Department 2006/07 Annual Report

Basic Education

05 November 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
6 November 2007
DEPARTMENT 2006/07 ANNUAL REPORT

Chairperson:
Prof S M Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Education 2006/07 Annual Report (available at: www.education.gov.za)
Presentation of the Department on Annual Report
Report of the Auditor-General

Not Presented
Overview and Analysis of the Department of Education Annual Report 2006/07
Summary and Comparative Analysis of 2006/07 and 2007/08 Budget Vote: Education
Council on Higher Education presentation

Audio recording of meeting

SUMMARY
The Department of Education presented its Annual Report for 2006/07. The Department had received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor General.

MINUTES
The Department delegation was Mr Duncan Hindle, Director General: Education; Mr Firoz Patel, Deputy Director General: System Planning and Monitoring; Mr Philip Benade, Chief Financial Officer, Ms Palesa Tyobeka, Deputy Director General: General Education and Ms Penny Vinjevold, Deputy Director: Further Education and Training.

Presentation by the Department of Education (DoE)
The report was presented into two parts namely Programme Performance and Annual Financial Statements. Mr Duncan Hindle, Director-General of the Department of Education, revealed that the Department has received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General (AG) for 2006/07.

Part 1 of the Presentation

Programme Performance

Mr Hindle said that the Department performs its work taking into consideration of five broad priorities set by the Minister at the beginning of the current term of government. These five broad priorities take cognisance of the poverty; skills development; quality improvement; health education and institutional development

Departmental Highlights: Achievements and Challenges:

Programme: 1 Administration: Corporate Services

The Branch is responsible for providing the Department with the following services: Personnel, Financial, Logistical, Security and Assets Management. National Treasury approved TA 111 and the concession agreement pertaining to the construction of the new building was signed on the 22nd March 2006. The call center was established and became fully operational in February 2007

Programme: 1 Administration: International Relations

During the year under review, the Ministry participated in education matters in the continent and internationally. The Ministry hosted the 16th Council of Education Ministers within the Commonwealth Conference (CCEM) held in December 2006. Interactions in the continent included hosting delegations from Vietnam, Angola, Lesotho, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Burundi and the first AU Working Group meeting and participating in the NEPAD Strategic Workshop. The Ministry also participated in the Conference of Ministers of Education of the AU in Mozambique where a Second Decade of Education was declared. The interactions internationally also included participation in:

·          The G8 Education Ministers meeting in Moscow,

·          The SA – UK Bilateral Forum in London,

·          Presidential delegation’s visits to Portugal and Ireland.

 

Programme 2: System Planning and Monitoring: Physical and Financial Planning

During the period under review the Department completed the development of the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS). The NEIMS will assist the Department in planning and costing infrastructure development.

The Schools Infrastructure Support Programme (EU funded SISP) led to 21 schools being contracted. Work is progressing very rapidly on these schools. Work on basic services to schools accelerated in response to the injection of R950 million by Treasury over the MTEF to eradicate backlogs. The greatest success in this area has been the kick-start to the “no fee school policy”. Some 5 million learners attending some 13 900 schools are beneficiaries

ABET and FET norms are still under scrutiny by the Ministry of Finance, but implementation planning (costing models and management plans) is proceeding. The FET norms and standards were finalised for submission to Minister of Education for approval. The funding framework for inclusive education has been consulted Commissioned report on assessment of provincial Annual Performance Plans was completed. The budget priority process for 2007/8 was commenced with, and a comprehensive review exercise with National Treasury on the 2006/7 priorities process was undertaken. Provincial budget monitoring and interaction with formats and guidelines is ongoing and a number of provinces were visited.

Programme 2: System Planning and Monitoring: Information Systems, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Framework has been completed. A Ministerial committee on learner retention has been established. Work on the implementation of the Education Information Policy has progressed steadily, and the first “Requirements for Surveys Standards” have been published.

Programme 2: System Planning and Monitoring: Education Information Management System

There has been significant progress on the South African Schools Administration Management System (SA-SAMS) project. Three provinces have published tender specifications for the roll out of SA-SAMS starting in January 2007. HEDCOM sub- committee on EMIS approved the proposed system enhancements to SA-SAMS. Approximately 30 – 40% of schools are already using the system.

All the surveys for 2006 were successfully conducted by December 2006, as was the design and approval of the survey forms for the 6 surveys to be conducted in the first quarter of 2007. The survey data for 2005 (with the exception of FET) has been fully integrated and is available for reporting purposes.

Programme 2: System Planning and Monitoring: Education HR Management.

The amendments to the post provisioning norms for educators have been submitted to HEDCOM. The norms and standards for support staff were successfully shepherded through the approval process. Provinces were assisted in planning and determining the costs of implementing the support staff norms.

Good progress has been made with regard to the development of a model to identify remote schools. Phase 2 (completion of literature review) of the review of the IQMS was completed. A draft report on the review of the IQMS has been concluded. Work is proceeding towards the establishment of the National Education and Evaluation Unit.

The draft collective agreement on performance rewards was tabled for negotiations at ELRC after CEM and the Mandating Committee provided a mandate. The ELRC International Research and Study Visits Report was finalized. The ELRC Labour Seminar was held in Cape Town in December 2006.

The major labour relations issue was the dispute declared by SADTU on the non-implementation of accelerated salary progression in December and its finalization through an agreement. The draft agreement on incentives was successfully approved by CEM and the Minister.

Programme 2: System Planning and Monitoring: Legal Services and Legislation.

Further Education Act was promulgated in Government Gazette Notice No 29469 on 11 December 2006. Draft Education Laws Amendment Bill, 2007 was developed and submitted for the Parliamentary process Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools were published in the Government Gazette Notice No. 29376 on 10 November 2006. Regulations for the Exemption of parents from payment of School fees were published in Government Gazette Notice No 29469 on 18 October 2006. The Department successfully defended a challenge on the fee exemptions by some schools, and the application of the interdict against the Minister was set aside with costs 

Programme 3: General Education and Training: Curriculum and Assessment Development.

The National Curriculum statement was successfully introduced in Grade 8 and 9 and the National Policy on Assessment and Qualifications for Schools in the GET Band was amended to be in line with the National Curriculum statement. Training on the Assessment Policies for GET and FET was conducted from 29th January to 9th March 2007 in all provinces, targeting Learning Area and Subjects Coordinators. Assessment Guidelines for the Intermediate and Senior Phases in all Learning Areas have also been finalised and distributed to all schools. More than 2000 educators and other staff from full service schools, special schools and reform schools were trained as part of the piloting of an Inclusive model of education.

Implementation of the National Framework on Teacher Education and Development commenced with the recruitment of teachers through the allocation of funds for the Funza Lushaka Teacher Education Bursary to all Higher Education institutions. Five higher Education institutions will implement a field test of proposed entry level qualification for schools leadership which are to present the qualification during 2007 –9 School Governing Body Elections were successfully held in over 99.9% of schools within the prescribed timeframes. No legal challenges were reported to any of the elections across 27,000 schools.

A baseline on learner performance in literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 in selected districts has been established to monitor learner performance and, for the first time, to hold primary schools accountable for improving learner competencies in these learning area.

In addition to assessment of learner written competencies in literacy and numeracy a specific instrument for assessing early-grade reading skills at the Foundation Phase was developed. This early-grade reading assessment (EGRA) instrument will help teachers identify children’s challenges in early reading soon enough to intervene and to strengthen development of the foundational skills of reading in all official South African languages in tandem with our approach to promote multilingualism.

A report on school performance based on external evaluations was compiled. This report listed good practices from schools as well as areas that need support in order to improve teaching and learning.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Recapitalisation of FET Colleges

The first year recapitalisation plans for all 50 colleges were completed and approved.
The funding allocations and requirements for the recapitalisation of the FET Colleges was completed and published in the Division of Revenue Act. A standardized monthly financial and quarterly reporting cycle was established at college and provincial level.

The curriculum for 11 vocational programmes and 4 fundamentals of the National Certificate (Vocational) were finalized and implemented. 1 800 lecturers were trained to teach the new programmes. A monitoring unit was established and visited colleges. Textbooks were screened and an approved catalogue circulated to colleges. The connectivity project for KZN has been finalized. The FET sector plan has been drafted. The implementation of the NC(V) Level 2 has begun with 25 000 students.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Registration of Private FET institutions.

45 applications have been processed and are awaiting accreditation reports. A Register for Private Further Education and Training institutions was developed by SITA and is operational, and is ready for capturing the names of campuses and qualifications of the private colleges that are to be registered. A new set of regulations for private FET institutions has been proposed.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Programmes targeted at youth in schools and colleges

A career guidance booklet has been updated and distributed to colleges. A book profiling FET colleges has been published and will be available in the new financial year. The new programmes and bursary opportunities were profiled via the media and an advocacy campaign. The process for awarding state bursaries was developed with NSFAS. 12 000 bursaries worth R64 million were awarded. Career guidance and counseling systems were established at colleges. Student Support Services were established at 18 colleges.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Improving integrity of assessment and examinations.

The Senior Certificate, ABET and FET college examinations were successfully administered. Grade 10 exemplars and question papers were developed and piloted. Grade 11 exemplars and question papers for the end of the year examinations have been developed and distributed to the provinces. Examiners and moderators for the 2008 National Senior Certificate have been appointed and trained. The National Examinations Irregularity Committee (NEIC) finalized all technical irregularities at a meeting in December 2006.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA)

During the 2006 school year the Department visited 91 of the 114 schools that performed below 20% in the 2005 National Senior Certificate Examinations. Ninety-nine of these schools improved their performance in the 2006 Senior Certificate Examination.

In the 2006 Senior Certificate Examination there was a significant increase in the number of learners that wrote and passed the 2006 examination. 351 503 learners passed the 2006 examinations. Consequently the NSLA strategy was revised in January 2007 after a meeting of all provincial co-ordinators and Heads of Examinations and is being implemented in the provinces taking into account lessons learnt during the 2006 school year.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: NCS Mathematics, Science and Technology

A monitoring team was established for Dinaledi Schools and the report completed as well as a report on the analysis of Grade 12 Senior Certificate results. Consequent to the analysis, the Department provided all Dinaledi schools with resource packs, calculators, textbook and teacher training video tapes. The number of Dinaledi schools also increased to 400 for the 2007 school year.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Implementation of the National Curriculum Statement

Teachers were trained in the 29 subjects of the National Curriculum Statement. A report on the training has been completed. The Grade 11 and Grade 12 catalogue for textbooks and a catalogue of literature titles have been completed. The Grade 12 textbook catalogue was distributed to provinces in March 2007. Assessment workshops were conducted for 2 600 provincial officials. A training manual, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines were finalised. The 29 Subject Assessment Guidelines were distributed to all provinces for distribution to schools. The Learning Programme Guidelines were finalized and posted on Thutong.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Monitoring and supporting the goals of e-Education.

The Thutong portal has 22 106 resources in its system and 23 705 registered users of which 11 603 are teachers. 32 000 teachers and 252 provincial Master Trainers have been trained in basic ICT use. The ICT Implementation Plan has been registered with National Treasury. The Transactional Advisor for the Feasibility Study has been appointed.

Provinces are continuing with ICT roll-out programmes, which focus on high schools, as per their business plans.

Programme 4: Further Education and Training: Challenges

There is still a shortage of textbooks at high schools, and laboratory facilities remain in a derelict state. Quality of delivery on the NCV programmes which started in January 2007still has to be verified.

Programme 5: Quality Promotion and Development: Equity in Education Chief Directorate

The Department has continued to focus on the strengthening of social cohesion and promoting racial integration in schools by organising events to commemorate significant days and by producing informative materials.

A national campaign to promote the national symbols based on a popular booklet it produced called My Country, South Africa was conducted. The Department further developed and distributed to all schools “Opening our Eyes”, a training manual for addressing gender-based violence in schools. A workshop on gender – based violence and HIV and AIDS was conducted for 198 students from tertiary institutions. Furthermore, Girls/Boys Education Movement Clinics where social issues like teenage pregnancy, gender based violence, mentoring and counseling were conducted for 350 learners from all provinces

Programme 5: Quality Promotion and Development: Heath in Education Chief Directorate

The Department in partnership with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has developed training materials for educators on drug abuse prevention and education. The Framework on Health and Wellness which aims to improve the understanding of health-related issues has been developed and inputs were received from stakeholders. The Department in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH), Roche Pharmaceuticals, Weighless successfully held a Health Wise Day on 5 October 2006 as part of celebrations of the World Teacher’s Day.

Programme 5: Quality Promotion and Development: Heath in Education

A Jamboree was organised in partnership with other government departments as part of Promoting Schools as Nodes of Care and Support for Vulnerable Children in Matjeni Primary School, Nkomazi, Mpumalanga from 07 – 08 October 2006. A door-to-door campaign was held on 29 – 30 November 2006 at Elukwatini, Albert Luthuli Municipality, Mpumalanga as a build up to the World AIDS Day (WAD) on 01 December 2006, where Peer education programmes were used to educate youth about HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment and abstinence.

The National School Nutrition Programme continues to contribute towards enhanced active learning capacity by providing meals and improving household food security through promoting of food production initiatives in school and nutrition education.

The Programme provided meals to a total of 6 054 000 learners in 18 039 schools nationally, with a total budget of R1, 098 billion and R 6 million allocated to the provinces and national offices for administrative purposes respectively. All schools participating in the School Nutrition Programme were encouraged to keep a vegetable garden, no matter how small. About 7.429 vegetable gardens are operational. During 2006, 3 685 educators, 1 125 parents, and 1 811 learners were trained on how to set up gardens

Programme 5: Quality Promotion and Development: Social Inclusion and Adult Education

More than 285 000 adult learners have been reached during 2006 through formal ABET programmes and 20 000 learners through basic literacy programmes. A further 300 000 learners have been reached through other programmes like the expanded and skills-based ABET programmes, implemented by the public and private sector, NGOs and SETAs.

The Norms and Standards for funding of Adult Learning Centres have been completed and submitted to the Minister of Finance for approval of funding. The Ministerial Committee on Literacy completed and submitted its report to the Minister in June 2006. The report was further presented to Cabinet in November 2006.

Cabinet approved the committee’s recommendation for a mass literacy campaign in South Africa and has recommended an Inter-Ministerial Committee, chaired by the Minister of Education to oversee the campaign.

Programme 5: Quality Promotion and Development: Social Inclusion and Adult Education

A national coordinating committee on school sport was established based on the framework on School Sport, signed by the Minister of Education and the Minister of Sports and Recreation. The Minister approved and signed the amended Regulations for safety measures at Public schools (Government Gazette No.29376 dated 10 November 2006).

The Department embarked on a project to identify schools with high levels of crime and violence throughout the country.

In collaboration with Provincial School Safety Coordinators 585 schools (65 schools per province) were identified as schools presenting with high levels of crime and violence.

From the 585 schools, one school per province was identified to form part of a national intervention strategy whereby specific attention was given to infrastructure change in order to curb incidents of crime and violence.

Programme 6: Higher Education: Enrolment Planning


In the past year the main focus of the Department was on the finalisation of the student enrolment planning and output targets for the period to 2010. This process was guided by the ministerial policy statement on student enrolment planning, which sets the policy framework for enrolment planning. The Statement provides the following parameters to higher education institutions:

- The higher education system must contribute to national human resource and research priorities.

- Enrolments must be matched to available resources,

- Institutions must, in their enrolment plans, focus on improving graduation and success rates.

Programme 6: Higher Education: Restructuring of the Higher Education Landscape

In terms of the enrolment planning for this period, the enrolment target for the public system is set to grow to 820 000 students by 2010. This target is 82 000 higher than the actual 2005 enrolment total of 738 000. The growth in enrolments would be accompanied by a change in the shape of the system by field of studies. The enrolment share of science and technology (including health sciences) majors should change from 29% in 2005 to 30% by 2010. The share of business and management majors should increase from 29% in 2005 to 33% by 2010. These changes would imply that the share which education plus other humanities majors have of the total would drop from 42% in 2005 to 37% in 2010.

The Department also prioritised the consolidation of the restructuring of the higher education landscape, by providing technical support and assistance to merged institutions. The areas of support ranged from finance, legal, human resources and labour, information and communications technology, academic, student affairs and governance, which are all critical to the success of the merger.

During the year under review, R725 million, inclusive of direct merger cost and recapitalisation, was made available to the following Universities: Fort Hare, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan, North West, Walter Sisulu, Unisa, Venda, Zululand, Cape Peninsula, Central University, Mangosuthu and Tshwane. The Branch has also held a number of workshops for Councils to brief them on their role, functions and fiduciary responsibilities.

The Branch and the Merger Unit has also held meetings with national labour unions and student organisations to clarify and address issues of concern relating to the merger process and any other institutional matter that could be of concern.

The Branch has also provided technical assistance to SRCs of merged institutions in the development of new governance models appropriate for multi-campus institutions and assisted SRCs in developing new constitutions

Programme 6: Higher Education: Student Governance and Leadership

The Department of Education continues to support governance in higher education, and has supported the establishment of the South African Union of Students (SAUS). SAUS was formed through the merger of the South African Universities Student Representative Council (SAU-SRC) and (South African Technikon’s Student Union (SATSU) and was launched by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and Minister Naledi Pandor in April 2006.

SAUS is an apolitical, non-profit organization formed to advance the interest of students for quality education, with its membership drawn from all SRCs at higher education institutions, whose aims and objectives are to:

·          Promote, protect and advance the interests of all students regardless of race, class, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, political affiliation or ideology

 

·          Promote the development of an education system that provides equity of access, opportunity and outcomes and positively responds to the needs of both students and economic, social, cultural needs of our country, region and continent.

 

·          Build and enhance the capacity of affiliated members through interactive workshops and forums.


Programme 6: Higher Education: Reporting and Research at HE Institutions

Reporting by Higher Education Institutions
The Minister, after consultation with the higher education sector, published Regulations for the Annual Reporting by Public Higher Education Institutions in Government Gazette No. 25407, 29 August 2003. The reporting framework is in line with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) in South Africa. During the year under review, these regulations were amended to conform with requirement of new auditing procedures.

Support for Research at HE institutions
The Department refined the procedures to implement the Policy for Measurement of Research Output of Public Higher Education Institutions which come into effect on 1 January 2008. These changes were effected to improve the operational efficiency of the policy. The policy is intended to enhance productivity by recognising the major types of research output, such as journals, books and proceedings produced by higher education institutions. The revised procedures are intended to simplify the evaluation of books and proceedings as approved research outputs.

Programme 6: Higher Education: The Higher Education Qualifications Framework

The Higher Education Qualification Framework (HEQF) was finalized and submitted to the Council on Higher Education in March 2007, in terms of Section 3 (1) of the Higher Education Act, which stipulates that the Minster of Education must determine policy on higher Education after consulting the Council on Higher Education (CHE). The proposed policy provides a model for NQF implementation that will be coherent, clear and unambiguous as to the roles of the government, the respective statutory bodies responsible for advice or implementation, and other participants in NQF processes.

Programme 6: Higher Education: National Institutes for Higher Education

The National Plan proposed the establishment of two National Institutes for Higher Education in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, as a mechanism to facilitate the coherent provision of higher education in these provinces by public higher education institutions. The Minister of Education has appointed the Board of both National Institutes for Higher Education. The Boards are fully operational and are receiving financial and technical support from

Programme 6: Higher Education: Higher Education against HIV/AIDS

The Ministry of Education is a key partner in the Higher Education against HIV/AIDS programme. The programme is managed by Higher Education South Africa and funded by the European Union. The European Union has provided €20 million to support the Programme for the period 1 Dec 2005 - 31 May 2009. The Programme promotes the provision of appropriate and sustainable HIV/AIDS services and programmes for both staff and students. Beneficiaries are integral to the process of determining the scope of the various interventions.

Programme 6: Higher Education: Higher Education Legislation

In terms of the Higher Education Act, the Minister of Education approves the statutes of all higher education institutions. During the year under review, the Minister approved the new statute of the University of Kwazulu-Natal. The draft statutes of the University of the Free State, Nelson Mandela, Tshwane University of Technology were reviewed, and were be finalised in the first quarter of the 2007/08 financial year.

Part 2 of the presentation: Annual Financial Statements
The presentation mainly focused on reasons for under-expenditure.


Discussion
Mr R van der Heever (ANC) noted there was still a bit of under-spending and asked what measures DOE had taken to ensure all monies allocated to it would be put to good use in future.

Mr Firoz Patel replied that there had been problems in a number of other areas. The problems were linked to unavailability of suitable managers, the lack of capacity to deliver on the objectives effectively and on time, and problems with the ability of service providers to adequately understand and deliver on the requirements of the System Planning and Monitoring branch. He said an assessment was being made of the work-flow and structure of the branch so that service delivery could be improved. There had been some re-organising of staff to ensure more effective delivery. Advances had also been made to universities to indicate how they could collaborate with the planning branch in building capacity and developing competent planners.

Mr Van Der Heever said that there was a problem with the amount of money not received by Free State province for its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). This had reportedly led to that province not training its Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners on the basics of Early Childhood Development. He asked what the Department did about the situation.

Ms Palesa Tyobeka replied that the money did not flow from the Department of Education because it was part of the integrated plan, it was money that had flowed to the Free State primarily as an allocation meant for Social Development. However that department had only been able to allocate money for the Free State in this current financial year.
 
Mr B Mtembu (ANC) asked for clarity on the Ministerial Committee on Learner Retention and whether it was expected to report soon, with a view to dispelling some of the myths. Was it a committee of people that would come with a report but not with clarity on what was happening on the ground or was it research that would come with recommendations.

Mr Patel replied that the Minister had issued terms of reference for the Ministerial Committee on Learner Retention and the study was twofold. Firstly the study was to ascertain the truth in the statement made by the media that 60 per cent of learners were dropping out at the Grade 4 level. According to the terms of reference, the Ministerial Committee had to interview media persons to be able to check if researchers were misquoted. The terms of reference also stated that the Committee establish what was the level of retention, and what programmes could the Department put into place to encourage greater retention. Secondly the Committee sought to dispel the issue of how education indicators were being used and distorted.

Mr A Gaum (ANC) suggested that other problems the Ministerial Committee should take into cognisance was the quality and discipline of teachers. Some teachers were still lacking the necessary qualifications and the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms was not where it should be. He asked what plans the Department had to address the matter.

Ms Tyobeka replied that the area of quality and discipline of teachers was primarily driven by the South African Council for Educators (SACE) and the Department was working very closely with them. In terms of the quality of teachers, the approved
Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system within the framework of Teacher Education and Development was a vehicle that the Department was looking at to drive the issues of quality in the system. What the framework begins to do was to get the Department from short-term training programmes to more sustained teacher development. The Department together with SACE-led task team would come at a later stage to report to Parliament on progress made on the matter.

Mr Patel added that other issues on teacher quality were the strengthening of the measurement of teacher performance and occupation-specific dispensation. The occupation-specific dispensation was biased in terms of remuneration linked to independent measurement of performance.
 
Mr Gaum asked what progress had been made about expanding and extending mother tongue-based education in Grade 6.

Ms Tyobeka replied that the Department had created an enabling environment and was encouraging an increase in mother tongue instruction in primary schools. The challenge the Department was facing was to have properly trained teachers to teach in the mother tongue with appropriate resources. The Department had embarked on a major programme called the Ithuba Writing Project which had produced materials that teach the curriculum through indigenous languages. The Department had been working with publishers to produce materials in different indigenous languages in an endeavour to promote teaching indigenous languages.

Mr Gaum felt there was little progress made in Mathematics and Science. He asked if the Department had a comprehensive strategy to get Dinaledi Project schools to improve Maths and Science results.

Ms Vinjevold replied that it was important to say that the Dinaledi schools initiative was a short-to-medium term strategy and it could never be the government’s main strategy. The Department had listed five focus areas:

- Extensive teacher training from Grade R -12. The Department would provide Education Deans’ Forum with information on how many students had been in-service and what were their plans for 2008 and 2009. The Department, provinces and NGOs were all involved in the extensive training.
- To recruit additional teachers with necessary qualifications and languages. The Department intended to recruit 1500 teachers inside and outside the country.
- Incentive: at the end of this year every school that produced more higher grade learners and passes than 2006 would get R1000 for every additional learner.

- Textbooks: the Finance Minister’s Medium Term Budget Speech announced that all Grade 11 and 12 students would get 7 textbooks over the next three years.
- The Department had published with the help of Old Mutual, examples of mathematics and mathematical literacy examinations in Grade 10 and 11 to establish quality education. She said the Department would continue to publish good examples of assessment tasks, tests and exams.

Mr Gaum referred to vocational training and said that at one point there was the idea of having Focus Schools. He asked if these Focus Schools were part of vocational training or was the plan to make just FET colleges the main drivers.

Ms Vinjevold replied that the Department was of the view that some vocational training should be provided in schools. Some youngsters were too young to go to colleges where they would be exposed to workplace experience. The Department had implemented the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in Grade 10 and 11 which contained 29 subjects. Fourteen of those subjects count as vocational subjects and include computer, tourism, technology and many more. There were also 400 technical schools to accommodate learners interested in technical subjects.

Mr Gaum asked if the Department had a specific target and when the target would be reached.


Ms Vinjevold replied the target was one million learners by 2014 The Department had set the target of 27000 last year but was able to reach 25 000 for level one learners. By 2008 the Department hoped to take in 45 000 learners. In the next two to three years the departmen would take in 100 000 learners. The N4 to N6 would remain until 2010. The current number of 470 000 would go up by 2014.

Mr Gaum asked what plans the Department had to improve the quality of lecturers and lecturing.

Ms Vinjevold replied that the quality of the lectures and lecturing was an interesting phenomenon. It was starting to change because the new act allowed for colleges to recruit people with different working conditions to the past. The Department was now having people, especially in the IT industry and engineering, coming to work on a part-time basis and there was also training for lecturers. Last year the Department had trained 1800 lecturers and was currently in the process of training 600 lecturers using the Universities of Technology. Some of the lectures did not have an academic or vocational background. Those teachers who have not had the opportunity for training were going back to colleges and universities to obtain a B. Tech.
 
Mr B Mosala (ANC) asked why the key learning areas that were picked up as an outcome of the systematic evaluation in Grade 6, had received intervention.

Ms Tyobeka replied that systemic evaluation picked up issues at two levels in relation to the performance of children. One was in relation to content issues, for instance situations where children were better able to respond to issues that were based more on recollection rather than issues requiring them to apply their mind and think critically. There seemed to be an alignment between what children were able to do and what teachers themselves were teaching and were comfortable teaching. Therefore what the Department had done was to pick up on the gaps and bring those into the Teacher Development programme since those were the areas that were presenting teachers with problems. The second level related to the contextual issues, such as an exposure to print by children in their schools and homes, the Department had been able to identify which areas ought to be improved on within the learning environment of children.

Mr Mosala referred to the National Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) and said that the Department had revealed that the biggest problem had been that there were not sufficient tenders for the manuals which were to be funded by the EU. He wondered what the requisite skills were to publish these manuals.

Mr Patel replied that the funds that had not been used, were retained by the donor. The EU had particular procurement requirements around work. They anticipate guarantees from contractors to say whether when it rained, the bridges would be washed away, and that building would take place. Contractors would have to have financial guarantees in terms of ensuring they would be able to manage and run the projects. The Department had asked the EU to provide workshops to the local contractors about the terms of the requirements. Some of the contractors were disqualified because they did not even comply with or complete the necessary forms and documentation. In terms of EU regulations, the Department cannot oppose any of the EU regulations. Part of the background was that four to five years ago the EU was involved in a serious issue about management of EU funds and it had came up with new regulations. In terms of schools that had not been able to be attended to, the Department had written a letter to the Minster of Finance and in terms of Department ‘s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement there had been an additional injection into school infrastructure.

Mr Mosala asked what were the key performance indicators as spelt out by the monitoring and evaluation framework and what were the indicators when it would be implemented.

Mr Patel replied that the monitoring and evaluation framework was a macro-framework dealing with repetition rate and drop-out rate and participation rate. The Department would finalise the framework for public comment next year.

Mr Mosala commented that poor students coming from disadvantaged communities were not getting uniform support. He mentioned that the Committee had requested the Department four weeks ago to provide a register of Dinaledi schools. Mr Hindle apologised for this.

Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga & Education Select Committee Chairperson) expressed dissatisfaction at the piloting of mother tongue learning projects by the Department. He was of the view that there was no need for it as there were already studies on mother tongue learning. He said that, according to those studies, it was an established fact that kids in the Western and Northern Cape who did maths and science in their mother tongue, Afrikaans, performed much better than those who learn in English.

Ms Tyobeka replied that the challenge was in those communities with learners studying in their mother tongue such as Afrikaans. The Department was struggling with these communities that believe that the Department wants to take them back to inferior apartheid education. The Department hoped to demonstrate that this was not the case. The approach the Department had taken was to track, for instance Xhosa-speaking, children from Grade R and teach them in English and track them over years and compare them against schools teaching in the mother tongue and compare their cognitive and academic development. The challenge was to convince parents (who the Department believed had the right to determine what language they want their children to study in) so that they did not feel that they were being bulldozed and given inferior education.

Ms P Mashangaone (ANC) was concerned about the infrastructure in schools specifically for Early Childhood Development (ECD). She said the Department was working in partnership with the Department of Social Development but there was still a lack of ECD in townships while in white schools, ECD infrastructure was there. She felt the Department had ignored the townships. Also there were libraries in the white schools.

Ms Tyobeka replied that the Department had two ways of looking at ECD. There was ECD for 0-4 years for which the Department‘s responsibility was mainly about the quality of the educational programme provided as well as the training of ECD practitioners. She said the Department had no intention to marginalise township schools. Where the Department had a more diverse responsibility around Grade R, model Grade R sites had been set up with a primary focus on rural and township schools. The Department was looking at environmental issues such as the site at which the learners were learning. The Department‘s library strategy had three elements:
- Firstly to ensure that learners in their own classrooms had access to reference books that they would find in libraries.
- Secondly was to ensure mobile libraries would service a cluster of libraries.
- Thirdly, free standing libraries in each school and here the Department was working with the Department of Arts and Culture to look at access to libraries rather than a library per school.

Ms Mashangaone said the department was training 2000 teachers and asked the Department where were they deployed. She said that when the Select Committee had done oversight visits, the teachers say they were not trained

Ms Tyobeka replied that the primary focus was the special schools. The Department had visited all the special schools and had established that many of these schools were still operating according to the old era. Many of the special schools that would have been part of the old Department of Education and Training (DET) had teachers who had no specialised training for those schools. The Department had submitted a document to the
Heads of Education Committee (HEDCOM) on standards for special schools and those were the 2000 teachers the Department had made a priority.

Committee meeting adjourned

 

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