South African Council for Educators Annual Report 2010/11

Basic Education

17 October 2011
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The South African Council for Educators briefed Members on its Annual Report 2010/11. The presentation highlighted the Council's activities related its strategic objectives, with reference also to some pertinent events after the period under review and key challenges. The Council gave firstly an executive overview, followed by research and outreach, and mandatory functions: registration, professional development and ethics. The Council then explained support functions: finances, administration, and accommodation.

 The Council highlighted its stability: there was a levy increase from R6 (per educator per month) to R10 from July 2011,with approval of all stakeholders. The legislative amendments proposed regularised funding and empowered the Council to play its role. The Council was now legally empowered to manage  the Continuing Professional Teacher Development system which was to be funded by the fiscus. The Council reported on progress and its renewed focus on policy and research coordination and on communication, advocacy and outreach. Mandatory functions and support services were described. Among challenges, the R1.40 increase in levy was insufficient to counter inflation. Not all objectives were achieved satisfactorily, partly because of the late arrival of the increase in levies. Targets for 2010/11 were listed as against actual performance, including, for example, under programme 1, to register and maintain a credible database of all qualifying educators: the total number of educators on the Council's register was now 590 864; the process of cleaning up the database was still in progress. Details were given of financial position, performance, changes in equity, statement of cash flow, and an analysis.  The Council had filled all its key positions and believed its administration was sound. The Council, however, was challenged as to accommodation.  

Members commended the Council on its well-articulated presentation and sought clarity on the Further Education and Training educators and their need to have their own council, asked what the requirements of registration for foreign teachers were and if there was a working relationship with the Department of Home Affairs in speeding up such registrations, asked if the Council was keeping a credible data base from which   it knew how many members were active, who had left the profession, and who was on suspension. Members  also wanted to know which property was being disposed of and sought answers on vacant posts. Members  asked if cases of teachers raping school children had been reported to the police.


Meeting report

South African Council for Educators Annual Report 2010/11 Presentation
Mr Rej Brijraj, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South African Council of Educators (SACE, the Council) was accompanied by Ms Tsedi Dipholo, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr Morris Mapindani Chief Financial Officer (CFO),  and Dr Jopie Breed, EXCO,Council and Finance Committee Chairperson: SACE.

Mr Brijraj said that in SACE had battled to increase its levies fees; this was not an easy task and SACE had to engage other stakeholders before the increase was effected. Part of the increase was to secure a new building which was already under construction to lease with a view to outright the purchase within a period of three years. The envisaged date of occupation was August 2012.

SACE was now legally empowered to manage the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system which was to be funded by the fiscus.

SACE reported progress with a renewed focus on policy and research coordination with an upgraded strategic plan, and on Communication, Advocacy & Outreach - Call centre & teacher assistance facility;
Regular meetings with stakeholders; Road shows, media, publications; National, Continental and International relations e.g. African Forum for Teacher Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA), Teacher Development, Quality learning and teaching initiatives; and Celebrating and acknowledging teachers: e.g. National Teaching  Awards, and World Teachers Day.

Teacher professionalism was central to this renewed focus. SACE has also been working on a newsletter which was recently launched.  It was important to note that some countries which were robust in their Unions did not have a regulatory council that would police the professionalism of the teachers/educators.  
SACE had been performing at a satisfactory level but was hampered by budgetary constraints and the late increase in the registration fees/levies.  SACE had been requesting for a new funding model and all stake holders should be part of this process.

Ms Tsedi Dipholo, Chief Operating Officer (COO) spoke on the targets for the 2010/11 for programme 1, which related to Registration - to register all qualifying educators; also to maintain a credible data base of all registered educators.  There was confusion with the system as it did not correctly capture those educators who were married or divorced those who had left the country and those who were of foreign origin and those who were studying as well. The pending educators related to those who had outstanding work permits or passports, thus these educators would be registered on a conditional basis with the hope that these issues would be resolved so that teaching was not hampered.

The COO maintained the view that SACE was not a service provider but was a monitoring and support structure in the education fraternity. The role of SACE in the CPTD was to endorse activities from service providers; this was a very slow process with only 52 service providers. SACE was in the process of completing its own research study within the research unit of the CPTD on professional development.  SACE was and would also in the near future be concerned in national projects. A code of ethics had been revised and circulated in conjunction with workshops on the SACE Act which sought to equip and empower educators to be more professional. It was also the mandate of SACE to comply, maintain enforce and from time to time again review the code. The code of ethics was also to ensure the investigation and finalisation of alleged breaches of the code. There were recommendations made at the workshops which were presented to the Department of Basic Education (DoBE) for consideration as part of the amendments to the SACE Act.
Details and an analysis were given of the  number of complaints that SACE had received against educators. 
SACE produced generic posters which were distributed to all the schools, diaries; annual reports and information booklets which gave the council more publicity. It participated in media which was geared to preaching professionalism through radio interviews. SACE also engaged schools, governing bodies, unions and all other stakeholders. There was greater need and participation for SACE in teacher union conferences, SACE also conducted visits to schools in the Northern Cape. SACE also hosted the Nigerian teaching Council and delegates from Botswana who sought knowledge on how they would establish their own council in their respective country.  The mandate of SACE was also to facilitate the establishment of teaching councils in Africa.

Mr Morris Mapindani, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said that the increases in levies were intended for sustainability and office accommodation. SACE acted positively as there was no cash flow deficit. There was a decrease on assets which was attributed to the sale of the building in Visage street as the Council took a decision to dispose of it. There was also a decrease in debtor
s debts which were settled by the DoBE. Trade and other payables also decreased due to the improvement in cash flow after the levy increase. The equity included debtors and the cash in the bank and tied up in assets. The statement of financial performance showed that there was an increase in revenue due to the increase in the levy with effect from 01 July 2010.  There was a decrease in operating expenditure including mandatory functions due to pressure on the cash flow, thus SACE had to offer services which were affordable and within its scope.

There was a surplus of R12 601 860 of which R9 516 579 was for building a reserve fund and R3 085 281 was unplanned. The National Treasury (NT) approved the retention of the last sum. There was R55 million generated from members (customers) in the form of registration fees and levies.

Mr Brijraj said that administration was also a key challenge as SACE had a staff complement of 67, all the key positions i.e. the top management positions had been filled. The administration of council was sound as could be gleaned from the COO
s report and that of the CFO. Accommodation was faced with challenges due to the fact that SACE was operating from two separate buildings thus needed a more centralised approach hence the acquisition of the new building. An offer to purchase the property in Visage street had been accepted by council. The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) building was vacated at the end of March where SACE had been hosted rental free by ELRC.
(Please refer to the presentation document for full information.)

Discussion
The Chairperson thanked the delegation and was impressed by the well-presented and concise presentation by SACE and on the work done.

Mr J Skosana (ANC) thanked the presenters on the well-articulated presentation and sought clarity on the FET educators and their need to have their own council and not form part of SACE.

Ms Dipholo replied that SACE was a school-focused organisation and FET fell outside its mandate. It would be beneficial to separate the two so as not to confuse roles and needs.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) wanted to know the requirements of registration for foreign teacher and if there was a working relationship with the Department of Home Affairs in speeding up these registrations. The Member also wanted to know if there was a bureaucracy that was in place which sought to slow down the process of registration. Ms Dudley also asked for an elaboration of the CPTD, and wanted to know what the issue was with FET lecturers not wanting to be part of SACE.

Ms Dipholo replied that there was red tape in the past but SACE had cut it - thus the requirements were  in  accordance with the standards set by the South African Qualifications Authority.

Ms Dipholo replied, as to Mr Skosana, that SACE was a school-focused organisation and FET fell outside its mandate. It would be beneficial to separate the two so as not to confuse roles and needs.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) asked whether SACE updated its register in respect of the educators who left the profession or the country. Were the reasons known?  As to the issue of the offer to purchase, was there a time frame where SACE would close the bidding?

Mr Brijraj replied that the offer was made subject to the renovating company's obtaining a tenant, so, if by the end of November that company did not have a tenant then the bidding process would be reopened.

Ms Dipholo  said that all qualifying educators were to register; this included all those that were in the process of completing their studies or training. However, the law did not compel educators to register and  this process still needed further engagement.

Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) sought clarity on the levy increase, and asked if SACE was keeping a credible data base from which it knew how many members were active, who had left the profession, and who was on suspension. He also asked about the total pool of applications for approved service providers and how many were not approved from that pool of applications. He also asked if SACE had tightened its sanctions. There was a huge difference in terms of the Government grant  between the current and the previous financial year - what was this difference attributed to? He also asked which property was being disposed of. Lastly he sought answers on the vacant posts - were there other posts vacant which may not have been key vacancies currently?

Dr Jopie Breed, EXCO,Council and Finance Committee Chairperson: SACE, said that the building in question was the one in Visage street which was bought for R12 million and the offer on the building currently was R18 million.

Mr Brijraj said that the vacant posts were senior positions and there were other clerical positions not yet filled.

Ms Dipholo said that SACE was working on a credible database as it had experienced problems with updating its system due to tardiness from members and the Department in particular.

Mr S Makhubela (ANC) commended SACE for its improvement since that last time it appeared before the Committee but was worried that a small organisation dealt with the entire profession of educators and asked if there was any problem on the core functions, capacity and the role of the Council. He also asked why KwaZulu-Natal was leading in misconduct cases yet was top in the awards received.

Ms Matseliso Dipholo said that schools that were employing teachers through the School Governing Body (SGB) were advised to register their educators. This was a slow process as schools were required to furnish SACE with a letter of appointment and recommendation. 

Mr Makhubela asked if the system had been rolled out and what the workshops were about?

Mr C Moni (ANC) wanted clarity on the issue of discipline and at what point cases were taken to SACE. He also asked if the R13.9 million cash on hand was not too much of an amount to be kept on hand.

Mr Brijraj said that cash on hand was the total liquid assets in the bank account.

The Chairperson wanted to know about the mediation cases in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal - what the progress was and also whether the audit was qualified as the independent auditors opinion seemed to suggest that it was unqualified.
 
Mr Brijraj said that SACE had received an unqualified opinion but  there was a matter on deliverables to be looked into and corrected as SACE had already worked on the targets.

Dr W James (DA) asked if cases of teachers raping school children had been reported to the police as they went beyond the scope of SACE.

Ms Dipholo said that the SACE had a duty to report criminal activity, even if it was from their membership,  for the safety of other learners.

Ms N Gina (ANC) asked what was the need for such a big building – were its tastes not expensive?, and how CPTD related to the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS). She also asked the SACE's views on relationships among educators in the same school.

Ms Dipholo said that the CPTD was an
in service training initiative in the past, thus the Department was piloting a system that was more structured and that was on going. Thus there should be no confusion with IQMS which was about performance management.

Mr Brijraj thanked Ms Gina for the input on expensive taste and assured her that it would rectify this. The issue of educators who engaged in romantic relationships amongst themselves was not in the jurisdiction of the Council but it would caution educators against allowing that relationship to manifest itself in the classrooms. On the issue of extra marital relations, the law makers would have to give input.

The Chairperson then once again congratulated SACE on encouraging the parents to report cases of misconduct of educators and for bringing professionalism back to its former glory. It was a pity that adults took advantage of vulnerable school children and raped them. 

The meeting was adjourned.




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