and, in addition to the salaries for the 600 staff of the Department, the Department of Basic Education had received an additional R15 million to create posts. This was ‘a drop in the bucket’. So the vacancy rate at present was actually very low.
The Acting Chairperson asked for full information bout the vacancies that remained in the Department of Basic Education. Moreover, there were still too many officials in acting capacities. Many questions remained unanswered since concerned officials were unable to be present.
The Acting Chairperson listed the documents that she expected from the Department:
•The addresses of all the bursary schemes.
•The report on ICT in basic education.
•The document on CAPS and deliberations on CAPS.
•The report on all the vacancies, where they were located, and how many positions were acting.
•The report on supplementary examinations.
•The report on ANA.
•The report on IQMS positions and the 100 posts that existed.
•The report on compensation of employees.
•Progress report on school sports policy.
The Acting Chairperson asked how much time the Department needed.
Mr Schoeman promised them by the end of the month.
The Acting Chairperson thought that this would be too long. She would limit her leniency.
Mr Schoeman offered to send them in two weeks.
The Acting Chairperson agreed.
The Acting Chairperson said that the meeting had to finish by 10h00 as Members were expected to attend the Extended Pubic Committee (EPC) in the Good Hope Chamber. Therefore consideration of minutes was postponed.
The meeting was adjourned.