Basic Education Budget Review and Recommendation Report

Basic Education

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

The Committee considered the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (the Report) on the Department of Basic Education (the Department) and entities. Members commented how acronyms should be noted. Where portions of the Report were taken from an approved Research document, or from the Department’s own reports, this was also noted.

Most of the changes effected by the Committee related to grammar, punctuation, or change of wording to make the Report more clear. However, they asked that an explanation be inserted to qualify the policy of Grade R funding. Members also suggested that the heading and references to “key successes” and “achievements” should be changed to read “key events” and “participation”, as they noted that the Department did not have performance measured against a set target in these instances. They also noted that the mere attendance at meetings was not something that qualified, by itself, as an achievement. They also requested that the achievements in respect of Umalusi be amended, as some of the issues related to the Education Labour Relations Council, not Umalusi. The Chairperson asked that the figure of 88% of internal assessments must be confirmed.

References to financial performance were to be added, as well as references to the Public Finance Management Act. Members agreed that, wherever the Department was asked to act on a recommendation, there should be a reference to “the Minister” and the Minister was asked to ensure that the Department gave special attention to certain issues. Recommendations from the report of the Auditor-General would be added. The Minister would be asked to report on progress 30 days after these recommendations were approved by Parliament. Quarterly reports would also track the issues.
Members adopted the Report, as amended.

Meeting report

Committee’s Draft Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report: deliberations and adoption
The Chairperson tabled the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR or the Report), and noted that this set out the goals of the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department) and its entities. Members still needed to consider the recommendations, and add any more if appropriate. She suggested that Members go through the Report page by page, as it was very technical.

Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) noted that a correction was needed on page 2, which related to the role and mandate of the Committee.

Mr C Moni (ANC) said that the period was a longer than a year.

The Chairperson responded that the period covered included the first quarter of 2011/12, when the meeting had been chaired by the Whip.

The Chairperson noted a spelling error under the sub-heading “Strategic Priorities of the Department”. She noted that the full title should appear, followed by the acronym in brackets, and only after that could the acronym be used alone.

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) pointed out a grammatical error in the second sentence on page 4.

The Chairperson noted that all of page 4 was taken from the research document accepted by the Committee.

Members noted that, on page 5, the standard format for acronyms should be used for NAPTOSA.

Mr B Skosana (ANC) noted a punctuation error in the first sentence under the heading “The analysis of the Department’s Prevailing Strategic and Operational Priorities “.

Members noted that the content of page 5 was taken from the approved research document, and the Department’s report.

It was suggested that the “Textbook” and the remainder of the “triple Ts” needed to be capitalised.

Mr N Kganyago (UDM) pointed out punctuation and grammatical alterations to the second last bullet on the page 5.  

Members debated the wording of page 6 at length, particularly in respect of Programme 2. They initially thought they would leave it as originally worded. However, they later returned to this, and agreed that the sub-paragraphs must be bulleted, the words “job creation” should be substituted with “poverty alleviation”, and that some words should be left out.

Mr Z Makhubela (ANC) said that the fifth bullet point should read ”...which was balanced and submitted for the first time” and not “...balanced and submitted on time for the year”. He also suggested that the word “had” should be deleted in the second last paragraph of the page.

Members made a punctuation correction to page 7.

Ms N Gina (ANC) suggested that in the first bullet point on page 7, the reference to “National Steering Committee” should be deleted, so that only ASIDI remained.

Ms Gina noted that in respect of the third bullet point, the explanation on the Policy on Grade R funding had to be inserted.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) suggested that in the third paragraph on page 8, the word “would” must be replaced with “was expected to”. She also suggested that, in respect of the heading on programme 5, the word “remains” must be replaced with “is”. She also suggested that the word “including” should be inserted before the word teachers union to read,” in schools including teachers union...”

Mr Dikobo suggested that on page 9 the word “had” must be inserted between the words” Department” and “spent”.

Mr W James (DA) suggested that the heading “key successes” be altered to reflect “key events”, as these were not successes measurable against a set target.

Ms Dudley said that the DBE had no measurable standards. Although some Members felt that the bullet points constituted “achievements” she thought that the word “participated” was more appropriate.

Mr Makhubela and Mr Dikobo felt strongly that attending a meeting or conference was not an achievement or a success in itself.

After deliberations, the Chairperson noted that the paragraph should be kept as originally worded, because it did speak to achievements that were in line with the Departments’ focus, as Ms Dudley had commented, as set out in last sentence of the page 10.

Members agreed, after deliberations, that the third paragraph should be split. The first bullet point should be noted as one of the key challenges of Programme 2, on page 12, and the second bullet should be noted as part of the key successes and achievements of Programme 2, on page 11.

The Chairperson said that page twelve was copied from the Department’s Report.

Ms Dudley pointed to a punctuation error on page 13, under Programme 4. She highlighted a grammatical change in the last paragraph of page 13.

Mr Makhubela said that the word “conduct” should be “conducting” and the word “the” should be deleted.

The Chairperson referred to the heading “Achievements” in respect of Umalusi, but noted that the last part of the paragraph dealt with the Education Labour Relations Council, and was not the mandate of Umalusi. She asked that the figure of 88% for internal assessments should be confirmed.

Members agreed to a change of wording in the second sentence under the heading of “Challenges”, and to qualify the reference to moderators with “some moderators”. They also made grammatical changes.

Members noted, in respect of page 16, that nothing had been said about financial performance, and asked that this be added.

Grammatical and wording changes were made to the last paragraph, dealing with the Education Labour Relations Council. Other spelling changes were effected to the last bullet. It was noted that one of the challenges was “poor directives from national government”.

Grammatical changes were also effected to pages 18 and 19, the latter at point 6.3.  Members agreed that the fourth bullet point should be part of the recommendations.

In respect of the conclusions, Members agreed that part of the third sentence should be deleted. A reference must be added to the Public Finance Management Act.

Members then discussed the recommendations. They agreed that a reference to “the Minister” should be added when the Department was asked to take action.

In the first bullet point, the words “significant” and “primarily” should be deleted and the word “realised” should be inserted. In bullet point 3, the word “be” was deleted and was replaced by “ensure”.
On the last page, the first bullet point should begin with the phrase “The Minister must ensure the Department gives special attention...”

The Chairperson noted that bullet point 5 on page 20 related to the report of the Auditor-General. The Committee would use the recommendations of the Auditor-General as part of this Report.

The Minister would then be asked to report on the progress 30 days after these recommendations were approved by Parliament. There would also be follow up through quarterly report.

Members adopted the BRRR, as revised.

The meeting was adjourned.


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