The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) briefed the Committee on its 20011/12 expenditure and budget forecast for 2012/13. Umalusi had a net surplus of R19. 9 million; 117% of budgeted revenue from operations was recognised; 100% of the grant from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) was received; and 92% of the budgeted expenses were incurred. In terms of the Statement of Financial Position, the total assets were valued at R63.3 million, subject to revaluation of buildings which could increase by approximately R8 million; 105% of invoiced debts had been collected; cash available at the end of the period amounted to R1.1 million; and investments amounted to R26.3 million, attracting a net interest of 5.49% per annum, of which R6.4 million had been set aside for internal renovations to create open plan offices to accommodate staff.
Challenges facing Umalusi included the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training being written by the Department of Higher Education and Training, which proposed a reshuffle of the various quality councils; the overlapping mandate of Umalusi with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations; and the difficulty with finding qualified staff.
The Committee asked Umalusi to comment on the ongoing debate between Umalusi, the DBE and a number of prominent academics, including Professor Jansen, about the standard of education in South Africa. The Committee was concerned by the low standard of the National Senior Certificate, low pass grades, and the difficulties encountered by learners in their first year of further education or finding employment. They were also concerned by reports of poorly run marking centers and a low standard of markers. The Committee asked Umalusi to comment on the Recognition of Prior Learning. Umalusi was called upon to explain why so much debt was owed to the organization and why the budget was under spent. The Committee asked for clarification on the division of responsibility for curriculum development between Umalusi and the DBE.
The Committee undertook to consider the challenge posed by the Green Paper on quality councils. They resolved to meet with the various Quality Councils to discuss the overlapping mandates. The Chairperson spoke of the meeting scheduled for the next week with the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Higher Education and Training and Umalusi. She expressed her hope that everyone would be vocal in that meeting and that these issues could be clarified, and that basic education expectations would be voiced.
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