Basic Education Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) 2012

Basic Education

22 October 2012
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Chairperson noted the interesting change that Parliament had made to the suggested format of reports. The Committee would align the report accordingly, but ultimately it was just a guide.

The Committee read through the Read and made changes. Members accepted the recommendations, but said that there had to be time frames so that the Committee would be able to evaluate and monitor them.

Comments included that the Department of Basic Education should ensure that education be made a societal issue, the challenge of unpaid educators and about learners not having the necessary skills in order to be employed after leaving Matric.

Members felt that justice had not been done to the recommendations in the report and that further recommendations needed to be raised, therefore a further meeting was scheduled for the following morning.

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted that the format of the BRRR report was quite different to the one from the previous year. Parliament had changed the format of the report completely. She felt that the report was very interesting because it laid out exactly what the role of the Committee in Parliament was. It said where the Committee received their mandates from, what the DBE’s mandates were, how it was carrying out those mandates and what the achievements of the DBE were. The report included what the President had said in his state of the nation address, as well as the challenges facing the DBE. The observations and concerns of the Committee were brought out clearly. She added that the concerns and findings of the Committee were set out first, followed by the recommendations

The Chairperson felt that more work was needed on the report since all that needed to be covered was not covered. She requested that the Committee focus on recommendations which were central to the DBE such as infrastructure, pre-determined objectives and under expenditure. She remarked that although it was a very good report, it was “difficult”.

The Chairperson stressed that the document was their report to Parliament and ultimately to the public, therefore it had to be scrutinized, studied and any errors and gaps corrected.

Mr D Smiles (DA) pointed out that the Committee had received a document from Parliament prescribing the format of the report, but the report before them did not adhere to that format.

The Chairperson replied that they would align the report accordingly as they went along.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) requested that at future meetings, the BRR Reports from previous years should be made available to the members.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee would do so.
 
Suggestions for the Report were received from Mr D Smiles (DA) Ms F Mushwana (ANC) Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) Mr A Mpontshane (ANC) Mr D Bandi (ANC) Ms C Dudley (ACDP) Ms N Gina (ANC).

Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) suggested that the sentence structure of paragraph four on page one be rephrased to read: “The Committee is further mandated by the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009 to perform an oversight role.”

The Chairperson added that the Committee could appoint someone to edit the reports, but the danger was that the editor could change the whole gist of what the Committee meant.

Some words were inserted and others deleted by the Committee. The Chairperson acknowledged that editing was tedious work but as the DBE committee, a heightened standard of writing was expected of them therefore they had to be extremely thorough.

The Chairperson requested that after the first sentence under the heading of ‘School Governance’ on page 11, the following be inserted – only 500 schools out of 25 800 did not participate.

Ms Mushwana said that the DBE should be commended for their program of providing nutritious meals to 8 850 208 learners.

The Chairperson remarked that the DBE were striving to resource all schools well, not just Dinaledi.

Mr Smiles said that the Auditor General had said that there must be an improvement regarding internal skills because the DBE relied too much on the AG to give them indicators when they were not doing their finances correctly.

The Chairperson stated that the issue of text books had to be inserted in the Committee’s recommendations.
 
Mr Smiles said that he accepted the recommendations, but they had to be clear and there had to be time frames so that the Committee would be able to evaluate and monitor them. He added that the Committee would have to look at the capital projects.

The Chairperson requested that the following be inserted into the third bullet under Programme 1 on page 39 - and give a report to the Committee by the end of January 2013.

The Chairperson requested that the following be added to the bullet under Programme 2 on page 39 – A written report in this regard should be given to the Committee by 31 November.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee wanted the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) to be verified by 30 November.

The Chairperson remarked that the DBE should ensure that education be made a societal issue. She added that one of the challenges the DBE was facing was that of unpaid educators – this should be added to the report.

Ms Gina asked whether the first bullet on page 39 could be broken down so that under expenditure and pre-determined objectives could be inserted into it.

Ms Mushwana brought up the issue of learners completing matric but then not having the sufficient skills needed to be employed.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee give a general recommendation about that issue so that grants could be reviewed. She added that the Higher Education Department was also reviewing that issue.

Ms Gina remarked that the Committee had not done justice to the recommendations.

The Chairperson agreed that additional recommendations were needed therefore she requested that the Committee meet the following morning.

Apologies were received from Mr J Skhosana (ANC), Ms A Lovemore (DA) and Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO).


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