School Governing Bodies & Teacher Training: briefing

Basic Education

18 March 2002
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Meeting report

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
19 March 2002
SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES & TEACHER TRAINING: BRIEFING

Acting Chairperson:
Mr R Van den Heever

Documents handed out:
Governance in South African Schools (See Appendix 1)
Overview of Teacher Development (See Appendix 2)
School Governing Bodies 2002 Training Manual

SUMMARY
The purpose, composition and functions of School Governing Bodies was outlined.
Key challenges in capacitating the School Governing Bodies included reflecting the country's demography, accommodating all languages, literacy based training and rural schools.

Teacher development programmes were being implemented to upgrade underqualified and unqualified teachers to meet the required level of qualification.The Department was providing systematic support for curriculum implementation by training grade five and grade nine teachers as well as district and school management teams.

MINUTES
School Governing Bodies
Ms Tyobeka, Chief Director Human Resources Development & Gender Equity, Department of Education outlined the purpose, composition and functions of the School Governing Bodies (SGB's) as provided by the South African Schools Act. She said that the purpose of SGB's was to ensure that schools were run in an effective, efficient and co-operative manner with all stakeholders. A School Governing Body consisted parents of learners, educators and non- educator staff at the school, learners in the eighth grade or higher at the school, the principal and co-opted members.

The functions of the SGB's were primarily to: adopt a constitution and a code of conduct; develop a mission statement for the school and supporting the school staff in the performing their professional functions. The allocated functions of the SGB's were to: maintain and improve schools' property, buildings and grounds; determine extra-mural activities and subject options; purchase learning resources and paying for services to the school.

Ms Tyobeka highlighted that the Department of Education was planning on granting all schools a Section 21 status. She provided some criteria for a Section 21 status as follows: Firstly the SGB must be democratically elected. Secondly, the SGB must function according the provisions of the South African Schools Act. Thirdly, a SGB must have functional committees such as those for finance and learning support material. Fourthly, the SGB must have a financial, managerial and administrative capacity. Finally, there must be a sound school development plan.

Ms Tyobeka expressed satisfaction with SGB's overall compliance with the South African Schools Act and that SGB's were better prepared than their predecessors as they received some training. The Department continued to provide training and she pointed out to copies of a training manual that was distributed to the committee members.

Some of the challenges that were facing the process of capacitating SGB's were:
SGB's composition did not reflect the demography of the country
SGB's did not seem to comply with the national Language Policy and that this led to exclusion through language.
Training for SGB's was literacy based and therefore excluded people who could not read or write.
The three-year election lead to loss of capacity as the legislation did not provide for re-election.
Rural and farm schools faced capacity and governance problems.

Ms Tyobeka mentioned that the Department was working towards providing Section 21 status for most schools as it was happening in Gauteng, Western Cape and Northern Cape. She further mentioned that there was improved confidence and management in Section 21 status schools. However, she was concerned that most the schools that were granted Section 21 status were former model C schools.
She concluded this part of the presentation by stating key priorities for the Department of Education. The key priorities were:
Capacity building in provincial/district offices so that they could provide support to schools that are granted the Section 21 status.
Trying to find alternatives to literacy based training. She mentioned that the Department was piloting a small simulation based training so to involve people who could read or write.
Researching into the challenges faced by farm and rural schools and developing training packages that are relevant to the challenges.

Teacher development
Ms Tyobeka contrasted educational situations before and after 1994 as a way of contextualising teacher development initiatives by the Department. Pre-1994 legacy, was characterised by declining student registration; shortage of teachers in critical subjects; varying quality skills and qualifications in teachers; multiple providers of different quality and curricular and approximately 85 000 unqualified and underqualified teachers most of which were in the Eastern Cape, KZN and Northern Province. The post 1994 situation was characterised by new expectations of teachers as agents of change; new curriculum for schools; new policies and national priorities such as HIV/AIDS.

Currently there were initiatives to upgrade underqualified and unqualified teachers to meet the required level of qualification. The Department was also providing systematic support for curriculum implementation by training grade five and grade nine teachers as well as the district and the School Management Teams at a total cost of R2,5m in 2002/2003 financial year. Another intervention that she mentioned was that there was a two-year reskilling programme toward a National Professional Development in Education (NPDE) qualification for Maths, Science and Technology teachers. The training was for 150 teachers per province and began in 2001 and had been provided by selected higher education institutions. There would be an additional 100 teachers per nodal area in 2002. The whole initiative would cost R11,2m for 2002/2003 financial year.

Discussion
Mr Vadi (ANC) asked why the Department did not require SGB's to present annual financial statements.

Ms Tyobeka agreed that this was a problem but that the Department was looking into the issue and also trying to build district capacity to be able to support SGB's.

One member commented that the training of SGB's was often irrelevant because it was undertaken by tenders who did not understand the situation. She also commented that being illiterate did not mean that one would be unable to run a school efficiently and therefore that SGB's excluded illiterate people from participating in the running of schools. In rural areas schools were virtually run by farmers and by way of making an anectodal example she said that it hampered rural schools' development. What happened to the National Association of School Governing Bodies?

Ms Tyobeka agreed with the comments and said that the Department was sensitive to these challenges. On the question of excluding illiterate people she said that the Department was running a small pilot project of SGB's training of illiterate people through simulation. On the question of the national association The Department and private donors needed to inject funds into the association so that it could kick start and that the plan was to have quarterly meetings with the association even though the last two meetings were postponed.

One member commented that there should be no loss of skills when SGB's members step down after elections because the school could still co-opt people with expertise into the governing body. What criteria the department was using to award Section 21 status to schools that have not demonstrated financial accountability. Why were schools that were built by Trusts expected to pay charges.

Ms Tyobeka said that the Department was " between a rock and a hard place" because while it saw the transition to Section 21 as a good idea it had to balance it with some problems and failures.

One member asked if there was any data reporting on the progress of SGB's.

Ms Tyobeka said that there was no such data but that there were some research projects on some aspects of SGB's. She promised that the Department would undertake research on the progress of SGB's.

Ms Nhlengthwa asked if there was specific training for SGB's treasurers. Ms Tyobeka said that there was not specific training.

Mr Vadi suggested that the Department should legally oblige SGB's to present annual financial statements.

Ms Tyobeka if there were statistics on the number of SGB's in the country. Ms Tyobeka promised to provide the statistics.

One member asked who oversaw that the legislation was implemented.

Ms Tyobeka said that it was unfortunate that the sequence of events did not go as planned because of lack of capacity and that this created gaps and problems of implementation.

One member asked if the SGB's or the Department appointed teachers.

Ms Tyobeka said that the SGB's could only recommend and appointment of a teacher unless they use their own funds to employ one.

One member asked if there was a buy-in (in the teacher development programmees) by other stakeholders in education.

My Tyobeka said that there was an evolving constructive working relationship between the Department and it partners.

Meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1
Governance in South African Schools
Presentation to Education Portfolio Committee
19 March 2002

Overview of School Governance in SA schools

· SASA provides for the democratic election of School Governing Bodies in all schools
· Primary intention of SASA to ensure that schools are run effectively and efficiently with stakeholder involvement
· SGBs comprise: elected members (parents of learners at the school; educators at the school; non-educator staff at the school; learners in the eighth grade or higher at the school). principal and co-opted members
· According to the Act, 5GB elections should take place every 3 years (except for the learner component which gets elected annually)
· Two elections have been held to date - third to be held in 2003
· Department of Education obligated by law to provide introductory training for newly elected SGBs as well as continuing training for effective performance and to prepare them to assume additional functions

Primary functions

· Prescribed in terms of Section 20 of SASA.
· Include adopting a constitution, developing a mission statement for the schools, adopting a code of conduct and supporting principal and staff in performance of their professional functions

Allocated functions

· Prescribed in terms of Section 21 of SASA
· Provincial Departments develop criteria and procedures for allocating these functions
· Functions comprise
- Maintaining and improving school's property, buildings and grounds
- Determining extra-mural activities and subject options
- in terms of provincial curriculum policy
- Purchasing learning resources for schools
- Paying for services to the school

Criteria for Section 21 status

· Democratically elected SGB
· Functional SOB according to its SASA functions
· Functional SOB committees: Finance Learning Support Material etc.
· Financial Management capacity
· Management and administrative capacity
· Sound School Development Plan

Performance of system to date

· General overall compliance with the spirit of the legislation
· Second set of SGBs better prepared than their predecessors and all received some level of training
· Initial confusion between roles and responsibilities of SGBs vs. those of principals and SMTs becoming clearer
· Department of Education continues to provide training and support that is responsive

Key challenges

· SGBs continue to be underrepresented in terms of race and 2erider
· SGBs not grappling sufficiently with the national Language Policy to give practical effect to its intentions
· Training for SGBs primarily literacy based and thus fails those SGb members who are not literate · · · Three-year elections lead to loss of capacity that has been built for the school
· Special challenges faced by rural and in particular farm schools

Ensuring Section 21 status for most schools: a key challenge

· National picture mixed
· In Gauteng, Western Cape and Northern Cape most schools have been given Section 21 status
· The results are immediate: improved confidence. management and general functionality in these schools
· Problems where provinces are seen as allocating these functions to primarily former model C schools

Key priorities for the DoE

· Enhancing provincial/district capacities to move schools to Section 21 status and supporting them in the management of that status
· Investing in alternatives to literacy-based training to tap into all available expertise in communities
· Researching challenges peculiar to farm and rural schools and developing training packages to meet these particular challenges

Appendix 2
Overview of Teacher Development
Presentation to Portfolio Committee 19 March 2002

Focus of Presentation

· South African context for teacher development
· Key systemic policy responses
· Current interventions in critical areas
· Towards an enabling policy framework for Teacher Development

Context
Pre-1994 legacy

· Varying quality of skills, competence and qualifications in teachers
· Multiple providers of different quality and different curricular
· Massive shortage of qualified teachers in critical subjects
· Decline in student registration
· Approximately 85 000 unqualified and underqualified teachers

Context
Post-1994 environment
· New expectations of teachers as agents of change
· New curriculum for schools
· New policies e.g. ECD, Inclusive Education
· National Priorities e.g.
- HIVIALDS
- Sexual Abuse of children

Initial policy response

· Promulgation of Norms and Standards for Educators in February 200 to provide a generic picture of a competent teacher and the required competencies.
· Through the Higher Education Act, ensuring teacher education is provided exclusively by HE Institutions
· Rationalising provision from 152 institutions in 1994 to 28 (37 sites) in 2001
· Piloting implementation of DAS to determine development needs of teachers

Current initiatives in critical areas

Upgrading of un- and underqualifled teachers-ensuring that all teachers meet the minimum required levels of qualification (REQV 13)
· Data gathering by Education Foundation suggests there may have been a significant decline in the numbers - data being verified
· Indicates that majority of unqualified and underqualitied teachers in KZN, Eastern Cape and Northern Province
· Indicates that approximately 70% of this group are women, teaching in the Foundation Phase
· Indicates that majority of these teachers at REQV 12
· A joint upgrading programme by the ELRC and Department of Education. provided b" selected HE Is, targeting 11 000 teachers (10 000 across the system and 1 000 in targeted nodal areas) for upgrading towards an NPDE qualification - at a total cost of R108 million
· Programme starting April 2002

Systemic support for effective curriculum implementation

· Training of grades 5 and 9 teachers, as well as district and School Management Teams on effective curriculum implementation - total cost of IC,5m in 2002103 financial year
· National Framework for co-ordinated teacher training on National Curriculum Statement being developed to ensure system-wide support for effective implementation of revised curriculum

Creating critical mass of teachers in gateway subjects -starting with Maths, Science and Technology
· Complementary to National Maths and Science Strategy
· Two-year reskilling and upgrading programme towards NPDE/ACE qualifications for Maths, Science and Technology teachers in intermediate and sensor phases.
· Training provided by selected HEls and started in 2001 with very modest numbers: 150 teachers per province, additional 100 teachers per nodal area in 2002
· Essential resources for the teaching of these subjects provided to all trained teachers
· Total cost: R11,2 million for 2002/003 financial year

Key challenge(s) towards effective teacher development

· A comprehensive policy framework that outlines a holistic approach to teacher development including
- Teacher recruitment to halt the decline in student numbers
- Ensuring quality and responsiveness of initial preparation to national priorities and concerns, as well as needs of individual communities and groups.
- Creating an environment for continuos professional development to keep teachers up to date with necessary skills and knowledge - linked to individual teachers' professional needs and aspirations; needs and priorities of individual schools and communities; national strategic priorities and needs

· towards NPDE/ACE qualifications
- Effective Teacher Support Systems

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