Department of Basic Education briefing on its plans on tourism as a career; Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report; Provincial Oversight Report on visits to Limpopo and Northern Cape Provinces

Committee: Tourism

Chairperson: Mr D Gumede (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 01 Nov 2010

Summary

The Department of Basic Education briefed the Committee on its plans on tourism as a career. The aim of the briefing was to provide Members with a sense of how the schooling system was preparing learners for careers in the tourism sector. The Committee was given a breakdown of the two subjects relevant to tourism, namely tourism and hospitality studies. Both were choice subjects and were offered from Grade 10-12. The Committee was provided with statistical information on both subjects, such as the number of schools offering the subjects and the numbers of students that had written exams on it.
Concern was expressed that currently, the schooling system was designed to create workers instead of entrepreneurs. Questions were asked whether teachers were adequately trained to teach tourism and also whether tourism as a school subject was accessible in rural areas.

The Committee adopted its Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report and its Provincial Oversight Report on visits to Limpopo and Northern Cape Provinces.


Minutes

The Chairperson said that the question was about how tourism could best contribute towards economic growth. Was education suitable to prepare persons for the labour market? Preparation for universities and technikons was important as education had to be looked at in its entirety.

Department of Basic Education: Tourism as a Career
Mr Edward Mosuwe Acting Deputy Director General: Policy and Curriculum, Department of Basic Education, explained that the aim of the briefing was to provide Members with a sense of how the schooling system was preparing learners for careers in the tourism sector.

 

There were a total of 29 approved subjects on offer at school level. Students had to take up to seven subjects. Four were compulsory and three were choice subjects. Tourism and hospitality studies were choice subjects and were offered from Grade 10-12. Some of the topics covered by the tourism as a subject were types of tourists, tourism sectors, map work, foreign exchange and tour planning. The numbers of schools offering tourism studies had increased from 2085 in 2008 to 2270 in 2009. Members were given a breakdown of figures per province. KZN and Gauteng seemed to have the most schools offering tourism. In 2008 the number of Grade 12 students who wrote exams on tourism was 68666. The figure had increased to 74552 in 2009. The Committee was also given a sense of how learners were performing percentage wise. The total pass rate was 91.8% in 2008 and it had risen to 92.4% in 2009. The positive was that there was an increase in learners and an increase in the pass rate.


Hospitality studies spoke to the various interrelated themes in the hospitality industry. The subject included hygiene, food production and client service. The topics covered were sectors within the hospitality industry; cultural influences on cuisine, menu planning and food commodities. The number of learners for hospitality was lower than that of tourism. The infrastructure requirements for hospitality studies were a challenge. Stoves, fridges and other utensils were needed for the subject. The pass rates for hospitality studies were lower than tourism. Members were also given a breakdown of figures per province. The number of schools offering hospitality studies was 446 in 2008 whereas in 2009 there was a decrease to 411. The drop was due to the infrastructure requirements for the subject. KZN had amongst the highest number of schools which offered the subject. The figures on the number of learners that wrote the subject varied from province to province. Some provinces showed a drop from 2008 to 2009.


The tourism curriculum in schools was a broad overview of the tourism industry. Learners were not trained at school level for a particular career in the tourism industry. The Department also partnered with Department of Tourism and other stakeholders on tourism related matters.

Discussion
The Chairperson remarked that the SA schooling system prepared persons to be workers rather than entrepreneurs. Was enough encouragement taking place for persons to become entrepreneurs? South Africans must become job creators.

 

Mr Mosuwe replied that tourism students studied entrepreneurship as a subject. Attempts were made to introduce entrepreneurship programmes into schools.


The Chairperson commented that it was all good and well that the Department interacted with the Department of Tourism. Was interaction taking place with institutions like Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), SA Tourism and the Tourism Business Council? These institutions should be seen to be the stakeholders of the Department as well.

 

Mr Mosuwe replied that schools were required to conduct an internal assessment which was more of a practical assessment task. Execution of the task required a working relationship with an agency. It was a real life task. Schools were thus interacting with the tourism industry. The Department was interacting with tourism stakeholders at the highest level. Stakeholders contributed towards new trends in the industry. The Department was repackaging and refreshing its curriculum. This task was being performed because of contributions by stakeholders.


The Chairperson asked whether the Department interacted with rural persons take place. In addition, he asked about safety and security in tourism and how the Department influenced this.

Mr Mosuwe replied that stakeholder assistance was required to tackle issues in rural areas. The Department wished to improve the level of security at schools. It was done by intergovernmental communications. There was a direct link with other departments.

Ms M Njobe (COPE) asked what happened to those students that had written exams on tourism. Did the Department keep track of them? Was the knowledge acquired a benefit to them. The Western Cape and Gauteng were the hubs of tourism. Why were there not many more students in those provinces doing tourism as a subject? She referred to teachers teaching tourism at school and asked whether they received adequate training. Were teachers adequately qualified? Hospitality as a subject being taught at school spoke about hygiene and other topics but it did not speak about accommodation. Accommodation was important as it referred to tourists’ preferences and budgets. Why was accommodation not included in hospitality studies?

Mr Mosuwe noted that the Department did not necessarily track learners. The education system had a learner record unit tracking system which kept track of a learner from Grade 1-Grade 12. There was not sufficient information to track a learner once he or she had left school.


Mr Mosuwe addressed the question of the low numbers of students in the major tourism areas and stated that the numbers were expected to grow. The figures reflected the first batch of learners that had undergone tourism studies.

 

Mr Mosuwe further clarified that qualified tourism teachers were at the heart of the challenge in the system. The Teachers Development Framework and Plan allowed teachers to get into tourism.
Accommodation as a topic was not left out of the tourism curriculum. It was included but was not provided for explicitly.

Ms Manganye (ANC) asked that if schools offering tourism were few because infrastructure was lacking, what chance rural areas had where infrastructure was practically non existent. Rural persons were thus disadvantaged. In addition, she asked what the Department’s relationship with Further Education and Training (FET) colleges was. Did discussions on curriculum take place? 

The Chairperson sought clarity on whether FET colleges fell within the domain of the Department of Basic Education or the Department of Higher Education.

Mr Mosuwe replied that the curriculum of FET Colleges was developed in discussion with the Department of Tourism. FET Colleges fell under the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Ms J Maluleke (ANC) recalled that handcrafts used to be a subject at school. Why was it no longer offered as a subject? It should be as it was relevant to tourism. Competitions at primary school level should also be encouraged especially those relating to tourism. She said that she did not hear much about training of persons at municipalities.

Mr Mosuwe reiterated that the education curriculum was being revised. Handcraft was provided for under the life skills subject. The point about competitions was taken. Curriculum planning was important at district level. The issue was about curriculum access. Perhaps a revision of FET curricula would address the skills shortages at municipalities.

Mr B Zulu (ANC) said that foreign languages were being taught as non-official languages in schools. Why were other non-official SA languages like the San language not taught in schools as well? Young kids had to be taught the importance of history. What was the Department doing to assist schoolchildren to visit historical places? Schools in urban areas and townships never visited rural areas. The Department should intervene and make it happen. Many South Africans had been disillusioned by the unfulfilled expectations of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. What if students refused to study tourism as a subject because they felt it was not lucrative?

Mr Mosuwe replied that the Department did promote indigenous language systems. Foreign non-official languages were not being taught at the expense of indigenous SA languages. Foreign languages were offered so that better communication with tourists could take place. It did not mean that SA indigenous languages could not be developed.

Ms Manganye stated that the figures on students taking tourism as a subject were dwindling because infrastructural requirements were a challenge.

The Chairperson pointed out that it was hospitality study numbers that were dwindling because of infrastructural challenges. He asked whether infrastructure was not provided by government.

Mr Mosuwe conceded that numbers for hospitality studies was low because there were infrastructure challenges attached to the subject. He did point out that the Minister of Basic Education did have a new plan for infrastructural development in schools. Infrastructural needs were also addressed by the 2014 Action Plan. It was agreed that rural areas should also be targeted. The Department was in the process of recapitalising technical schools. New and fresh infrastructure was being provided.

Ms Njobe asked what had motivated the Department to introduce tourism into its curriculum. She asked why tourism was not combined with business studies. Why keep it separate? She also asked whether the Department of Tourism contributed towards the subject content for tourism. If so, what was its contribution?

Mr Mosuwe replied that the Department had many subject offerings in the past. Some lacked depth and breadth and even relevance. There was recognition that the curriculum needed to be refreshed and be more responsive. Tourism was chosen as a subject. A student could choose to do both tourism, which is a services subject, and business studies. Contributions towards curriculum content were made by both the Department of Tourism and stakeholders in tourism.

Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report

The Chairperson tabled the Report for consideration.


Ms Njobe was satisfied that the Report contained the inputs that Members had made.
She referred to an extract from the Report which stated that the Domestic Tourism Strategy from the Department of Tourism was yet to be finalised. Why was it not finalised? Was there a strategy?  

Mr Jerry Boltina. Committee Secretary, replied that there was a strategy but it had to be finalised. It was a draft strategy.

The Committee unanimously adopted the Report without any changes.

Provincial Oversight Report on visits to Limpopo and Northern Cape Provinces

The Chairperson tabled the Report for consideration.


Mr Boltina pointed out that the Report contained an executive summary which Members had requested. The Report had also been streamlined as well.

The Report was unanimously adopted.

SA and Vietnam Agreement on Tourism
The Chairperson informed Members about a report on an agreement between Vietnam and SA surrounding tourism.

Mr Boltina stated that the Vietnam Report was in the Announcements, Tablings and Committees (ATC) and did not require ratification by the Committee. The Executive was merely informing the Committee about the Report.

The Chairperson felt that the Committee should comment on the Report as it was part of its oversight duty.

The meeting was adjourned.