The presentation looked at the significant events and achievements for each of the Department’s five programmes. These were ▪ Programme One: Administration; ▪ Programme Two: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring; ▪ Programme Three: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development;
▪ Programme Four: Planning, Information and Assessment; ▪ Programme Five: Educational Enrichment Services. The Department explained what targets and outputs had been attained. The expenditure report for the entire year was also discussed.
Members asked questions about the supply of maths and science teachers, teacher orientation, teacher colleges, lessons learned from the implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements, special needs, under spending, education as a human right, learning materials, programmes affecting teachers, vacancy rates in schools, the centralisation of the procurement system, school quintiles, School Governing Body elections and infrastructure. Many of these questions and concerns were not answered at this meeting but would be discussed during a three-day workshop during July with the Department.
Fourth Quarter 2011/12 Performance by Department of Basic Education (DBE)
Ms Vivienne Carelse, DBE Deputy Director General: Strategic Planning & Reporting, spoke about the highlights for 2011/12 such as providing 54 million books to learners at no cost to them, the launch of the Magnificent Wednesday campaign to encourage participation in sport at all schools, and the launch of the Madiba Project in 94 schools.
Mr Gerrit Coetzee, Director: Strategic Planning and Reporting, thanked the Committee for the role they played in their oversight function. His presentation looked at the significant events and achievements in terms of targets and outputs as set in annual performance plan for DBE’s five programmes. These were:
▪ Programme One: Administration,
▪ Programme Two: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring,
▪ Programme Three: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development,
▪ Programme Four: Planning, Information and Assessment,
▪ Programme Five: Educational Enrichment Services.
[see document for all details]
Mr Ntsetsa Molalekoa, DBE CFO, presented the expenditure report which covered the total adjusted appropriation budget, total expenditure and allocation against actual expenditure per programme and per item for the 2011/2012 financial year
The Chairperson said that the Committee would have another chance to engage with the Department as they were to be with them for a three-day workshop in Cape Town. If all the questions could not be answered now, there would be another chance to engage with the Department in more depth.
Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPs)
Mr D Smiles (DA) said that it was an open secret that there was a shortage of maths and science teachers which was very acute. He asked, in regard to Grade 10 maths and science teachers, how had this problem been addressed in relation to the CAPs? He wanted to make sure that DBE had been successful in making sure there were qualified teachers in Grade 10 classrooms. DBE would have information of this nature at their disposal. DBE needed to make sure that the CAPs implementation had been done right from the start. It was crucial that in Grade 10 there were maths and science teachers who knew what to do.
Ms Samuels replied that there was not a number for the qualified maths and science teachers in grade 10 that could provide at the meeting. It was something that needed attention. DBE did not centralise data on the number of teachers attached to the different subjects. DBE was however changing that process so they could gather that data. The utilisation of trained maths and science teachers was one of the issues to be dealt with at a maths summit that the Minister was planning to hold in July.
Mr A Mponstshane (IFP) said that in terms of CAPs, it had been mentioned that there had been a collaborative effort with teacher unions for orientation could there be an expansion on this?
Mr Haroon Mahomed, Professional Development Manager: Teacher Education and Development Directorate in DBE, replied there had been a delay with the establishment of the National Institute for Curriculum and Professional Development (NICPD) but the function of that structure had been slightly different from the immediate support of CAPs. It was meant to develop diagnostic assessments to teachers so DBE could get more reliable information on teacher needs. It also allowed for the development of courses to help teachers both with CAPs, Norms and Standards for Educators results and national assessments. Work had been going on and the teacher union collaboration had been located within the NICPD. The launch of the NICPD was a short distance away.
Mr Mponstshane asked what did the orientation entail? Would teachers be left competent enough to perform their duties?
Mr Mahomed replied that the orientation had been an introduction to the changes in the curriculum policy statement which was for the strengthening of the curriculum. What was then to follow was the ongoing support that had followed the explanation of the changes and the requirements with regard to curriculum changes.
Mr Mponstshane said he wondered why fully-fledged teacher colleges had been left to another Department. What one found on the ground had been different and there was no synergy. How often did DBE go to the province and see the situation for itself as there was a concern in that area.
Mr Mahomed replied the function of the establishment of new institutions for teacher education lay with Higher Education. However DBE had received information that there was work going on within the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal in terms of the establishment of additional institutions.
Ms Nuga Deliwe, Chief Director of Strategic Planning Research and Coordination, replied on the point that had been made on the extension of teacher supply, saying this was critical. DBE had been working with Higher Education on the supply issue, not only on the numbers but on the kind of teachers in respond to the demand from DBE’s side. What DBE had been doing was to try and map (at district level) the requirements by subject and by phase for the different types of teachers. They then tried to feed that into what was being produced at national level in terms of higher education mandates. DBE was working with Department of Higher Education on that.
Ms N Gina (ANC) asked what had been the lessons learned through the first implementation of CAPs? This would allow for increased knowledge on the challenges when the programme was rolled out again the following year. It would allow for the smooth running of CAPs in the second phase.
Ms Marie Louis Samuels, Acting Chief Director: Curriculum Branch, replied that in terms of lessons learned which included that this year, most of CAPs were delivered to the school in the first term. This meant that those schools that normally planned for the following year had had difficulty, as they did not have the actual documents. The documents had been loaded onto the website but the physical copy had only been distributed in January. From that perspective, in preparation for implementation in the intermediate phase, CAPs were to be delivered this year by November so the teacher would be able to plan adequately before implementation. In terms of utilisation of the documents, what DBE had done was ensure that they had a good accountability system at the schools so principals could hold themselves accountable for ensuring that the curriculum was adequately covered in the schools. DBE had developed a curriculum coverage tool which was used by the principals and heads of department at school level so that DBE was able to ascertain what percentage of the curriculum had been covered. As DBE moved forward they believed this was something that could be well institutionalised.
Ms Gina said it seemed that CAPs had distracted DBE from achieving some of its other targets. She was a little disturbed by that. This meant that DBE activities had not been properly planned. This was evident if DBE reported that “some of the targets had been disturbed by one of the programmes”.
Mr Smiles asked what had been the planning for special needs education as this had not been raised in the presentation. He imagined at least one of the programmes would have indicated what was happening in special needs. He had targeted Planning as this was where special needs education should start. He wanted to hear from Planning what was to happen.
Ms A Lovemore (DA) referred to slides 27 and 28 on Programme Two outputs. These were targets for DBE and did not take into account what might have been done in respect to these targets in the provinces. She asked if this could this be unpacked a little more? If one said that the targeted number had not been trained (for districts with at least one educator who had received specialised training in the identification and support of special needs) this seemed like a figure that was given for the whole country. The information did not give a picture of what had been happening across the country. She also asked if the provinces were the ones who were supposed to be doing this. Then why was DBE also doing the training? DBE should have surely been operating at a higher level than operations and this was operational work. She asked for clarity.
Mr Mponstshane asked if the figure for teachers who had received training to tackle special needs was 30. Was this 30% or merely 30 teachers? After it was confirmed that the number was 30, he stated that this figure was not good enough.
Ms Samuels replied that, for the first time, a great amount of training work had included the identification and addressing of special needs in curriculum delivery. DBE had planned to have “intense training for 30 teachers, 30 districts, 30 teachers at special schools etc”. It had been in the DBE competence to do that but they were unable to do so as they were involved in other areas. However, these were the areas they were going to be focusing on as DBE moved forward. There was information on what had happened in provinces. So for example, of the 80 districts, there were 66 districts where people had been trained in the identification of and support of special needs. The information that the members required could be provided so that the details could be seen. In terms of the numbers of educators and special schools per district and which these districts were.
Mr Smiles said he had not heard why so much [figure mentioned R1.2 billion] had been underspent? He asked if this information could be provided.
The Chairperson said that although underspending had been brought up there was a need for DBE to unpack that. The Committee was not satisfied with the underspending.
Ms Lovemore noted one of the significant events/achievements in Programme One was the assistance given by the Planning and Delivery Unit in the finalisation of post establishments being on time. There was another court case about implementation of post establishments in the Eastern Cape. It was all very well that post establishments had been finalised but the fact of the matter was, especially in the Eastern Cape, they were not being implemented. This was reflected in the number of teachers appointed in the Eastern Cape – which was ridiculously low.
External Integrated Quality Management Service Moderators
Ms Lovemore referred to slide 33 on the External Integrated Quality Management Service (IQMS) Moderators. She understood IQMS was done in the schools and there were also school managers (namely principals) in these schools. There were also circuit managers, district managers and provincial managers all of whom were meant to ensure the job had been done properly. It was not the job of DBE. If these managers had not been making sure that IQMS was being implemented properly then why had action not been taken to do something about it? She recalled that there approximately R860 million allocated to the moderation of IQMS. She was glad that the schools that were moderated had been but was DBE taking action to ensure the ones meant to do that job were doing it?
Clarifications on slides
Ms Lovemore said slide 38 referred to the NICPD and under the 4th Quarter actual output-validated, it stated ‘Concept Document not approved yet’. What did this imply? She did not fully understand what the implications were.
Ms Gina said that Programme Two had not reached 25% of its planned targets. She thus wanted to know if this was achieved at a later stage or not achieved within the planned time? If this had not happened then the 25% would have a great impact and effect on programmes such as inclusive education. She asked for an explanation on why the 25% had not been achieved. She said this could have an impact on programmes, especially inclusive education. The Committee was very passionate about this programme.
Democratic ethos and human rights culture in schools
Ms Lovemore said she understood that it was difficult to measure the number of schools that reflected a democratic ethos and human rights culture and perhaps this should not have been put in if it could not be measured. Howeve, the fact remained that education was a basic human right. Every school needed to give children an education to a level that satisfied the human right envisioned in the Constitution. What she wanted to see was DBE defining what basic education entailed. Put it out for public comment and then finalise this as a policy. What could a child expect as a human right to basic education?
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said learning materials must not be distributed late. If teachers went to class without the assistance of learning materials, “we cannot hope to see a change”.
Ms Samuels replied that DBE could safely report that they had planned to deliver all of the workbooks by end February this year. However not all of the workbooks had been delivered in the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu Natal. This year, however, the delivery would be taking place in November so everyone should have the workbooks before the start of school next year.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) asked about the IQMS in terms of incentives. The last time she had checked, people were supposed to be remunerated for a job well done. However there had not been reports that people had been remunerated at the right time. Often it was a challenge if people were not given a thank you for a job well done and given incentives.
Mr Mponstshane said that Programmes Three and Four were crucial as without competent teachers the system would continue at a weak level. In the Eastern Cape, there seemed to be about 60 teachers entering the profession for the first time. Western Cape had the most with 1 813 teachers. Had this been a deliberate move to have those 60 in the Eastern Cape? Had this been what the system needed or were there barriers to producing more teachers there? He asked what DBE’s stand on teacher colleges was. Were colleges to be opened, especially for the Early Childhood Development Phase?
Mr Mpontashane said the tone from DBE seemed to be that the current vacancy rate was acceptable seeing as it had decreased. However even one school without a principal should not occur. Why did DBE have schools without principals? How could the school seek to reach their objectives without principals? The achievement rate on Programme Three stood at 89% However what about the remaining percentage? What were the barriers there stopping DBE from achieving 100%?
Ms Deliwe replied that a lot of problems to do with posts had not been just about the supply of teachers but also keeping them. There was a problem with retention and there was work to do over the financial year on teacher profiling and what stopped retention. This was anticipated within the coming financial year but work had already started on issues related to post provisioning and also issues that militated against the deployment of teachers in the right places at the right times, particularly in response to maths and science and technology. Vacancies at school level was an issue DBE wanted to get a better handle on, not just at aggregate terms. There was a need to decipher what the inefficiencies were at filling the system.
Mr C Moni (ANC) said there had only been two media articles provided to external publications. One could only assume that this was two low – but what had been the target?
Mr Moni referred to slide 73 on allocations for 2011/12. Under the title ‘Compensation of employees’ there was the figure of 96.5%. Did this mean the remaining percentage had not been spent or had it not been given to employees? He expected that this figure should be at 100%.
Ms Gina asked for a clear idea of the Madiba Project in the 94 schools. She asked if this could be unpacked and the Committee told about that project.
Centralisation of the procurement system
Ms Gina referred to the centralisation of the DBE procurement system, saying she knew the publishing companies were against it. There had also been a debate in the public sphere to say how best it could be managed. How well was the situation being managed? The transition period needed to be well managed.
Ms Gina said she welcomed e-education as everything revolved around technology. How had DBE come up with the 1 650 schools and how well distributed were they? She had raised this concern as there was a need to avoid a situation where there was a focus on the advantaged areas. How balanced were the schools as there was a need to see the impact throughout the county.
Ms Gina said she liked Programme Five. She felt it was the best programme as it reached the vulnerable children in society. How far had the process of containing the schools gone? It was important. The quintiling of schools had been a problem for many years. How far had the process of quintiling gone?
The Chairperson said with quintiling, what also happened during the year was a school could have their quintile changed. The complaint had been that there were learners now not being fed. The Committee had said that in terms of nutrition it was important that learners within Quintile 1 and 3 were being fed.
School Governing Body (SGB)
The Chairperson said in March there had been the School Governing Body elections. Had all schools had the elections during that period and what had been the challenges?
Ms Deliwe replied that only 500 of the 26 000 schools had not completed the elections by the time they were meant to. That was something DBE needed to work on. It was however a tiny minority of schools that did not complete their elections in the time they were supposed to. The elections had been held by the IEC.
Ms Gina said the SGB elections had been done up until the end of March and it was now June. It was the first time DBE had been able to come up with statistics. Was this because the elections had been run by the IEC? It had always been a challenge for DBE to come up with a such a report in a short period of time. What had stopped them in the past? What was in turn the problem with getting information from the provinces, one could not always say that ‘the provinces had not submitted’ as it had been easy with the elections.
The Chairperson said what was important was the lessons learned and what had been the challenges. There was also a need for a breakdown of what provinces these 500 schools came from
The Chairperson said it was important that the Committee be given a table stating infrastructure progress in each province. If grants had been given, it would be good to have a table showing how much had been given and what had been done. This would allow the Committee to see under spending or over spending.
The Chairperson said there were still a number of questions to be answered but there would be time to engage on these at the three-day workshop.
Ms Carelse replied she had made a list of the questions so they could respond accurately. Documents would be shared before the workshop to allow for detailed discussion. The July workshop could speak to a number of the issues raised as well as the way forward for DBE.
The meeting was adjourned.
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