Department of Basic Education 1st quarter expenditure 2012

Basic Education

04 September 2012
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) outlined its 1st quarter 2012 expenditure and performance report, and gave a separate briefing also on the Department’s state of readiness for the 2012 National Senior Certificate examinations, to start in 47 days. DBE outlined the performance in each of its programmes. There was some underspending but this had been largely due to late submission of invoices and late delivery of materials. DBE aimed, overall to restore stability and maintain service delivery in the provinces. The international partnerships were outlined. Particular areas of concern remained as the standard of teaching of mathematics, sciences and languages, the difficulties in managing the diversity of languages across the country and finding suitable teachers, and school dropouts that were adding to illiteracy and incomplete education of South Africans. Teachers had to engage fully with the curriculum and ensure that the learners covered all areas, had the proper knowledge to write examinations, and to ensure that all grade 12 learners would register for and write the examinations. The DBE also conceded, in answer to questions, that temporary teachers were too numerous at the moment, but had to be engaged where the surplus teachers did not have the necessary skills. Over time, the numbers of temporary teachers should be reduced.

In the report on the state of readiness, the DBE assured Members that all provinces were ready to write the National Senior Certificate examinations  and Annual National Assessments. The administration of NSC had improved over the year due to a
sound legislative framework, strict compliance, strong national and provincial collaboration, a heightened examinations culture and nationally-set question papers. DBE emphasised the importance of the competency tests that it would administer to choose markers, the process of appointing chief invigilators, and the strict regulations around the handling of question papers and answer scripts. DBE also assured Members that it had taken steps to deal with any problems the provinces might incur during the examination period, that there were rules around, for instance, electricity black-outs. In answer to questions, it noted that it was attempting to reduce the numbers of the marking centres to create better uniformity of examination marking throughout the whole country, although there were challenges in finding suitable venues.

Members asked how many learners had actually received Funza Lusaka bursaries, and noted that the DBE was taking stricter measures to enforce their return to certain areas to teach in return for the funding. They asked about the measures in place to deal with problems that may be encountered during the examination period. They noted that there were complaints that insufficiently-trained teachers were graduating from the higher education institutions, and agreed that a joint meeting be held with the Department of Higher Education and Training to address these issues. They asked about the effectiveness of the Kha Re Gude literacy campaign, sought clarity on how the annual national assessments were conducted, and why there was a specific focus on grades 3, 6 and 9. They also asked how the DBE was dealing with schools that lacked the infrastructure to carry out the practical examinations, and what was being done to upgrade the technical schools.

Meeting report

Department of Basic Education 1st quarter expenditure 2012
An apology was noted from the Minister and Deputy Minister of Basic Education.

Mr Bobby Soobrayan, Director General, Department of Basic Education, said that clear indicators for delivery of service had been identified in the Outcome Based Approach. The quarterly reports followed a very particular format, and the Cabinet engaged with these indicators while assessing the progress of the programme. The indicators had also been verified by the Auditor-General (AG), and all processes combined together to improve accountability. He emphasised that most of these indicators related very closely to the vote appropriated to the Department of Basic Education, although it would be useful to had another meeting to engage with sector indicators during service delivery.

Ms Carol Nuga Deliwe, Director: Policy Support: Department of Basic Education, said the main challenges that the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department) was facing at the moment was the need to restore stability and service delivery in two provinces, and to maintain the levels of service delivery in other provinces.

The National Supplementary Examinations had been completed, showing a 72.7% pass rate. The
94+ Projects for Madiba’ was launched as part of International Mandela Day. The DBE needed to focus on educational curriculum tools as well as major infrastructure benefits. The Minister held a meeting with District Directors to advocate improvement in learner performance in the sector, on 19 April 2012.

Ms Deliwe
said the activities of the DBE had been structured into five programmes, as elaborated on in the Annual Performance Plan. Programme 1 dealt with administration, Programme 2 with curriculum policy, support and monitoring, Programme 3 with teachers, Education Human Resources and Institution Development, Programme 4 with planning, information and assessment, and the Programme 5 with educational enrichment services.

The purpose of Programme 1 was to manage the Department and provide strategic and administrative support services. She outlined some of the specific activities in the 1st quarter. The DBE, on behalf of Umalusi, was developing a bilateral agreement with Namibia, on sharing of certification data for Grade 12. It was also setting up a partnership with the government of Cuba, specifically to conduct an exchange programme of tutors in the field of Mathematics, Science and Technology.

A meeting was held with a team from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on their fact-finding mission in preparation for the 2012 Economic Survey. The DBE and USAID embarked on a process of appointing service providers with a proven track record to engage with its School Capacity and Innovation Programme (SCIP). The DBE hosted an incoming delegation of the Pakistani education sector personnel, which was aimed at understanding the South African Basic Education sector.

The aim of Programme 2 was to develop the curriculum and assessment policies, as well as monitor and support their implementation. This required increasing the availability of e-Education of learning and teaching resources amongst teachers, and work aimed at bringing stability and coherence for the national school curriculum. Special attention would be paid to making improvements in mathematics, physical science and technical subjects. It would promote adequate access to quality learning materials by means of better national specifications on what every learner required, and by adopting a more proactive approach towards the cost-effective development, reproduction and distribution of materials such as workbooks and textbooks. This included creation of a sound basis for quality pre-Grade 1 education, through the promotion of quality learning and teaching materials at this level.

The DBE would also promote national screening guidelines that provided for an equitable system of access to special needs support amongst learners.

An orientation meeting for stakeholders was held on the Intermediate Phase and Grade 11 continuous assessments (CAPS) were conducted from 20 to 22 June. Union representatives, representatives from universities and special schools had been educated on with the changes brought about by the CAPS and how these could be mediated with teachers.
The handbook on how to teach numeracy in the early grades had been revised and aligned to CAPS. This would be made available via Thusong and sent electronically to district offices for use in their support of teachers. A plan for the support of teaching and assessment in multi-grade schools had been developed. The orientation of CAPS focused extensively on district support for multi-grade teaching. 

All schools had been provided with exemplar assessment items for all subjects for Grade 9. School-based assessment guidelines were being drafted to provide clear requirements for assessment for Grades R to 9, and these would shortly be distributed to all schools.

Provincial visits to monitor curriculum coverage had taken place during May 2012. Seven provinces, excluding Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, were visited to determine how the policy documents were being used.

A draft policy framework was finalised, and would be released for public comment, in an attempt to
ensure uniform implementation and improve the quality of the Grade R programme in schools and community-based sites. The Grade R workbook for 2013 had been aligned to the CAPS.

The KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape ICT resource centres were completed in May and June respectively.

The national catalogue of textbooks for Grades 4-6 and Grade 11, and the supplement for Grades 1-3 had been provided to provinces, who should now begin their procurement. Data for printing and distribution of workbooks in 2013 was submitted to provinces for verification.

Ms Deliwe moved on to discuss Programme 3, which aimed to
promote quality teaching and institutional performance through the effective supply, development and utilisation of human resources. DBE wanted to ensure that the new teacher development plan was translated into a wide range of teacher training materials, and to set up collaborative professional development activities within the schooling system and agreements with service providers. The National Institute for Curriculum and Professional Development (NICPD) was to be established, to promote best practices in classroom teaching and teacher development. DBE also wanted to run an ongoing national campaign encouraging people to choose teaching as a career, based on research into good teachers, with the necessary information and bursaries to be provided. She noted that the Information Guides for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme were being printed for distribution to provincial education departments and Higher Education Institutions. 11 500 students were identified to receive the bursary at various institutions.

DBE also was developing training strategies and materials aimed at parents to include them in new accountability mechanisms at schools.

eetings were held with the Teacher Unions, to try to break the current disagreements, and in future a two person committee would identify areas of disagreement and propose mechanisms to resolve them. It had already proposed the introduction of the Quality Management System (QMS) in place of the former system, and this would cover all levels within the school, including principals and deputy principals. Feedback was awaited on the draft documents. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for teacher collaboration was signed and CAPS collaboration in KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga was concluded.

A Capacity Development Guide for the training of School Governing Bodies (SGBs), had been approved by the relevant bodies. Training had commenced in June 2012, and would continue for the entire term of office of the SGBs. District Improvement Planning was another focus area, to ensure that all districts covered all the prioritised areas in supporting schools. District Improvement Plans were analysed and feedback was provided, and future plans would be informed by a template.

Ms Deliwe outlined Programme 4, which aimed to promote quality and effective service delivery in the basic education system, through planning, implementation and assessment. D
BE aimed to establish a quality system of standardised and benchmarked learner assessments, and ensure that all children completed a quality readiness programme in Grade R before entering formal education in Grade 1. It also wanted to provide support systems for provinces and schools to improve the physical environs of the school and create enabling conditions for successful teaching and learning.

A support visit was conducted to each of the provincial education departments, to evaluate their progress in dealing with the shortcomings identified in the 2011 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. A comprehensive report was presented to the consultative bodies and further monitoring would be done in July and August 2012. A team of 79 moderators was deployed to each of the provincial education departments to evaluate the quality and standard of assessment tasks across eight subjects, with immediate feedback being given, and a more comprehensive report to be published in August.

Significant achievements in Annual National Assessments (ANA) included the establishment and population of the national IT registration database of all Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9 learners who would participate. Language and Mathematics tests were prepared, to be administered in September 2012. The validity and reliability of the tests was vital to give credibility to the educational outcomes. Ongoing processes now included printing and packaging of the test materials.

Ms Deliwe noted that Programme 5 aimed to
develop policies and programmes to improve the quality of learning in schools, with a particular focus on education support services to learners from poor communities, and involvement of other stakeholders to add value.

On 18 April 2012, the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) was presented to the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) and was approved for implementation. The provinces had developed implementation plans, after input from the National Task Team.

In this quarter, the DBE visited four provinces to monitor programme implementation and give support to districts and schools.

The Ministers of DBE and SAPS signed a Collaborative Partnership Protocol on 11 March 2011, acknowledging that prevention of crime and violence in schools was a shared responsibility. Finally, the  audit instrument was approved and described in a circular to principals and School Governing Bodies.

Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DBE, tabled the expenditure report, and said that out of the total budget of R16.34 billion, transfer payments made up R11.97 billion. A breakdown was given of the line items on the budget, as well as the expenditure, which was R4.14 billion in this quarter  

The under-expenditure was due mainly to delays in the procurement of stationery and learner support material for the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign, late payments for printing and distribution, and delays in the printing and delivery of the 2013 workbooks. The artwork for 2013 workbooks had been revised in accordance with inputs from schools and specialists, and this was being signed off.

Ms Molalekoa noted that the DBE’s statutory role to formulate policy, norms and standards, and to
monitor and evaluate policy implementation and impact, was being undertaken in close collaboration with provincial education departments. It would be consolidating the progress made in the first quarter by addressing improved learner performance, through key priorities.

State of Readiness-2012 NSC Examinations (47 days to go): DBE briefing
Mr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director of Examinations, Department of Basic Education, outlined the country’s state of readiness for the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. These had
matured over the last few years and the strength of the system lay in a sound legislative framework, strict compliance, strong national and provincial collaboration, a good examinations culture and nationally-set question papers. There was continuous review and improvement of policy, processes and systems. A complete dry run on the system would be completed by 30 September 2012, in conjunction with Umalusi.

The target success indicators had shown that high quality question papers had been set and moderated, that examination centres and candidates were accurately registered on the examination computer system, that the question papers had been accurately printed, and distributed on time to all schools and candidates, and strict security measures were adhered to during the distribution process. All candidates, including learners with special needs, were accommodated and examinations were conducted under controlled conditions across all examination centres. Answer scripts would be accurately marked and moderated, and all examination marks accurately captured on the examination computer system.

All independent centres had been evaluated to ensure that they satisfied the criteria for registration, and if there was any doubt about the integrity of the centre, the examination would be administered by the Provincial Department of Education at these centers, or closely monitored.

All question papers were set by DBE to ensure a national standard. 264 question papers had been set by panels of examiners, then moderated by subject specialists and Umalusi to ensure the appropriate standard. The examination panels were reviewed and where capacity shortfalls were identified, training was done. Six provincial departments had excellent in-house printing facilities. Two others used the services of Government Printing Works (GPW), and State Information Technology Agency (SITA), whilst one outsourced its printing to a reputable service provider.

had taken initiatives to ensure the full implementation of the common assessment framework for languages, closer monitoring of the setting and moderation process, and improved editing and translation of question papers.

All provincial departments had introduced pre-sealing of question papers, storage facilities were inspected and security improved. Question papers would be distributed to examination centres on the morning of the examination, except in the Western Cape. In the Northern Cape, some schools that were far from the districts would store question papers at schools.

The examinations started on 22 October 2012 and concluded on 28 November 2012. Invigilators were being trained, and the school principals would be chief invigilators.

All scripts would be returned to the district office on the same day as the examination was written, with similar security measures. Marking centres were established across all provincial departments. Markers were appointed according to set criteria, and competency tests were run. Training of markers was ongoing and specialised training sessions would be organised prior to the marking sessions. Internal moderators were to be appointed, for each subject, at each marking centre, and DBE would appoint external moderators to evaluate the marking at each centre. Finally, Umalusi would conduct the centralised moderation of marking, while the marking was in progress.

Moderation of School based Assessments (SBA) was ongoing at the school, district and provincial level and DBE conducted a focused moderation of assessment tasks in selected districts across all provincial departments in July. The second national moderation would be conducted in October 2012, to evaluate the assessment tasks and the learner evidence. The provincial moderation was to be completed by 31 October 2012.

Marking of examinations would be completed by 14 December, the marks would be captured by 16 December 2012 and the results would be released on 3 January 2013.

A detailed analysis of results per school, per district, per province, and per subject would be made available. Under-performing schools would be brought to account and improvement plans designed. The Teacher Development Programmes were targeting teachers in under-performing schools. DBE was particularly emphasising a
Curriculum Coverage Monitoring Tool, teacher accountability and class attendance.

Mr Poliah concluded that all provincial departments were ready to administer the examinations. Additional attention would, however, be focused on Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces.

Finally, he noted that the certificates for 2011 candidates were distributed to all candidates at the end of July 2012. The 2012 NSC certificates should be released to candidates by end May 2013.

Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) asked about the Funza Lushaka bursary. Although the provincial figures for recipients of the bursary were noted on the slides for Programme 3, the number of qualifying students were not.

Mr Soobrayan replied that this grant was not managed by the DBE, but between the managing directors of Funza Lushaka and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSAFAS). DBE would only deal with problems between NSFAS and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Some provinces also offered their own grants, and he asked that if Members became aware of problems in certain provinces and institution, DBE should be told, so they could then intervene.

Mr Makhubele noted that 623 000 matric students were getting ready to write the examinations this year, but asked how many other students had enrolled for grade 12 but not for the examination.

Mr Soobrayan replied that the DBE had done a comparison of matric enrolments from 1994 to 2012, which showed an increase, and the numbers of those enrolling for the exam should continue to rise.

Mr Makhubele asked if there were measures in place to deal with any problems during the examinations; and how long it would take to bring these into play. For instance, if a particular school had no electricity during an examination, it may be impossible for students to start the exam on time, and it was unclear when they would then write.

Mr Poliah replied that over the years the DBE had identified possible problems and had put clear measures in place. If there were electricity black-outs during the examination, the exam could be delayed for two hours, but after that, the exam must be rescheduled to another time.

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) said that in many cases SGBs had been ineffective, and some members of SGBs were themselves illiterate and the training given was not sufficient to address all the problems. He asked if DBE could consider other means of getting the right people to run these bodies, within the rules of the South African Council of Educators (SACE).

Mr Soobrayan agreed that this was an area of major weakness. However, he did not think that a person without significant schooling was not able to be trained, pointing out that many people without formal schooling themselves were being trained both in South Africa and other countries in the world. Many showed impressive leadership skills, referred to ‘organic leadership’. Adequate training must take place, without exclusion of any individuals.

Mr Mpontshane asked about the schools mentioned in the slide on Whole School Evaluation (WSE) that had not given information or had not been evaluated, and asked what the DBE would do about them.

Mr Themba Kojana, Acting Deputy Director General, DBE, replied that the DBE had looked into differential methods, as some provinces had a bad view over accountability of some officials. Where there was lack of information on some schools, the DBE had engaged with HEDCOM, to ensure better understanding in the implementation of the policy.

Mr Mpontshane referred to Teachers Performance Appraisals (TPA), and asked if other unions apart from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) were involved in the negotiation process.

Mr Soobrayan apologised if there was not enough clarity on the negotiation processes, assured Members that DBE was communicating with all the unions and each was developing its views.

Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) added that it seemed that SADTU was the one remaining union that still had to sign its agreement.

Ms N Gina (ANC) asked what relationship DBE had with institutes of higher learning. Schools had complained about the poor standard of teachers being trained by some of these institutions, as they were not equipped with the proper skills. She asked how DBE would deal with this.

Mr Bobby Soobrayan replied that this was an area of major challenge for the DBE, and there were other challenges around content and language, in particular African languages. Other Commonwealth countries were also experiencing this problem.

Mr Kojana added that the matter of both content and methodology had been raised at the National Teacher Education Forum, with the deans of the higher learning institutions. A positive result had been seen, as well, from collaboration with the British Council. All higher learning institutions participated in the initiative of English as a first language at universities, and agreed that it had to be strengthened.

Ms Gina asked whether Kha Ri Gude Literacy Project addressed the problem of illiteracy in the country, and what its impact was.

A Departmental representative replied that the cycle began in June, and replied that there had been increased enrolments, although to date the DBE had not managed to get individuals absorbed into higher levels of this project.

Mr Soobrayan added that Kha Ri Gude had had a significant impact, and DBE was happy with its positive impact so far, although it must be said that it was not only this programme that resulted in literacy levels improving.

Ms Gina asked for clarification on the slide on outputs, asking if more students were tending to repeat Grade 4, and wanting more clarity on the rules and regulations for repeating a grade. She asked where the figures for repeats at any level were reflected. She also wanted to know whether repeating a grade had proven helpful to learners. She noted that there had been a tendency in the past to push learners to sit for their matriculation examinations even though they were not ready. There was a higher dropout rate as students approached the matriculation exam.

Mr Soobrayan replied that any dropouts from secondary and further education training levels (FET) or from high schools added to the illiteracy statistics. He said that DBE wanted to reduce the illiteracy number and this was a major challenge. He said, in regard to grade repetition, that promotion and progression policies were good when compared to others in the world, but they also were affected by the learning deficit, whether good teaching was addressing the problems, and whether learners left each phase with the correct outcomes.  The DBE had to improve quality and teaching curriculum development. He noted the huge repetition rate in grade ten.

Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) asked whether learners were covering the syllabus and their readiness for the upcoming examinations.

Mr Mathanzima Mweli, Deputy Director General, Department of Basic Education, replied that DBE was monitoring curriculum coverage and had had positive feedback. Teachers must ensure that the learners acquired the skills and knowledge to engage with the syllabus. The results so far indicated that the students were ready to write the ANA exams and National Senior Certificate.

Mr Dikobo noted that the competency tests given to teachers was sending mixed signals, because the same teachers who had been marking continuous assessment tests throughout the academic year were now being asked to write competency tests. He wondered what would happen if they were judged incompetent to mark the final national examinations, and asked if the results would affect their placement to certain areas.

Mr Poliah replied that the DBE had to begin somewhere in assessing content gaps and teachers, and could not compromise on the competency issues because the National Senior Certificate was such an important examination. There were challenges in compiling any test, especially if the results were to be used for making a decision. The purpose was to assess not the placement, but the highest areas of knowledge of the markers.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) noted that chief invigilators were not allowed to invigilate if their children were writing the examinations, and wondered if there were rules about siblings writing.

Ms Mushwana urged that safety and security should be given the same attention throughout the rest of the year, and suggested that maybe schools could hire security personnel to assist with this problem throughout the year.

Ms Mushwana asked why Western Cape schools were allowed to keep their answer scripts on the school premises after the examinations, whilst other provinces had to deliver the answer scripts to the district department offices, and urged that all provincial departments be treated equally to avoid any disparity amongst the learners.

Mr Poliah replied that  currently the Western Cape education department had argued that all its schools had strong rooms. DBE agreed that there should ideally be uniformity in dealing with these papers in all provinces. He assured the Members that all question papers were in security-sealed bags that the invigilators had to open in front of their learners.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) asked why the slides only dealt with Annual National Assessments at grades 3, 6 and 9, since all the grades between 1 and 6 were writing ANA.

Mr Bobby Soobrayan confirmed that grades 1 to 6 all participated in ANA, but the externally administered ANA applied to grades 3, 6 and 9, and were used to measure the quality of the system.   Grades 1, 2, 4 and 5 were externally moderated, but monitored by the schools. The reason for the monitoring was to focus on quality and areas that require intervention.

Ms Lovemore asked why some schools were apparently reading out exam questions to the learners, and asked if they were required to give oral responses, or write their answers down. She also asked for comment on the observation by some principals that the grade 3 learners were too young to read the question papers themselves.

Mr Soobrayan replied that in grades 1 and 2, the examination questions were read out to the learners, who were then to write down their answers. DBE agreed that there was a problem around grade 3 learners reading the questions themselves, but this was in the curriculum.

Ms Lovemore said that some teachers had complained about difficulties that learners, particularly those from rural areas, had in learning some languages as they could not relate to certain words. She wondered also about the reliability of the Systematic Evaluation National Assessments in grades 3, 6, and 9.

Mr Soobrayan noted that the DBE was still working on perfecting the national assessments. He agreed with the challenge in managing diversity across the languages.

Ms Lovemore asked if textbooks had been ordered in Limpopo, and if there was money available to pay for them.

Mr Soobrayan replied that National Treasury had confirmed that money would be paid from the provincial treasury to the provincial department. The reason for the delays in delivery of textbooks earlier in 2012 was that there were errors in the data, but these had now been fixed. District directors would verify the ordering information to ensure that all the schools had ordered textbooks, and DBE would take action if this was incorrect. Any excess orders would be used in the following year. Orders had already been placed for 2013.

Mr Mweli added that a deadline on textbook delivery had been set for the end of October, and all provinces were asked to align their plans. Some who were using private agencies were managing this process effectively, but there were concerns on those who were trying to manage the process on their own.  DBE was monitoring both publishers and provinces.

Ms A Mashishi (ANC) asked about the relationship with Departments of Human Settlement, and Water Affairs, around sanitation issues.

Mr Soobrayan replied that DBE had a working relationship with these departments.

Ms Mashishi asked why learners from the Northern Cape and Limpopo were not covered in the state of readiness assessments.

Mr Poliah replied that the learners in the Northern Cape had been removed from troubled areas and moved to a secure camp. They were ready to write the grade twelve exams, had finished the curriculum and were busy with revision. DBE would continue to move more learners to these camps. In Limpopo the writing of the examinations may be compromised, but the DBE would send monitors into the districts where problems may occur.

Mr D Smiles (DA) commended the DBE for enforcing the rule that teachers who received Funza Lushaka bursaries had to come back and work in those districts until their debt was repaid.

Mr Soobrayan was pleased to hear that Funza Lushaka was improving in districts, especially rural districts.

Mr Smiles asked whether there was an effort to decrease the number of marking centres, as he felt that an abundance of these centres might  compromise the quality and standards of national marking, since it was harder to enforce uniformity.

Mr Poliah replied that the DBE had tried to reduce marking centres, but the main problem was that no centres were big enough to accommodate all markers; even schools, and although universities had large premises, these were very expensive. He hoped that DBE and the universities could reach agreements.

Mr Smiles asked about the under spending on curriculum. He asked if the R254 million for department operations and the R69 million for projects included legal costs.

Ms Molalekoa explained that not all payments would be reflected in this financial year. Some payments happened monthly and others at only certain times of the year. Legal costs were included in the operational costs.

Mr Smiles asked whether the department was involved in the appointments of district directors, and, if so, if there were disadvantages to this. He wondered if the legislation was slowing down the appointment of these directors.

Mr Soobrayan replied that in theory and in law, district directors’ appointments should be easy, but in fact there were currently too many personnel in DBE, which affected the budget and hence the ability to fill vacant managerial positions. DBE wanted to try to ensure appointment of quality district directors, and to enhance this with performance agreements.

Mr N Kganyago (UDM) asked about the lack of infrastructure that affected the accurate teaching and assessment of technical subjects taught in grade 12. Some of these schools were unable to carry out workshops, and he asked how these students would be assessed.

Mr Soobrayan agreed that there was a challenge in this regard.

Mr Mweli added that the DBE would be following up on the problems with the relevant school in Limpopo. He Technical High School Recapitalisation Project was meant to ensure improvement at technical schools.

Mr Kganyago asked if the placement tests could replace the competency tests.

The Chairperson mentioned a media article on a court case that DBE had lost, around central procurement in the Eastern Cape, asking about the implications.

Mr Soobrayan replied that the DBE had been advocating centralised procurement, but the Eastern Cape challenged this and attempted to revoke the order. There was an argument that due process was not followed and the timing of the letter was poor.

The Chairperson asked about the performance agreements between principals and teachers.

Mr Kojana replied that the performance agreements covered teachers, principals and the Heads of Departments, and their main purpose was to ensure accountability.

The Chairperson expressed concern about learners who stayed for many years at schools, and wondered how this would affect the position of temporary teachers, and supply and demand of teachers.

Mr Soobrayan replied that supply and demand involved making a very careful calculation. If a system was managed properly, shortages were sometimes created, but this could be dealt with by adjusting retirement ages to allow young teachers to gain employment. The unions had raised the problem that excess teachers often did not have skills to fill some temporary posts, and instead temporary teachers had to be employed. The DBE wanted to reduce the numbers of temporary teachers being employed.

The Chairperson noted the time constraints, but said that there needed to be further discussion on the issue of enrolments and partnership with the districts. In addition, it would be useful to hold a meeting with DBE and DHET, particularly around the quality of teachers who were graduating. DHET had to explain the training process of teachers further. She expressed concerns about the way learners were taught the foundational principles of mathematics.

DBE must report back to the Committee  as to whether it had received the roll overs requested, and this Committee would have to assess if there would be underspending by the end of the financial year. DBE must monitor, and inform the Committee, of problems in-year. This Committee was to hold a joint meeting with the Departments of Energy and Water Affairs, to discuss alternative sources of energy for schools and electricity charges.

Mr Bobby Soobrayan added that DBE was having problems with rates charged by municipalities for services and appreciated that meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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