School sport programmes delivery progress: Departments of Basic Education and Sport and Recreation briefing

Basic Education

20 June 2011
Chairperson: Ms M Malgas (ANC) & Co Chairperson: Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education and the Department of Sport and Recreation presented to a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees of Basic Education and Sport and Recreation on the progress on school sport and the purpose, process and principles underlying the Draft Integrated School Sport Plan. The Plan had yet to be approved by the Departments' Ministers. Consensus had been reached on all aspects of the Plan at Director-General level. The way forward was to implement the recommendations outlined in the Integrated School Sport Plan; agree on the funding responsibilities; develop a Memorandum of Understanding by both Ministers; and finalise the School Sport Policy and guidelines on sport implementation. The Basic Education budget was under serious pressure.

Members asked if teachers and school sports unions had been consulted and if there would be reconciliation between labour laws and working hours for teachers; how cooperation with local government had progressed with implementation of programmes for school sport; if there was a specific school sport budget; what grants would cover the building of school facilities; how poor learners would have access to facilities when they could not afford affiliation fees; if there was special dispensation for rural areas and if schools for the children with disabilities were included in the plan; and if Sport and Recreation South Africa conducted oversight visits to see what sport and recreation was taking place at the schools.. Members also asked how many educators were in the development programmes and what content they were being taught; what the trend for sporting codes was for those schools that had signed up for leagues; and who was organizing the leagues.Members then asked how the Integrated Plan would influence existing initiatives; how the plan spoke to sports projects outside of schools such as Ajax and Liverpool Schools of Excellence; why only 8 000 schools of more than 25 000 schools had signed up for leagues and what the limitations were; and why predictable sport had not progressed in the under-privileged schools since 2005.

Members were interested in lotto funding and whether it had been fully explored. Sport and Recreation South Africa answered that lotto funding would be the topic of discussion at a conference that day and the following day. At a later stage, Sport and Recreation South Africa would also meet with the Department of Trade and Industry to discuss lotto funding. Further, an amendment to the Lotto Act would be brought in so that sport could obtain its fair share of lotto money.


Members also asked for clarity on funding in schools and if school sport should be funded by the Department of Sport and Recreation. The Department of Basic Education added that Love-life and lotto were important avenues to explore for funding. However, it was important to know how it would impact the full sector. For 12 million learners, a small increase of R100 allocated per learner increased the budget to R1.2 billion. Cabinet had made it clear that the core curriculum was key priority. Lotto funded schools directly but required audited statements which the schools in need did not necessarily have. The regulations would be changed so that those schools could access funding. The Department clarified that any activity integrated into the curriculum which involved learners in school - in terms of the public finance policy and in agreement with Sport and Recreation South Africa - was funded by the Department of Basic Education. Activity which occurred outside school which involved learners was funded by Sport and Recreation South Africa. Balance, equalization and redistribution had been successful after apartheid. In provinces doing well, up to 90% of the budget was spent on salaries and there was very little money for sport. Treasury constantly reminded the Department that 20% of the gross domestic product was on education. Infrastructure norms and standards had been passed and were used to guide new developments in infrastructure. These norms and standards were applied to backlogs (R8 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework) and rural schools were prioritized.
 
It was resolved to hold a follow-up meeting to include policy on school sport (2009); alignment with other stakeholders such as Labour; collaboration; monitoring and evaluation; the Integrated Plan (signed by the two Ministers); funding; nutrition for learners; dates for the national launch and signing of the protocol; Inter-governmental Relationship Act; corporative governance (Chapter 3 of the Constitution); the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and by-laws of the municipalities; and the legislative framework - Sport Amendment Act 1997.


Meeting report

Department of Basic Education and Department of Sport and Recreation. Progress on School Sport
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Sport and Recreation [Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA)] presented to and interacted with Members of the Portfolio Committees of Basic Education and Sport and Recreation on the progress on school sport and the purpose, process and principles underlying the Draft Integrated School Sport Plan.

Mr Bobby Soobrayan, Director General: Department of Basic Education (DBE) said that the important presentation on the Draft Integrated Sports Plan was currently before both the Minister of Basic Education and the Minister of Sport and Recreation. They would be meeting the following day for consideration of the plan. Thus, the plan itself would not be presented, but the progress and issues around the plan.

Ms Gugu Ndebele, Deputy Director General: Department of Basic Education, said that the Collaboration Framework was introduced in 2005 to ensure an integrated approach with clear programmes for delivery of sport in schools by both Departments. She outlined the purpose, process and principles underlying the Draft Integrated School Sport Plan which had yet to be approved by the DBE and SRSA Ministers. Consensus had been reached on all aspects of the Plan at Director-General level. The Integrated Plan would allow policy, long term plans and funding to ensure that learners had access to ongoing league programmes, talent identification and development, coaching to improve skills, a choice of different sports and opportunities to volunteer in sport.

There were currently municipal sporting facilities not accessible to schools and there was a need for conversation around how the existing facilities could be used and how the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) could support infrastructure in schools.

Agreement had been reached on the following levels: DBE was responsible for school sport policy development and all sport activities taking place within the education sector - physical education, inter and intra school sport. SRSA was responsible for all sporting activities in South Africa – competitive and elite sport. Funding would follow the roles and responsibilities of the two Departments to address critical areas in alignment with the Federation and sport codes. A school sport coordinating committee would be appointed by both Ministers to address the critical areas identified in the Integrated Plan. The challenge with having no predictability was that schools could not plan in time. Once the integrated plan framework was tabled to Cabinet it would allow policy, long term plans and funding to be tabled to ensure that learners had access to ongoing league programmes, talent identification and development, coaching to improve skills, a choice of different sports and opportunities to volunteer in sport.

The process of establishing sport structures and sport leagues was underway and physical education as a stand alone subject (two hours/week) involved training of Quintile 1 Foundation phase subject advisors in line with Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). Training material and educator resource packs for Intermediate and Senior phase educations had also been developed and would continue to be used.

The way forward was to: implement the recommendations outlined in the Integrated School Sport Plan; agree on the funding responsibilities; develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both Ministers; and finalize the School Sport Policy and guidelines on sport implementation.


Discussion
Mr T Lee (DA) asked if DBE had spoken to the teachers and school sports unions. He cautioned that DBE would not be able to run the sports league without their support. He also asked if sources of funding for sport, such as the lotto, had been fully explored and if Love-life had been consulted on how they obtained funding. Lastly, he asked if there was a specific budget for school sport in South Africa.

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) asked if the MIG and other grants would cover building of facilities. In the rural and township schools facilities were non-existent. He also asked how implementation of sport in school would affect teachers' after-school working hours and how there would be reconciliation between labour laws and working hours envisaged in the Plan and what the time frames were for implementation of the Plan. Since, the 2005 Collaboration Framework, nothing had happened.

Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) asked how cooperation with local government had progressed. There had been very little progress with implementation of programmes in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

He knew of around 8 000 schools signing up for leagues and asked which in which sporting codes those schools had signed up and who was organizing those leagues. In KZN teachers were not willing to participate in sport. He asked how teachers unions had responded to the challenges of teaching sport after school hours as it appeared that the success of model C schools was due to teachers’ willingness to work after hours because of their love of sport. 

Mr Mackenzie then asked how many educators were in the development programmes for educators and what content they were being taught.  Predictable sport was in model C and private schools. He questioned why predictable sport had not progressed in the under-privileged schools since 2005. He also said that the SRSA and DBE budget for the funding for school sport was hopeless. It was important that children played sport, not for identification of talent but for them to participate and be involved with other children for their health and social wellbeing.


Dr K Dikgobo (AZAPO) said that since the plan was still to be presented to the Minister it would be necessary to call the Departments back in the near future to get a more conclusive presentation. He asked how the new process would influence or be integrated into the existing initiatives. He also asked why only 8 000 schools of more than 25 000 schools had signed up for leagues and what the limitations were.


Mr J McGluwa (ID) asked how the plan spoke to sports projects outside of schools such as Ajax and Liverpool Schools of Excellence. He was concerned that there were not clear guidelines as to which Department would deal with the various challenges ahead, as there was overlapping of functions and non-optimal of MIG grants by municipalities. Another concern was capacity building. There were history and maths teachers who were not qualified for teaching sport. Furthermore, use of municipal sports grounds and by-laws on sporting events had the potential to exclude poor schools. He suggested that the rules and regulations needed to be addressed.

Mr C Moni (ANC) asked if there was special dispensation for rural areas and if schools for the children with disabilities were included.

Ms N Gina (ANC) apologized for arriving late. She asked what the challenges were and what progress had occurred in the six years that had passed since the introduction of the Collaborated Framework. She also asked how the collaboration between sports and education would succeed when there were not sports coaches and when sporting codes were not being introduced in the rural areas. She suggested having sports coaches at schools to create jobs and introduce sporting codes in the rural areas. She was also concerned that most poor learners could not have access to facilities and could not afford affiliation fees. She asked what the Departments were doing in this regard and how local municipalities assisted the poor to enable them the opportunity to play sports.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) apologized for arriving late. He said that a number of schools built in the past were not designed for sport or for people with physical disabilities. He asked how the Departments would address this.


Mr J van der Linde (DA) said that it was heartbreaking that schools previously involved in sport were no longer involved. In 1996 the teacher ratio decline and there were fewer teachers to teach sports. Teachers were paid at Model C schools and thus the playing field was not level. It was important that the Departments discuss with teacher unions payment rates across all school models. In the past few years there was no national school programme, nor a funding model in place. The plan did not suggest how the teachers would perform the work, their working hours, how they would be paid, what facilities would be used, how and when school sport teams would travel between towns to play sport, when sport would be played over the weekend. Nor did it stipulate how to address favour of sports in certain areas. In Model C schools, children were compelled to take one summer and one winter sport. This was not an option where facilities did not exist. He believed that there had to be specific action to deal with funding and regular fixtures for sport nationally.


Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said that different schools favoured different sports and that the four codes were rather confusing. She also said that not all municipalities had money for sport and asked how it was possible to ensure that at least some sport was done at all schools.


Mr L Suka (ANC) apologized for arriving late. He said that without finalisation of the plan, there was no concrete plan and progress could not be realized during the meeting. A more substantive document was needed - one which spoke of challenges and how they were turned around. If there was substantive progress, local media should be used to deliver the news to the nation. The Committees would like to assist with moving the process forward speedily.


Dr W James (DA) said that team sport had immense value – educational, teamwork, discipline, co-operation and individuality - and requiring public funding. He suggested that principals of schools should be more entrepreneurial in terms of the land they had for facilities and maintenance of the grounds for sport and should not always turn to the taxpayer for funding. He believed that the DBE budget should be spent on teachers, the curriculum and the school management. He proposed that SRSA (or together with the private sector) should fund team sport. Food for children at schools should be funded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). He asked if SRSA conducted oversight visits to see what sport and recreation was taking place at the schools.


Co-Chairperson Dikgacwi responded that lotto funding for sport at schools would be the topic of discussion at a conference that day and the following day. At a later stage, SRSA would also meet with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to discuss lotto funding. Further, an amendment to the Lotto Act would be brought in so that sport could obtain its fair share of lotto money. He then asked how the project was linked to mass participation and federations; what provision was in place for rural schools, where most of them did not have enough space to set up a field; who would monitor the progress of the project; what the role of the Deputy Directors-General would be in the progress of the project; and where there were grievances, what mechanism was in place to deal with the issues.


Mr Soobrayan said that he would address the questions in general and colleagues would elaborate. Indeed DBE had engaged with unions and his colleagues would elaborate on their constructive engagement in that regard. Regarding funding, there were a number of important issues to emphasize. DBE had developed norms and standards which, as policy, was applied to every school constructed. With regard to facilities, the norms and standards provided for minimum facilities and these basic provisions included land available for the construction of facilities. The school would have to comply with basic norms and standards.

The presentation indeed covered very concrete progress made with regard to inroads made and implementation of school sport. The last slide spoke about the Integrated Plan.

National Treasury had been mandated to deal with the key funding challenge of school sport infrastructure and had convened meetings with SRSA and DBE to deal with the challenge of the budget. A meeting was scheduled for that afternoon. The education budget was under serious pressure and had huge implications. For example, with 12 million learners, a small increase of R100 allocated per learner, increased the budget to R1.2 billion. From DBE side, cabinet had made it clear that the core curriculum was key priority. Learning and sport had to be balanced and integrated. Where there was weak leadership, one activity change caused disruption in learning and teaching. Teaching time had to be protected. Balance, equalization and redistribution had been successful after apartheid. In provinces doing well, up to 90% of the budget was spent on salaries and there was very little money for sport. Treasury constantly reminded DBE that 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was on education.

Love-life and lotto were important avenues to explore but to ask for such enormous donations, it was important to know how they would impact over the full sector. In terms of learning and teaching where schools were entrepreneurial, they did well. Of course, DBE endevoured to ensure that government supported schools with funding. Rural and poor areas always suffered the most and were prioritized in terms of norms and standards and funding. DBE was addressing the option of consolidating small rural schools to provide better boarding and sporting facilities. This was a huge challenge.


The school curriculum did not only include work from 8am until 2pm but the entire spectrum of activities, including sport. School sport had been in decline and both Ministers were addressing this. The Integrated Plan had been submitted to the Ministers individually. They would convene together to reach common ground the following day.


Ms Rohini Naidoo, Director of School Sport: Sport and Recreation South Africa, Department of Sport and Recreation said that the Minister of Sport and Recreation had met with the Minister of Human Settlements on the MIG grant for access of that grant and also a programme in place with the provincial departments of sports in terms of accessing facilities for communities as well as schools. There was also ongoing discussion between the relevant departments of SRSA dealing with facilities and DBE.


Regarding prioritization of codes, DBE had accepted that some codes would be offered in schools to ensure access to all young learners in schools. At the same time, federations that DBE was working with, would have to ensure that programmes were placed appropriately so that young learners would have access to those codes of sport. Federations also had to ensure that coaching programmes, training of coaches, technical officials etc for all provinces were in place, available and accessible.


On the issue of how the Integrated Plan related to mass participation in sport, previously there were two components of participation: mass participation and competitive school sport. The mass participation for school sport was within the entire mass participation budget. There was now one component, school sport, to address the issue of school sport development, as per the discussions with DBE. Previously there were around 4 000 schools, largely in rural areas, which had access to that grant. SRSA would ensure all schools had access to the grant through the federation activities of capacity building and training- working together with DBE with a more coherent approach. All training programmes were aligned with coaching accreditation and long term development plans. Educators would be trained as it was educators who delivered on sport. About 5 000 educators had been trained through the mass participation programme in different codes of sport.


Federations were the custodians of assigning codes and would set the norms and standards for codes. They would also ensure that the training programmes were accredited and offered to the educators in terms of training, coaches, technical officials, team managers and administrators. Details would be elaborated on once the roles and responsibilities of the two departments were agreed upon and the plan was put into action.


Ms Ndebele added that DBE was committed to a further meeting with the Committees on how the Integrated Plan would be implemented and funded once the Ministers had agreed on it. Teacher unions, together with the school governing bodies (SGBs), had agreed that school sport teachers populated the school sport codes and were primary drivers of sport and that the plan integrated existing plans. Teachers had agreed that they would be responsible for school sport beyond learning and teaching in school.

Lotto funded schools directly but required audited statements which the schools in need did not necessarily have. The regulations would be changed so that those schools could access funding.


DBE acknowledged that school sport was important and was the reason why physical training was changed to physical education - part of the curriculum. Partnerships with institutes such as Love-life, Unicef existed and University sport centres were committed to assist with training of educators as part of the plan.


The four codes were not tools to exclude schools but more for quantification and monitoring. Schools that were ready with infrastructure could be registered and others would continue to be supported to be part of the process.


Part of the challenges had been the communication between the Departments and with the schools. Though there was a MoU, there was no protocol accompanying the MoU. A yearly calendar would help with the time table and planning for the schools for activities. Since school sport was part of the curriculum there would be no affiliation fee or charge for participation. Physical Disability had been elaborated on in the plan. Through the plan, SRSA aimed to reach every teacher that would be teaching physical education through CAPS training.

Mr Soobrayan added that DBE acknowledged that communication was important and was an area of weakness for DBE.


Mr Mpontshane then asked for more clarity on infrastructure for rural school sport.


Mr Soobrayan replied that infrastructure norms and standards had been passed and were used to guide new developments in infrastructure. These norms and standards were applied to backlogs (R8 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)). Rural schools were included and prioritized.


Mr Mackenzie said that if 80% of the budget was spent on salaries, there appeared to be a problem with the DBE business model.

Mr Soobrayan replied that education by nature was labour intensive enterprise. 80% was on the good side of the norm internationally.


Mr Suka suggested that while addressing sports and facilities in the rural areas, attention should also be given to farm school needs.


Mr Soobrayan replied that rural schools included farm schools, private property and church schools.


Mr Lee asked for clarity on funding in schools and if school sport should be funded by the Department of Sport and Recreation.


Mr Soobrayan replied that according to the public finance policy, where the public resided, spending resided. At some point, school nutrition did reside in the Department of Health but then DBE had taken over. Schools were an integrated system and it was too complicated to have another department which did not have jurisdiction over the area implementing a budget. Sport was integrated in the school’s budget. Any activity integrated into the curriculum which involved learners in school - in terms of the public finance policy and in agreement with SRSA- was funded by DBE. Activity which occurred outside school which involved learners was funded by SRSA.


Co-Chairperson Malgas concluded the discussion by requesting that a second meeting was required. It should include the following topics: policy on school sport (2009); alignment with other stakeholders such as Labour; collaboration; monitoring and evaluation; the Integrated Plan to be signed by the two Ministers; funding; nutrition for learners; dates for the national launch and signing of the protocol; Inter-governmental Relationship Act; corporative governance (Chapter 3 of the Constitution); the MIG grant and by-laws of the municipalities; and the legislative framework - Sport Amendment Act of 1997.


The meeting was adjourned.



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