Human Development Cluster Media Briefing (Education)


09 Nov 2009


Human Development Cluster Media Briefing,
Cape Town
10 November 2009

Cluster Chair: Ms Angie Motshekga

Ladies and Gentlemen
Members of the Media

Welcome to this Human Development Cluster briefing on the progress on the implementation of Government’s Programme of Action for 2009/2010.

Just to put all of us at ease, the intention of the document is not to be too deep in detail but rather to raise briefly some of the salient areas of the work that we do as a cluster and Departments. Of course as media, you are free to pose your questions so that this exercise does indeed assist in informing the nation on the work that we are mandated to do.

This is the first report since the inception of the cluster under the new administration. This briefing seeks to provide an update on the priorities approved by the Cabinet and further outlined in the State of the Nation address. As most of you in this room would know, the present administration has prioritized health and education in particular for the next five years and beyond. It is however important to note that the cluster is not only made up of these Departments.
This report focuses on the implementation of cluster work from April to the present. In presenting the report, we will be focusing on the following key areas as they relate to the work of the Departments that make up the cluster:
Strengthening the skills and human resource base
Improving the health profile of all South Africans; and
Building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.

Strengthening the skills and human resource base
The government has prioritized the delivery of quality education for all South Africans. In the words of President Zuma “We want our teachers, learners and parents to work with government to turn our schools into thriving centres of excellence”. We continue to strengthen the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign by ensuring the commitment of all role players to our goals. Education must become a societal issue.

We have taken the first steps in addressing the recommendations of the recently published R
eport on the Implementation of the National Curriculum Statement by the Ministerial task team that highlighted various challenges to quality curriculum delivery. We have responded quickly to the recommendations. Our focus is to strengthen curriculum delivery and thus we have identified those steps that can be taken immediately to streamline delivery and others that will take slightly longer to implement.
The changes that will take effect from January 2010 is firstly to simplify the administrative functions that teachers are responsible for and that do not have a major bearing on their teaching, and secondly to provide structured, systemic support to teachers.
The changes are:
Discontinue the use of portfolios for learners of all grades from next year
Require only one file for administrative purposes from teachers from next year
Reduce the number of projects required by learners
Develop Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements for each grade in each year for implementation in 2011
Reduce the number of learning areas in Intermediate Phase
Emphasise the use of English from as early as possible for the majority of our learners that use English as language of learning
Clarify the role of subject advisers
To support the above, we will ensure that in 2010, The Foundations for Learning Programme for Foundation and Intermediate Phase (Grades R -6) will be implemented in all schools in 2010. Extensive learning and teaching packs for grades R to 6 teachers have been developed that will assist teachers with planning, teaching and learning. These packs will be distributed to all primary schools for the start of the school year in January 2010. What can schools expect at the start of 2010?
For Grade R, all 13 900 schools will receive the Laying Solid Foundations: Resource Pack  in January 2010 The pack comprises:
Lesson Plans for teachers  for Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills
Learners’ workbook
Learners’ resource book
Posters and Story books
 For Grades 1-3, all 19 600 schools will receive Lesson Plans for teachers and Workbooks for learners for Literacy and Numeracy in January 2010
For Grades 4-6, all 19 600 schools will receive Lesson Plans for teachers and Workbooks for learners for Language and Mathematics by the end of February 2010.
In addition, we are committed to ensure that all children have access to learning materials. In response to this need, the Presidency has allocated R524 million in the 2009-2010 financial year to ensure that learners in Grades 1-6 will receive workbooks for literacy and numeracy in 2010. In addition, guidelines for textbook acquisition and distribution and retrieval will be issued to all schools in 2010.

Government has intensified efforts in order to deliver an improved higher education and training system which will provide a diverse range of learning opportunities for youth and adults. This is in line with our theme this year, “together achieving and expanding quality and access to education and training for all”.  

It has been agreed that while the Department of Higher Education and Training took over the skills development and training sector in government from 1 November 2009, the National Skills Development Strategy II and current SETA license will be extended by one year, from March 2010 to March 2011. Collaborative relationships will be developed and strengthened between the SETAs, the National Skills Fund, universities – especially universities of technology – and FETs in order to seek ways to release funds to grow the skills base.

In addition, the report of the Ministerial Committee reviewing the efficacy of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is due to be submitted in December. The report will provide an essential guide for government to assist a greater number of poor but capable students to enter the higher education system and complete their studies.
The report will be released for public comment before implementation of the recommendations.

Government is concerned about the internal efficiency of universities, and about the relatively low success and high dropout rates. It is allocating special funds to institutions to help them to improve success and graduation rates, because of the importance of raising graduate totals in the interests of national social and economic development. All higher education institutions were requested to confirm and provide the necessary data and information for the determination of system wide and institutional specific enrolment and graduate output targets for the period 2011 to 2013. This data is being analyzed during this last quarter of 2009.

Government is determined to increase the number of young people and adults accessing continuing education at these technical and vocational centres, in a way that supports an inclusive growth path. In order to achieve this, Government has invested R1.9b over the last three years in the Further Education and Training (FET) College subsystem, and we are now taking steps to enhance access to these institutions and the quality of courses they provide. We will consolidate the institutional base for FET colleges in partnership with the skills development system and improve responsiveness to the needs of the economy. Programme offerings will be expanded, training partnerships with industry will be funded through SETAs, partnerships with employers will be established and a work-placement programme for graduates of FET colleges will be set up.

As part of our continued efforts to enable millions of adults to become literate and numerate in one of the eleven official languages, I am pleased to announce that by the end of 2009, South Africa will have an additional 620 000 newly literate people, drawn largely from vulnerable groups, as a result of the Kha ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign. Significantly, the Campaign enables adult learners, at no cost to themselves, to read, write and calculate in their mother tongue and also to learn spoken English. The specifically designed Campaign materials teach reading, writing and numeracy integrating themes and life skills such as health, gender, the environment and civic education. These materials have also been adapted for use in Braille in eleven languages, and for use by the deaf. Classes are presented for 240 contact hours and are held in communities, at times which are convenient to the learners, and take place in homes, churches, community centres, prisons etc.  These learning groups play a significant role in community social cohesion. The Campaign also plays a significant role in alleviating poverty by providing volunteers in the poorest communities with a small income. Of Kha Ri Gude’s R430 million allocation in 2009/10, 75% (or R325 million) will be paid out in the form of stipends to volunteers between June and November 2009. The volunteers are central to the Campaign and contribute not only to the teaching and learning process but also to ensuring advocacy, recruitment, monitoring, and ensuring that the Campaign is a vibrant part of disadvantaged communities.

During the 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years, the Campaign has enabled 620 000 learners to become literate and has created approximately 75 000 short term teaching jobs. By drawing on the participation of a range of stakeholders, the Campaign is evidence that
“together we can make a difference”.

We recognise the significance of access to information and its impact on the socio-economic conditions of our people. Since 2006, government has embarked on a programme to transform and expand the delivery of library and information services in the country to ensure free and open access for all citizens, including the visually impaired users. Libraries play a critical role in the promotion of literacy, positive family values and skills development. They reach out to both the parents and children and therefore are able to act as social hubs.
The programme has delivered new library facilities in Bushbuckridge, Hekpoort in Mogale City, Kamaqhekeza in Nkomazi Municipality, and Morokweng in North West Province. Many more facilities are currently under construction as we are determined to create a culture of reading and writing. As part of the programme we are promoting the use of our indigenous languages by producing publications in all indigenous languages and making these available through community libraries.
Through a range of programmes our libraries have become community centres that are able to meet local information needs as well as nurture and support formal and informal education. The provision of internet facilities is part of the core responsibilities of libraries as one-stop information hubs supplying educational, health and business information to remote rural areas. We note with disappointment the destruction of libraries in Mpumalanga as part of the service delivery protests. These acts of vandalism undermine the efforts of our government to build caring and sustainable communities.

Improving the health profile of all South Africans
Health has been identified by this government as one of the main priorities for the next five years and beyond.
A 10 Point Programme has been developed to guide in this journey. This 10 Point Programme will serve as a road map and our guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us. 

The various points on our 10 Point Plan have to be taken together because they simply cannot survive outside each other. None of them on their own will be able to change the healthcare system in any meaningful way outside the others. They are mutually inclusive. We will once more emphasise that we will implement them together and not necessarily individually one after the other. Indeed the NHI is one part of the 10 Point Programme.

As has been announced by the Chair, the Minister of Health will be introducing the MAC on NHI immediately after this briefing. In his speech at the NCOP recently the President instructed the Minister of Health to address the nation on the gory details of what he was talking about and this will be happening immediately.

IN picking up the remaining points on the Programme we wish to remind you of the statement made by the President in his SONA that we are worried by the deteriorating quality of care in our health system.

Point 3 of the 10 Point Programme is about improving the quality of healthcare services. In this case a unit has been set up in the Department which will focus on 5 major issues to improve the quality of care. These are:
Safety and security of patients;
Cleanliness of our institutions and infection control
Attitudes of staff as experienced by patients
Time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication
Availability of drugs
We wish to assess, monitor and evaluate progress in our institutions using these five basic measures as a yardstick.

Taken together with the above, point 4 on our 10 Point Programme is about overhauling the healthcare system and improving its management. WE believe that the whole healthcare system from primary through tertiary services right up to quartenary services will need a complete overhaul. That’s why when people analyse the costs of the NHI they base their analysis solely on the understanding that healthcare can only be curative. The whole system of Primary Health Care (PHC) including what we regard as the cornerstone of any healthcare system which is prevention of diseases have been relegated to the dustbins of history. Hence we have the outbreak of measles, cholera and other such pandemics which are largely preventable through immunization, prevention and other local primary healthcare measures.

This whole system clearly needs an overhaul. IN overhauling the healthcare system we are also going to focus on the management of our institutions especially at the coalface of delivery which is at the districts, hospital and clinic level. In the next two weeks the Minister of Health will be meeting all the CEOs Clinical Managers, Nursing Managers as well as district managers to outline the programme.

In this regard the focus will be on four major issues which seem to be very serious weaknesses in the system:
Financial Management
Infrastructure and Maintenance of facilities
Human resource management
These four are not only a problem at our districts and institutions, but they cut across the whole spectrum including provinces and national and hence the overhauling will have to take place across the spectrum.

Point 5 in our Plan speaks about HR planning, development and management. We are aware of the shortages of healthcare workers in our country.  Three main issues  will have to be looked at here:

The whole spectrum of the training of nurses including the return of PHC nurses including clinic mid-wives. You are aware that we have embarked on the reopening of nursing colleges.
The intake and training of medical students in universities.
The training of mid-level health workers including task-shifting within institutions.

Regarding point 6 which talks about the infrastructure revitalization we wish to remind you that the president instructed during his SONA that as a preparation for the NHI the Treasurey and DOH need to go on a massive PPPs in order to have improved healthcare infrastructure.
Point 9 which talks about the review of our drug policy, we are concentrating urgently on the whole procurement system. At the moment our main focus is on the procurement of ARVs.

The Cluster is also pleased to report that considerable headway has been made in encouraging South Africans to participate in some form of sporting activity. The links between sport and healthy lifestyles are well known. Since the beginning of the year,
1.1 million people have participated in sport and recreation mass participation programmes. Also through the DoRA Grant-funded School Sport Mass Participation Programme which is implemented by the provincial departments of sport and recreation and monitored by the national department, 3 800 schools were empowered in terms of the provision of equipment, sports clothing, training (skills development) and a sports assistant.  With regards to infrastructure, three community gyms were equipped.

120 junior athletes (under 17 girls and boys) were exposed to the high performance programme of the Department and went on to participate in the Confederation of Schools Sports Associations of Southern African (COSSASA) Games in Swaziland from 3 - 6 September 2009. This is the first of many such interventions in school sport. With the exception of one silver medal, South Africa ended up winning all gold medals at stake. South Africa participated in netball, football, volleyball and tennis.

Building cohesive, caring and sustainable communities
Government stands by its vision of an inclusive society, a South Africa that belongs to all, a nation united in its diversity, a people working together for the greater good of all. To this end, a Social Cohesion Colloquium was organized recently in Durban in preparation for the National Conference on Social Cohesion to take place next year under the theme “Building a Caring Society”. A broad group of participants representing all sectors of government and civil society deliberated on the topics that included Ubuntu and our Humanity; Poverty and Access to economic opportunities; Promotion of gender equity; Social integration and Building a Caring Nation. Delegates emphasized the need for a sense of belonging, changing mind-sets and nurturing ubuntu as well as the need for a National Charter of Values and the need to find practical solutions to problems of accumulation.

Government remains concerned about the state of transformation in higher education, as one of the obstacles towards achieving the vision of a society that embraces the principles of the Constitution. A summit of stakeholders in the higher education sector will be convened in the first quarter of 2010, which among other things will debate the state of transformation in higher education. All chairs of university councils have been requested to respond to the report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions.

 We continue to encourage schools to establish the Girls and Boys Education Movement (G/BEM) clubs. These are school based clubs made up of girls and boys who are committed to the promotion of human rights, dignity for all as well as mutual respect between girls and boys. In partnership with UNICEF, we have engaged members of the G/BEM clubs in a successful seminar on teenage pregnancy. This allowed the learners to contribute to the drafting of the comprehensive strategy on preventing and managing teenage pregnancy. Sexual Harassment Guidelines for learners are planned and the G/BEM clubs will be a major vehicle for distributing these.

Government has also embarked on a community mass mobilisation campaign seeks to galvanise and inspire communities to support the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  Furthermore, the road- shows seek to ensure that more football fans are aware of the forthcoming tournament. In addition, municipalities are encouraged to begin legacy projects through the provision of facilities and capacitation of local sports people, who will drive sports development initiatives, so that football will grow. After the FIFA Confederations Cup, two such road shows were held in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. A further road-show is planned for Mpumalanga in November while Western Cape and Northern Cape will be visited early in 2010.

Thank you very much.


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