Human Development Cluster's Post Cabinet Lekgotla's Media Briefing


22 Aug 2011

Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, and Deputy Minister of Education, Enver Surty, answered questions posed by the media after the Human Development Cluster's post Cabinet Lekgotla Media Briefing document was presented (see Appendix below for Media Briefing document).


[Note: Transcript of Questions & Answers provided by the Human Development Cluster]

Just regarding the performance contracts signed with principals and deputy principals. Who will monitor the performance of the principals and deputy principals and what happens to them if they don’t perform? And then on the NSFAS loans how do you get students to pay back their loans if you are making it easier for them to get away with not paying it back?

Journalist:Deputy Minister there is a number of references in in here about skill shortages and skills mismatch. I know this has been a problem for some time that the Government has been most concerned about. A number of years back I seem to recall the Government initiate a National Skills Audit, pardon me if that has been done and widely published and I don’t know about it. Can you tell us where we stand on the National Skills Audit? Have we identified the scale of the problem is really my question.

Journalist:Can you just give some indication what exact form the interventions are taking with regards to the results of the ANA. You say it provided you with some important information that is assisting you in developing interventions for those schools. Which schools are they and what exactly is being done?

Journalist:I ask this question every year and I am going to it again Minister and Deputy Minister. Have you given any further thought to re-establishing an inspectorate so the teachers and principals can indeed be held to account?

Journalist: The Western Cape Education Department has already established their contracts, performance contracts. Have they jumped the gun or are you guys going to do this together?

Minister Angie Motshekga: The first question relates to principals and how we monitor them. People have to monitor principals off the streets; they are the ones who are supposed to monitor principals. And what we are trying to do we are really clarifying much more what they are going to be assessed on and what the consequences are. In terms of how we deal with inefficiency, the Public Service Act is very clear about how to deal with inefficiency. So we do it within the framework of the Public Service Act, we won’t do it differently. What we needed was to bind them to what we have agreed to and then use the tools which are in the Public Service Act.

I am going to leave the difficult one for the Deputy Minister in line with his Women’s Month support. I will take the ones on ANA. What ANA has helped us with was to really first help us identify which schools are underperforming. Because with the matric results we knew as a sector which schools were performing, that is how everybody will know to say this is a performing school, this is an underperforming school. But we didn’t have a tool which will help us identify underperforming schools at a primary school level, so that for us was very necessary.But it also helped us to give us a benchmark because in terms of the outcomes commitment which we have signed with the President we had said by 2014 we must be at 60%. So we need to know where we are all moving from in terms of the benchmark.

What we have done, what most porcine had done was first to identify to analyse the ANA results, identify schools which were underperforming, understand the causes for underperforming or high performing. Some are administrative, some are just, so there are various reasons why some of the schools are underperforming and they are not the same. As I was saying some of the schools (unclear) 20% so it means it is really not an infrastructure issue, it is a management issue. Or it is a focus issue that schools are not focussing adequately to the core business of the Department.

So what we have done is to work systematically in terms of what has been identified as manifestations that come from different schools. We have developed it through which we expect both provinces and districts to follow in dealing with ANA results. One, to make sure that parents also understand what it is happening in their schools, identifies the problems. Some of the problems are even external to schools. Questions of late coming are some of the things, the whole question on time on task. There is a very serious problem around late coming that is why I am trying to put more pressure on parents to take responsibility about their children coming to school on time. The time on task is not only for teachers to be in class on the task, they have to find their learners there. So we are also using it to mobilise parents around, it is a concrete issue. But what ANA also helped us with is to drill even deeper in the schools not only identify the schools which have problems. But also drill deep within the school how different teachers are performing. Because within the same school you will find, I was in Gauteng last week to visit one of the schools. You find a Zulu teacher is doing quite well, kids can write. So it is not the whole school which is a problem. You will find that there are specific teachers whose learners have a problem. So it gives the principal a tool to be able to confront because it is not easy to go to a teacher and say so and so is not performing but so and so is performing, because we didn’t have a uniformed tool which was being used. So the principal has a tool trough which he can be able to say the same learners from the same community in the same grade performed differently. So it also enables schools to lead with specific teachers in specific classrooms.

But what has also helped us is to refocus the sector to the basic skills to say all the other things especially at your foundation phase are not as important as your counting, your numerousy, literacy and your writing. You find that in most schools children spend very little time on writing. Some of the weaknesses come back to even our resourcing of the schools was quite critical of the new methods as an old teaching of cutting, pasting, colouring, kids just don’t have the opportunity to write.  There is just so much modernisation of things, there is nothing wrong with ICT’s but writing is a skill, your hand has to be accustomed to writing for you to be able to write. So it also reminds us to go back to basics, there are basic things that kids have to know let alone any development or any changes. So what it has also helped us with is to intervene in terms of balancing out development vs. your own basic skill. So it has helped us to refocus the whole sector into foundation phase but also into the core business of the Department. But it has also helped us to refocus school principals in particular that their first line of accountability is around outcomes. I visited very clean schools; you could see that the principal is really focusing on the environment. But if you go to the books, kids can’t write and principals were equally short with us. You say that principal this school looks very orderly and anything you ask for you get immediately. But they are not judge on how you file. You file one report for grade 3 it’s well administered, they are being judged on these results. So what is the plan to improve those results?

As I said more than anything it was to help us identify schools which are underperforming. Identify schools which are performing schools which are doing very well. We have also been to schools which are doing very well even in the township. I went to a school last week, it’s in the top 20 in Gauteng and it is a township school. I had to go an understand how because there is a clear link between poverty and performance but also there is a clear link between I think work ethics which is found in other schools and not in other schools. So it even helps us to be able to understand those that are performing under difficult conditions, what is it that they are doing right so that we can share the experiences with other people in other schools. And fortunately they confirm what we are saying that if people do what they have to do then we get the results. It is just doing what they are supposed to do, being on task all the time, managing their classrooms all the time. Some of the things if you look at the ANA results there are issues about classroom practice which again I have shared that with my colleague from Higher Education. The teacher training method we use we don’t prepare our learners adequately for foundation phase teaching. They do come with good university qualifications, skills but it is not, the 5 weeks teaching experience does not prepare our teachers adequately for effective teaching. So those are the things we are picking up from ANA which again helps us in all levels to have the necessary dialogue. It is a long question neh?

And then in terms of inspectorate.There is no intention to bring back inspectorate. I am still convinced that systems in place if adequately used are adequate. I always make this example that when I was a teacher, I have taught for almost 8 years I have never seen an inspector and that is not what made effective teaching. There was no inspector which came to my class, so it is not inspectorate which makes him teach, it is the management and the leadership in schools. Schools that perform well even well don’t perform well because there is an inspector or there is no inspector. They perform well because they are well managed by the leadership in the school and that is why we are emphasizing the importance of good leadership in schools. There is always a correlation between a good principal and a good school and I have proven it beyond doubt, it is all in the school. If the principal understand their role as instructural leaders, they are good management, if you are head of Department. When I was teaching in huge schools, I taught at Orlando High with more than a 1000 kids, the only leader was the principal; there was no head of Department. Here you have a huge management infrastructure in schools who are supposed also to support teachers, oversee what teachers are doing. Because it doesn’t matter what size of inspectorate you can bring you can never for me oversee what happens in schools five days a week, eight hours a day, that should be done in schools. And districts are supposed to support principals or oversee principals that principals run schools well. Senior teachers support the teachers under their section quite well and that is my take. So there is no plan for an inspectorate.

What we have agreed to do was to put in NIDO which is really a brought structure reporting to me on the state of education in the different provinces. To say they do random visits, they will go to Bushbuck and say they have identified the following problems and the challenges and then we take them up with the province. At the end of the day it is the responsibility of the province to make sure a school functions well. So they will identify around the specific priority areas and be able to monitor, we are getting constant reports but it is not the inspectorate in the sense of the old inspectorate which really links up your teacher performance to appraisals. What we are working on with unions is to get a management tool which enables us to appraise teachers properly. Because we don’t have that management tool as yet I think it is premature to even speak about the inspectorate So the short answer no we are not as yet looking at an inspectorate but is to strengthen the existing tools that we have to make them work for us. I think we will take it from there.

Deputy Minister Enver Surty: With regard to the last question of the ETV question in terms of performance of contracts in the Western Cape. The performance contracts must be looked at in terms of the amendment to the South African Schools Act where every principal is obliged to provide his school with the school improvement plan. What we basically persuaded all the provincial Departments to do is to ensure that literacy and numeracy forms part of the school improvement plan and it certainly would be  a measure of the performance of the educators. What has happened very well in fact in this administration is that it has been a wonderful synergy between the Minister and the MEC’s for Education. So by enlarge there is a sharing of ideas and practices. We don’t prevent any province from taking steps that are innovative and would contribute and to better and enhance performance. This matter had indeed been discussed overtime and the Western Cape does have a model which we would look at very closely. Indeed the model is appropriate and can be applied elsewhere there is no difficulty whatsoever. So there is no real difficulty there because we do borrow from if you take the district offices for example you would find the Northern Cape has perhaps the most appropriate model that its aligned to the framework that has been established and certainly would encourage provinces to look at that model more closely in order to achieve the best possible outcome in terms of that particular task of accountability.

With regard, if I could just add with your permission Minister the issues of the inspectorate. It has to be linked also with the particular focus and this is occurring across the provinces with regard to mentoring and coaching. And unions are in agreement with us that where we enter the classroom whether it is through your subject advisors, through the principal or your senior management in order to assist in the development of the educator that is absolutely not difficult. So the assessment of the teachers in relation to his or her performance by a principal for example it is something that we are not looking at. What we are looking at is to say that there are indeed indicators as the Minister has indicated with regards to literacy and numeracy. So there are targets set by the school, set by the districts, set by the provinces in terms of literacy and numeracy. If a teacher is not performing well in a particular class on the basis of the performance of the learner surely somebody has to go into the classroom to find out what is happening. And if I could just perhaps give you an example, the Minister and I visit provinces regularly on the basis of ANA. Not only do we go to the school and speak to the management we physically go through the scripts and if I could share anecdotally an experience I had less than two weeks ago in the Northern Cape. We went to Kuruman and I was quite amazed, I looked at the ANA for grade 5 and in there is a box where you can provide the correct answer and the answer was about opposites, what is the opposite of? And I, first script, second script, third script, fourth script, all of them wrong not one person got it write and some of the answers don’t even appear in the box. The next question was in relation to past tenses and future tenses. Again the response of the learners was in some cases they had sentences not, you like “the man kicked the ball” you know, they would write about something else, and I said now this is very strange. And then I came to plurals I saw the same difficulty and I told the principal that if we go to this classrooms I am  almost certain that if we were to ask them what is plural they would not know what a plural is. If you ask them what is past tense they would not know what tense is, and you were to ask them what opposite is they wouldn’t know. We went to the class with the principal and the district officers and I said hot, cold, tall short and I said day then everybody in unison said night, fast, everybody in unison said slow, so they knew the answer. So I said what are opposites they didn’t know, in other words they were not told what opposites are so the reflection, the results basically had to be analysed to find out why it is. The same applied to the tenses and the same applied to the plurals, they didn’t know what plurals is but the moment it was explained, box, boxes, cat, cats, dog, dogs, everybody in unison. So the class there was nothing wrong with the ability of the learners but there was something wrong with the teaching method in that particular class. So one has to look at that kind of inspectorate in a way that it motivates, that assist, supports, that intervenes in order to ensure that we enhance the capacity. And there is no dispute or arguments with the unions in terms of that kind of support that we provide in relation to that.

Now with regard to the important area of skills shortage and thank you for that question. Indeed you are probably aware of the JIPSA, the Joint Initiative Prior to Skills Acquisition that was undertaken by the previous administration where a scoping was done in terms of the demand for engineers, the health sector the education sector in particular, agriculture, ICT, and these skills were indeed identified. Whatthe Minister of Higher Education and Training has done and now we have the advantage of combining your training with your higher education, it basically looked at that scoping itself and identified the areas. Indeed we were correct in terms of determining that there is an acute shortage of engineers. That we require skills in the ICT sector, that we certainly required skills in terms of health professionals starting from nurses and beyondand in terms of education particularly in foundation phase in accountancy, in mathematics and in science. Now what has happened as a result of that assessment is that there is a conversation, a deep conversation that is taking place between the Minister of Higher Education and Training and the Ministers of the affected Departments. So for example there is a decision taken with the Health Ministry to say that we have to establish Nursing Colleges. To what extend can we utilise the FET Colleges and the SETAS to be able to assist us in achieving that. What about community healthcare, how do we utilise that, with regard to education for example we are having a conversation to say this is what HI has produces these are the challenges to what extend can you basically assist us. And if we look at the opening of colleges where do we locate they, can we use the FET colleges. Now that doesn’t mean that we are going to wait for Higher Education and Training. What we have done is that we have established a 139 teacher resource centres countrywide for content knowledge in particular and continues development to take place. So whilst this conversation is taking place we are not compromising the need to basically ensure that we promote teacher development in a very serious way. So the answer with regard to skills shortage we know what the problems are, SETAS. Now in terms of the publication of that particular report I do know that the scoping has indeed occurred, where indeed it has been published I don’t know but we could always ask GCIS to look at it more closely and find out from Higher Education and Training. So I apologise with regard to that. But I do know that there are informed discussions taking place in relation to this particular aspect.

With regard to NSFAS itself interestingly there are students that payback. So one must not sit with the impression that millions of rands are being repaid. But then there are those who are really derelict and diligent they simply don’t take the responsibility notwithstanding the fact that they have received the support that they have graduated and then are in jobs don’t do that. And in fact there is a conversation within the Department and one is basically to find out whether indeed they should speak to the Revenue Services, I am not saying that is the position there to assist in the collection. Because if a person basically is employed and you could basically come to some arrangement, but that is not where it is going, but it is a conversation that has taken place. I think more than anything else it is basically you have your legal remedies because people do sign contracts where they take a loan. When they are unemployed obviously one does not expect NSFASto basically to proceed against a person. So until such time as they are employed then the appropriate arrangements can be made. We felt that kind of sensitivity does work well and indeed has contributed significantly to the recovery. What the challenge is and I think what the question was about is who monitors. You need dedicated people within NSFAS to be able to monitor that particular process because if you ignore that and you don’t follow it up the result would be that people are not going to pay as promptly and consistently as they ought to. So NSFAS has basically set up a mechanism within NSFAS to basically look at the monitoring of payments and to deal with the matter in a sensitive way as possible. Ensuring that people do not take advantage of the system that has contributed to their own wellbeing.

Journalist: An update on what’s happening in the Eastern Cape it has been over six months, have we got any concrete examples of improvements. And it appears there is still some sort of controversy around the delivery of proper schools in those five mud schools that have turned to the High Court. Apparently monies are available but there are some bottlenecks so we still have those mud schools. The other thing relates to ANA perhaps it is a broader question now that you have a diagnostic tool at hand does that tool give you an insight on what are the reasons for approximately of all learners dropping out within the 12 years of schooling. And if you do what are you going to do about that to try and prevent that.

Journalist: Just a follow up question on the Eastern Cape. There was  a report last week from the Eastern Cape about some funds that were improperly used in the Eastern Cape where some school they have 600 students but they had 6 students attending that particular school. I can’t remember the exact paper but what has happened to those teachers or officials involved in that kind of financial mismanagement. The second question relates to the university in Mpumalanga. Can you give us an indication in terms of the costing and has it been done.


Journalist: Just on NSFAS again do we have an idea of what the outstanding debt currently is and how does it affect students who want to access the fund in the future.

Journalist: Just a follow up on that what is the actual ratio of students who pay back is it 50/50 or are we seeing most students not paying back. And is there a sense that the Department does want to become a little more heavy handed with people who don’t pay back, I mean is this a goal to get students to pay back for NSFAS.

Minister Angie Motshekga: I wish you would not ask me about Eastern Cape but you got me on that one. It is a major problem, I mean if truth be told we have major problems in the Eastern Cape to an extent that I as a Minister had to go back to the President to say we are getting lot of resistance from the leadership of the Eastern Cape. They have not legally contested Section 1B but they have created a state of paralysis but that is not cooperating with the National Department on Section 1B. Had it not of the President’s very busy diary we were going there Thursday and Friday to meet the whole executive of the Eastern Cape to find out exactly what these issues are. The fact is that we have declared Section 1B by February, agreed with the province that to allow the dust to settle we would really have a very soft moving in to the Eastern Cape so that we can allow books to be delivered, teachers to be reemployed and then officially take over the administration of the Eastern Cape after that easing off period.  And after two months where indeed we had reappointed teachers, books had been delivered the four major things we then entered into a memorandum of understanding with them and we drafted a memorandum of understanding, sent it to the province got their lawyers to look at it so that we have a tool which legally allows us to work in the Eastern Cape. We then went to the Eastern Cape had the lawyers from national and their lawyers and even the Premier signed we agreed on a memorandum of understanding. The next phase was now taking over which really was the delegations of responsibilities and at that period it was at the time we worked with the President in the Eastern Cape. After the presidential visit the Premier requested the President that they really want some conversation in relation to how we are going to take over the administration of the province and the President agreed. Then we came back to Cabinet, we set up a team of five Ministers, Minister Radebe for the legal part, Minister Baloyi for public service administration, Minister Gordhan for finance, myself and Minister Nzimande because of FET colleges and we met in Cape Town. Let me explain Section 1B means complete takeover and I think the province at that stage it only dawned on them the reality that we really meant we are going to take the administration of the Education Department. We had a long meeting with them, they have sent five MEC’s and the MEC’s went back to the Eastern Cape and said this Section 1B means the following and agreed with them how we are going to proceed. Requested them that for us to be able to help because we have no intentions to take all the powers in the province. We were interested in the financial parts which were going to be led by treasury, human resource, planning was a big issue and there were four areas of intervention that we said and then said the Head of the Department should remain with other key functions which are the core business of the Department. Your learner attainment, your teacher development and all sorts of other activities that had to happen. I think they went back into the province and report that is what we want and in addition because there were tensions that we begin to experience with the province in terms of their accounting responsibilities which in the main are the Head of the Department’s responsibility and say we don’t necessarily want to take the responsibility for being an accounting officer but we also want them to appoint somebody that the Minister of Finance said the MEC should appoint somebody different who is an accounting officer and that is where we deadlocked with them. They went back to the province and met with Cabinet, disagreed with the report and really we have been to and fro in between us and them in terms of communication and that is why I had to go back to the President to say we are actually stuck with the Eastern Cape, we are not able to do the things we are supposed to be doing in the Eastern Cape and actually it has created a very serious problem which is creating some form of paralysis in the province. We have agreed with the President that as soon as his back from Libya we will have to go back to the province to resolve the impasse but we have an impasse with them in terms of our understandings of Section 1B. I think the sense of the province is that 1B and 1A are the same, we do the same things that we have done in the past, we work with them, produce documents and we leave a share of the document and we have this understanding that it can’t happen the way it has been happening. At some stage when I was in the Eastern Cape a senior official for almost two years to develop and HR plan for them, a very good official came back and the plan was not implemented and we said to the President we can’t do the same thing the same way and expect that we get results. That is why we want to send teams into the province and as I said we have an impasse with them.

You also wanted to know about mud schools what we did, Treasury gave us funds because that is also another source of tension between us and the Eastern Cape those funds for infrastructure. Repeatedly I have explained that those are national funds are not funds earmarked for the Eastern Cape in particular. The money that has been given by Treasury which is actually managed by Treasury and DBSA we identified the schools that need to be attended, they bring aspects and we will do it. So it is not money that is going to be given to provinces it is money that is even going to be used for other provinces because as much as you have 395 schools in the Eastern Cape which are mud there are still provinces which have mud schools. So we are targeting mud schools nationally and that is why that money is managed nationally. So the province has its own annual budget of infrastructure which they are supposed to use for what they have planned to do. We are at a stage with Treasury where we have signed a memorandum of understanding with DBSA and from September we are confident that we will start building. So there is no delay in terms of how we had planned to do the work from our part but because of this impasse that we have the part that they are supposed to be doing is not moving quite well but on the one side we will be ready because it is not very big schools it is small schools that we think between September and March next year it will be done. If there are 50 schools there’s going to be 50 contractors so we are going to do all of them at once, we will be contracting companies to supervise all the building that is taking place but it is one of the areas of impasse that we have with the Eastern Cape.

In terms of the diagnostic tool what we also have identified that because of poor performance in your foundation phase children go with deficits to high schools which catch up with them when they are in high school. Some of the reasons that we have picked up because we also had to give a report to the ruling party because they wanted to know what is the problem around dropout rate, around efficiency and about quality. We had to give an analysis to say what really creates this problem of dropout rates. It is actually at the education foundation phase we have discovered that as a country we have abnormally high failure rates in a year we failed almost 9% kids will repeat which is very high in terms of international standards. I mean developed countries only have 1% failure rate your SADC countries have a 5% failure rate so as kids repeat classes in the lower grades by the time they go to high school they are over aged. And it is one of the things that really send them off school if they feel they are an 18 year old with 12 year olds; it does send them away from school. So it is the inefficiency in the system in terms of the repetition rates which is one of the causes and that is why improving the quality is very important so that we are able to take kids through the system without really forcing them to be repeating classes unnecessarily. As I said the fact that we have 9% means our system is very inefficient it can’t be blame on kids. In terms of the dropout rate they drop when they are Grade 10 and 11 so when they are preparing for matric that all the time we don’t see them properly. For the first time when they go to Grade 10, 11 and 12 high schools because of the pressure of Grade 12 fails them repeatedly because they have failed repeatedly but sometimes they can’t cope because of the deficit that they bring up from the primary school. So by the time they go to Grade 10 that poor education begins to catch up with them and they just can’t cope with high school education and again it causes the dropout rate.

The other factors are also issues around poverty for instance the Western Cape has the highest rate of dropout rates which are really linked to questions of youth delinquency, questions of gangs, drugs and other things it is one of the factors that we have picked up. Also the factor of poverty where kids become teenagers coming from poor homes to supplement families they are going to all sort of jobs to get monthly supplement, so it is social factors but there also educational factors that are causing dropout rates. We are working with provinces to identify where we have hotspots, we also picked up for instance amongst the girl children, the report that we are preparing for the ruling party we are able to pick up that we lose almost 50 000 girls fall pregnant a year and it is a problem in terms of them coming back to school. We might find sometimes they can’t come back to school because there is no one to look after the child so again we lose girl children because of teenage pregnancy and again that has helped us to go into conversation with the Department of Health to begin to run the productive education in our schools so that we can help our girl children from teenage pregnancy. Also what we have reported are the very sad picture that confirmed by the problems that come from the Thuthuzela Care Centres because as part of the work that I do as a President of the Women’s League is to monitor violence against women. What we have picked from the reports is that the majority of people who get raped are minors and those minors sometimes fall pregnant because it is kids who have not prepared themselves for sex so it is your 11year old, 12year old and 13year olds who fall pregnant because they are sexually active it is the whole problem of rape by the time the parents see it, it is too late to terminate but in some instances some people don’t believe in terminations. So it is a combination of social factors, environmental factors but also educational factors which we really are beginning to deal with now that we have identified them.

What we have discovered with our intervention in the Eastern Cape that the road goes deep it is not only in terms of fraud around your supply chain. The ten schools that we just assessed in the province reveal and the variations supposed to be at 5% in terms of your attendance statistics. We found that in some schools there are schools who have inflated numbers so it is not only the principals salary that gets inflated it is the money that are send to school. This school in particular it means they’ve got a million rand extra for kids that are not there. That is why we said to the Eastern Cape we want to take over planning, some schools get more money for school feeding, more money for your norms and standards it is just a big problem. So because of the impasse we have not been able to do anything we just have the information and I think after being able to unlock the talks we know what we want to do because in the turnaround plan that we have made is to say we want to go and do a head count school by school, head count teacher by teacher to say are people that are being paid there. So it is part of the plans that we have in terms of turnaround but it requires money and national can’t be paying for that it is money that is supposed to come from the province and that is where we have an impasse in terms of the accounting officer because if we do that head counting he has to pay for that head count. So the information is correct the road is not only at head office it is deep up to school level and we have developed a framework and a plan to begin to clean up the system from school.

Deputy Minister Enver Surty: Just briefly with regards to the retention of learners itself the problem doesn’t detract from what the Minister has raised serious problems with regards to pregnancies, social-economic conditions but in the GT ban because it is up to Grade 9 we don’t have a serious problem. Once you get to the FET ban that is Grade 10,11 and Grade 12 that is when there’s a marked dropout that is taking place. Two factors that might have influenced the assessment one is that FET colleges have drawn a fair number of learners there is more than 50 000 learners in FET colleges which exceeds the target anyway. The second is a reality that there are learners who just don’t want to go to university and now you have mathematics that is a fundamental must it be a fundamental compulsory subject shouldn’t there be a different kind of mathematics for those people who just want to acquire some very fundamental skills and that conversation is taking place within the Higher Education Sector in relation to what they should be offering at FET colleges.

The task team for Limpopo University itself in terms of the resources I don’t have the costing available right now but any decision are informed by cost the task team would basically be able to advise the Minister and certainly it is information that we would have to obtain from the Minister and pass it on. NSFAS receive its allocation on the basis of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework so in other words year by year there is an allocation that is made so whether learners pay or not it does not mean that the pool is getting smaller. The advantage of recovering the money is that you have additional students that would benefit from the monies that had been paid back. So it would not prejudice new applications but it would certainly enhance or increase the number of learners that would pay back. I can only speak about many years back because at that time the repayment was reasonably high more than 50%, I don’t know what the current status is we would certainly have to look at it but I certainly feel that one should take a very hard line on learners or students who have basically benefitted from a process are at work and are not paying back. We should not be sympathetic about that and we should take the appropriate legal steps to ensure that we recovery that amount because it is money that belongs to the fiscus and it is for the public benefit of learners who need it desperately. Perhaps I should just conclude by saying that as we speak about NSFAS there are two big things that have happened. The one is basically the workbooks before ANA was even initiated we decided on the workbooks because we recognised the problems with literacy and numeracy we didn’t need ANA to do it although it is a diagnostic tool. More than 24million workbooks have been distributed in the 11 official languages. ANA is another macro thing more than 6 million learners have been tested and it is really to say that our decisions must be informed by the objective realities out there and we are certainly not going to pretend that we don’t have challenges in literacy and numeracy. We are saying it is critical and necessary for us to do so, so I hope that would sort of deal with it. One last information point that with regard to the infrastructure for the mud schools we have identified 50 mud schools for completion at the end of the financial year. As things stand right now it does appear that we would be able to achieve that notwithstanding the difficulties that we have in the Eastern Cape because we have really taken hold of it. From the monies that have been allocated in this financial year for the mud schools and for sanitation, water and electricity for the Eastern Cape and in the other provinces, approximately R580million is going to be allocated to the Eastern Cape principally because of the mud school so they would be the primary beneficiaries in terms of the R800milion that has been allocated for Treasury for this year. Next year it is going to be much more evenly distributed amongst the nine provinces. Thank you very much.


Human Development Cluster’s Post cabinet Lekgotla’s Media Briefing, Cape Town, 23 August 2011

Programme Director
Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, MP
Deputy Ministers
Members of the Media

Welcome to this Human Development Cluster briefing – in our previous Cluster media briefing we reported on our plans for the year ahead. Today we report on our continuing challenges, achievements and what still needs to be done.

Government has prioritized education and health as the lead priorities for the next five years and beyond. During our recent Cabinet held recently, key resolutions were adopted affecting this cluster. The purpose of this briefing is to update you of the outcome of the Lekgotla specifically matters relating to the Human development Cluster.


Given the intensive engagement that the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, has been having with the media over the past few weeks it has been decided that this briefing will just highlight just a few critical delivery issues that that are already in the public domain.

As most of you would know, the National Health Insurance (NHI) green paper was released recently for public comment and government as a whole is encouraged by the active engagement that South Africans are having with this document.

The Department of Health also released for comment regulations for the classification of our hospitals and their management as part of ensuring that all our public hospitals are managed at appropriate seniority levels and by the right people. The Department has also released for comment human resources for health strategy with key proposals on how human resources will be developed as part of ensuring that the country is able to produce sufficient human resources for health especially as the country moves towards the NHI.

In terms of the performance of the country’s hospitals, an audit is currently underway assessing exactly how our hospitals are performing and members of the media were hosted by the Department a few days ago and were shown how this audit is performed, which areas have been covered and what aspects are being looked at.

This past week there were major interventions made by the Department of Health in improving the infrastructure challenges that have been experienced at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital which is one of our key national assets.

With the Minister of Health being present here this morning I am confident that he will be able to respond to any question regarding the issues mentioned above or any other issue relating to the health sector.


Today, we are 61 days away from the start of the 2011 grade 12 examinations. Our examinations unit has just concluded an audit, confirming the readiness of Provinces to conduct the examinations.

Basic Education

Our challenges in basic education are multifaceted and complex. In February this year I announced our plan to take forward the President’s directive of emphasis on the 3 Ts: teachers, texts and time. These are linked to our Action Plan to 2014 and Delivery Agreement.

In order to address some of our challenges, we established targets for grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 and
conducted the first countrywide ANA which involved approximately 6 million learners in grades 1-6 in February 2011. The results were released on 28 June 2011.
ANA has provided the Department with important information that is assisting in identifying areas where urgent attention is required in order to help improve success levels of learners.

Our interventions include working sessions with role players in each of the provinces to discuss the ANA findings, explore further possible analysis to extract detailed information from the data and discussion of guidelines on how to utilize the data for interventions and target setting. DBE has already developed the guidelines and is currently distributing these to schools.

DBE has completed the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and will phase them into the Foundation Phase and Grade 10 in 2012. DBE has trained subject advisors and provinces are continuing with the training of teachers. Based on what the ANA results show, there would be a more scripted approach to teacher development. This will include training and support to teachers to help them manage and use efficient methods to teach specific content areas that the assessment has shown to be particularly challenging to learners.

Teachers are central to the success of the new approach that DBE is adopting. Here the focus is firmly on more targeted, subject-specific teacher education and development that will improve teacher content knowledge. DBE is also strengthening the campaign to attract young people to the teaching profession through our Funza Lushaka Bursary programme. From the 1st September we embark on a recruitment campaign to recruit the best of young people to the teaching profession.  

In addition, as part of the efforts to strengthen accountability in the system, DBE is working closely with the Education Labour Relations Council to develop performance management contracts with our principals and deputy principals. Effective school management and leadership are key factors in ensuring effective schooling. DBE is strongly looking at strengthening even the appointment procedures for school principals.

All principals and deputy principals will enter into performance contracts in the future with clear performance targets. This will help to strengthen accountability in schools at two levels. Furthermore, district support for schools, that is often poor or lacking, will be strengthened.

Lekgotla resolutions on Education

 Our lekgotla resolutions revolve around two issues:
Accelerating the Provision of Universal Basic Services, including eradication of infrastructure backlogs, provision of sporting facilities, and national planning and procurement for provision of infrastructure, textbooks and stationery
Improving monitoring, support and accountability in the schooling system, including mechanisms for improved teacher accountability, and involvement in school improvement activities in line with the NEDLAC accord

Key to the Department of Higher Education and Training’s resolve is the assertion that education and training are central in improving the requisite skills that will ensure an effective response to the needs of the labour market and social equity, and ensuring inclusive beneficiation in the economy.

The adoption of the New Growth Path by government and the focus on creating jobs is largely a recognition that poverty, inequality and social inequities stem from the exclusion of the majority from the labour market. Skills shortages continue to be one of the key constraints of economic growth and transformation of our economy and labour market.

An acute observation that has been made by Government is that the South African labour market is plagued by skills shortages that constrain the economy’s potential growth. In this regard, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the new Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) landscape, the department has initiated possible interventions that seek to increase access to training and skills development opportunities.

The launch of the new SETA landscape has led to the restructuring the SETAs on 1 April 2011 to improve governance, administration with a focus on meeting sectoral skill needs and increase training levels overall. A standard constitution for all SETAs was introduced to ensure that there is consistency and alignment with regard to the functioning of SETAs.
In pursuit of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s goals, the SETA landscape has been configured. SETAs have been reduced from 23 to 21, in an effort to streamline them and synergise their work; measures have also been taken to strengthen the manner in which they are governed;

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NESFAS)

Further changes aimed at making higher education more affordable have been initiated by the Department. In future, NSFAS will not start charging interest on student loans until 12 months after a student has graduated or left university. This will apply to all the NSFAS loans to students registered on 1 April 2011 and moving forward.

A further R50 million has been provided for postgraduate students who require financial assistance to complete their Honours, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees. These students will enter into loans agreements with NSFAS and the money they pay back will be earmarked to fund future postgraduate students. The Department of Higher Education and Training has also asked NSFAS to remove from the credit bureau all students they have blacklisted; this particularly applies to students who are recipients of NSFAS loans.
On the transformation of universities, a Ministerial Committee, chaired by Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, has been established to review the funding framework of universities and make recommendations thereon taking into account the needs of universities over the next 15 years. As part of its work, it will also consider ways of improving the funding framework to ensure strengthen rural institutions and that historically disadvantaged students are supported within the system. The Ministry has also allocated R686 million for the 2010 to 2012 period to address student accommodation and the need for more student residences on campuses.
Two Task Teams were established in 2010 to do a feasibility study on the establishment of new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. My department has received the final draft reports from the two task teams and is in the process of analyzing these and developing a full implementation plan. Work is progressing well within the establishment of the two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape and it is expected that the plan will be ready at the end of November 2011 thereafter I will announce the final arrangements of the universities within Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

The final report from the Task Team looking into the development of health sciences at Medunsa and the University of Limpopo, was published in the Government Gazette and the CHE’s advice was requested on the process. The CHE’s report is expected in the next day or two. Draft Terms of Reference for a Task Team have been prepared and will be finalised after receiving the advice from the CHE.  We expect that the technical work towards the unbundling of the University of Limpopo and Medunsa will begin at the beginning of September. It is envisaged that in the long term Medunsa will become part of a new single-purpose Health and Allied Sciences University, and that a new medical school will be established in Polokwane to cater for the growing need there.

While the public university system is relatively stable and growing, governance and management aspects within certain of the higher education institutions do remain a challenge.

Appointment of an Administrator for Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

The recent development at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) around the appointment of a Vice Chancellor whose qualification is not recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) has seriously compromised the academic integrity and reputation of the university in particular.

Council members, at a meeting held on 29 July 2011, were requested to submit their positions on the Minister’s decision to appoint and Administrator by 5 August 2011. Submissions and correspondence received from Council members confirmed that critical findings concerning governance, management and human resources made by the Independent Assessor have not been addressed.

After careful consideration, the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande, has appointed Professor Mosia as the Administrator for the Tshwane University of Technology, in terms of Section 41A of the Higher Education Act, 1997, as amended. Professor Mosia has substantial experience as Registrar at North West University.

The terms of reference of the Administrator has been published in the Government Gazette.

The Administrator commenced duty on Monday, 16 August 2011. The university is fully functional and teaching and learning are proceeding normally.

Similarly, on 12 July 2011, Minister Blade Nzimande met with the full Council of the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) to discuss the problems being encountered by the institution and consult on the best way forward. At the meeting, it was recognized that many of the problems at WSU are structural and systematic, and are historical symptoms.

Consequently, after consulting with the Council of WSU, the Minister decided to appoint an Independent Assessor to assess the nature and extent of the challenges confronting the institution, and to make recommendations on the way forward towards ensuring that WSU takes its rightful place as a strong and well managed rural comprehensive higher education institution.

The Minister recognizes the strategic importance of Walter Sisulu University and the department is currently working with the university Council, management and other key stakeholders to ensure that measures are put in place to ensure the smooth operation of the university.

Moreover, the Department also put the University of Zululand under administration. Professor de Beer was appointed as Administrator on 18 April 2011 after the University Council was disbanded.

The disbanding of the council was based on findings from an independent assessor’s report prepared by Prof. Hugh Africa.

Key Issues Deliberated During Cabinet Lekgotla

At the recent Cabinet Lekgotla, it was noted that there is a mismatch between the supply and demand of skills for specific educational categories in terms of the expanded unemployment rate of labour market participants. The South African labour market is also plagued by skills shortages that constrain the economy’s growth potential.

With this in mind, the Lekgotla resolved on the following key matters:

Extending the provision of free education to cover students in other years of study must be examined fully;
Covering the full cost of study for (poor) students in scarce skills areas, in all the years of study must be effected, but there should be guarding against the downgrading of  Social Science programme provision;
Post graduate students must be supported through NSFAS in order to develop a new generation of academics, in addition to NRF initiatives;
Efforts to promote research and development in Higher Education institutions should be intensified;
Those who have completed their studies must pay back their loans so that other students can also be supported;
Accommodation in the post school system must be given attention as an area of urgent necessity, as only 18.5% of student population is accommodated in university residences;
Government must ensure that all infrastructure programmes are linked to skills training and workplace experiential learning. There is a need to closely monitor the implementation of such skills plans throughout the duration of these projects;
The Public Service Sector SETA (PSETA) must be strengthened and repositioned to play a more effective role in skills training for public service;
All government departments must pay skills levies, as required by law; and
The intake of interns into the public service, municipalities and SOEs should be expanded. The training space within the public service, as the largest single employer, also needs to be fully utilised.


The Human Development Cluster values your support as the media and where possible, we’ll try to arrange through GCIS follow up interviews with Ministers who are not present today.
I thank You!


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