Department of Basic Education 2011 Strategic Plan

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

19 April 2011
Chairperson: Mr M Makgate (ANC, NW)
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Meeting Summary

Improved quality of education was central to all the department’s operations. In response to the President’s call in the 2011 State of the Nation Address emphasising the need for more focus on the Triple T -Teachers, Text and Time- the DBE identified the following key interventions:

▪ Focus on literacy and numeracy and increasing access to, and performance in, mathematics and science. That entailed increasing access to quality materials and providing competent and professional teachers.
▪ Use of standardised assessments and systemic evaluations to measure whether learners were achieving the curriculum outcomes and to identify the key areas in the curriculum that required improvement.
▪ Ensure that access to Grade R was universalised and that Grade R provided quality programmes to compensate for socio-economic deprivation and low family literacy.
▪ Turn around dysfunctional and poorly performing schools by improving systems of accountability and service delivery at district, provincial and national level.
▪ Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) to ensure the provision of sound infrastructure. The main goal was to eradicate mud and unsafe structures and to provide improved resources, such as laboratories, libraries and administration blocks to existing schools.

The department’s Action Plan to 2014 and Delivery Agreement had served as useful instruments to improve the credibility of the DBE’s Strategic Plan. The newly developed strategic plan brought a sharper focus to the department’s activities and was not engaging in symbolic gestures in terms of delivery of the mandate. The department had to bring a sharp focus to its interventions and had to look at introducing a simple and clear understandable approach to its work, so that it was all framed as a single sectoral approach.

The cornerstones of the department’s strategy as to how it intended to work differently were the involvement of all key stakeholders, including citizens, in making education a societal matter; ensuring more synergy between the national and provincial spheres of government; and safeguarding the well being of learners and educators.
The department acknowledged that the challenges were great, but there were reassuring indicators that the system was responding positively to the outcomes-based approach.

Members were interested to know when the mud schools would be eradicated and the progress in that regard. The department responded that 50 of the 395 had been identified to be replaced over by the end of this financial year. The Committee expressed interest in the developments in e-Education.
There were many more questions during the wide-ranging discussion. These included questions about the lack or late delivery of learning resources, teenage pregnancies, the National Schools Nutrition Programme Conditional Grant, how the department was going to ensure the reliability and validity of the national assessment tests and examinations, the Dinaledi schools, monitoring the quality of teachers, literacy, the Technical Secondary School Recapitalisation.

Meeting report

Ms Vivienne Carelse (Deputy Director General: Strategic Planning) extended an apology on behalf of the Director General of Basic Education. She explained the Director General was also chairperson of the Joint Human Development Cluster, which he had to chair in Pretoria. Ms Carelse also tendered apologies on behalf of the Minister and the Deputy Minister, who both had other engagements; and other senior members of the department were with the Select Committee on Appropriation.

Department briefing
Ms Carelse gave a brief overview of the Department’s strategic plan for 2011-2014.

The agreed twelve outcomes of government had presented the department with a broad framework on which the educational priorities had been set and the Action Plan developed by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The department had led the sector in re-orientating itself to amplify those aspects of the department’s work that required very clear continuity from year to year, and also new areas of innovation that had been developed. The strategic plan not only framed those twelve outcomes of government but also specifically the apex priority of education. Improved quality of education was central to all the department’s operations, and the DBE looked to, with all of its best efforts and expertise deployed across the department and also across the sector, to join hands with those stakeholders that had a similar vision for the improvement of quality of schooling in the country.

The strategic plan set out those strategies and outcomes and deliverables that were informed by government’s programme of action, but also the delivery agreement signed by the Minister in expression of the Action Plan 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. Those clear measurable targets were set out to frame both a sense of learner achievement and also the performance of professionals in the sector, so they could begin to understand both the environment that required improvement, but also to look at the serious aspect of enrolment and the retention of learners in the system, together with matters of infrastructure provisioning, school funding systems, as well as learner well being and safety, incorporating aspects to do with adult basic education and educational quality more broadly.

Those key challenges framed the country’s long-range development goals, also encapsulated to the department’s response to the Human Resource Development Strategy of South Africa, but also to the growing of our economy and the provision of informed, well-trained and well skilled individuals, starting with our schooling system.

Part A: High level overview of the Department’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan
In terms of education being the apex priority, Outcome 1 was that improved quality of education was central to the Strategic Plan.

Key challenges identified were:
▪ Quality learner outcomes were not optimal across all grades;
▪ The quality and quantity of learner and teacher support materials were not adequate to support quality learning;
▪ The quality of school-based tests and examinations were not of the required standard and were not being adequately moderated or benchmarked; and
▪ The quality of the support from districts and specifically school support personnel had not been constructive nor responsive to the needs of schools’ management.

To ensure effective teaching and learning, the focus of all strategies would be geared towards learners and the quality of learning attained for effective and lifelong growth, development and well-being; teachers (accountability, incentives, support and resources); schools (fully functional for effective teaching and learning); and provinces (including district management).

In response to the President’s call in the 2011 State of the Nation Address emphasising the need for more focus on the Triple T – Teachers, Text and Time, the DBE identified the following key interventions:
▪ Focus on literacy and numeracy and increasing access to, and performance in, mathematics and science. That entailed increasing access to quality materials and providing competent and professional teachers.
▪ Use standardised assessments and systemic evaluations to measure whether learners were achieving the curriculum outcomes and to identify which key areas in the curriculum required improvement.
▪ Ensure that access to Grade R was universalised and that Grade R provided quality programmes to compensate for socio-economic deprivation and low family literacy.
▪ Turn around dysfunctional and poorly performing schools by improving systems of accountability and service delivery at district, provincial and national level.
▪ Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) to ensure the provision of sound infrastructure. The main goal was to eradicate mud and unsafe structures and to provide improved resources, such as laboratories, libraries and administration blocks to existing schools.

The cornerstones of the department’s strategy as to how it intended to work differently were the involvement of all key stakeholders, including the citizens, in making education a societal matter; ensuring more synergy between the national and provincial spheres of government; and safeguarding the well being of learners and educators.

Part B: Detailed presentation on Strategic Objectives
The department’s five strategic goals were to:
▪ improve the quality of teaching and learning, curriculum policy, support and monitoring;
▪ undertake regular assessment to track progress; to improve early childhood development;
▪ ensure a credible, outcomes-focused planning and accountability system; and
▪ improve the capacity of the Department of Basic Education.

Ms Carelse explained how Programme 1: Administration aimed to improve the capacity of the DBE; to ensure that the basic education sector and the country benefited from bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation agreements; and improving inter-governmental coordination of policy and education delivery, especially with provincial education departments.

Ms Carelse turned to Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring. The department focused on:
▪ The need to incentivise teacher adoption of e-Education by means of a substantial increase in the availability of learning and teaching resources, including through the internet;
▪ To bring about stability and coherence with respect to the national school curriculum;
▪ To pay special attention to improvements in mathematics, physical science and technical subjects at the FET band in schools through national programmes such as Dinaledi and the Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation Grant;
▪ To promote adequate access to quality learning materials through the provision of better national specifications on what every learner required and a more proactive approach towards the cost effective development, reproduction and distribution of materials such as workbooks and textbooks;
▪ To establish national norms for school libraries;
▪ To create a sound basis for quality pre-Grade 1 education through the promotion of quality learning and teaching materials at that level; and
▪ To finalise and promote national screening guidelines for an equitable system of access to special needs support amongst learners.

Programme 3 focused on Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development.
It was increasingly seen how teacher unions, through collaborative efforts with the department, were taking responsibility for providing support to their members and to ensure that there was greater uptake on self-regulatory response-driven professional development, and also to add the resources that were available for them to do so. The self-regulatory system was in its embryonic stage but was beginning to take root and the department was actively engaging unions around the support for those initiatives. It cut across all unions in the sector.

On the national campaign to choose teaching as a career, it was seen that through the Funza Lushaka scheme the department was able to attract a far higher level of achiever at Grade 12 level opting for teaching as a career.

It was important to develop training strategies and materials aimed at parents that could bring parents more integrally into the new accountability mechanism being established for schools.

Ms Carelse turned to Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment. One of the focus areas was to ensure that all children completed a quality readiness programme in Grade R before entering formal education in Grade 1.

Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services, focused on enhancing the current basket of education support services to learners from poor communities; and ensuring the involvement of stakeholders in exercising involvement in schools in a manner that added value to the attainment of the core outcomes.

Part C: MTEF Budget Review
Expenditure increased from R4.8 billion in 2007/08 to R10.9 billion in 2010/11 and was expected to continue growing over the medium term to reach R20.4 billion in 2013/14.

The 2011 Estimates of National Expenditure Allocations were R13.868 bn for 2011/12; R16.557 billion for 2012/13; and R20 409 billion for 2013/14.
Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring allocations for 2011/12 included:
▪ Introduction of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP): Kha Ri Gude R43.981 million, Curriculum Review Project R80 million, Dinaledi Schools Conditional Grant R70 million, as well as increase for Workbooks project R149.435 million, and Technical Schools Recapitalisation Conditional Grant R120 million.

Planning, Information and Assessment allocations for 2011/12 included:
▪ Allocation for School Infrastructure Backlogs Indirect Grant R700 million, and the allocation for the Education Infrastructure Conditional Grant R5 498.300 million.

Educational Enrichment Services allocations for 2011/12 included:
▪ Increase of the National School Nutrition Programme Conditional Grant, mainly due to implementing feeding in Quintile 3 Secondary Schools R915.224 million.

Ms Carelse turned to the Allocation Summary for 2011/12. The Departmental Operations increase of 1 325.6% was due to the inclusion of R700 million in respect of the schools infrastructure backlog indirect grant as well as R134.712 million for office accommodation, including the monthly unitary fee payment.

▪ The Department’s Action Plan and Delivery Agreement had served as useful instruments to improve the credibility of the DBE’s Strategic Plan. The newly developed strategic plan brought a sharper focus to the department’s activities and was not engaging in symbolic gestures in terms of delivery of the mandate. The Department had to bring a sharp focus to its interventions and had to look at introducing a simple and clear understandable approach to its work, so that it was all framed as a single sectoral approach.

▪ There was greater cohesion and coherence of all the department’s planning and the link between the planning, budgeting and implementation, as well as the monitoring and evaluation, would be improved progressively across the system.

▪ The Strategic Plan (including budget allocation decisions) reflected how the DBE had concretely operationalised its role in the sector as contemplated in the Action Plan and Delivery Agreement. The department was currently in the first phase of the review of the Action Plan, which was the first year of its existence, and were beginning to sharpen areas and address gaps that were identified.

▪ The Department acknowledged that the challenges were great, but there were reassuring indicators that the system was responding positively to the outcomes-based approach. The first year sector plan review had just been completed, and the department had produced a detailed document on that and Ms Carelse suggested that at a future date the Research Monitoring and Evaluation Team could present that report.

Ms R Rasmeni (ANC, North West) commended the department for having captured all the critical areas the Committee had raised. She noted the encouragement of students in the field of teaching, the issues from provincial level, and other matters, and was really impressed. She also noted the interventions made by the department in the Eastern Cape regarding the challenges that that province was facing.

Ms Rasmeni asked whether the department had developed a detailed plan on the mud schools generally in the country.

Mr Solly Mafoko, Director: Physical Resources Planning, DBE, responded that in terms of the database there were currently 395 mud schools remaining in the country, all of which were in the Eastern Cape. An amount of R700 million had been allocated in a grant referred to as the Schools Infrastructure Backlogs Grant. 60% of that had been dedicated for the eradication of mud structures in this financial year. Of the 395 schools, 50 were to be attended to in this financial year. It was realised that over 60% of those mud schools were in the Libode / Mthatha / Ngqeleni district, so the fifty located in those three districts, and had already been costed and the department was in the process of procuring implementing agents and contractors to deal with those.        

Ms Rasmeni requested more information on the monitoring and evaluation element of all the programmes the department intended to implement this year.

Mr Gerrit Coetzee (Director: Strategic Planning) added that the declaration by government to make education its apex priority had placed the role of monitoring and evaluation as key to that. The leadership came from the Presidency with the creation of the Department on Monitoring and Evaluation and Planning. The DBE launched a key document, which was the Action Plan to 2014. That Action Plan identified some key indicators for the department to measure and see how it performed on those, and the release of the Delivery Agreement of the Minister concretised that element. Instead of only the DBE being held accountable for success in the indicators and goals and outputs in the Delivery Agreement, it succeeded in bringing the whole sector together. Accountability was also that of the provinces, and through the provinces the district officers had become key players. One of the challenges was that the department had become used to doing things in its own fashion, and that had to be changed and redesigned. Currently the department worked closely with its provincial colleagues to ensure that the indicators measured as part of the Delivery Agreement, and as part of the Action Plan to 2014, had greater synergy in what the department identified and what provinces had identified. That presented an opportunity to ensure that what was looked at on a district level, and at a school level, was translated throughout the chain to national.

Ms Carelse said that monitoring and evaluation was also linked to the establishment of the implementation forums, and each of the twelve outcomes would be based on those implementation forums. There would be an Implementation Forum at the level of MINMEC, and the
Committee of Education Ministers (CEM, MECs of the provinces), together with the Technical Implementation Forum that began with the operational levels of giving expression to the Delivery Agreement, where the department would sit not only as the EDCOM with all of the HODs of the provinces together with the Director General, and DBE as members of EDCOM, but also the 22 sister departments that constituted the list of signatories to the agreement. That level of technical implementation would look at where to begin to expand on the collaborative and integrated strategies, such as the one for sport, as well as that for safety, and those would be the delivery forums that would service the substructures to the implementation policy.

Ms Moelise [sp?] responded on expenditure performance under-spending, the department had a directorate, DBE Monitoring Officials, and officials responsible for monitoring the expenditure performance analysed the reports on a monthly basis and also advised on how to utilise funds to avoid under-spending.

Mr Edward Mosuwe (Acting DDG:
Curriculum Policy, Monitoring and Support) responded that it was on the basis of the national annual assessment, as well as examinations of Grade 12, that the department would be able to judge whether learning was actually taking place. The annual national assessment became a critical tool that the system used, both from a monitoring and evaluation point of view, because all primary schools would have to write them. They were standardised tests and it was assumed that they had been written and one would be able to get feedback for further intervention to be done.

Ms Gladys Moelise [sp?] said the department’s Finance Unit monitored expenditure. It received monthly reports from provinces on their expenditure trends and funds were transferred based on the spending performance. The department ensured that the utilisation of funds in provinces and schools was in line with their business plan.

Ms Rasmeni asked in which programme was the issue of discipline and security in schools implemented? There were frequent reports of teenage pregnancies in schools, how did the department capture that area in its Plan?

Mr Mosuwe responded that the question of teenage pregnancy was captured in Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services. The department took the view that it was a societal issue and the department would continue to make the community and parents aware of their responsibility about sexual education and equally values. However, the department’s view was to keep young girls in schools as much as possible to strengthen their education.

Ms Rasmeni referred to the increase in the National Schools Nutrition Programme Conditional Grant. Given the challenges experienced in some provinces, how did the department plan to monitor and evaluate that programme?

Mr Mosuwe responded that the department was aware that some provinces were exploring different models of getting funding, and one was the extent to which transfers could take place and go directly to schools. Some provinces were already doing that.

Mr T Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) noted that the department worked with provincial departments and districts, he felt that local government also had a role to play as another sphere of government.

Mr Mafoko explained that in the programme that the DDG referred to, the structure was that there was a National Steering Committee that was represented by all affected departments. The department’s Director General or DDG chaired the national steering committee. The Department of Public Works, the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Human Settlements and National Treasury were part of that steering committee. Below the National Steering Committee were the Provincial Monitoring Committees, which were set up in every province where the department had those programmes. In provinces such as the Northern Cape, there were schools without water and sanitation. The Provincial Monitoring Committee would be responsible for monitoring the implementation of that programme in that particular province. In Libode the committee was made up of councillors, district officials, and local government structures that would be responsible to monitor the progress in that locality. That committee would report to the province and that province would report to the National Steering Committee.

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE, North West) asked how the department was going to ensure the reliability and validity of the national assessment tests and examinations. He asked whether there would be duplication in the annual national assessment and systemic evaluation, particularly in the exit grades.

Mr Mosuwe explained that the response to Ms Rasmeni’s question on monitoring and evaluation would also apply. There were two levels in terms of validity and reliability, first was as he had already said, the next step the department would need to take, noting that it was the first universal [inaudible] that had been taken, and the department had taken the view that it must also subject the same test that was given to determine whether they were also of an appropriate level, so there was also work to determine whether the tests that were set were also relevant to the context. The Minister had demonstrated that while South African children had participated and may have fared badly, it was the manner in which some of the questions were done, the context in which some of the questions were done, that learners were unable to associate with them, so they were having to take those specific matters into account. As it related to the systemic evaluation, the department’s view was that the annual national assessment would serve as a benchmark for what the system would be looking at.

Mr Plaatjie asked what new strategies the department would employ for the turnaround of dysfunctional schools and improving accountability. He also asked how far the department was in terms of the implementation of the e-Education at schools.

Mr Mosuwe responded that the e-Education White Paper was launched in 2004. That White Paper had six key elements – the policy objective to deal with improving access to electronic content; access to connectivity of schools; increasing infrastructure linked to ICT; exposing teachers to ICT instruments; the extent to which it would make the [inaudible] accessible; and the extent to which the department would make communities a part of the benefits in relation to e-Education.

The White Paper focused on an integrated approach across government. Connectivity infrastructure was regulated by the Department of Communications, and on that basis a committee of ministers chaired by the Deputy Minister of Communications had developed a connectivity plan for schools. The difficulty was the prohibitive cost of access to connectivity. Also, there were areas in remote regions that did not have a terrestrial line and therefore were unable to get Telkom and required a different model of connectivity such as satellite or 3G connections. The Department of Communications was putting a connectivity plan for schools on the table in the hope that that would be accelerated. It was an extent to which one not only got schools to connect, but also to benefit from that. The Electronic Communications Act provided for schools to benefit from the e-rate, which was a 50% discount when a school had access to ICT. Two provinces had gone ahead with rolling out ICT infrastructure, the Western Cape and Gauteng. The department recently hosted an ICT round table with the Minister of Basic Education and the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, which hoped to determine an available mechanism in the system that could be deployed in schools, whether there was connectivity or not and whether there was electricity or not. Three years ago the department carried out a feasibility study to determine what the cost would be to expand ICT in its totality to all schools, and the results of that study were guiding the process.

Mr Plaatjie asked how the department supported the Dinaledi schools, he was aware of four Dinaledi schools that were poorly resourced and the learners performed very badly.

Mr Mosuwe responded that there were 500 Dinaledi secondary schools in the country, which was under 9% of the total number of secondary schools, yet contributed 35% of the total mathematics and science classes in 2010/11. Within those there were schools that were under performing and mimicked the condition of schools in the country. The department had to get an independent evaluation of the Dinaledi schools problem to determine whether they added value. The World Bank reported that the Dinaledi schools project had positively impacted in terms of the objectives of mathematics and science, however, that did not mean that the Dinaledi schools were the only schools that must be looked at. They served as an example as to how the department could improve in terms of mathematics and science. The department’s mathematics and science improvement strategy now focused on all schools, but used the Dinaledi schools project to establish the lessons learned from that project and clearly the schools that performed well were because they had functionality. They had capable teachers, there was time on task, and text that was available, and the package of functionality was manifested in the Dinaledi schools. The question was whether or not to drop the Dinaledi schools that were not performing well. It was suggested to keep them and determine how best to turn them around, but that suggestion failed.

Mr Plaatjie appreciated the initiative of establishing the IPCD [sp?] but how, when and where did the department intend to do that, because it seemed it would turn around the schooling system.

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) was interested to know how the department would monitor the quality of teachers. The department could have the best curriculum and learning material, but the outcome depended on good instructors.

Mr Mosuwe responded that in terms of the Teacher Development Institute the department had come a long way with the national curriculum that was said to be internationally comparable, yet it proved to be difficult in terms of implementation. Curriculum was also a dynamic process and there were always issues of refreshment, and the department faced challenges of getting to the learning outcomes. The curriculum in Teacher Development Institutes was intended to help the department address those areas of challenge that may be observed either from international tests that may be written, from the implementation of the curriculum itself, or from any other research information, and a to suggest solutions in terms of how the department could deal with that while ensuring that teachers were also supported. Different models were currently being explored. As a research institute it had to bring that level of expertise, and currently that level of expertise did not reside in the department, it resided in universities and research institutions, and a model was being determined as how best to deal with the issue.

Mr Faber said the Department of Sports, in its recent presentation to the Committee, had mentioned integrating sport into the schools again. He did not see that anywhere in the budget and sport played a vital role in the education of children. Where would the Physical Training teachers be found, because they were no longer there? What was the department’s contribution to sport infrastructure?

Ms Moelise responded that funding was allocated in the Provincial Education Department’s budget relating to sport and a directorate branch in the province assisted in the utilisation of those funds by giving them guidance.
Mr M de Villiers (DA, Western Cape) referred to the focus on numeracy and literacy and increasing access to, and performance in, mathematics and science. In order to perform one must first manage literacy; why was literacy not mentioned?

Mr Mosuwe pointed out that the department needed to focus on the level to which it must ensure competency of learners in literacy and numeracy, and must start with the foundation. There was therefore dedicated attention to literacy and numeracy and language, and the extent to which the department should support English as a first additional language, because the majority of learners in the public schooling system did not speak English as their home language, yet used English from Grade 4. One of the recommendations of the Ministerial Report on Curriculum Implementation Review was that alongside mother tongue instruction, the department should be introducing young children whose language changed at Grade 4, to introduce that language from Grade 1, strengthening mother tongue but also gradually exposing them to a language of learning and teaching that they would use as they moved through the schooling system.

Mr de Villiers asked what the department was doing in terms of the formal education syllabus for Grade R?

Mr Mosuwe responded that the Curriculum Policy Statement covered Grades R to 12.

Mr de Villiers said Treasury took a lot of money back from provincial departments. What was the Department of Education doing in connection with that, because a provincial education department would struggle to maintain the achievement and also the aims from the Department of Education?

Mr de Villiers noted the intention to improve Early Childhood Development and the quality of teaching in classes Grades 1 to 10. There was huge absence of monitoring learners and also teachers in classes, what was the situation from the DBE? Currently only the principal monitored teachers, management personnel should be involved in that monitoring process.

Mr de Villiers asked whether there was any correlation between the workbook and the textbook? Learners could be referred to the textbook while working on the workbook.

Mr Mosuwe explained that a textbook provided knowledge, skills and values, which became the base for a person to learn a subject. A workbook supported what was in the textbook, providing activities that could help to cement the knowledge and values of the textbook, and the two could be married. This year Grades 1 to 6 were provided with literacy and numeracy workbooks, which tried to address the challenges noted in the underperformances. Those workbooks were provided in all eleven languages at home language level for Grades 1, 2, and 3. Grades 4 to 6 workbooks were provided in the language of teaching.

Mr de Villiers referred to developing parents and giving them training materials. A lot of parents were not able to understand that. What support could they expect from the DBE in assisting them to make use of those learning materials in helping their children at home?

Mr de Villiers was not able to find any budget for the training and support of governing bodies.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) noted the need to address 3 627 schools that needed to be brought to basic safety functionality levels by 2014; how many of those were in Gauteng?

Mr Mafoko responded that there were no mud schools in Gauteng, it was about basic services, water, sanitation, and electricity. An amount of about R5 million had been allocated to Gauteng in this financial year. That scenario was in the Western Cape as well, where schools might have basic services but did not have sufficient toilets as a result of an increase in the number of learners. There were 22 projects in Gauteng, amounting to R6.54 million.

Ms Mncube understood that in Atlantis, in the Western Cape, there were four high schools and sixteen primary schools. When the Grade Sevens passed into high school there was a problem of overcrowding. That overcrowding and absence of more high schools led to drop outs, and contributed towards early pregnancy, gangsterism, exposure to drugs, and so forth. She had raised the question in the House and the Deputy Minister said they had never had any complaints, and because according to them there were no complaints, there would not be any response to addressing the infrastructure there.

Mr Mafoko responded that that was a planning issue and would have to be taken up with the province. There were situations where schools were not built where they were wanted, and sometimes schools were built where they were not wanted. The department was engaging with Statistics South Africa with demographic figures to assist provinces with their planning and to anticipate population movement and population growth.

Ms Mncube referred to the Technical Secondary School Recapitalisation for 200 technical high schools. She asked what progress had been made and what were the difficulties in driving the recapitalisation?

Mr Mosuwe responded that over 1000 schools in the country offered technology, however the recapitalisation only focused on 200 schools that met the criteria for extreme need in their circumstances. The expenditure per se of technical schools was very low. It was a conditional grant in provinces that were unable to meet the requirements to ensure that the department could transfer the funds as was required in all of the cases. One of the factors was the reliance on other state departments to provide infrastructure, and also the capacity of provinces to deal with that. The department needed to establish a technical assistance unit that would be able to ensure that all of the blockages noted in respect of the Technical Schools Recapitalisation in 2010 would not repeat themselves going forward into 2012.

Ms Mncube referred to the grant to Dinaledi schools. She also noted Funza Lushaka
Bursary Programme where more educators graduated in mathematics and science. How best could the department strengthen mathematics and science?

Mr Mosuwe responded that it was the first time since the inception of the Dinaledi project that it had a national grant; previously they were more funded by provinces, as well as the support of the private sector. The private sector had done extremely well in respect of funding of the Dinaledi schools; there were companies that had adopted over 140 Dinaledi schools. The conditional grant was intended to ensure that the department could provide formal input that could be monitored, which would also give lessons as to how the department could further expand on programmes in those specific schools.

Ms Mncube noted the presentation spoke to inter governmental coordination, policy and delivery. There was an assumption from Gauteng province that education had the bulk of the budget. As the department dealt with the workbooks and/or textbooks, supplying them from national to provinces, was the department taking away that function from the provinces, and without any policy change, gradually stripping them of their key responsibilities?

Mr Mosuwe responded that there was a move to ensure that every child in the system had a textbook. Only 45% of children in South Africa had textbooks in each of the subjects, despite having spent over R4 billion on
Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM). If provinces collectively pooled resources a textbook could be provided for every child in the system. It was not about taking powers away but determining the best mechanisms of getting economies of scale with a view to ensuring that every child had a textbook in each of the subjects that they took.

Ms Mncube asked what mechanism the department put in provinces to ensure libraries were functional, and equipping laboratories where science was taught?

Ms Mncube asked for clarification as to the allocation from Treasury. Who decided how much went to each province, Treasury or the department? If it were the department, were grants allocated according to the equitable share or the number of learners.

Ms D Rantho (ANC, Eastern Cape) added to what Ms Rasmeni had said about the programmes to be implemented, and requested that the different provinces be reflected. It was already the end of the second term and there were schools in the Eastern Cape without learning material. The department in the Eastern Cape maintained that the districts took care of that. She felt the situation would remain the same until the end of November, what was the department doing about that?

Mr Mosuwe responded that in terms of section 100(b) implementation in the province the Minister of Education had the responsibility for intervention. The reason why non-delivery of stationery affected section 20 schools and also section 21 schools was because of supply chain processes that defaulted. Information was received that the challenges in supply chain processes had been dealt with and companies had been appointed to ensure that stationery could be delivered to schools with immediate effect.

Ms Rantho’s constituency was in Lady Grey, next to Aliwal North. The principals in the primary schools there extended the curriculum without looking at the policies of government. She had engaged the district on that at the end of 2009 and had as yet not had a response from either the province or the district. What next steps could she take to intervene in that situation?

In April a TV programme called Cutting Edge showed the mud schools in the Eastern Cape. She understood the Department was taking care of that, but asked whether that was already happening in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape and, if so, in which areas?

Mr Mafoko responded that the schools discussed in the Cutting Edge programme were part of the 50 mentioned in the Libode/Mthatha district. The intention was that those schools should be handed over by the end of this financial year. The majority of those schools were very small so would be dealt with very quickly.
The majority of the remaining 340 schools were very small, some with less than 100 learners. The department was communicating with communities in the Eastern Cape to come up with solutions, some would be merged, and some would be closed. The issue of hostels was also being considered, as well as the learner transport.

Ms Rantho understood the integrated quality management system contributed towards the improvement of quality of teaching and learning, by assessing educators on an annual basis and identifying areas in need of development – how was the department going to do that? Would their work be assessed at the end of each year or would the department let the district do it quarterly? She was concerned since, when the
Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) system was introduced, it was good in other provinces but did not work well in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Mosuwe responded that it was on the basis of the national annual assessment, as well as examinations of Grade 12, that the department would be able to judge whether learning was actually taking place. The annual national assessment became a critical tool that the system used, both from a monitoring and evaluation point of view, because all primary schools would have to write them. They were standardised tests and it was assumed that they had been written and one would be able to get feedback for further intervention to be done.

The Chairperson asked how many mud schools there were in the country, and what was the timeframe for the eradication? When government dealt with the bucket system it had a time frame and that target was reached. Ms Carelse had indicated that the issue of safety at schools was of very serious concern. Before the split of the two departments certain schools were identified and there was a safety pilot project at those schools. Was that extended to other areas, and, if not, what other programmes were there?

Ms Carelse responded that there was a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Safety and Security to look at that jointly. The analysis had been done in terms of the department’s visit to certain schools in the provinces and to see how the department could collaborate around that.

The Chairperson referred to the strategic objective to improve the capacity of the DBE. Mention was made of the delivery unit, was that with the provinces and, if so, what support was given to the provinces?

Mr Coetzee responded that the strategic plan and the annual performance plan of the DBE would be developed for the DBE. In those plans the department would show linkages with the broader sector, including the provinces. Those were plans for Basic Education, and the Action Plan to 2014 and the Delivery Agreement spoke to Basic Education as well as the broader sector.

The Chairperson referred to resource considerations, such as office accommodation. According to the strategic plan that had been budgeted since construction began in 2006/07, and the high cost of R106.1 million in 2007/08 to R258 million in 2010/11 and to R340 million in 2013/14. That should have been completed by now, why was the department still budgeting for office accommodation?

The Chairperson referred to the court cases mentioned under strategic risks, and that provinces were not providing information on court cases. She asked for categories of those cases. One MEC had indicated that the department had 31 to 35 pending cases; she was concerned that if one province had 31 to 35 pending cases, what was the rest?

Ms Carelse responded that that required a lot of detailed information, department would provide a list. The department had a legal subcommittee of EDCOM, comprising of representatives of each of the provincial departments together with the national team. That subcommittee met regularly and reported to EDCOM on all cases that affected the department. The department was sometimes the respondents rather than the initiators of cases. In the case of being respondents, sometimes the department would be direct respondents or secondary respondents. In the case of being a secondary respondent, for example around the school building, national government was the respondent and provincial government the second respondent. DBE was the delivery agent of government and did not have direct responsibility to respond to that. The department also had the responsibility of policy and guidelines. All officials were urged to ensure that when they published guideline documents that they were done responsibly to ensure that very clear directives given in the policy document averted all possible litigation.

The Chairperson referred to strategic objective 2.5, increased access to high quality learning materials, and that only 1 800 schools could be considered to have sufficiently stocked libraries. She asked what was the department’s target for this year, and out of those 1 800 schools how many were from the previously disadvantaged communities?

Ms Rantho asked for clarity on English as the second language. Her question about the primary school where the principal had extended the curriculum had not been answered. At that school English was also introduced as a teaching language and parents had to pay R200 more for the English teachers.

Mr Mosuwe responded that primary schools had to offer eight learning areas. In the foundation phase schools only offered three learning programmes – literacy, numeracy and life skills. If schools offered two languages it would be the mother tongue and another language that may become their language of learning and teaching. He did not understand why a school should charge an amount for that. It was unthinkable that children should have to pay R200 more for that basic subject. In the curriculum review children would be offered four subjects, two languages, numeracy or mathematics, and life skills. Of the two languages one had to be the home language and an additional language. In the case of many township schools the first language offered would be English, and was therefore referred to as a first additional language. That could differ in the Northern Cape where schools could opt to do Afrikaans, as could also be the case in the Western Cape. Generally the majority of schools offered English as a second additional language. It was an untoward action that schools charged for what policy required, and the department would like to know where that school was in order to deal with that. Before a school could expand its curriculum it had to get permission from a Head of Department and Mr Mosuwe did not think any Head of Department would allow that.

Ms Rantho noted that the DG had said there were 395 mud schools; last time there were 315. She was concerned that the Eastern Cape was known to be a very fraudulent province and could be claiming 395 when there were 315.

Mr Mafoko responded that the figure from the Eastern Cape was in excess of 400, but the department did its own verification of 395 and were still cleaning up.

Mr Rantho referred to the response to her question on the Cutting Edge programme that temporary infrastructures had already been built, and asked whether those were built because of the TV programme or whether it was a programme of the department?

Mr Mafoko said the department’s programme was not a response to the Cutting Edge programme. The Minister of Finance, in the budget speech, allocated R8.2 billion for the eradication of mud schools. The department had said to National Treasury as early as 2007 that with the money in the system it would not be able to deal with the backlog and requested National Treasury to provide additional funding for that.

Ms Rantho said the department had also mentioned it was looking at whether it was necessary to build schools or hostels, and she suggested that the department have a team to study the area and consult with the community that would not understand the significance of combining schools.

Mr Mafoko said the department was getting a service provider to go out and do a final verification.

Ms Rantho said the programme for teenage pregnancy should not focus on girls only.

Mr Mosuwe agreed. Sexual education applied to boys as well.

The comment was made that monitoring delivery where learners did not have learning material on time needed to be done effectively otherwise the learners might sit without any learning material, even though the funds were transferred to the provinces; and also if funds were provided for transport; were those funds being used for the purposes they were intended for, especially in the Eastern Cape?

Ms Mncube congratulated the department for Gauteng’s excellent performance in Grade 12. In March the Premier of Gauteng summoned all the presiding officers, and one area was ensuring that every child had a textbook. In most of the Section 21 schools there was a problem in Grade 10, 11 and 12 where four learners shared one textbook. The intentions were good, but were the School Governing Bodies (SGB) doing it right in terms of procuring a textbook for each learner.

Mr Mosuwe said the department noted the challenges raised. Despite the amount of money put into the system, whilst provinces might buy from provincial catalogues, the tendency was that schools in the North West were charged X amount, schools in Mpumalanga were charged Y amount; it depended on the market, the industry players, and how they were delivered. Research had shown that with the amount of money available that the country spent on LTSM, if it were pooled, there would be enough resources to give every child a textbook. Within that context one of the immediate things that the Minister of Education had asked the department to do a textbook and LTSM policy. Only once they had that would the department be able to confine all of those things in that area and the Section 21 schools would be covered in that.

Ms Mncube appreciated the work of the department in ensuring that each learner had a workbook. At the meeting where the Premier summoned the presiding officers it was noted that where people were not able to cross rivers in flood, schools had received work books very late. There were aeroplanes and other modes of transport, so that was unacceptable.

Mr Mosuwe responded that the challenges had been noted at the delivery site. There was also a challenge with regard to the sign-offs of some of the workbooks. There was a knock-on effect in terms of the printing, the packing, the delivery (and in the middle of delivery a truck strike), and heavy rain in some areas. There was a challenge in respect of the final sign-off, which then had a ripple effect. In relation to Workbook 2 all those issues were dealt with and there had been provincial sign-off of each of the elements.

Ms Mncube referred to ensuring that all children completed a quality readiness programme in Grade R before entering formal education in Grade 1. She was biased toward working class township schools in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Currently Grade R was private and depended on the capacity of the SGB as to whether there were additional classes. Outside the school, Grade R was very expensive; and in schools where SGBs became employers the service conditions had not been improved. She was concerned about access to Grade R for the poorest of the poor. There were very few learners from the working class that had access to Grade R, so it was not practical.

Ms Mncube expressed concern that departments normally under budgeted salary increases. Gauteng had been crying about the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) for Health and Education, and last year a strike paralysed every province. Last year the department budgeted for an increase of 4% but settled at 7%, which meant a strain on provincial departments as to where to get that money. The previous week unions rejected government’s offer. Under budgeting had very far-reaching implications. Finding money somewhere meant stopping other programmes.

Ms Mncube was also concerned about the recruitment of teachers, whether through Funza Lushaka or recruiting Grade 12s. Learners used to resist joining the teaching profession as it was not attractive to them, and universities said teachers training at foundation phase were white women. She asked whether that perception had changed?

Ms Mncube noted that the department had budgeted to replace 50 mud schools. If the DBE only did those that went to the Cutting Edge programme then the other 350 would do the same thing.

Mr de Villiers noted that no money had been budgeted for the Funza Lushaka bursaries in 2011/12, or in the curriculum review for 2012/13 2013/14.

Mr Nibekas Maluleke (Acting Director, Financial Services) referred Mr de Villiers to the additions to the baseline, and there was an allocation for Funza Lushaka on slide 32 of the presentation. In 2012/13 there was an increase in the baseline of 200 but for the 2011/12 allocation it was only the baseline that the department received. For 2011/12/13/14 an increase to the baseline was received due to the need to attract educators.

The curriculum review was related to the
Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) document, which would be a once off printing and distribution of the document that covered the whole syllabus.

Ms Carelse added that the transfer made to Funza Lushaka was made by
National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) attached to Higher Education, because they managed the scholarships.

Mr Maluleke clarified that the Funza Lushaka bursary scheme was transferred to NSFAS through the DBE. NSFAS was a reporting entity to the Department of Higher Education. Where there was no allocation specified for 2011/12 that did not mean there was no allocation, there was an allocation for 2011/12 reflecting R449.4 million. The department requested an additional allocation for the bursary scheme and the increase during the MTEF was huge compared to 2010/11. The increase of the baseline must be inflation related so for 2011/12 that was inflation related, and the requested additional funding raised that to R671.9 million, and R893.8 million in 2013/14.

Mr de Villiers also noted compensation of employees. In 2007 the percentage increase was 27.5%, which he understood was for increase in personnel and also salaries. He asked for clarification of the outsourced services of R33 million, which was an increase of 70.5%.

Mr Maluleke responded that during the split of the department the personnel was divided into two; the allocation of compensation needed to address the shortage of members due to the split. The increase in outsourced services referred to the Kha Ri Gude project. The volunteers paid were classified as outsourced services.

Mr de Villiers asked for clarification on the 5.3% increase for projects.

Mr Maluleke responded that there were various projects within the department, such as that for sport, and the increase was for similar projects.

Mr Mashamaite asked whether the department had an operational plan that spoke to the strategic plan in terms of how it would meet its targets and achieve its objectives.

Ms Carelse responded that for this year, which was the first year that the new annual performance plan framework was being used for national departments, it was allowed that the strategic plan and budget be separated from the annual performance plan which was the second phase and would be submitted to Parliament within the next month. That was in relation to the Money Bill Act and the new term, which shifted from regulations that Treasury had set for the department. The DBE was busy with the annual performance plans of all the branches and was also looking to matching that with what the provinces were doing in their annual performance plans, which they had already been doing in that format for a number of years. It was a procedural anomaly this year; the details would follow once it had been submitted to Parliament.

Mr Coetzee added that the framework for strategic plans and annual performance plans, determined and guided from Treasury, what was required in terms of the department’s strategic plan and annual performance plans. In the past the strategic plan and operational plan were tabled in one document. This year that had changed, and the department would, in the next month, be tabling its annual performance plan. The operational plan would not be tabled because the annual performance plan would cover the budgets and targets that were required to be shared with Members.

Ms Rasmeni noted that the DDG mentioned partnering with other departments. In the department’s efforts to improve the Early Childhood Development what plan was put in place in terms of partnering with the Department of Social Development (DSD)?

Mr Mosuwe responded that this was an area that had been broadly neglected. The department was ensuring that there was an ECD policy that must look into the conditions of service, infrastructure requirements, curriculum, and relationship with the department.  A timeline had been set, and the Council of Education Ministers had expressed the need for the department to move speedily. Although ECD was all children from 7 to 9 years, Social Development had to take care of children of 0 to 4 years. At 5 they should be at the foundation phase within the schooling system. The department had, together with UNICEF, developed the National Early Learning Standards, setting out what was needed for children from 0 to 6 months, 6 months to one year, and the different stimulating activities. What needed to happen was for 0 to 4 to develop into a syllabus that could be given to practitioners to study how to stimulate their children. There was already a standardised system for Grade R and the department was working with the DSD to translate those learning development standards into some form of a syllabus, so whether a school or a home or a crèche, one would know which form of stimulation would be required.

In response to the question what plans had been put in place for ECD, one of the critical areas noted was not only to get children into those programmes but also to have them screened to ensure that there were no barriers to learning or general health barriers that would have an impact going forward. The Deputy Minister had written to the Deputy Minister of Health and the Deputy Minister of Social Development to ensure that they also had a trilateral connectivity as a means of moving their particular activities forward. Since the screened children who required some form of assistance, were not a responsibility of DBE but of the Department of Health to ensure that such was available, which was how the department dealt with the provisions in a more coordinated manner.

Ms Rasmeni asked whether the department had any early warning systems in trying to tackle fraud and corruption in the department?

The Chairperson referred to the issue of office accommodation.

Mr Maluleke explained that the previous allocation was for consultants. The building was completed and the department moved to the new building in April 2010. The building was leased on contract. The amount budgeted was for the unitary fee on the building. It was a package, paying back the building and other things. The department had to pay back on a monthly basis and after 25 years the building would be transferred to the DBE.

Ms Carelse invited the Select Committee to visit the building at some time as an opportunity to see the product of the private/public partnership.

The Chairperson said the Select Committee would visit, but sometimes there were unintended consequences.

The Chairperson concluded by thanking Members and officials from the department. In terms of the issue raised by Ms Rantho about the merging of schools, it was very important to consult. Last year there had been a problem between two schools in the Western Cape. It was very important that the community should be taken on board and be given an opportunity to have their say. Sometimes processes came with unintended consequences. Some schools in the North West had been merged, but transport was not provided for. A boarding school was a very good idea, but it was important to look into the conditions at those boarding schools. Further there was no policy on learner transport. The Chairperson asked the department to look into these issues. The meeting was adjourned.


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