The Competition Commission briefed the Committee briefly on its mandate and current focus. It was affected by external and internal factors. It was explained that matters would be prioritised according to the experience of the Commission, government policy, and the review of other jurisdictions. Specific criteria included the impact on poor consumers, the costs of intermediate goods into the labour absorbing manufacturing sector, and the impact on the cost of doing business. The priority sectors were listed. It was noted that the enforcement powers were fairly extensive. The recent corporate leniency policy, granting immunity to parties providing information, had been successfully used. The effect of cartels was briefly explained. The Commission gave some details of the most recent cases. In the bread investigation, there were three investigations; the national price fixing matter had been confessed to and settled by Tiger Brands had settled, and one
Members raised queries around storage of fuel, the banking sector investigations, outreach, safeguards for poor consumers, whether political interference would be considered, whether those personally involved in bid rigging should not have action taken against them in their personal capacity, and whether fines should not go to a compensation fund. Information on the communications and paper, wood and pulp sectors was requested, and the drop in the numbers of cases recorded was questioned. There was a need for ethical company behaviour, and Members asked to hear how the Commission planned to respond to the demand for change. Members also raised whether a consumer movement would be useful, and the activities at the global level.
EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 October 2000
NORTHERN PROVINCE REPORT: DISCUSSION AND ADOPTION
Committee Report on the Northern Province (See Appendix 1)
The Portfolio Committee on Education visited Northern Province schools from 2 to 5 May 2000 to assess the conditions of schools, primarily the most disadvantaged. The committee's report of the visits was adopted The Committee plans to invite the Minister and the MECs of the three provinces to hear from them how they plan to effect delivery.
Committee's report of its visit to Northern Province schools to assess conditions
The Chairperson asked committee members to comment on the recommendations contained in the report.
Mr De Beer (UDM) stated that he was mainly in agreement with the recommendations. However, the Committee has to determine who is going to address these issues which need urgent attention. Also, there must be a monitoring function that indicates when a report will come back.
The Chairperson asked the Committee for advice as to who would be expected to monitor these situations and by when.
Ms Mnandi (ANC) suggested they call the Education Department to give a full report on what is being done and what are the Department's plans.
Mr Mangena (AZAPO) supported this proposal. He said the visits were a very humbling experience for him. There is no doubt that we are failing our children whether we are members of parliament, teachers or politicians in the local government. He said adults are responsible for the situation and suggested the Committee have a dialogue with the teaching profession. He wondered whether it would be effective to talk to the school governing bodies as well, since he had heard that in many schools the local politicians, teachers and others fight over the schools. This results in a lack of teaching. He noted that members of the teaching profession are very influential in many South African communities. Mr Mangena tentatively suggested a roundtable discussion with the various interested parties in order to move in a positive direction.
The Chairperson asked the Committee if there were any comments with regard to Mr Mangena's proposal of an indaba.
Ms Mnandi (ANC) said that it would be very helpful for the Committee to interact with members of the teaching profession, and should consider effective ways of doing so.
Mr De Beer (UDM) said an ongoing strategy must be addressed but that the process must be removed from the political arena in order to be efficient. He reminded the Committee of the vital importance of the needs of children.
Mr Moonsamy (ANC) requested that school governing bodies also participate in the discussions.
An ANC Committee member said they need to be briefed by the Minister so that they are aware of what the Ministry is doing and what its plans are.
The Chairperson asked the Committee to agree on a date for a meeting with the Department.
Mr Aucamp (AE) asked if it was appropriate or possible to have a meeting with the MEC for Education in the Northern Province. He believed this would be more effective than a discussion with the Minister.
Ms Mnandi (ANC) suggested the 31 October to meet with the Department and said that it would be better to listen to the Department's report first, and then develop strategies.
Mr Mangena (AZAPO) agreed with Ms Mnandi's suggestion. He suggested that they not concentrate only on the one province, but encompass the national picture.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee was suggesting to invite the Minister as well as the provincial Ministers of Education. He said they wanted to get a broader view of the educational situation and agreed the Minister would have the capacity to provide this information.
Mr De Beer (UDM) responded that he did not agree that the Minister was the best source of facts about the state of education in this country since the duty of the politicians is to defend policy. He said it would be useful to talk to the MECs.
Mr Mohai (ANC) disagreed with Mr De Beer. He said the suggestion of inviting the Minister was very constructive and that it would be helpful to participate in such a forum.
Mr Ripinga (ANC) said they could not leave out the Minister since he would have information readily available in order to respond to the issues presented.
Ms Gandhi (ANC) said they should invite the department, but should ask them for deadlines (dates for delivery).
Mr Aucamp (AE) said they should focus on the three provinces. It is better to be specific and achieve something. It is good if the Minister is here, but the focus should not be on the Minister but on the three provincial departments and their MECs.
The Committee agreed to invite the Minister and the three provinces to come for a discussion. The Committee adopted the report. The meeting was adjourned.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Education on Visits to Northern Province school, dated 03 October 2000:
The Portfolio Committee on Education, having sent two delegations to Northern Province schools from 2 to 5 May 2000, reports as follows:
In a meeting which was held on 13 October 1999, the Committee decided that two delegations visit the Northern Province during a constituency week in March 2000. As the province is one of the largest province, the Committee agreed that the delegation of eight members would divide itself into two groups (four members each) to visit as many schools as possible in all areas, primarily the most disadvantaged rural communities, with a mandate to -
(1) co-operatively examine, along with the provincial education standing committee, the capacity of the province to deal with the demands set by national Acts, regulations and policies, and other challenges spelled out in the first priority of the Minister of Education's Tirisano ("Call for Action") document, which intends to make our provincial systems work by making co-operative government work;
(2) examine conditions of physical degradation in schools in areas listed by, and according to, the objectives of the President's rural strategy programme;
(3) investigate the implementation of funding norms and standards emanating from the South African Schools Act;
(4) examine ways of effecting greater synergy between education at provincial and national levels;
(5) construct a co-operative relationship between the Committee and the provincial committee to deal co-operatively with challenges constraining the effective development of our education system;
(6) develop a rural development strategy in respect of the building and renovations of schools and the provision of resources like textbooks and teaching aids in rural schools; and
(7) address the challenges of the allocation and management of provincial budgets in respect
In view of the fact that the Committee plays a vital role in promoting co-operative governance between the provinces and the government and in improving the quality of life of every citizen on the ground, the delegations focused on all educational infrastructure affected, damaged and destroyed, also assessing the need for repairs and renovations and for the building of new schools in areas visited.
The delegations based their visits on Tirisano. A document outlining the objectives thereof was distributed by the Department of Education (the Department) to MPLs, education directors, school principals and the media.
The delegations emphasised that since Tirisano was based on extensive consultation by the Minister with a large variety of stakeholders, there was no need to reinvent the wheel by searching for other criteria on which to base their visits.
In particular, the first priority identified in Tirisano - "to make our provincial system work by making co-operative government work" - was clearly in line with the purpose of the visits. The Minister pointed out in Tirisano that three of the largest provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Province, were also the poorest, with the largest backlogs in respect of school buildings, infrastructure and services. For this reason those three provinces were identified for visits. Similar visits have been already undertaken to schools in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, from 2 to 4 November 1999, and that report was published in the ATCs on 9 March 2000.
Other issues identified by Tirisano were -
(1) the inability of many provincial education departments to manage education efficiently;
(2) the empowerment of provincial departments to fulfil their statutory responsibility; and
(3) dealing effectively with challenges in respect of the allocation and management of provincial
3. Rural development strategy - culture of learning and teaching (COLT)
The delegations emphasised the importance of establishing a rural development strategy for a vast province such as the Northern Province. The resourcing of proper schools in rural areas with regard to establishing classrooms and proper school infrastructure conducive to learning and teaching, adequate textbooks, teaching aids and other learning materials must become a priority.
During the visits to rural schools, the delegations saw vandalised school buildings, no proper infrastructure (in some schools no infrastructure at all), destruction of school property, overcrowded classrooms, no textbooks, a lack of water and sanitation and a lack of libraries and laboratories as main problems of rural education.
In many schools ineffective management by principals has a major impact on the success, or lack thereof, in cultivating an atmosphere conducive for learning and teaching. Some schools are without principals, due to problems and conflict among teachers and principals. Numerous principals have left their schools, fearing for their lives.
The COLT is the centre of life of the department. It is committed to discipline in schools, to make everyone understand the hard work needed. Parents, teachers and learners are also motivated to work hard. On numerous occasions departmental officials pay surprise visits to check whether the standard and discipline are maintained in schools.
There is in-fighting between teachers, principals and learners. The department intervenes to try and resolve such problems.
In certain rural schools, teachers have many complaints about principals, whilst doing very little themselves to improve the situation. Traditional leaders, councillors, parents and political party leaders were seen as interfering in the management of rural schools. Such schools were generally vandalised, most windows were broken and there were poor attendance of teachers and learners.
The management capacity of principals has to be urgently investigated at rural schools.
As the group was divided into two delegations, Group A was under the leadership of Prof S M Mayatula, while Group B was led by Ms P K Mothoagae. Both groups were accompanied by members of the provincial education standing committee and departmental officials. The groups were constituted as follows:
Prof S M Mayatula (leader of the delegation); Ms I Mutsila; Mr S B Ntuli; Mr S J de Beer; Ms N C Manjezi (Committee Secretary); Mr A Nevhutanda; Mrs S Mangena; Mr R Mashaba; and Ms I X Chauke (Provincial Committee Secretary).
Mr M M Motshekga left the delegation at an early stage due to prior commitments and engagements.
Ms P K Mothoagae (leader of the delegation); Mr B G Molewa; Mr M A Mangena; Rev M S Mogoba; Ms A T Tatana (Committee Secretary); Mrs T J Ndimande (Chairperson: Provincial education committee); Mr M S Burgers; and Mrs Matlala (Provincial Committee Secretary).
An attempt was made to obtain a balanced view, with input from departmental sources, principals, teachers and school-governing bodies (SGBs).
B. Start of visit
On arrival in the province on 2 May, the delegation was warmly welcomed by the provincial education committee, led by the chairperson. Constructive and open discussions were held at the Pietersburg Holiday Inn. Prof S M Mayatula gave a brief overview and objectives of the visit.
1. Department of Education - Pietersburg
The Northern Province is one of the three provinces identified by Pres Mbeki as the poorest, in need of extra financial assistance. On 3 May, the delegation was welcomed by the MEC for Education, Mr E Mushwana, and discussions with top management were held. The following were some of the areas covered:
There are 2 250 pupils and 66 000 civil servants in the province. The department serves 5 000 schools, of which almost 65% are rural and farm schools.
(1) Grade 1 admission
In terms of the new age requirement admission was done in accordance with the new admission policy for 2000. The process started in September 1999 and was finalised in the first week of January 2000.
The general trend is that there were fewer learners in Grade 1 this year because of the age requirement of seven. District managers control this process and the department is satisfied that Grade 1 learners meet the requirements of the admission policy.
(2) Delivery of textbooks and stationery
Orders for textbooks were issued from October to mid-November 1999. Delivery started in mid-November, and is still continuing. There are two categories of textbooks to be supplied - those already printed and those to be printed.
Stationery orders were issued in November 1999. Delivery started in the last week of November. By 30 January 2000, 90% of the suppliers had completed delivery. Supplementary orders were issued and delivery was completed on 15 January.
(3) Attendance by learners and educators
This exercise was conducted on the first day of school by the whole range of officials, from the Premier and MEC to first education specialist. Most secondary schools registering learners, with no plans of working that day. Few secondary schools had an attendance rate above 70%, with even fewer schools engaged in actual teaching.
Educators' attendance was not good, with most schools not adhering to the directives of maintaining time books. There was literally no sense of business in respect of most educators. Primary schools were disciplined and the majority of them were running well.
Monitoring teams in the districts were immediately constituted to conduct operations on a daily basis. The situation gradually improved from day two, and it is pleasing to report that most secondary schools are running well. Principals are beginning to be firm.
(4) Implementation of outcomes-based education (OBE)
There is an indication that facilitators do not have the necessary skills to effectively transfer knowledge to the consumer. The cascade model also has limitations, particularly when the department is dealing with a sophisticated model like the current one.
Workshops will not be effective if they are conducted a few months before implementation or when implementation is in progress. A review is thus necessary to look at the best strategies to convey curriculum changes to consumers.
(5) Success schools and success factors
Most successful schools were those located in urban or semi-urban areas. They had a planning meetings and enjoyed support of trainer facilitators. Success factors included the following:
(a) Good management of schools - positive behavior by both educators and learners
(b) Commitment on the part of the educator.
(c) Regular cluster meetings after school.
(d) Regular support by facilitators from districts and regions.
(e) Quality training.
(f) Availability of transport for facilitators to visit schools.
(6) Struggling schools and inhibiting factors
Struggling schools are mostly those in the rural areas. Educators share common transport from home to schools, which makes it difficult for them to meet regularly in the afternoon. The inhibiting factors are:
(a) Poor school management.
(b) Inadequate training of managers and educators in OBE.
(c) A lack of success in respect of supporting materials.
(d) A lack of planning in school clusters.
(e) Resistance to change.
(f) The cascade model as mode of delivery.
The department has some improvement plans for struggling schools:
(i) Retrain principals, SGBs, district managers and circuit managers.
(ii) Encourage clusters to work together on OBE.
(iii) Recommend school-based inputs on approaches.
(iv) Demonstrate facilitation and other skills.
(v) Provide teaching and learning materials.
(vi) Develop a practical guide for educators.
(vii) Develop districts monitoring plans.
(7) State of preparedness for administration of Grade 12 exams in 2000
The departmental management plan has been developed and entries have been received on 17 March 2000. Capturing commenced on 21 May 2000 via a private agency. The October/November timetable will be available by August 2000.
(8) Analysis of successful schools in 1999 and success factors
The majority of schools with a pass percentage of between 95% to 100% were found to be historically advantaged. This was an indication of the commitment and dedication of those involved in educational change. Although the former model C schools still reflected the largest number of distinctions, they reflected a decline in terms of quality of results. The success factors included:
(a) Availability of action plans geared to the attainment of set targets.
(b) Availability of work programmes which interpret the syllabi.
(c) Guidance and counselling support for learners.
(d) Evaluation reports for learners and educators.
(e) Strong management teams.
(f) Quality and quantity of written work.
(g) Control systems for administrative and professional matters.
(h) Commitment of educators, learners and parent bodies to achieve excellence.
(i) Good discipline at all top schools.
(j) Extra classes offered for enrichment.
(9) Analysis of struggling schools in 1999, and inhibiting factors
Struggling schools are found all over and are not restricted to a particular geographical area. They operate without plans, and communities do not take ownership of them. Work ethic is very low, and there is no sense of responsibility and accountability. The inhibiting factors are:
(a) The principal and some educators are not at school most of the time.
(b) Principals do not carry out their responsibilities, as agreed in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC).
(c) SGBs do not contribute towards management.
(d) Lack of discipline.
(e) Educators do not finish the syllabi, and go to class unprepared, reading lessons from a textbook.
(f) The quality and quantity of written work is very poor.
(g) Absence of control systems and action plans.
(h) The seven-hour school day is not fully utilised.
(i) There is no management at all and no bench-marks are set to realise targets.
(10) Improvement plans for senior certificate examination in 2000
Improvement plans should address all aspects of school development, rather than be confined to a particular grade. Grade 12 is seen as an exit point, where efforts accumulated through the system can be objectively assessed. A plan and strategies have been developed to improve on the 1999 performance:
(a) Analysis of school performance
Schools have been categorised according to performances, so as to systematise the support relevant to the critical areas. The categories range from between 0% and 20%, which the department views as critical, to 21% to 30% and finally to 31% to 39%. An analysis was done on the weakness of these school categories.
Regional and district offices have developed intervention strategies, ranging from management support to general planning of schools affected. Clustering, or twinning, of weaker schools with schools performing well in each circuit has been done, so planning of tests and other curricular issues are done jointly.
(b) Support to teachers
Special funds were made available for school support programmes. The following activities took place:
(i) Subject committees were resuscitated to provide the necessary support.
(ii) School visits, focusing on developed checklists, must be conducted as a supporting strategy rather than as routine work.
(iii) Each region has a continuous professional development centre (rationalised college of education) to primarily target the improvement of Grade 12 results. Curriculum support services (subject advisers) are located there to run courses at the centres and provide classroom support to educators.
(iv) Class visits by principals are restored to the system, and preparation is a prerequisite to effective lesson delivery.
(v) Deployment of head office officials to support poorly managed schools on administrative and professional matters.
Textbooks, except commercial stationery, were delivered in almost all schools. Some areas were inaccessible due to recent rains and bad roads.
Approximately 98% of textbooks were delivered to schools by the end of the first quarter. Fraud also occurred with delivery of books, which caused delays in some areas.
(d) Farm schools
There are challenges facing them, like status and ownership, rental and their existence on certain farms.
The department still has difficulty in staffing them. They are seen to be equal to black schools, not meant to admit the farmer's children, but black children.
(e) Rationalisation and transformation
Racism still exists in schools, primarily with parents. Some schools still experience racial grouping - one section for blacks and another for whites. Although there is existence of racism in some of the schools, learners are motivated to learn, share and live together, and as a result in some schools black pupils share dormitories with white pupils.
(f) Poverty alleviation
The Department of Social Welfare is providing a feeding scheme in numerous schools, and it is progressing well in most.
There are 3 400 primary schools and 690 pre-schools. Looking at the statistics, not all children will start in Grade 1, hence Grade R was introduced. It is envisaged that all primary schools should have Grade R to accommodate children from pre-schools.
Pre-schools are perceived as a luxury for the rich, and are most organised in the urban areas and townships, not in rural communities. The government does not subsidise the building of pre-schools.
(h) State of tertiary institutions
Big problems are still experienced, as tertiary institutions are the competency of the National Department - the provincial department spends more time on schools. Even though there have been constructive and open discussions with the management of tertiary institutions in solving problems, there is still need for a debate on this.
A perception exists that students who attend black tertiary institutions are those who cannot afford. The University of Venda has undergone transformation and the University of the North is following suit.
(i) Staff provisioning and staffing
There are enough good teachers and they produce good quality teaching in many schools.
C. Group A visits
1. Haneartsburg Combined School
The school is a former model C school and has an enrolment figure of 181 learners (Grade R to Grade 9) and 11 educators. About 120 learners stay in the hostel, and most of them are black. English and Afrikaans are the main mediums of instruction. It is a multilingual school, and they intend to bring African languages into the system. The history of the school started as early as 1887.
The school is a brick structure, partly prefabricated. The school is well-managed, controlled and disciplined, with good grounds which are well-kept.
They have already adopted OBE, and are operating very well. They also have programmes with other schools in the region, and working relationships seem very good. The SGBs are always represented in these programmes.
As this is a government school, any child can be enrolled, but learners are selected according to language, as English is the main medium of instruction. The hostel determines and limits the number of pupils to be admitted to the school.
At present there are 40 white learners; many were removed by their parents and admitted to other schools in Tzaneen.
There is one black teacher, 10 white teachers and 12 general assistants, including the gardener. The government subsidies five educators, while the SGB contributes to the salaries of six other educators. Every pupil has to pay a school fee of R300 per month.
There is good co-operation between and participation of the SGB and parents; they are happy about the quality of education. They do a lot of fundraising to keep the school's standard high. Three parent meetings are held per year to constructively discuss school matters.
Even though there are five farm schools in the district, they have many pupils, in relation to the population in the area, and thus there is a need to incorporate these farm schools into other schools.
Mr Smith has been acting principal since 1 March 2000. The post has been advertised, and 47 applications were received. The shortlisting process were to have commenced by not later than June 2000. No redeployment of teachers has been considered by the department.
There are still finance and staffing problems. A submission has been made to the department for more teachers. Urgent assistance and additional teachers are needed to overcome problems.
2. Seboni Primary School, Ga-Mokgoloboto
The school has an enrolment figure of 813 learners (Grades R to 7) and 10 educators (81:1). There is no proper building or infrastructure; schooling takes place under the trees. Part of the structure is made of wood and is badly damaged, dilapidated, in a state of collapse, and may cause injury to learners and educators. Nevertheless, it is still in use.
There are three classrooms, five classes being held under a tree. On rainy days there is no formal schooling. The weather controls the school, not the principal.
The informal settlement in the area gave birth to the school on 15 January 1996. It started in 1997 with six teachers voluntarily giving service, with no salary and no assistance from the government.
At present there is one permanent teacher and nine temporary teachers. The nine temporary teachers are paid by the department and will soon be replaced as a result of redeployment. The department has utilised the temporary teachers to fill vacancies.
There is no electricity, no sanitation, no fencing, no furniture and no learning materials (like writing boards). Funds are urgently needed to improve the quality of the damaged infrastructure and to build a new, decent school.
Although the school is on the priority list of the department, one cannot predict when the new school will be built. A new school has been budgeted for by the provincial department. The government needs to intervene to alleviate the problems and build a new, decent school.
3. Zivuko Senior Secondary School, Nkowankowane
The school has an enrolment figure of 680 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 21 educators (32:1). The school building is a brick structure, with no broken windows.
The school was started in 1993, and between then and 2000 it managed to change the mindset of teachers, realising the need for maximum effort, winning the support of teachers when it comes to the good of learners.
Learners at this school are relatively orderly and disciplined, and most of them come from the township and commute to school on a daily basis. The school management has made great strides in getting the community to own the school and to change attitudes. Parents, teachers, learners and SGBs are striving for excellence. As a result, there is team work. The school is well managed and well controlled.
There is a shortage of classrooms. Three classes (Geography, Agriculture and Physical Science) are held under a tree, and this creates difficulty on rainy days and during cold weather. This shortage has had a disastrous effect, causing a low understanding of learners. This could cause problems - a lack of individual attention from teacher to learner.
Due to the classroom shortage, 90 learners in certain grades are cramped in one classroom, which results in difficulty for the educator when endeavouring to attend to each individual learner. Some learners are accommodated in the nearby church hall, one kilometre away from the school.
Several letters have been forwarded to the department to request additional classrooms, but until now no response has been received. The school has no desks and chairs. Learners are taught while they are standing on their feet, because of the absence of furniture. Textbooks were received, but delivery was very late.
There is a great need for science laboratories and an administration block. A request was put to the department, but was "withdrawn", and they were told that the focus was on primary schools.
The school needs teaching aids such as videos and computers, which will store and keep school management information and serve other purposes. There is no proper sanitation, toilets, electricity and fencing.
Grade 12 results are: 1997 - 27%; 1998 - 39%; 1999 - 56%. This improvement clearly shows dedication and commitment from educators, learners and parents.
4. Matimu High School, Tabina district
The school has an enrolment figure of 800 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 24 educators (33:1). The school is a brick structure with louvre windows. Approximately 90% of the windows are broken. There are 13 classrooms, of which one has been converted into a store room. Roofs and ceilings of two classrooms are extensively damaged and need urgent repairs and maintainance.
There is no fence. Funding for building proper clean and working toilets was donated by the European Union. Many successes could be focused:
(1) Professional area
Professionalism has turned the corner, towards a better deal for all, like the fully-fledged plan, and clear and directive policy on professional procedure - an instrument that imbues management and the general staff with what is expected in terms of performance measuring. This therefore makes it easy to evaluate the work of an individual input.
(2) Professional administrative jurisdiction
There is demarcation of the school curriculum into streams: Languages, social science and natural sciences, with a departmental head in each case co-ordinating the activities of all educators. This approach provides an individual head with autonomy, development, expansion, and dynamism. Ultimately, the work of these various streams are synchronised and approved by the principal.
(3) Professional discipline
This has been introduced and entrenched into school policy, and finds expression through the establishment of sectional heads of grades levels (i.e. Grades 8 to 12). Their duties will include controlling grades on discipline, for both educators and learners of that grade; collecting mark sheets from educators; controlling score records by educators in respect of learners; and compiling a monthly report of the grade, to be tabled for consumption by management council in its monthly meetings. A unit whose duties will include assessment, teaching strategies, approaches on preparations and quality and standard of tests and compiling reports on the above, for presentation to management council on its monthly meetings.
(4) Discipline in general
There is a direction from the chief of discipline of the school in general, whose duties include punctuality. This person is an educator that facilitates decisions in the absence of the principal in conjunction with the professional head, and who co-ordinates all professional matters, from subject allocation to practical teaching. This educator has the same status as the chief of discipline.
(5) Staff development
There is unity regarding staff development in respect of education and training.
(6) School buildings
The structure on site comes from a donor, who has already spent R16 000 for materials and
R5 000 for labour. The donor could not continue due to a lack of cash-flow. The assessment of a layperson estimated an amount of R100 000 to complete the unfinished job. The administration block has been renovated.
(7) Parental support
Parents have begun to assume responsibility and ownership of the school. Meetings held with them, as well as their parental support, are encouraging.
There is no proper office for the principal and a staff room. Important documentation are taken home by management members due to inadequate storage facilities at the school. The need exists to build an administration block.
The school was established in 1982, and since then it has been exposed to vandalism and theft on a daily basis. The entire premises is extensively damaged and needs urgent repairs. Nevertheless, teaching is continuing.
The provision of well-trained and professional securities are required to reduce vandalism and safeguard the building and its property, as most classrooms have broken windows and no doors. The department promised to renovate the school, but up to now it has not been fulfilled; the process is still in the pipeline.
As this school is on the priority list of the department, three classrooms have been built and six additional classrooms will be erected to overcome the problems of shortage and overcrowding. Textbooks were never delivered; they only received stationery.
Political conflicts within the community affected the schooling process. There were a number of strikes, the sources coming from the community, as learners and community members are influenced by teachers to contribute to conflict. These conflicts have affected the Grade 12 pass rate, which dropped drastically, due to absence of learners during normal school hours.
Reports were sent to the Director, explaining the problems and nature of conflict. The delegation was informed that the MEC for Education, Mr E Mushwana, was aware of the conflict in these communities and that he was still arranging a meeting to try and solve the conflict problems.
Since the establishment of SGBs in 1998, there has been a great change in attitude, parents are involving themselves in all school affairs.
5. Thubisang Primary School, Sekororo
The school has an enrolment figure of 285 learners (Grades R to 7) and eight educators (36:1). It is a brick structure with six classrooms, including a shack built to overcome overcrowding due to the shortage of classrooms. One classroom is held under a tree. The school is well-managed, well-controlled and well-maintained.
There is proper fencing and toilets. There is no water and electricity in the village - water is pumped from the mountain and is not hygienically clean.
The shortage of classrooms remains. Three more classrooms and a staff room need to be built. The school has received a donation of R14 000 from the King, which were used to repair leaking roofs.
Due to bad roads and time constraints, the delegation could not visit Tjaltjala Primary School, Timamogolo Primary School, Lepono Secondary School, Malebolong Primary School and Diputi Secondary School. The Committee wishes to apologise to these schools and their communities.
6. Seagutla Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 550 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 27 educators (20:1). It is a brick structure of good quality.
In previous years, the school was a finishing school, but in the past three years it was changed to normal school. There are 16 classrooms, including damaged classrooms hit by a storm in 1999. Most of the damaged classrooms' roofs are leaking. The Department of Public Works has already started repairing the damaged classrooms.
The school has proper fencing and electricity, and pit toilets, which are a health hazard. Although the school is situated away from the village, vandalism and theft is not common, as there is full-time security on the premises.
Grade 12 started in 1998, and the pass rate in 1999 was 28%.
7. Madondo Secondary School, Belfast
The school has an enrolment figure of 561 learners and 14 educators (40:1). It is a brick structure with no broken windows. This community-driven school started in 1989. There are nine classrooms, of which one is a staff room and another one has been converted into a storeroom.
As this is a well managed and controlled school, funding is needed to effect some community-driven initiatives aimed at maintaining it in a proper environment conducive to learning and teaching.
There is a serious shortage of classrooms. Due to this shortage, a tuck shop has been converted into a science class. There is no privacy between teachers and the principal, due to the unavailability of offices and an administration block. There is not enough furniture - beer boxes are used as chairs.
In 2000, through its efforts, the school received a donation of R36 000 from the RDP committee, which was utilised to erect a fence around the building in order to safeguard the school and its property. The damaged roofs have been repaired by Public Works.
Previously, the school experienced problems with delivery of textbooks. They had to borrow textbooks from neighbouring schools. Some learners had to continue with the learning process without any textbooks. However, in 2000, textbooks were received on time.
Learners at this school are well-disciplined and well-mannered. There is good working relationship between teachers, learners and SGBs. Parents still maintain that learners should be punished, even though corporal punishment has been outlawed by the government.
School fees amount to R50,00 per child per annum, and parents are co-operating by paying these fees. The Grade 12 pass rate in 1998 was 37%, while in 1999 it was 48%, with eight exemptions. The school is committed to work hard in trying to improve its standard. There is no proper sanitation and toilets.
8. Malavutela Secondary School, Marite
The school has an enrolment figure of 413 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 10 educators, including the principal (41:1). It is a brick structure, and almost all the windows are broken.
There is no fencing around the school premises to safeguard school property. There is a serious shortage of classrooms - at present there are only three classrooms, with two offices which serve as staff room and principal's office, respectively.
The school officially started in 1991 (in the neighbouring school) with one classroom. Firstly, the Grade 10 class was established in one classroom, but in 1994 the classroom was burnt down. Due to a shortage of classrooms, there was no initiative to start Grades 11 and 12.
No problems have been experienced in terms of delivery of textbooks and stationery. Pupils are well-controlled and well-disciplined. The school has a history of being incorporated from the Lebowa government. An automatic promotion was not good for the pupils because it does not test their abilities.
The school also managed to obtain third position in Grade 12 pass rates in the region, which was as follows: 1996 - 38%; 1997 - 8%; 1998 - 4%; 1999 - 21% (improvement of 16,7% over 1998).
The principal emphasised that accommodation and overcrowding may be the cause of poor results. This was evident during our visit there: The Grade 8 and 9 classes were held under trees, due to the shortage of classrooms.
Schools with the lowest pass rates are timeously visited by district managers, regional managers and circuit managers, to monitor progress and to ascertain problem areas. There is great co-operation of staff to improve pass rates and academic records by upgrading standards. Teachers and learners are co-operatively committed to improve standards by doing the following:
(1) Conducting after-school studies until 16:00.
(2) Grade 12s will have morning classes every weekday.
(3) Monthly tests, where the best students will be rewarded with gifts like pens and stationery.
(4) This is seen by the school management as a form of motivation for learners.
(5) During June holidays, winter classes are held.
Parents are timeously informed about learners' performances. Teachers are committed and dedicated to achieve a 100% pass rate in 2000.
There are five toilets with no roofs. The school urgently needs two additional staff members (one HOD and one educator). The request was forwarded to the department, and one educator was promised.
There is a serious shortage of English, Zulu and Mathematics educators.
Regular meetings are held on a monthly basis with community structures to give feedback on all school developments. The community does not want to take ownership of the school, and the high rate of vandalism undelines this, which is committed by people from the community.
9. L L M Mokwena Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 89 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 24 educators (29:1), two of whom are awaiting redeployment. Another two are temporary.
The building is a brick structure, with almost 90% of windows broken. The other part of the brick structure, which has been extensively damaged by fire and with rusted window panes with no roofs, needs urgent repairs and renovations.
The school was initiated as the result of the need of the two communities (Tsakane and Jim Brown), it is situated at the Marite settlement and has proper fencing. The poor pit toilets are a health harzard, but are still in use by both teachers and learners.
The school started in 1985 with two educators and very few learners. Enrolment and staff complement increases yearly.
There are 12 classrooms, nine of which are standard, and three which were meant to be laboratory and home economics centres, but with no equipment they ended up being converted into regular classrooms.
Vandalism, burglary and theft are rife, and it is believed that it is committed by learners and by the local community people, as this school is situated at the lower end of the two villages. The community does not want to take ownership of the school. The delegation was informed that the crimes are reported to the police, but that nothing is being done to prevent vandals from entering the school premises.
The relationship between teacher and learner is good. The learners wear their school uniform at all times and are well-disciplined. Corporal punishment, according to the acting principal, is still regarded a good corrective measure to discipline and punish learners.
(1) Poor pass rate and Grade 12 results
The reasons for poor and low pass rate were presented as follows:
(a) The shifting of good and excellent educators to other schools is seen to be the cause of the low pass rate. This is also evident by a decline in the Grade 12 results: 1997 - 34,7%; 1998 - 26,2% 1999 - 16,9%.
(b) The school does not receive good pupil material from primary schools, worthy of being in
Grade 8. They are promoted to secondary school without good performance.
The school has been run without a principal since July 1999. According to the circuit manager, the previous principal alleged that he had received death threats, mainly from educators, learners and the community. The principal on one instance was nearly killed by learners on his way to school. The matter was referred to the region, in fear of his life.
He was refused a VSP (Voluntary Severance Package), as principals do not qualify for VSP.
10. Bushbuckridge Secondary School
The enrolment figure is 247 learners and seven educators (35:1). At present Grade 11 is the highest Grade; they hope to present their first Grade 12 batch in 2001. The school building is a brick structure, which is well-maintained and has a fence around the school premises. None of the windows are broken. Almost all classroom doors and windows are burglar-barred. The school is well-managed and well-controlled.
The school was established in January 1996, through the concerted efforts of the great sons and daughters of Maviljan Township, College View in Bushbuckridge Midland. It was started with the special purpose of providing quality education in science and commercial subjects, with only 42 learners; now it has 247 learners.
A four-classroom block was built by the provincial education department, and in January 1997 they moved to the permanent site. One of the classrooms is still being used as the office and the staff room.
In 1998 the parents supported the school to erect one additional classroom. The school has two Grade 8 streams, while other grades have one stream each.
In 1999 a fence was erected around the school with the help and support of parents. The school also has electric connections, tap water, telephones and toilets facilities. It is about to finish a hall, to be used as a classroom.
School starts at 07:50, with morning devotion for 10 minutes, and ends at 14:50, with a short break and a long break in between. Apart from languages, only science and commercial subjects are offered. Mathematics is a compulsory subject for all grades. Guidance is taught as a non-examination subject in all grades.
Extra-curricular activities are equally important. They have training in and/or facilities in respect of sports, the School Christian Movement (SCM), interclass debates, quiz shows, music and symposiums. Learners have won several prizes in interschool competitions. In 1999, three learners participated in the provincial mathematics olympiad competitions. They also received an area trophy for cultural activities. Educational tours are conducted every year. In 1997, learners participated in the provincial science expo, and also won two trophies in the circuit for COLTS and Masakhane.
There is high level of co-operation between educators and learners. The learners are well-disciplined and well-mannered, and are participating in all activities. There is no vandalism. Parents as well as learners are engaged to take ownership of the school. As a growing school, they are also faced with lot of constraints:
Textbooks and prescribed books were never received, except for a few prescribed books for Grades 8 and 9 in 1997. Not every learner can afford to buy textbooks. The books were never delivered due to departmental financial constraints, as the focus was on Grades 1, 2, 7 and 12.
There is great shortage of furniture in the school. The Grade 8 learners are sharing seats in
classrooms. The Rector of Mapulaneng College of Education has lent the school 40 chairs
and 40 tables to alleviate the furniture problem.
(3) To be a fully-fledged science and commerce school, there is need for a laboratory, a
computer laboratorium, an administration block, a library, a decent sports field, and
electronic equipment like a television, a video, a fax machine, an overhead projector and
screen, typewriters and a photocopier to boost teaching and learning. The mission of the
school is also to get learners acquainted with all modern equipments so that they do not
feel inferior or disadvantaged when they encounter advanced job requirements anywhere
in the country.
(4) At the end of 1998 it was regretfully decided that learners passing Grade 10 had to look for
admission in Grade 11 in other schools, due to a lack of accommodation.
The school started with a difference - "Just another mushroom school". It was not what the initiators had in mind. Rapid advancement of qualitative education in the right direction was the motto when the elite of the place embarked on an effort to establish this school. The school need firm commitment and funds to assist it to attain its goals.
11. Nkothasi Primary School, Bushbuckridge
The school has an enrolment figure of 570 learners (Grades 1 to 7) and 21 educators (27:1). The school building consist of 10 classrooms, which are of a brick structure, with no broken windows. All doors and windows are burglar-barred. Part of the building has many cracks, which have been aggravated by recent storms.
The site where the school building was erected, is very swampy and marshy. Some floors are breaking down horribly because the soil underneath is saturated. Parents were summoned to come to observe, and they recommended that -
(1) a new structure be erected.
(2) a different site for construction be used; and
(3) the existing structure be used for other developments.
The department was therefore requested to act promptly to respond to the recommendation agreed to by the parents and the school management. In 1997, assessors were assigned by the department, and they also recommended that the site shoud be changed. The continued use of some classrooms is extremely unsafe and dangerous and will be detrimental to both educators and learners.
Learners are still greatly deprived in respect of extra-curriculum activities due to the state of the grounds, which are always swampy. The educators and learners find it difficult to reach the school during rainy days. Since 1996, and until today, the roads have been in a bad state. The rivulets around the school regularly over-flow during summer, resulting in late-coming and absenteeism, which greatly hampers discipline.
In view of the above, continued repairs to the school building is seen as a waste of parents' money, which can be fruitfully utilised to resource the school in other urgent and educational needs. The community needs and deserves a decent school.
12. Nghunghunyana High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 330 learners (Grade 8 - 12) and 13 educators (25:1), including the principal. It is a brick structure. All the doors and windows are burglar barred and none of the windows are broken.
There are a number of constraints which make it difficult to produce better and quality results:
(1) Classrooms are on the verge of collapsing, and are not enough to cater for the needs of learners, especially Grades 10, 11 and 12, where there are optional subjects such as History, Geography, Physical Science and Business Economics. This is seen as a very big constraint, in that one or two groups receive lessons under the Moroela and Fig trees. The situation is worse in the rain season and on windy days. Additional classrooms are needed.
(2) There is no laboratory, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do experiments.
(3) There is no library where learners can develop study skills and do independent research.
(4) There is no staff room and office to accommodate staff, making it difficult to discuss important issues, and even to reprimand delinquents or counsel learners with learning problems. As a result, one classroom has been converted into a staffroom.
(5) There are no sanitation facilities. The traditional pit toilets have collapsed as a result of the heavy rains in February this year. The one still in existence is extremely delapitated and can collapse any moment, causing injury to learners and educators.
(6) The community does not have electricity, which makes it difficult for learners to study in the evening, be it at home or at school.
(7) There is lack of seating facilities such as chairs and tables, resulting in some learners receiving lessons while standing and some sharing chairs and tables. Furniture had to be borrowed from the neighbouring school to alleviate the serious shortage. Some learners moved to neighbouring schools with proper facilities, which have a 65% to 70% pass rate in Grade 12.
According to the principal, Mr P G Mkhombo, the problem of accommodation infrastructure has long been known to the provincial education department, evidenced by an extract from a speech delivered by the former MEC for Education, the Hon Dr J Phaahla, when handing over Mkhweyantaba School from the local government and traditional affairs department to the education department on 5 December 1997 at Orinocco, Bushbuckridge.
It became apparent that the need for appropriate accommodation infrastructure was long overdue. An appeal was therefore made to the Committee to assist in this regard.
Parental support for educators is maximal, compared to the situation in the past. Parents avail themselves any time when the management office needs them to discuss critical matters regarding the school. There is strong ownership of the school by the community, and there is no sign of vandalism to school property. The community is in control of the premises and buildings.
The SGB is incapacitated, as it does not seem to know the constraints within which it should operate as a functional structure and as part of the school, representing parents. They sometimes do not know their rights, constraints and limits. This could be attributed to the fact that about 98% of the parent component of the SGB is illiterate or semi-illiterate, which makes reading and understanding the material on their functions at school level difficult. Not much has been done in respect of capacity building.
The educators are working very hard to improve results, especially for 2000. They have moved from 18% (1998) to 35,2 (1999). This year the school is dedicated towards moving beyond 50% in respect of the Grade 12 pass rate. Textbooks and stationery were delivered on time.
13. Bombani Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 421 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and 13 educators (32:1). It is a brick structure, of which one classroom has been extremely damaged and burnt down (virtually destroyed) in 1995. Until now, no repair work has been done.
Almost all the windows are broken (though burglar-barred), destroyed by children who used to play in the premises during and after hours.
The school has a fence and is electrified. There are toilets, but they are not in a proper condition and are a health hazard. Nevertheless, they are still in use, by both learners and educators. There is an extreme shortage of furniture, textbooks and classrooms. Due to the shortage of classrooms, the school has resorted to use the burnt and damaged classroom to accommodate some learners, while other classes are conducted under a tree. In cold weather and during the rainy season, there are no schooling for those who receive lessons under the tree. The school managed to receive its stationery on time. There is no library and no laboratory.
Grade 12 results were as follows: 1997 - 15,1%; 1998 - 31,1%; 1999 - 48,1%.
Although the learning process is continuing at this school, the slow progress has led to some learners leaving even before they reach Grade 12. As a result, the school has been regarded as a feeder to surrounding high schools, thereby further affecting Grade 12 results.
Although the teacher/pupil ratio is only 32:1, the two HODs have to do all the administrative work and teach as well. Limited teaching resources make things difficult for teachers as well as learners. A burnt-down classroom, which was converted into a staff room, also contributes to the poor working conditions. The classroom situation is rendering the annual intake of Grade 8 learners unacceptable.
Despite there being no record of vadalism, an urgent need exists to permanently appoint the night-watchman, a principal (as at present there is an acting principal) and a school clerk. There is need to have additional teachers, as two educators have recently left the school in fear of their personal safety.
The school now needs a library and laboratory. Funds need to be available for construction of an administration block and at least three additional classrooms. Implementation of these will definitely bring about a significant improvement in respect of learners' progress in all grades.
14. Shobiyana High School
The school was established in 1985, and has an enrolment figure of 776 learners (Grades 1 to 12), 30 educators (26:1) and 16 classrooms. The school has an electrified fence, and consists of a brick structure, part of which is extremely delapitated and in need of urgent repair and renovation.
Almost all the classroom roofs have been blown away or destroyed, and ceilings have been damaged and need to be replaced or renovated. Despite all this, the schooling and learning process is continuing.
Grade 12 pass rate: 1997 - 17,4%; 1998 - 44%; 1999 - 55,3%.
The administration block was burnt down in 1990 during an uprising, but up to now nothing has been done by the department to repair, renovate and rebuild it. There is also a serious shortage of accommodation, and it is difficult to continue with the learning process in winter.
There is a serious need for financial assistance in order to renovate the damaged and destroyed classrooms and administration block. Requests have been made to all local businesses to assist so as to rebuild and renovate the school, but no funding has been received. The leaking roofs and wall cracks may cause the building to collapse, which could mean injury to both learners and educators.
Previously there was no support from the community, but after the arrival of some teachers, there was a drastic change in attitude.
Co-operation from teachers is superb. As the community started to realise that the school was prosperous and constantly striving for excellence, it began to give good support.
There are no proper toilet facilities; they still use pit toilets, which are not in good condition and are a health hazard. Urgent attention is needed to repair and renovate the school.
15. Mahashe Secondary School
When the school started in 1996, it had an enrolment figure of 46 learners, but now it has increased to 333 learners and six educators (56:1), including the principal. The school is a brick structure, partly of wood, with two classrooms. It has been electrified, and there are no broken windows. All windows and doors are burglar-barred.
Although there is no fence around the premises, it is well-managed and controlled. The learners are very disciplined.
This year the school's vision is presenting Grade 12 for the first time, aiming for a 100% pass rate. However, it needs resources to make this possible. Essential support services like textbooks and prescribed books for Grade 12 are seriously lacking. At present they rely on photocopies.
There is also a shortage of staff. They did not get educators for higher grades, so they hired three educators to assist. They also do not have enough classrooms, no laboratory and no office for the principal.
Toilet facilities are not enough, and they need proper sanitation. Additional funding is needed to build toilets and other urgent facilities. They also need a fence to safeguard the premises and property. They have made great strides in seeking funding from external donors in order to alleviate the problems and to motivate the learners to work hard.
The school has good sportspeople who are very active in sport, so there is a need for facilities.
Textbooks for Grades 11 and 12 were not delivered. On numerous occasions, the principal borrowed textbooks and other learning materials from the neighbouring school. Grades 8 to 10 do not have textbooks at all.
16. Dumazi High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 742 learners and 22 educators (34:1). It is a brick structure, one block being a damaged, prefabricated structure. About 70% of the windows are broken, but they have burglar bars.
The entire school building is electrified, and it has 17 classrooms, with no proper sanitation, no toilet facilities, no library and no laboratory. Funds are needed to improve the quality of the infrastructure, which at present is not conducive to teaching and learning.
The department has already built a block comprising five classrooms, and in the past seven years the school has managed to get an extra classroom through efforts of the community. At present, with the help of the community, there is proper fencing to prevent vandals from entering the premises.
Recent storms have damaged a number of classrooms and thus there are many cracks in the walls, which leak when it is raining, so learners cannot attend school and educators cannot teach.
Grade 12 pass rate: 1994 - 71,4%; 1995 - 47,3%; 1996 - 36,2%; 1997 - 29,3%; 1998 - 49,1%; 1999 - 35,1%. The rate is declining. Problems and conflict within the community are seen as the main reason for this. Disagreement among educators on the management plan is also seen as a reason for the decline, as it has affected the teaching process.
For many years, the community was not supportive in improving the quality standards of the school. Community members tended to change classrooms into toilets. However, over the last two years, the community/school relationship has been improving.
In 1999 the school was exposed to vandalism and theft, but this year nothing has been reported. In 1997 there was a break-in and a school generator was stolen. Subsequently it was found, but the culprits were not apprehended.
The school did receive stationery, but no textbooks. Due to poor roads, suppliers cannot always reach the school to deliver textbooks.
17. Tshembani Primary School
The delegation received an overwhelming welcome from both learners and educators at the entrance of the school.
The school has an enrolment figure of 925 learners and 28 educators (33:1), of which eight are awaiting redeployment. The building is a brick structure, which needs urgent renovation and maintainance. Few classroom windows are broken.
The school was started in 1964, under unqualified teachers earning about R3,00 a month or nothing at all. It was a one-teacher school with 275 learners. The principal, Mr Chivambu, joined the school in 1965. In 1966 there were two teachers (one unqualified). In 1970 they managed to convince the tribal authority to build three classrooms, and it was then that Grade 8 classes were started.
In 1980 enrolment increased, with considerable numbers of educators and learners. From 1982 to 1986 the school excelled in producing the best Grade 7 results in the Giyani Circuit, and received a floating trophy for that. In 1984 the school convinced the former Gazankulu government to build further five more classrooms. In 1991, with the help of the "World Vision Project", they managed to build four more classrooms. In 1997 the government also assisted in building four more classrooms. Nevertheless, there is still a shortage of classrooms.
In December 1999, they also managed to erect a fence to protect the building and windows from damage and destruction.
The school falls under various pilot projects in the province, like "READ" (the foundation phase) and the Kgatelopele Technology Project. The educators are trained by means of the Readathon and also in respect of technology.
They are now implementing OBE in respect of the foundation phase in Grade 7, and are working hard to promote the quality of education, but lacks sufficient equipment and materials to realise this. Stationery was received in good time last year, and this year they did receive textbooks.
The school at present needs electricity for technology and science, six additional classrooms, an administration block, furniture (chairs and tables), a library, a laboratory, hygienic running water or water boreholes (no water in the school and in the community), toilets facilities, fencing for the school yard, a typewriter, audio-visual material (like computers), television, an overhead projector and a photocopying machine.
Due to floods during February and March this year, damage was done to school property: Leaking roofs; damage to floors, doors and walls; two toilets collapsed; and roads were damaged. The principal informed the delegation that six educators residing in Thohoyandou and two from Malamulele could not get to school, as bridges they needed to cross had been washed away. The school is now used as shelter to accommodate families whose houses were damaged by the heavy rains.
As this school is well-managed and well-controlled, and given its history of excellence, the government should make funding available to further improve the standard.
18. Tlharihani Primary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 1 164 learners and 35 educators (33:1), with an excess of eight educators. It is a brick structure with semi-delapitated classrooms in urgent need of repair. In 1998, through negotiations involving the RDP, the provincial department and the community, a new block of eight classrooms was built. Unfortunately, it did not have electricity. The government of Norway has assisted the school to electrify some classrooms.
The school is fenced to prevent vandals and goats from entering the premises. They were also supplied with chalkboards. The management congratulates the government for the developments.
There is no furniture, and learners bring their own chairs. There is need for a new administration block. The roof of the old structure could collapse at any moment, which may cause injury to learners. Assistance is needed repair the roof, build the block and buy furniture.
There is a serious problem of overcrowding, which makes the school ungovernable. At present, there are 18 classrooms available to accommodate learners- a shortage of six. The pit toilets are very dirty and not in good usable condition. The toilet holes are quite big and are kept locked, as they are deemed dangerous. These toilets are a health hazard. There being no water at the school, attempts have been made to get Public Works to attend to the problem.
Both Grades 3 and 7 received all learning materials, except that classes have not started with OBE. There is great co-operation and parental support on all school activities.
A feeding scheme which had helped some learners, was stopped. It was seen as very important for learners, because some community members are unemployed and very poor. There are also refugee learners from Mozambique. The principal has again applied for a feeding scheme to the Department of Welfare, but no response has been received.
19. Risinga High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 854 learners and 35 educators (24:1), an excess of 10 educators. It is a brick structure with no broken windows. The roof and ceilings were damaged by 1999 floods. The leaking roof in the administration block is causing further damage to furniture and interior walls.
They have an excellent Grade 12 pass rate; in 1998, they obtained 62%, and in 1999 72%. The learners are highly disciplined and see education as their key to success.
20. Nhlalala Primary School
The school was started in the early 1980s and has an enrolment figure of 560 learners and 15 educators (37:1). It is a brick structure with no broken windows and has big school grounds which are well-maintained. There are 16 classrooms.
The foyer ceiling is leaking and causing further damage to offices and other classrooms. Most of the classrooms have no electricity, and water has damaged light bulbs in classrooms. Urgent repairs are needed.
There are not enough funds to keep the school at a proper standard. They receive R30 000 per year in school fees, which is not sufficient. Most learners live in squatter camps and most of the parents are unemployed.
There is feeding scheme, provided by the Department of Welfare, and parents are assisting with it. The school is properly fenced and all the toilets are in good working condition.
21. Holopondo Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 416 learners and 17 educators (25:1), an excess of three educators. A new block, built with bricks, has been erected by the community. About 65% of classroom windows are broken. Some classrooms have burglar bars, others have leaking roofs. The community is aware of the damages, but at present there are no funds to repair the broken windows. They rely on school fees to replace or repair broken windows.
Although the school is operational, there are problems with the entire school management. Recently, the female principal was evicted, so they have been operating without a manager. There are 16 classrooms, but they do not have enough furniture; some classrooms have no ceilings. Most Grades do not have any textbooks; they use photocopies. There are no proper toilet facilities for learners; educators use separate toilets, which are in good condition.
The new block built by the community still needs windows, doors and ceilings, and they need money to put in place all these before the winter.
There used to be a lot of stealing of furniture, so the community ensured that it took ownership of the school. There is no vandalism now.
In 1998, the Grade 12 pass rate was 64%, but in 1999 it dropped to 35,1% because parents were forcing them to enrol failing learners from other schools. The management needs to be investigated.
D. Group B visits
1. Mamabudusha High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 704 learners and 32 educators (22:1), some of whom are awaiting redeployment; they still need to be declared as excessive. There is an acting principal. They still need four HODs for language, mathematics and physical science.
Teachers' performance is effectively monitored by the principal. In previous years, they had a good Grade 12 pass rate, but over the past two years it has dropped - the 1999 rate was only 12%. When the then principal was asked to account for this, he decided to go on early retirement. They are at present striving for excellence, hoping to achieve a rate of above 40%.
There are 17 classrooms, two fixed public telephones and a water tap. The entire infrastructure in delapitated, with almost all windows broken and damaged floors, roofs and ceilings. They need urgent repairs and renovations.
There is no proper sanitation, no laboratory, no library, no sporting facilities and no administration block. One of the classrooms has been converted into a staff room. Educators and learners continue to use pit toilets, which are a health hazard. The road they use to get to school is bad and partly ruined. The only room which has electricity is the office of the acting principal.
The previous administration block, which had a library and a home economics facility, was burnt down by learners during a demand for a change in school fees. All the computers donated by Telkom and solar panels supplied and installed by Eskom were stolen.
Money raised to build toilets and install electricity supply was never used for that purpose, which has created many problems between learners and the management.
Reasons for low performance are the following:
(1) No proper management, and divisions among staff.
(2) Furniture is stolen by the community.
(3) The administration block was burnt down.
(4) Interference by the community in management.
They have made great strides in trying to resolve their problems. Teachers' morale has been directly affected by the above problems. Afternoon classes are conducted to eliminate the huge backlogs. There is good attendance and co-operation among learners.
Regular meetings are held with the SGB to discuss ways of building the administration block. They have agreed to raise funds and to assist with the rebuilding, and learners are also co-operating.
The district manager also pay regular visits and try to assist and advise them on the curriculum.
2. Mabotja High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 775 learners and 26 educators (30:1). It was started in 1989 with 22 educators for Grades 8 to 10. In 1990 the school very proudly introduced Grade 11, and in 1992 Grade 12 was introduced, due to a student increase.
This created problems in terms of classroom accommodation. Some classes had to be conducted in a shack. The school is generally in good condition, although there is no library, no laboratory and no sporting facilities.
There are 12 classrooms, one of which burnt down in 1997. In 1999, it was renovated.
The Grade 12 pass rate in 1999 dropped from 23% to 16%; learners pass languages more than other subjects.
Vandalism and theft of property are rife. All equipment, furniture, typewriters and doors were stolen by members of the community. The book storeroom was also burnt down.
They never received textbooks for new commercial subjects. Few parents can afford to buy textbooks, as most of them are unemployed. The school has to borrow some textbooks from neighbouring schools to continue with the process of learning and teaching.
Drug addiction and alcohol abuse by learners during school hours on the school premises is very common.
According to the principal, the weak performance is to be attributed to the following:
(1) No textbooks for the new commercial syllabus.
(2) The library was burnt down.
(3) A lack of commitment and dedication from pupils and educators.
In trying to solve these problems, meetings were held with Grade 12 educators to discuss problem areas and motivation strategies.
3. Setotolwane School for the Blind and Kuschke Agricultural school
The delegation could not meet with the educators, as they arrived very late at the school. The Committee apologises to the school and the community.
4. Siloe School for the Partially Blind and the Blind
The school has an enrolment figure of 238 learners and 38 educators (6:1), three of which have been redeployed to other schools. The school is a brick structure, and the grounds are very neat and well-maintained.
One blind educator has recently resigned. 110 learners are blind, while 128 are partially blind; most of them are albinos.
This was the first school for the blind in South Africa, established by a Father from Belgium in the late 1950s. It is a public school, situated on a private property and funded by overseas Catholic missionaries who believe in christian values. Adv Malatji is the first blind advocate in South Africa who studied here. At present there are two vacant posts, one for the post of deputy principal and one for the post of HOD.
For the past 10 years, the school has a 100% pass rate. One learner who obtained a 100% pass rate in mathematics is at present studying physiotherapy at UWC. The learners are highly committed and dedicated to strive for excellence, and they see education as the key to their success.
The school caters for three languages, history, business economics, typing, biblical studies, and in 1999, mathematics was introduced. It also caters for vocational training - learners are taught in handcraft, leather belts, weaving mats and wall pictures, which is sold to the public to raise money. Learners are also trained in sport, and most of them are good traditional dancers.
In 1996 some SADTU teachers refused to supervise learners during afternoon classes; even now they still refuse to do that.
The delegation arrived at the school very late, which made it impossible to meet learners.
5. Mogolo Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 626 learners (Grades 8 to 12) and seven educators (89:1). There is one block with four classrooms, and most of the windows are broken.
There is a serious problem of overcrowding and a shortage of classrooms and educators. Due to the lack of classrooms, four shacks with no windows and doors have been converted into classrooms, while one classroom is being used as a staff room, storeroom and library.
In some Grades 8 and 9 classes, more than 143 learners are either cramped together in one class or placed under the tree, which makes it impossible for the educator to attend to each individual learner. As there is a shortage of educators, some learners are left unattended, which makes control and discipline impossible.
As two educators have just resigned and another redeployed, the principal was hoping to get four more educators by the beginning of June 2000.
None of the toilets can flush; they have been out of use for long. Learners and educators have to use the toilets at a neighbouring primary school, which may create another health hazard. There are no sporting facilities and the school grounds are not well-maintained. There is a problem of leaking taps, which need urgent repairs.
Since establishment, they have never received any furniture. As no textbooks were received, they were supplied with the surplus of textbooks from the neighbouring school.
6. Batau Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 707 learners (Grades 1 to 12) and 14 educators (51:1). It is a brick structure, in need of urgent repair and renovation. All the windows are broken, and the fence, toilet doors and the gate have been stolen by people from the community. There is a serious shortage of educators. Some learners are taught outside under the tree, and on rainy days and during cold weather, schooling does not take place.
There is no furniture; some chairs and desks have been borrowed from neighbouring schools. There is also a shortage of classrooms; two shacks that were built are used as classrooms. One classroom has been converted into an office, staff room, storeroom and library, as there is no administration block. There is no sporting and recreational facilities.
Although farmers in the area have made concerted efforts to donate temporary structures, like shacks, the community continues to vandalise and destroy them. Vandalism to school property are reported to the police station 10km away. None of the reported cases have been solved.
There is lack of parental support. Only 5% of parents attend school meetings. The majority have migrated to cities to find work, which makes them unable to attend to meetings to discuss matters and problems regarding the school. The Kgosi of the village does support the school, but the community does not want to take ownership of the school.
7. Kabishi Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 1 462 learners and 13 educators (113:1). It is a brick structure with no broken windows, and two shacks are also used as classrooms. The grounds are well-maintained and clean. The learners are well-mannered and disciplined.
Enrolment figures are: 1995 - 350; 1996 - 631; 1997 - 986; 1998 - 1 268; 1999 - 1 315; 2000 - 1 462. Grade figures are: Grade 1 - 240; Grade 2 - 243; Grade 3 - 193; Grade 4 - 235; Grade 5 - 192; Grade 6 - 174; Grade 7 - 185.
There is serious overcrowding and a shortage of educators and classrooms, as enrolment increases annually. 19 posts still need to be filled to overcome the shortage.
There is a great parental support. Parents contribute and raise money to pay for fencing to safeguard school property.
At present there is no furniture and no administration block. Teaching aids and textbooks were never delivered. There are also no sporting facilities.
As clean tap water is not available on the grounds, learners have to bring water from home. Aids programmes have not yet been introduced as part of the school programme.
8. Phutinare Secondary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 768 learners and 31 educators (25:1), including the principal, and offers education from Grades 7 to 12. It was established in 1976 and enrols learners from six villages. It is a brick structure, and almost all the windows have been damaged by learners who failed and who demanded to be passed. It took three weeks to solve these problems.
Learners have to travel six km every day to get to school. The subjects offered are commercial, natural and human sciences.
Grade 12 pass rate: 1995 - 36%; 1996 - 2,1%; 1997 - 15,6%; 1998 - 6,8%; 1999- 40,2% (a great improvement).
The education department has constantly pressurised the school to move learners to higher grades, which has resulted in a decline in the Grade 12 pass rate.
Learners are abusing drugs. They smoke dagga which they get from the mountain near the school, where there is a big dagga plantation. This results in learners lacking discipline and progressing slowly at school. There is also a water shortage, and the toilets are not in good working condition.
At present there is no administration block and teaching materials for mathematics and science for Grade 11. Stationery was received very late, and only one Economics 2000 textbook was delivered. There is no parental support and lack of respect amongst learners, as most of them do not live with their parents. There is also a lot of absenteeism -learners as well as educators. The management should be investigated.
9. Belabela High School
The school has an enrolment figure of 674 learners and 40 educators (17:1), with an excess of 11 educators, and with no deputy principal and HODs. It is a double-storey brick structure with electricity, a fence, toilets and water, and no broken windows.
Theft is rife: They were forced by the education department to buy their own stationery and to pay for electricity. The community constantly refuse to co-operate to solve the problem. As 70% of the learners live in squatter camps, parental support is minimal. Learners refuse to attend afternoon classes to improve the poor pass rate.
10. Mahlasedi Primary School
The school has an enrolment figure of 1 000 learners and 24 educators (42:1). It uses an empty hostel - four blocks with 18 classrooms.
There is a serious overcrowding, caused by the transfer of learners from a delapidated farm school to this school. Although they had a 76% pass rate in 1999 under these bad conditions, the process of teaching and learning needs to be continued. Interior and exterior walls must be repaired.
There are no administration block, no sporting facilities, no furniture and a shortage of learning materials. They need materials like computers, fax machines and photocopiers.
The structure is not conducive to learning and teaching. The community deserves a new brick structure and a decent school.
11. Mohlakamotala Secondary School
This public school on private property has an enrolment figure of 470 learners and 17 educators (28:1), three of whom are temporary. The contract for the property has not been signed due to disagreement on the regulations.
Since its establishment in 1993, it has had a top matric pass rate. In 1999, the Grade 12 pass rate was 93,6%, compared to the 1998 rate of 1,4% less. It offers various vocational subjects like science, mathematics, technology, travel and tourism, technical drawing, hotel catering, business economics and various languages. With the efforts of the educators, a new administration block was built.
Textbooks and stationery were not delivered on time. There is a lack of communication between the department and the school, the circuit office is not well-equipped with materials to facilitate effective communication between school and department. There is also a shortage of classrooms - three additional classrooms are needed by the school.
12. Noisebosch Secondary School
This farm school has an enrolment figure of 86 learners and four educators (22:1), from Grades 1 to 11. It is situated on private property and consists of one classroom block, which is not conducive for learning and teaching. At present there is no principal, as he was being evicted by the landowner. The acting principal has been functioning in that position for three years without any remuneration.
There is no electricity and the toilets are not in good working condition. They did not even receive enough learning material for OBE. Most rural schools have been excluded from the OBE process.
On 10 January 2000, the landowner farmer locked learners out of the classrooms, and the educators had to seek a court order to re-open them. He also intend to evict three educators and does not want to allow children of farm workers to attend the school.There is lack of co-operation from the community and the SGB. Most parents feel that they have to be remunerated for support to the school. Three are no proper channels of communication with the circuit office to relay problems.
The school has a serious shortage of classrooms, textbooks, stationery and educators, no furniture, no administration block, no sanitation and water.
The management is ineffective. Vandalism is rife, committed by the community themselves. The community does not want to take ownership of the school. All the problem areas are solved by the school management alone, without the support of the provincial department of education and communities. Parental support is very minimal.
Some schools are forced to pay for electricity and water supply themselves, whilst white schools do not have to pay for such services.
E. Solutions to problem
Schools, communities, educators and learners should be actively involved in taking the initiative to change the schools, and communities and SGBs are always encouraged to co-operate and participate in the process. There is also a need to implement effective school management, and this management should be trained to mobilise the community to assist in school matters and to attend meetings.
The evaluation of performance should be conducted to identify the potential of those who can be promoted to HOD or principal.
The education department should provide enough classrooms, furniture, proper sanitation, clean running water, electricity, educators, textbooks and stationery to all schools in need. Parliament should address the problem of non-existence of sport and recreational facilities in schools.
There should also be compulsory education enforcers in communities to ensure that children attend classes, and legal structures should bind parents to ensure that their children are educated.
All corrupt educators should be brought to book by enforcing disciplinary measures.
F. Comments and recommendations
Areas that need urgent attention, are the following:
(a) Major repairs and renovations are required in most schools.
(b) A need to improve and upgrade existing libraries and develop mobile libraries.
(c ) A need to implement effective management in most schools.
(d) Capacity-building of SGBs in financial management and school governance is needed in most schools.
(e) A need for electricity, sanitation and clean running water.
(f) Provincial departments of education should monitor adherence to national legislation, for example adherence to the prohibition of corporal punishment.
(g) A need to inculcate a sense of ownership of schools by communities.
(h) A need to encourage co-operation between previously advantaged and disadvantaged schools.
(i) A need to develop a rural strategy educational plan based on the visit and in accordance with the President's integrated rural strategy programme.
(j) Special budgetary provisions must be made to attend to backlogs as well as the present needs and inadequacies. Furthermore, provision has to be made to address needs caused by natural disasters.
(k) This Report should be assessed within the broader context of the national schools' survey of needs.
The Committee is satisfied that it had attained most of the objectives identified for the study tour.
The delegations managed to lay the basis for a very constructive relationship with provincial governance structures. In the Northern Province, open and constructive discussions took place between the MEC for Education, Mr E Mushwana, the top management of the provincial education department and the delegation from Parliament.
The visit also succeeded in highlighting the principles of "Tirisano", the Minister's Call to Action to provincial structures. The delegations examined severe conditions of physical degradation in the poorest rural areas, according to the objective of the tour. They found conditions of immense poverty, dilapidated schools and a lack of basic facilities at educational institutions. However, even under the worst conditions, the delegations found that dedication, discipline and hard work of teachers in the classroom had a greater influence on examination results than what physical conditions in schools could bring about. In most schools, the management needs to be seriously investigated.
H. List of participants
1. MEC for Education and Culture: Mr E Mushwana.
2. Provincial Department of Education.
3. Mr R Matsana, PRO to MEC's office.
4. Chairperson (Mrs T J Ndimande) and provincial standing committee on education.
5. All principals and management of schools visited.
6. Various communities, including school governing bodies.
7. Regional, district and circuit managers.
8. All communities visited, as well as those not visited for various reasons.
Report to be considered.
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