Minister of Basic Education Budget speech & responses by DA
10 May 2016
Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, gave her Budget Vote speech on the 10 May 2016
Honourable Members and Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen
Honourable Speaker, we thank you for this Debate on Vote 14, Basic Education.
Madam Speaker, let us start by condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the violent protests in Vuwani, Limpopo Province, that has led to the torching of several schools and other public amenities in that area.
Whilst we reaffirm the right of all South Africans to legitimate and peaceful protest, no amount of legitimate grievance or disaffection warrants the destruction of public or private property, as has happened in that area. South Africans must always be guided by the principle that the rights of any citizen are always balanced by responsibility and accountability.
The right of access to basic education is limitless and unqualified. Despite the fact that the preliminary cost to reconstruct the schools completely gutted by fire, has been estimated at R720 million; the effects on children of Vuwani, arising from such wanton destruction of public assets, the infringement on their right to basic education, and the irreplaceable files and data destroyed at those gutted schools, cannot be quantified into Rands and Cents; it is simply devastating and unacceptable to the extreme.
We wish to applaud the communities who put their lives and safety at risk to protect schools in their communities; and encourage them to continue making basic education a societal matter. I can assure those communities that their protection of their schools, has guaranteed the future of their children.
Realignment of plans and programmes as well as priorities of the sector over the 2016 MTEF period
Madam Speaker at the outset, let me remind this august House that basic education is a concurrent function in Government, and in order to realign our functions with the emerging realities of the public service delivery landscape, it has been necessary to review our planning framework as a sector. As a result, it has been necessary to realign our functional areas, institutional structures, as well as our plans and programmes to more explicitly reflect those of the national sphere in the basic education sector, while ensuring that the provincial functions in the different detailed provincial programmes and plans, in alignment with national priorities.
Improved quality basic education is the apex priority of Government, with the intention of building specific strategies that will transform the basic education sector. We have since aligned our Action Plan to take account of the 2030 timelines prescribed the National Development Plan: Our Vision 2030 (NDP. Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030 will guide the basic education sector in our work.
Improved learner achievements and school performance continues to be our main goal. This Budget Vote therefore, focuses on learning and teaching in the sector, and on the commitments we have made on the post-2015 development agenda – the Sustainable Development Goal 4, (SDG4) which has a specific focus on the provision of quality education. Equity, quality, and inclusive life-long learning opportunities for all, continue to be our focus. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to ensure optimal performance at all levels of the system. All of us have to make a concerted effort to uproot poor performance at all levels of the system.
WThe 2016 MTEF period will be marked by a consolidation of our work, and on guiding and deepening the work done at classroom, school and district levels, through monitoring and supportive action of provincial education departments, and the actions of the Department at national level.
International assessment studies (such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study – TIMMS results from 2002 to 2011 focusing on Grade 4 and 8 mathematics and science; and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study – PIRLS results from 2001 to 2011 focusing Grade 4 reading achievements) show that we are improving the educational achievement for learners from poor households. We are looking forward to the release of the TIMMS 2015 results and PIRLS 2015 in November 2016 and 2017, respectively. The preliminary results of the 2007 Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ IV), confirm what has been done in the most courageous and large scale interventions in our sector. Madam Speaker, the SACMEQ IV results, to be released soon, will show that the Republic of South Africa, for the first time, has reached the 500 centre point – a good story to tell indeed.
Together with our partners, the focus will continue to be on getting learning and teaching in classrooms right, whether this is in terms of the foundational skills, subject content knowledge, and teaching context and practice. We must get all those who are in positions of responsibility in our system to act in support of nation-building in its truest sense. We must all build a nation in which reading, social cohesion and engagement and collective responsibility coexist; and in which communities respect the rule of law, and own their role in developing our education system.
Whilst education is a complex enterprise, we are able to confirm that the effects of the massive investments Government has made in the last few years are visible and can be felt throughout the system, particularly in the classroom. Efficiency is increasing in all parts of the system, with reduced drop-out and improved retention rates up to Grade 9; increased gender parity across the schooling system; and more young people matriculating yearly than ever before. We have more African graduates in university than ever before as a result.
We have noted however, that the schooling system needs to address the drop-out rates from Grades 9 to 12. The introduction of the Second Chance Programme for young people, youth development and energised social cohesion programmes, curriculum differentiation for more effective inclusive education, and the introduction of the three stream curriculum model – occupational, technical and vocational streams – are innovations designed to improve curriculum choices and post-school opportunities and choices for young people country-wide.
Through the NDP, our priorities have been set. We have to improve the quality of teaching and learning through better teacher support, development, utilisation and supply, as well as better materials provisioning, and infrastructure development, preservation and maintenance. We are realigning the departmental structures, partnerships and assessment systems in our system, so that they better support learning, teaching, feedback and support in our classrooms, and the accountability for the resources our country invests in our schools. We are acutely aware that learner well-being, has a direct bearing on schooling and learning – more so than in any other contexts. Hence, we have evaluated implementation and deepened the reach our care and support programmes.
Together with our partners, the investment in teacher resource centres, and the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teacher development have enabled us to multiply and expand the reach of our efforts at supporting our teachers in subject content knowledge and teaching practice. Stability has been achieved in curriculum reform and, working with our provincial counterparts, efforts to ensure full curriculum coverage at classroom level, will be the focus of all programmes through better accountability for learning and collaboration with all stakeholders and partners.
The integration of e-innovation, e-governance and e-administration to enhance the use of ICTs in teaching and learning (alla the NDP), will be the focus of our Operation Phakisa interventions. Through Operation Phakisa, we will roll-out ICT programmes that will develop and modernise the skills of our teachers and learners to match the needs of the changing world. Our approach is in support of the NDP assertion that “greater use of technology, backed by high-speed broadband, could open new opportunities” for teachers and learners. Our focus over the 2016 MTEF period will also be on the improvement and progression of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) programme. Our ultimate goal is establish to MST and Reading offices in all provinces to support for improved curriculum delivery and subject choices, as well as to strengthen our human resource development strategies. The Deputy will elaborate more on these programmes.
Madam Speaker, the NDP enjoins all South Africans to learn at least one indigenous language as part of nation-building and social cohesion. In 2014, we began with the Incremental Introduction of African languages (IIAL) in eight provinces and 228 schools as an immediate response. Our social cohesion activities will have a particular focus on the elimination of the scourge of racism, xenophobia and intolerance that persist.
Over the 2016 MTEF period, the sector will have dedicated programmes to support rural and small schools after appropriate rationalisation and mergers of unviable schools has been finalised in all provinces. All anomalies and deviations from rational post provisioning policies will be systematically dealt with so that the pressure on the personnel bill can be alleviated in all provinces.
Madam Speaker, the introduction of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs) during this past term, has helped identify the weaknesses in the teaching and learning processes. The lessons learnt since 2011, continue to influence our teacher development programmes. In the 2014 – 2019 MTSF period, the emphasis is on improving the verification and the credibility of the ANA; hence the current review of the ANA. Participation in international assessments is ongoing, to continuously measure our learner performance against the best in the world.
Over the 2016 MTEF period, the Department will utilise the strategy on the recruitment and appointment of educators to ensure stability in staffing at school level, and to improve efficiency in the appointment of educators. The NDP enjoins us to ensure that educators recruited to the teaching profession, must be high calibre candidates who will commit to improve teaching and learning outcomes in the classroom.
The Department will continue to work with sister Departments to formalise Grade R, and will ensure that the provisioning of appropriately qualified and experienced ECD practitioners, as well as age-appropriate learning and teaching support materials, are prioritised. Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of learners in Grade 1, who have attended Grade R. Our medium-term goals as a sector, will be to ensure that there are sufficient Readers and other learning materials for Grade R, and that the qualifications of ECD practitioners are upgraded.
ur pro-poor policies have helped to bridge the inequalities in the system, and have also enabled the retention of learners in the system. Cost containment measures in our sector, include but not limited to the improvement of asset management, retrieval and retention of all materials – from fixed assets to books, and teaching and learning supplies. Our monitoring at school and district levels will focus on these in the coming years. Centralised procurement through the National Treasury, will gain traction in order to maximise on the economies of scale in the procurement of goods and services required in the sector.
In support of the partnership advocated by the NDP, the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) continues to help the Department in its mission to transform the education system. The NECT is devoted to the strengthening of selected education districts, and improving the performance of schools within these districts. 21 of the 86 education districts have been identified for long-term intervention; but 8 education districts with 4 362 schools in 5 provinces have been prioritised; and these are Libode and Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, Pinetown and UThungulu in KwaZulu Natal, Waterberg and Vhembe in Limpopo, Bohlabela in Mpumalanga, and Bojanala in North West. These districts have been profiled; their pressing needs assessed and identified for remedial work. The NECT has embarked on several systems level interventions to support immediate system-wide improvements; and during 2015, the following achievements were recorded –
6 817 principals and subject HoDs have been equipped to effectively manage and track curriculum management;
19 398 mathematics, science and language teachers have been trained to apply standard routines in the implementation of CAPS in their respective subject areas;
teachers have underwent a year-long teacher development programme to increase their awareness of the need to complete the curriculum in 170 days of dedicated teaching time as a benchmark, instead of the baseline which is as low as 90 days in some schools;
an innovative learner pyscho-social screening and referral project has been piloted in the Bela-Bela Circuit, Waterberg, Limpopo. Lessons learnt in this pilot were further replicated in uThungulu in KwaZulu-Natal; and there are plans to roll-out the project to the remaining NECT target districts;
over 317 district officials were trained in curriculum management and tracking, and as coaches of the curriculum management programme rollout;
at a provincial level, the curriculum coverage initiative has been extended and adopted for implementation in more districts in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga; and
at national level, a number of system improvement initiatives are underway, including support to the DBE in improving ICT systems; and national dialogues – including the National School Safety and ICT Summits.
(It is also critical to see inter-departmental collaborations serve education in the areas of improving whole-district performance, improving the health of our children in schools, and in ensuring that our schools are safe from crime, drug and substance abuse. Our teaching and learning strategies and plans require the involvement of other partners in civil society and the private sector, to enhance what is already in place.
The work we have done with the Motsepe Foundation in increasing development and participation in sport and school enrichment programmes, is beginning to yield good fruit as a result of the generous donation of R117.5 million over 10 years. During the first five years of the partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, an amount of R55 million is allocated for the following programmes –
the Kay Motsepe Schools Football Cup, which has been allocated R3.4 million annually from 2016 to 2020;
the ABC Motsepe Eisteddfod for Choral and Traditional Music, has been allocated R3 million annually from 2016 to 2020; and
the Kay Motsepe Schools Netball Cup, which will be funded at R2 million annually from 2016 to 2020.
From 2021 to 2025, the Motsepe Foundation will contribute a further R62.5 million for the three programmes. The national championships of the ABC Motsepe Eisteddfod for Choral and Traditional Music will be held in Gauteng on 28 June to 01 July 2016 – the venue will be announced soon. Madam Speaker, we encourage the Honourable Members to attend this august event – what we can simply say, is that you will not regret it.
.We have also convened our Global Development Partners to focus on system strengthening through our sectoral plan – Action Plan 2019. Our Global Development Partners now have a focused understanding of the need for education system strengthening interventions as opposed to the project approach of the past. We are also engaging with other education Ministries in the Region to collaborate with us on issues of curriculum innovations, teacher development, and assessments; so as to mobilise assistance on a Regional basis. There is now an understanding that schools can be community resource centres for all manner of public services.
Madam Speaker, the Department will continue to strive for the maintenance of labour peace in the sector, so that the unfettered right of our children to basic education is guaranteed at all times. Quality teaching and learning must remain uppermost in the psyche of our learners, educators, parents, communities and partners. After all this is what President Zuma had exhorted us to do – “make education a societal issue”.
The Department will intensify its role as articulated in the National Education Policy Act (NEPA, 1996) of monitoring and providing support for basic education programme implementation by provincial education departments. The stabilisation of the administration and the strengthening of systems in the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department, which is currently under section 100(1)(b) of the South African Constitution; and those of the Limpopo Department of Education, where financial management functions have been taken over by the Limpopo Provincial Treasury in terms of section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999, must be achieved. The DBE will continue to monitor and evaluate, but provide the required support to these two provinces in particular, and any other province, where a need has been determined.
We will scale up provincial oversight visits over the 2016 MTEF period. We will better integrate our activities strategically with the cooperation of our partners. This, we will do with the involvement of and oversight bodies, such as the Parliamentary Portfolio and Select Committees, as well as the National Treasury, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and the Auditor-General of South Africa, among others. We are also mindful that all monitoring and oversight over financial and governance activities in the sector, need to be strengthened, starting with more careful oversight of district level processes and outcomes, and much deeper support through our provincial and partner engagements.
Madam Speaker, we have started a Read to Lead Campaign, a campaign aiming to create a national focus on improving the reading abilities of all South African children. The Campaign seeks to provide energy, as well as direction and inspiration across all levels of the education system, in homes and the public domain, to ensure that by 2019, all learners can and do read.
(The 1 000 School Libraries per year project that I committed during our 2015/16 Budget Vote, in schools has been implemented with resounding success. Existing spaces in schools were converted into school libraries with conventional and technology-mediated reading platforms. Madam Speaker, we can report that more than 3 000 school, mobile and trolley libraries as well as classroom reading corners have been provided to schools – thanks to the generous donations and direct involvement of the private sector, NGOs, and individuals. I am particularly indebted to those South Africans who have volunteered their time and resources to act as the Ambassadors of the Read to Lead Campaign.
Overview of Progress in the Schooling System
Madam Speaker, before I outline our budget priorities for the 2016 MTEF period, allow to me to provide a summarised overview of progress in the schooling system. The 2002 – 2014 General Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa and research conducted in the DBE show that we have made progress in securing universal access, retention and participation rates in our public schooling system. For instance –
Participation of the 0-4 year-old children in Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities, has increased from 7.5% in 2002 to 48.3% in 2014;
There has been an increase in Grade R participation by 5 year-olds from about 40% in 2002 to 87.2% in 2014; and participation by 5 year-old learners with disabilities in our educational institutions, has increased from 80.4% in 2009 to 83.9% in 2014. Participation by 7 to 15 year-old learners with disabilities in our educational institutions, has increased from 77.8% in 2009 to 93.4% in 2014;
Primary Education participation by the 7 to 13 year-olds is near universal; and participation in compulsory education by the 7 to 15 year-olds, has increased from 97.8% in 2005 to 99% in 2014;
Participation in Secondary Education (Further Education and Training Band) by the 14 to 18 year-olds, has increased from 88.3% in 2002 to 90.7% in 2014; however the participation of the 16-18 year-old learners with disabilities in Secondary Schooling has decreased from 61.4% in 2005 to 54.1%in 2014; and
The percentage of 15 to 24 year-old youth who have completed Grade 9 and above has increased from 63.4% in 2002 to 78% in 2014.
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members we have managed to deal with redress imperatives by implementing pro-poor policies. For instance, during the 2015/16 financial year, about 9 million learners in 20 965 public schools, benefitted from the “no fee” school policy. This represents 87.1% of public schools classified as “no fee” schools benefitting 71.8% of our learners in those schools. Similarly, during the 2015/16 financial year, more than 9 million learners in 21 191 public schools benefitted from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). This represents 75.9% of our learners in 88.1% of our public schools benefitting from the NSNP. Over the years, these two pro-poor programmes, coupled with the learner transport programme, have proven to be key levers, especially for learners coming from poor households.
Madam Speaker, last year I reported that the Department, in collaboration with the Department of Transport, had gazetted for public comment the learner transport policy; with an intention finalise the policy for implementation in the 2015/16 financial year. It gives me pleasure to report that the learner transport policy was approved by Cabinet on 22 May 2015 and was gazetted on 23 October 2015. The main focus of the policy is to improve access to quality education by providing a safe, decent, effective, integrated and sustainable learner transport for deserving learners.
Budget allocation, Vote 14 for the 2016 MTEF Period
Madam Speaker and the Honourable Members, allow me to highlight the following in relation to the Budget Vote 14 for the 2016 MTEF period –
The 2015 MTEF overall budget for the Department of Basic Education was R21.511 billion. The overall budget allocation for 2016 MTEF period before the reduction of the baseline increased by 4.7% from the 2015 MTEF allocation to R22.528 billion. With the baseline reduction and the reprioritisation of the 2016 MTEF allocation, the resulting 2016 MTEF allocation for the Department of Basic Education is R22.270 billion – an increase of 3.5% from the 2015 MTEF allocation.
Madam Speaker the breakdown allocations by Education Programme for the 2016 MTEF period are as follows:
In 2015/16, Administration was allocated R357.7 million, which in 2016/17 increased by 5.6% to R377.9 million. The allocations for Administration in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years are estimated at R396.6 million and R418.6 million, respectively;
In 2015/16, Curriculum Policy Support and Monitoring was allocated R1.878 billion, which increased by 3% to R1.936 billion in the 2016/17 financial year. The allocations for this Programme in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years are estimated at R1.91 billion and R2.019 billion, respectively;
In 2015/16, Teacher Education Human Resource and Institutional Development was allocated R1.171 billion, which decreased by 0.6% in 2016/17 to R1.164 billion. The allocations for this Programme in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years are estimated at R1.219 billion and R1.29 billion, respectively;
In 2015/16, Planning Information and Assessment was allocated R12.13 billion, which increased by 3.1% in 2016/17 to R12.5 billion. The allocations for this Programme in 2017/18 and 2018/19 are estimated at R13.334 billion and R14.107 billion, respectively; and finally
In 2015/16, Educational Enrichment Services was allocated R5.974 billion, which increased by 5.3% in 2016/17 to R6.292 billion. The allocations for this Programme in 2017/18 and 2018/29 are estimated at R6.611 billion and R6.995 billion, respectively.
Conditional Grant Allocations over the 2016 MTEF Period
Last year Madam Speaker, I reported that a new Conditional Grant, namely the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Grant, intended to promote the teaching and learning of Mathematics, Science and Technology in our Schools was introduced. The 2015 MTEF allocation for the MST Grant stood at a total of R1.1 billion, which has been increased to R1.156 billion over the 2016 MTEF period – an increase of 5.1%. The 2016/17 allocation for MST Conditional Grant is R362.444 million; which will increase to R385.145 million and R407.483 million in 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, respectively.
The MST Grant will continue to strengthen the implementation of the National Development Plan and the Action Plan to 2019 by increasing the number of learners taking Mathematics, Science and Technology subjects, improving the success rate in the subjects, and improving teachers’ capabilities in teaching these three gateway subjects. The MST Grant will continue to focus on the provision of ICT resources to schools and training of teachers especially at Senior Phase and Technical Schools during the MTEF periods.
Infrastructure delivery – which in the 2016 MTEF period continues to be funded through the Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG) and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) – is funded at a total of R38.281 billion. For the 2016/17 financial year, ASIDI and the EIG have been allocated R2.375 billion and R9.614 billion, respectively; while R12.78 billion and R13.512 billion have been allocated for the EIG in 2017/18 and 2018/19, respectively.
The delivery of school infrastructure projects, funded through the EIG and ASIDI, is in line with the norms and standards for schools’ infrastructure, and schools are provided with facilities such as media centres, nutrition centres, science laboratories, and administration facilities, as we are enjoined by the NDP. More importantly, these infrastructure projects provide safe and conducive learning and teaching environments, which do not only enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, but also help to restore the dignity of our learners and teachers.
HIV and AIDS, whose purpose is to support South Africa’s HIV and TB prevention strategy, has been allocated R230.849 million in 2016/16; R245.308 million in 2017/18 and R259.536 million in 2018/19 – a total allocation of R735.693 million over the 2016 MTEF period, signifying a 4% increase from the 2015 MTEF allocation.
The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has been allocated a total of R18.984 billion over the 2016 MTEF period, with R6.006 billion in 2016/17; R6.31 billion in 2017/18; and R6.672 billion in 2018/19. This is an increase of 5% from 2015 MTEF allocation. Currently, the NSNP benefits more than 9 million learners in more than 21 000 schools. The NDP enjoins us to develop a sense of community ownership for programmes such as the NSNP. Hence, 55 620 Volunteer Food Handlers continue to prepare meals for children; while 4 977 SMMEs, cooperatives, and other service providers continue to supply the prescribed NSNP foodstuff to our schools.
EEarmarked allocations and transfer payments to public entities over the 2016 MTEF Period
NSFAS: Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme – The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme will be in its 10th year running this year. This programme has increased from R991.084 million in 2015/16 to R1.044 billion in 2016/17, an increase 5.3%; with R1.096 billion and R1.159 billion in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, respectively. Over the 2016 MTEF period the total allocation for the MST Grant is R3.299 billion.
The NDP enjoins the Department to strengthen and expand Funza Lushaka bursary programme to attract learners into the teaching profession. During this current financial year, a total of 13 980 Funza Lushaka bursaries have been awarded to student teachers for the Initial Teacher Education programme – the set target was exceeded by 980. The Department has successfully placed 93% of Funza Lushaka graduates in our schools; thus exceeding the set target of at least 85% of these graduates. 6 107 Funza Lushaka graduates, who are 30 years of age and younger, were also successfully placed. This represents 71% of the set target.
Umalusi – The 2015/16 subsidy to Umalusi has increased by 5% to R118.678 million for 2016/17 financial year; with R124.612 million and R131.839 million allocated for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, respectively – hence a total budget of R371.129 million over the 2016 MTEF period.
Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign – This Campaign received a reduced allocation of R450.5 million in 2016/17 – the Campaign’s final year of implementation. In the year under review, Kha Ri Gude has impacted the lives of more than 3.5 million illiterate South Africans, most of whom are in rural women. The Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) – Kha Ri Gude has been allocated R68.549 million – a significant contribution towards job opportunities. The Kha Ri Gude EPWP Grant was used to recruit and train 33 465 Kha Ri Guide volunteers.
National Senior Certificate Learner Retention Programme (Second Chance Programme) – This is a new intervention, introduced earlier this year, as a direct response to the NDP’s injunction that retention rates should be increased and drop-out rates reduced. This programme provides support to learners who could not meet the pass requirements of the 2015 National Senior Certificate Examinations.
TOf course candidates who will qualify to sit for the modularised examinations will only be those who had met the strict conditions set for the second chance programme. A total allocation of R150 million has been allocated for the second chance programme over the 2016 MTEF period.
National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) – The importance of public-private partnerships is a prevalent theme of the National Development Plan; and is also consistent with the President’s call to make education a societal issue. To this end the NECT has been allocated R271.837 million over the 2016 MTEF – an increase of 35.9% from the 2015 MTEF allocation. R72.12 million is allocated for the 2016/17 financial year, with R94.226 million and R105.491 million allocated in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, respectively.
Workbooks – have proven to be essential learning and teaching resources for our schools, including Braille workbooks for visually impaired learners. The Department will continue making these resources available to our schools. A total allocation of R3.188 billion has been allocated for the 2016 MTEF allocation – equivalent to a 5% increase from the 2015 MTEF allocation. This amount is aggregated as follows: R1.008 billion for the 2016/17 financial year; as well as R1.059 billion and R1.12 billion in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years, respectively.
Ministerial Task Team on the alleged “educator posts for sale”
Madam Speaker, before I conclude, allow me to apprise the House about the Ministerial Task Team report on the alleged sale of educator posts.
Last year, I had reported to this august House that I had appointed a Ministerial Task Team to investigate the alleged selling of educator posts by certain teacher unions and provincial departmental officials. We can report that the Ministerial Task Team has submitted its final report to me, which I had processed through Cabinet. Cabinet had recommended that we should develop a plan of action as Government’s response to the report, which should include wide consultations with relevant basic education stakeholders and partners.
Subsequently, the Council of Education Ministers, the Heads of Education Departments Committee, teacher unions as well as the principals and school governing body associations have been consulted. This was done after representations had been made to the Task Team. During the consultations, stakeholders requested an extension of the release of the report to allow them time to refine their inputs. After consulting with the Task Team, I agreed to postpone the release of the report by fourteen (14) days. Therefore, the Ministerial Task Team report will now be released on or around the 20 May 2016.
Conclusion and tributes
In conclusion Madam Speaker, the realignment of our plans, programmes and operations as a sector is nearing completion. We have received valuable information from the Basic Education Makgotla, programme-specific roundtables, the Summit organised by the Basic Education Portfolio Committee, and our strategic partners on the levers that will enable us to perform better to achieve our sectoral goals and priorities.
I wish to sincerely to thank Deputy Minister Enver Surty, the Chairpersons of the Education Portfolio and Select Committees and their respective members, Education MECs, HoDs, our Director-General Mr HM Mweli and his team of Senior Managers, as well as officials in my office, for their support.
We are immensely grateful to all the teachers, principals, parents, learners, SGBs, individuals and strategic partners who work tirelessly to make quality basic education a reality in the various parts of our country. Last but not the least; I must thank my family for their unwavering support.
I thank you.
The Return of Bantu Education? : Gavin Davis DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
Let me begin by offering our thoughts to the children of Vuwani in Limpopo, where 24 schools were burned to the ground last week.
Whichever way you look at it, these acts of vandalism have set us back in our task of redressing the legacy of unequal education in our country.
Today, I want to focus on this legacy of inequality, starting with the very root of it.
In 1953, Hendrik Verwoerd introduced the reprehensible policy of Bantu Education. This policy limited the educational opportunities of black South Africans to ensure a steady supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labour.
Thirteen years later, in this very Chamber, Verwoerd was stabbed to death by one of the parliamentary service officers.
The only thing tragic about that day was that Verwoerd’s policies didn’t die with him.
Indeed, Verwoerd’s ghost haunts us here in this Chamber today.
Because, if you are a poor, black child, your chances of getting a decent education in a democratic South Africa are still very remote.
And the uncomfortable truth, Honourable Chairperson, is that the gap in our education system is getting wider.
Just look at the facts.
In schools in the most affluent areas (‘quintile 5’ schools), the matric pass rate has remained steady at above 90% over the past three years.
But in schools in the poorest areas, (‘quintile one’ schools), the matric pass rate has dropped from 70.3% to 61.6% in the last three years.
In these schools, the physical science pass rate has dropped from 60.5% to 49.9%. The mathematics pass rate has dropped from 48.6% to 36.9%.
What is going wrong?
It is not a question of funding. The Basic Education Budget stands at R219 billion – almost one-fifth of the total national budget.
And, quite correctly, the state spends six times more on learners in poor areas than learners in more affluent areas.
So how is that, two decades into our democracy, poor black children are falling behind?
The answer lies in the quantity and quality of teaching.
The truth is that, for every excellent and dedicated teacher in a disadvantaged school, there are many more who can’t teach and many more who won’t teach.
And this problem will not go away until we break the SADTU protection racket that shields under-performing teachers from accountability.
In this regard, we welcome the Minister’s plan to licence and professionalise teaching.
SADTU will no doubt try and block this proposal. We hope that Minister Motshekga has the courage to follow through with it.
In this regard, we are disappointed that, on Friday, the Minister buckled under SADTU pressure and postponed the release of the ‘Jobs for Cash’ report yet again.
If it ever sees the light of day, the ‘Jobs for Cash’ report will show that SADTU has captured six out of nine provincial education departments.
We trust that Minister Motshekga’s failure to release the report does not mean that she has been captured by SADTU as well.
Today Minister Motshekga mentioned her Department’s proposal for a ‘three-tier’ system made up of an academic stream, a technical stream and an occupational stream.
In principle, the DA supports the introduction of technical and occupational streams for learners who do not have the aptitude for the traditional academic stream.
We must be wary, however, of the target to offer 60% of all learners occupational subjects like hairdressing, beauty care, nail technology, upholstery and bricklaying by 2030.
In particular, we must ensure that individual learners are put in streams according to their natural abilities and aptitudes, and not according to the quality of schooling they have received.
Take Kwabhamu Junior Secondary in Zululand, for example, one of the twenty-two schools that obtained a zero percent pass rate in the matric exams last year.
The thirty-seven matric learners at this school didn’t fail because they were in the wrong stream. They failed because the school system failed them.
Honourable Chairperson, we must never go back to a system that limits the educational opportunities of poor, black learners.
On that note, we would also like to warn Minister Motshekga against taking another retrograde step. And that is the dilution of School Governing Body powers as contemplated in the Draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill.
School Governing Bodies give communities a voice in how schools are run. They are the difference between a public school system in a democracy, and a state school system in an authoritarian regime such as Apartheid.
Honourable Chairperson, we cannot redress the legacy of the past by mimicking the past.
We must guard against the return of Bantu Education. And we must never go back to the state school system of the Apartheid era.
The only way to exorcise Verwoerd’s ghost is by improving the quality and quantity of teaching in disadvantaged schools.
So let us move forward with boldness and courage. Let us break SADTU’s stranglehold on our public education system, so that every child is given a chance to succeed.
I thank you.
Infrastructure is an essential part of education: Desiree van der Walt DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education
Yesterday, I visited Vuwani in Limpopo. The devastation I saw there was truly heart-breaking.
I dedicate this speech to every learner in Vuwani who has been denied their Constitutional Right to attend school.
Infrastructure is an essential part of education. It includes classrooms, computer laboratories, sports facilities, water, sanitation and electricity.
Tog het dit van die grootste euwels onder die ANC Regering geword.
It has become an easy road to riches for the connected few as we see the cost of building projects skyrocket. Too often, contractors are paid in full, before projects are completed and departments are left with abandoned projects. What actions have been taken against officials and contractors at fault? Nothing!
Limpopo has many such examples – a province that for quite some time was under Section 100(1)(a) administration of this Department.
As we have seen in Vuwani last week, both the national and provincial education departments have not learnt the meaning of “pro-active”, as no steps were taken to secure and protect school infrastructure.
Didn’t we learn anything from the burning of schools in Malamulele last year when the very same Demarcation issue was on the table?
The result is that 24 schools have burnt down, and thousands of learners are now at home. To make matters worse, we were told yesterday that close to 50 schools in the surrounding areas are closed. What will happen to these learners from a mostly poor area? What future will they have without education?
But, infrastructure doesn’t ends with buildings – water, sanitation and electricity is critical as well.
Far too many of schools do not have water and it is not because of the drought – it is all proudly brought to communities by the ANC due to non-delivery of basic services.
Children are not attending school, as they are sent home because there is no water at schools. We saw that in East London, Vaalwater, etc.
Sanitation seems to only be a matter of urgency on paper. Only the DA-governed Western Cape have successfully eradicated pit toilets completely – not a single ANC governed province has.
In eMahlaleni, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KZN and Limpopo we have seen toilets that should not exist at all – it is so bad and dangerous that we asked the SAHRC to investigate.
The question is: where is the Infrastructure Norms and Standards? Will funds be given to provinces as conditional grants and will they report on such spending to ensure our children’s needs, safety and dignity are the Department’s number one priority?
Honourable Chairperson, the people of South Africa are losing faith in this government’s capacity to deliver. That is why this year, on August 3, more and more people will make a different choice.
They will vote for a party with a proven track record in education and service delivery. They will vote for change.
Learners with disabilities deserve the same freedom as those without: Sonja Boshoff DA DA member of Basic Education Portfolio Committee
The National Department of Basic Education crows about their successes in meeting the Millennium Development Goal to primary education, but as we speak close to half a million disabled children are denied access to any form of education.
All learners, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, or any other condition have the right to education as this is a universal right and education is the only vehicle to a life outside poverty.
Inclusive education mandates that schools should accommodate all learners, but unfortunately the current education system isolates many learners with special needs and disabilities due to the lack of sufficient schools, appropriately trained educators, and expense as Special Needs Schools are not quintiled.
Madam Chair, the DBE has committed itself to the ideal of equal and inclusive education for all. It is a realisable right, and may not be subject to limitations with regard to available resources.
In 2005 the time-frame for the development of a single, inclusive system of education was set for 20 years with certain key strategies.
Honourable Minister, we are eleven years down the line and still the Department is far from reaching their targets in this regard.
It is therefore imperative that the department puts shoulder to the wheel to ensure that learners with disabilities receive quality education in not only an inclusive environment, but on all levels.
The department must promote a sense of belonging so that all learners, staff and families experience a sense of worth in the learning community.
All Provincial Education Departments must have the capacity to respond to diversity by providing appropriate education for the particular needs of each learner, irrespective of the disability or differences in learning style or pace, or social difficulties experienced.
Methods must be established to assist curriculum and institutional transformation to ensure both an awareness of diversity, and that additional support be made available to those learners and educators who need it.
Resourcing, be it financial or otherwise, also needs to be looked into. It may no longer be allowed that schools catering only for learners without disabilities continue receiving the lion’s share of the budget and Special Need Schools be left with the crumbs.
Hon. Minister, looking at the 2015 National Matric results for learners with disabilities, it is clear that these learners are determined to prove their worth, even if they are at times neglected when it comes to sufficient text books, educators and braille machines.
By ratifying the Convention of Rights for People with Disabilities in 2007, you bound yourself to this when South Africa recognised the right of persons with disabilities to education.
Minister, I urge you to ensure that more attention is paid to Inclusive Education and Special Need Education.
Learners with disabilities deserve the same freedom and fairness as those without.
In order to realise this right without discrimination, an inclusive education system on all levels must be implemented.
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