Adult Education and Further Education Proposals: briefing

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Meeting report

Education and Recreation Select Committee

30 April 2002

Mr DM Kgware (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation on Adult Education and Further Education Proposals

The Department of Education outlined their proposal concerning Adult Basic Education and Further Education. The Department stressed that the Adult Basic Education and Training Programme (ABET) should not be equated with schools offering the Matric Certificate but should concern itself with more technical and practical skills. The Department commented on the new education curriculum and the phasing in of the curriculum.

Issues raised by Members included the incorporation of unemployed teachers in the proposed programmes, the recruitment of teachers, lack of educators with sufficient mathematics and science knowledge and the use of English in the classroom.

The delegation from the Department of Education was led by Mr E Williams: Chief Director. Curriculum and Assessment Development and Learner Achievement. He was accompanied by Directors in the Department: Mr Matlolo, Mr Dlaie, Mr Lehoko.

Briefing on Adult Basic Education
The Committee was briefed on adult education and the implementation of adult training programmes by Mr Williams: Chief Director. Curriculum and Assessment Development and Learner Achievement. Adult education involves system developments, adult education and poverty alleviation, institutional effectiveness and credible statistics. Mobilisation to participate in adult education is required from all the provinces. This must be a continual process which underpins International Learners Day. Literacy is funded by different projects but deal with two central issues, namely job creation and skills development. Skills are not limited to a narrow technical base because it includes agriculture, small and medium enterprise, partnerships and useful capacity. The project of adult education targets agricultural skills in rural areas as there is capacity to use land to sustain families and because there are collectively different adults. There exists an illiteracy component in that the project is based on the assumption that participants are literate. The project aims to receive interaction from the National Board of Adult Basic Education Training (ABET) and from the Statistic Board of Advice.

Ms S Ntlabati (ANC) asked for elaboration of who is going to be responsible for the project. Further she commented on the advertisements placed for the recruitment of teachers. She asked if recruitment for teachers had closed, believing that many teachers had missed the adverts-especially in the Orange Free State. Ms Ntlabati commended the Department for poverty relief, stating that illiteracy and poverty were closely related.

Mr Williams stated that the usage of equipment would be coordinated with ABET. Defined programmes are unit standard based. Programmes are centered around each nodal point of government structure aimed at alleviating poverty. Responding to the question on advertisements, Mr Williams said that 240 adverts had been placed, although not at the same time throughout all the provinces. The advertisement campaign had not closed and that applications were welcome.

A Committee Member inquired about the R59 m conditional grant and funding in general.

Mr Williams stated that some educators only teach in ABET. He stressed that it is important not to make the ABET another school. He emphasised that training should be specialised around technical and agricultural skills.

Ms C Nkuna (ANC) asked about unemployed educators in the Limpopo Region and would these teachers be favoured when the Department recruits teachers. With respect to these unemployed teachers, would preference be given to those in ABET rather than those already in the school programme?

Mr D Kqware (Chairperson) asked whether the needs of adult education and training should be dealt with differently to those required of formal teachers. He voiced concern about the available resources and asked whether teachers could be retained and converted into the necessary fields.

Mr Williams responded that there were unemployed teachers throughout the country. In order to be considered, teachers must meet the requirements. He continued and said that the traditional approach makes adult education more like the practice in schools. As an objective the Department was keen to avoid such an approach. Mr Williams said that giving preference to unemployed teachers was not possible. There was no agreement between unemployed teachers and the Department.

Mr Dlaie (Director: Department of Education) responded by saying that a provincial level there would be instances of the high level of flexibility. A survey had been undertaken, but do to various reasons the information would not be any relevance.

Mr. B Tolo (ANC), commenting on the 18 000 sites, asked where the concentration of the schools were situated. He was interested in the concentration in rural areas.

The Department apologised that no statistics were at hand but would be made available to the Committee at a later date.

Mr B Tolo (ANC) asked what was happening to the other centers and if they had been cancelled.

Ms Nkuna returned to the issue of unemployed teachers and said she was not satisfied with what had been said.

Mr Matlolo (Director: Department of Education) noted that preference to unemployed educators was being given in the province of Gauteng. The Department noted that 90% of teachers in the province of Gauteng were unemployed. The issue of double dipping, particularly in grade twelve was due to the inadequacy in mathematics and science and the need of specialists in this field. He continued, and said that preference to unemployed teachers went beyond the issue of rural points.

Mr Williams said that the nodal areas of the programme were aimed at poverty elevation. However, ABET was a nation-wide project

Briefing on Further Education and Training
Mr Lehoko: Director, Department of Education, said that Further Education and Training (FET) concerned itself with grade ten to twelve learners.

Mr Lehoko stressed the high profile of the Matric Examinations. He highlighted that the Head of the Department was under pressure to allocate funds to technical colleges and that it was schools that received the vast amount of resources. He noted that a 1998 White Paper had left schools an unresolved issue. FET was going to fund grade ten, eleven and twelve. He noted that there were fifty-five schools in the country where a single learner had not passed their Matric Examinations.

Ms C Nkuna (ANC) inquired about what was happening to existing institutions and the quality of education.

Mr Lehoko stated that education was a Schedule Four competence and that the MEC was responsible for the provincial decision. This does lead to healthy tensions. Mr Lehoko said that he would need to get clarity from the MEC about old institutions.

Mr N Raju (DP) said that that the Department should be applauded for leveling the playing field of sexism and racism in education. He was concerned with the pupil to teacher ratio in previously disadvantaged communities. Would teachers be effective in teaching pupils who did not have a sufficient grasp of the English Language? He was also concerned with the foreign environment many learners would be placed in.

Mr Raju inquired about the number of students interested in teaching as a profession. There was a perception that many young people do not want to become teachers. He was very concerned about HIV/AIDS in schools. In Kwa-Zulu Natal many young teachers were succumbing to the virus. There were numerous schools where there were no teachers because teachers were sick or dead.

Mr Lehoka responded that the HIV/AIDS concern was a separate issue.

Mr Lehoko stated that they were battling with the policy of language and noted that many parents wanted their children to be taught in English. The number of trainee teachers is a matter of concern and there is a lack of maths and science teachers, which is a vicious cycle. Mr Lehoko said that the teaching profession was not a very attractive option. However, there would be an introduction of a guaranteed bursary to attract people to train as maths and science teachers.

Mr Kgware (Chairperson) said that there are many aspects that the technical committees of further education must deal with and many such aspects had not been dealt with before.

Mr Dlaie (Department of Education) said that the Chair was mixing two process; there is a difference between reduction of colleges and merging technical colleges.

Mr J Tlhagale (UCDP) further raised the issue of language and said that everyone wants to learn in English. But it is a fallacy that a child that can speak English is a clever child. Children must learn in their mother tongue, once a child loses their looses their mother tongue they lose their culture.

The Chairperson interjected, stating that one must not forget the Bill of Rights and the right to choose. If the choice was English then such a choice shall be respected.

Mr Lehoko stated that such policymaking was not informed by the Bill of Rights but was purely pedagogical. Many learners were struggling with languages. Access to political and economic power was possible via the English Language. He highlighted the Departments commitment to restoring public confidence in local schools. He noted that in some townships parents were bring their children back to local schools.

The meeting was adjourned.


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