Meeting SummaryThe Department of Basic Education (DBE) gave a progress report on the implementation of the White Paper 6 (2001-2012). The White Paper proposed an inclusive education policy. The purpose of the report was to identify gaps, and outlined the mitigation strategies. The DBE fully conceded that in some respects the performance had fallen short. However, there were some fundamental challenges in the way that Inclusive Education (IE) was funded. National Treasury, instead of seeing the Special Schools as a component of IE, tended to give budgets for those, but not for IE. In the provinces of Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Western Cape, there had been allocations for both, but of the R5.5 billion budget, only R463 million was put to expanding inclusive education. Five provinces had not used any appropriations on IE, resulting in backlogs and inconsistent application. The role of the special schools was outlined, noting that they fell under the provincial Education Departments (PEDs). They were supposed to admit children with severe and profound disabilities, and act as Resource Centres. The majority of special schools had long waiting lists. This meant that another way had to be found to accommodate the children. At the moment, there were 111 619 learners with disabilities at special schools. Many of them battled with governance and management, there were limited facilities for autistic children, and physically disabled learners were not adequately provided for. Dedicated funding had been received from National Treasury, but the conversion of these schools to resource centres still faced a number of challenges. One school being built in Eastern Cape took up half the budget, although it was classed as a Reform School (for children who had committed crimes) and would have to be handed over to Department of Social Development. Although there were guidelines for inclusion of learners with disabilities in ordinary schools, there were still problems with this, and proper screening, identification, assessment and support were needed, as well as a need to respond to learner diversity. At the moment, disabled learners tended to be in separate classes. Assistive devices were provided at 226 special schools and 432 full service schools, at a total cost of R584.2 million. However, there were substantial needs for more health professionals, remedial and specialist teachers, with most of those in special schools lacking the proper qualifications. 13 000 teachers had been trained across the provinces in inclusive education-related activities, and were passing on knowledge to others. 512 DBE officials were placed at district level to implement the White Paper, but, apart from inadequate budgets, some provinces were also not able to set up functional District Based Support Teams, who should be planning and visiting schools. A summary was given of the overall performance of provinces in implementing the White Paper. DBE had failed in some respects. It recognised that it should influence the budget structure, had to strengthen inter-departmental cooperation and stakeholder engagement, and develop guidelines for funding an inclusive system. It had to develop a curriculum for moderately and severely intellectually disabled learners, develop guidelines for staffing structures, and ensure timeous provision of Braille workbooks and textbooks. District officials also had to be capacitated. More work was needed to adapt workbooks for blind and sign language users, and a Framework of Qualification pathways was needed for intellectually disabled learners at NQF Level . Directives and strategies were needed for out-of-school disabled children and youth.
Members agreed that there were still several challenges, including the exclusion of disabled learners from the system and therefore from society. They questioned the pass rates, whether these assisted learners to go further, and were concerned about the widely disparate numbers of health professionals. Members asked if there were advocacy campaigns, why special schools were being strengthened, since this seemed to be contrary to the idea of inclusive education, stressed the need to recognise skills rather than a certificate, and asked about the reform schools. Members commented that the information they had gathered from oversight visits seemed to be at odds with the statistics, for the North West, and wondered when more serious and longer specialist training would be given to teachers.
Members asked what the DBE would do to urge provinces to take this seriously, wondered when learners were identified as special needs, and questioned what input went into the reports, and where they were tabled. Where there was not implementation, Members hoped that people would be held to account. They urged more work on the norms and standards, and on accreditation.
The DBE then gave a progress report on the implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS). The National DBE had 65 external moderators deployed in all the provinces, who were managed and remunerated by the DBE, and who visited schools daily, to monitor school effectiveness. In 2011/12, 8 407 schools were visited and the lessons of 1 469 educators were observed, on a voluntary basis, not for the purpose of assessment, but in order to give feedback and assist in improvements. Provincial IQMS coordinators also visited 4 935 schools, for the purpose of following up on recommendations contained in the reports of the moderators, and these findings were shared with district officials. The educators were evaluated annually, but there were decreases in the numbers of principals being evaluated by circuit managers. Absenteeism of principals posed a problem. The majority of schools had systems in place to monitor class attendance by learners and teachers, but the monitoring of teacher class attendance by the Senior Management Team was lacking. The provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials was assessed as moderate in most provinces, and all schools had received and were using workbooks. Teachers in most provinces, except Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo were keeping to the curriculum. Support provided by subject advisors was inadequate except in Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape, where support was reasonable and regular. The statistics of the schools visited, and the findings, for April to June 2012, were outlined. In Eastern Cape, which was visited from July to September, it was found that most schools were successfully implementing the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP). The learners in grades 1-9 were, at the majority of schools, utilising their workbooks. However, only two-thirds of teachers were monitoring the use of the workbooks, and only half the principals had been appraised, whilst there was inadequate monitoring and support, as well as curriculum implementation.
Members asked about the high number of acting posts, and asked for the reasons. They also enquired about the fewer numbers of curriculum advisors, asked about the monitoring of teachers, and in what instances it might be refused, received more clarity on the difference between moderators and assessors, asked how the Directorate operated, and when the system would be fully operative. They wondered why teachers found to be incompetent were still employed, heard of the difficulties around dismissals, and noted that targeting of schools would be based on Annual National Assessment reports.
Implementation of Education White Paper 6: 2001- 2012: Progress Report by Department of Basic Education
Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, Acting Deputy Director General: Curriculum, Department of Basic Education, introduced the delegation and relayed the apologies of the Director General.
Dr Moses Simelane, Director: Inclusive Education, Department of Basic Education, presented a comprehensive progress report on the implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy. The purpose of the report was to identify and implement mitigation strategies to address the identified challenges and gaps;, to foster a harmonised conceptualisation of the Inclusive Education Policy and its intentions, and to put to the test the widely held view, both within the Department and the general public, that the Inclusive Education Policy had failed.
He explained that barriers to learning referred to difficulties that arose within the education system as a whole, across the learning site and the learner, which prevented access to learning and development. An integrated and multidisciplinary approach was needed to reduce the barriers to learning, and enhance the effect of education.
Education White Paper 6 isolated the following directives in implementing the Inclusive Education Policy:
- Building capacity in all education departments
- Establishing district support teams
- Identifying, designating and establishing full-service schools
- Establishing institution-level support teams
- Establishing mechanisms for the early identification of learning difficulties
- Developing the professional capacity of all educators in curriculum development and assessment
- Mobilising public support
- Developing an appropriate funding strategy
Dr Simelane set out the progress of the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department) over the years. He highlighted that it had piloted the White Paper 6 (WP6) in 30 districts, 30 special schools and 30 designated full service schools. It had solicited donor funding for the field test from Finland and Sweden, amounting to about R54 million, and had later received funding from National Treasury (NT). It had developed the screening, identification, assessment and support (SIAS) strategy for early identification of learning difficulties and support, and then developed inclusive learning programmes on how to deal with disabilities in the classroom. Guidelines and business plans to guide provincial departments of education (PEDs) were drawn, as well as other specific guidelines (see attached presentation for details). DBE had audited all special schools for the blind, to develop an intervention strategy to improve the quality of teaching and learning in those schools, and had an R18 million tender to procure assistive devices and technology to 33 special schools and 10 full service schools. Ten ordinary schools were converted to full service schools. Inclusivity principles had been incorporated in all continuous assessment programmes. Reform Schools and Schools of Industry were reformed prior to being transferred to Department of Social Development (DSD). It was developing a South African Sign Language curriculum, for grades R – 12. It was also developing a framework for qualifications pathways at NQF level 1 for learners with moderate and severe intellectual disability, and an action plan for access to education for children who were out of school, that would also include those with severe and profound intellectual disability.
He noted that the DBE fell short on the monitoring.
Dr Simelane then spoke about the PED deliverables. The total Inclusive Education and Special Needs budget for 2012/13 was R5.5 billion. The current NT budget structure made provision only for Special Schools, and only Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Western Cape had in fact put the budget to both IE and Special needs. Only R463 million was for Expansion of IE, and the fact that five provinces did not appropriate funding to this meant there were serious backlogs.
The PEDs were responsible for special schools. The White Paper noted that these schools should be admitting children with severe and profound disabilities, and playing the role of Resource Centres. The majority of special schools had long waiting lists, so the PEDs needed to put mechanisms in place and support districts in finding learning spaces for these children. In total, there were 111 619 learners with disabilities accessing education in special schools.
Apart from the budgetary challenges, it was found that most special schools battled with governance and management matters, especially financial management. There was very limited access to education for autistic children across provinces, meaning that they would have to attend private schools, which were unaffordable to many parents. Physically disabled and incontinent learners were not adequately provided for in special schools.
Dr Simelane said that although there were guidelines for inclusion of learners with disabilities in ordinary schools, there were still problems. Proper screening, identification, assessment and support (SIAS) was needed, as well as a need to respond to learner diversity. 17.6% of disabled learners admitted to ordinary schools in 2009 were in separate classes, although they were anti-inclusionary, and learners tended to stay there throughout their school years, and suffer labelling and stigmatisation.
He noted that the special schools had to be strengthened. Dedicated funding of R963 million was received from National Treasury to deal with the serious backlog. The conversion of special schools to resource centres entailed targeting and funding special schools for devoted resourcing, to extend specialist services to other schools in the district. In 2008, the Expansion of Inclusive Education Programme (EIEP) received R1.5 billion , rising to R300 million in 2009, but the current budget structure only made an allocation to this Programme as a sub-component of Programme 4.
Despite this, special schools were current still being built and planned. The total cost was R786.7 million, of which half was allocated to a new special school in the Eastern Cape, which was classed as a Reform School and which would, in terms of the Children’s Act, be handed over to DSD.
Assistive devices were provided at 226 special schools and 432 full service schools, to enhance participation of learners with disabilities in learning and development, at a total cost of R584.2 million.
DBE-employed health professionals were available to 1 767 schools, including psychologists, therapists, social workers, professional nurses, and counsellors. They were vital for identifying learning difficulties and for intervention support. Most of these professionals were in Western Cape schools.
Remedial teachers and specialist teachers were also providing support. The White Paper called for Learning Support Teachers at district level, who provided support and services on an itinerant basis, and they could, if properly trained, also provide support in matters such as curriculum differentiation.
There were still many teachers who lacked the proper qualifications in special schools, in 59 of the 66 schools, divided into 22 schools for the blind, and 44 schools for the deaf. These teachers may have a basic knowledge of Braille or a basic knowledge of sign language, but lacked qualifications.
553 ordinary schools were converted to full service schools, through interventions and capacity building exercises, at an cost of R52 million, which exceeded the target. 202 schools had their infrastructure upgraded, at a cost of R800 million.
Approximately 13 000 teachers across the provinces were trained in inclusive education-related activities. The guidelines looked at how the curriculum was delivered, how disabilities provided a barrier to learning, and what strategies teachers could use to enhance participation of disabled learners in classroom activities. Trained teachers were being used by provincial departments to build capacity, especially in full schools and special schools. Dr Simelane set out the targets (see attached presentation).
There were 512 DBE officials at district level, who were tasked with implementing the White Paper, but there were challenges in some provinces. In Eastern Cape, the Inclusive Education budget was insufficient and the White Paper was thus not being properly implemented, and similar challenges were apparent also in North West and Limpopo. The implementation was dependent on the setting up of functional District Based Support Teams (DBSTS), which were supposed to be drawn from the disciplines that were available at district level. Multi disciplinary teams should be planning and going to the schools. Again, Eastern Cape and Limpopo did not do well because curriculum experts were needed as part of the DBSTS, as well as Inclusive Education officials, psychologists, therapists, social workers, learning support educators, school governance and management officials, infrastructure officials and circuit managers.
847 learners with disabilities wrote the NSC exam in 2011, a drop of 4.8% from previous years, and there was also a 6% drop in the pass rate in special schools. The overall performance of learners with disabilities was higher than for their counterparts, but subject combinations differed markedly between the groups, with limited access to maths and science for learners with disabilities. The endorsed NSC limited further studies.
Dr Simelane then outlined the overall performance of provinces in implementing the WP6, and noted that they had not performed well, to ensure inclusionary education. The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape had never appropriated funding for the Expansion of Inclusive Education Programme, resulting in serious backlogs in the implementation of the policy. There were glaring disparities in resourcing IE, as well as a lack of recognition of IE as a key national priority, for the budgets were shifted elsewhere. Provinces had failed to follow the guidelines for developing a Business Plan for the expansion of Inclusive Education. They failed to distinguish between IE and Special Needs Education, the latter being a sub-component.
At national level, the DBE was also failing in some respects. It had not used the opportunity that NT provided to influence the budget structure review, to include expansion of Inclusive Education. DBE needed to strengthen inter-departmental cooperation and stakeholder engagement, and develop guidelines for funding an inclusive system. It had to develop a curriculum for moderately and severely intellectually disabled learners, develop guidelines for staffing structures, and ensure timeous provision of Braille workbooks and textbooks. District officials also had to be capacitated.
Further mechanisms that DBE needed to implement and work on were adaptation of workbooks, from grades R to 9, for Braille learners, sign language users and for users of Augmentative and Alternate Communication. SIAS had to be reviewed, streamlined, and gazetted as a policy, then rolled out.
In relation to sign language, Dr Simelane noted that the draft Sign Language Curriculum was due for completion by December 2012. In 2013, DBE would be auditing all schools for the deaf, and identifying what resources were needed, to roll out in 2014.
DBE must also develop a Framework of Qualification pathways for intellectually disabled learners at NQF Level I, so that, when they left school, they would receive an accredited certificate to enable them to work. A curriculum for moderately and severely intellectually disabled learners, aligned to the Qualification Framework for intellectually disabled, was developed. DBE still needed to develop policy directives and strategies for out-of-school disabled children and youth, including the severely and profoundly intellectually disabled. Finally, it needed to develop funding and human resource guidelines, and ensure that they were translated into a well-resourced and effective structure.
He summarised again that expansion of inclusive education was funded in three provinces, and the problem lay with the current budget structure, that allocated budget to special schools only when they were a sub-component of the IE policy. NT should review these policies. The differentiation in application of the IE policy arose from lack of understanding, and here DBE would have to advocate strongly for proper implementation of the White Paper. Across the provinces, Inclusive Education and Special Needs were located in different Branches and Directorates, so the organisational structure needed to be reviewed and harmonised. The same was true of the uneven human resourcing across the provinces, which meant also limited and uncoordinated access to specialist services. This was the result of the lack of a coordination framework. There was fragmentation of stakeholder participation, and DBE would have to use the Quality Learner and Teacher Committee (QLTC) structures for all programmes.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Simelane for the report, and said that there were obviously many challenges, and improvements were needed in inclusive education.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) was concerned that a large number of moderately and severely intellectually disabled persons were affected, but were being pushed out by the system and excluded from society.
Dr Simelane responded that the DBE Framework Qualification for NQF level was intended to arrest that challenge, since it was hoped that some learning programmes could be drawn from the National Curriculum Statement that would be responsive to the learning needs of the full spectrum of learners, including those with intellectual disabilities.
Mr Makhubele asked why the pass rate dropped by 6%, and whether the passes were qualitative. A major concern was whether learners were able to make use of those to go further.
Mr Makhubele noted the two measures for highly specialised disability were Visual Impairment and Deafness, so the major focus must be on those. He asked what needed to be done in these areas.
Dr Simelane responded that there was a directive by the DBE for these areas.
Mr Makhubele was concerned that insufficient numbers of health professionals were employed in the provinces. It seemed that the vacant posts were not being advertised, or vacancies were not being opened up for these health professionals to be absorbed in the system, although he did note the problem that the provinces would redirect the money to other needs.
Dr Simelane responded that the majority of these professionals were found in the Department of Social Development. DBE had not provided those health professionals with their Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), which other departments had provided. It was basically an issue of salaries.
The Chairperson said social workers in the Eastern Cape were not paid the same as social workers in the Free State and that had to be standardised. Social workers in Department of Correctional Services did less work than social workers in Department of Social Development, and there was a need to establish uniformity across the systems.
Dr A Lovemore (DA) asked Dr Simelane to clarify why the DBE did not have OSD for health professionals.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) commented that the whole philosophy of Inclusive Education was supposed to ensure that all learners, no matter what their differences, were treated in the same way and included.
Ms Mushwana asked whether there were any advocacy workshops in the provinces. People needed to understand that putting learners in a specific school because of their basic needs made them feel different, which was not right. She asked also if there was a budget for advocacy.
Dr Simelane responded that there was no advocacy programme yet, although some preliminary work had been done after the launch of White Paper 6. The intention was to revive that advocacy programme, so that the same messages were sent across the system.
Ms Mushwana thought it was strange that special schools were being strengthened when moving to Inclusive Education, since the idea was that learners learnt in the same place.
Ms Mushwana referred to the Specialist Teachers budget, and suggested that Limpopo and the Eastern Cape were two ailing provinces that should be merged.
Ms Mushwana applauded the DBE for the changes to the Qualification Framework that would allow people with disability to receive the same qualification as the rest of the class. There seemed to be a belief that a person without a matric certificate, despite the fact that she had skills, could not be employed, and that perception must change, with more concentration on skills training.
Dr Simelane responded that work was being done, linked to the Green Paper produced by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which spoke to producing a more skilled labour force. That had prompted a reconsideration of the academic stream that DBE was offering, to reintroduce a two-stream model and work had already started in that regard.
Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) was interested in the Reform School to be handed over to the Department of Social Development. He asked for the rationale for the Department building that school but not running it, as he thought a reform school could be a sub-set of the Inclusive system. He asked who would be responsible for maintenance and the curriculum, once it had been handed over.
Dr Simelane responded that the Provincial Department of the Eastern Cape was asked whether it made business sense for that department to spend so much on a school, knowing that it would be handed over to the DSD. However, this school was built in response to court orders, for children convicted of crimes, which was why it had to be designated as a reform school, and the problem was largely to do with the timing of the building.
Mr Mpontshane noted that Mpumalanga was one of the provinces that did not do well. The Committee had, however, visited a number of Inclusive Schools in that province. He questioned the credibility of information collected by DBE, asking how it was gathered and checked.
Dr Simelane said it was unfortunate that the picture presented seemed to be contrary to the findings of the Members. His report meant, in fact that this province had done relatively well, given the fact that it did not receive a budget for expansion of Inclusive Education, so it had done a lot of top-slicing from the budget meant for special schools. Had the province been given the budget on an equitable share basis, to roll out Inclusive Education, this province would have been among the leading provinces.
Mr Mpontshane said the Department rightly made the differentiation between orientation, training and workshops. It took about four years to train a teacher. For Inclusive Education, the teachers had to undergo orientation or workshops, and he wondered when DBE would start far more serious training, and for a longer period, given that the teachers had a very difficult task of applying specialist knowledge and training to learners with special needs.
Dr Simelane said DBE had taken a kind of stopgap approach, dealing with those already in the field. There were discussions between DBE and the DHET as to the kind of teachers that the universities needed to produce. Those needs were presented to the Forum of Deans of Schools of Education, and cooperative efforts were being made, so that in the end it was hoped to have teachers who had been trained on Inclusion produced by the universities, as well as principles of IE built into the teacher education programme. The DBE was also participating in international research on inclusion, to look at what kind of teacher education programmes were needed.
Dr A Lovemore (DA) commented that she had had a son who was born disabled, but who died, and people had told her at the time that there would have been very little opportunity for him in South Africa. She was deeply saddened by the report presented.
Dr Lovemore asked what Dr Simelane would do to ensure that provinces took this seriously. Conditional grants were one possibility, but there was a chance that they would be withdrawn if not spent by the provinces, and Eastern Cape may have a problem. She disagreed that the root cause was incoherent understanding of Inclusive Education policy, and suggested that it might be the unionisation of education and insistence on compensation of employees as the primary expenditure priority for provinces. She wondered how the DBE would change that mindset.
Dr Lovemore asked why, every year, the national DBE put out reports, statistics on schools, statistics on ordinary public schools, but no statistics on inclusive schools and special schools. At the moment, the inclusive schools were “a myth”.
Dr Simelane responded that inclusion had received prominence and had become a priority at national level, which meant that matters would start to improve.
Dr Lovemore also questioned the figures. The slide on Strengthened Special Schools to Date showed more special schools strengthened than the slide showing the number of special schools that existed. She questioned the figures for the number of special schools and the number of learners. She asked if the number of learners represented those identified when they applied for special schooling, or by the number of disability grants issued by the Department of Social Development. She questioned the sources, and how comprehensive the figures were.
Dr Simelane clarified that the parents tended to apply directly to special schools if they had a child with a disability, without taking those children through an assessment process. It was essential to have early identification and early intervention, and not only was DBE working to streamline the instruments, but it was also essential that it work in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Social Development (DSD). Through the DoH, children were screened, from birth, for possible developmental delays and disabilities. If cooperation were strengthened, and DoH could identify children, the DBE could be able to plan better for the times that those children would enter the system. This would also prevent the current waiting lists because of lack of space at the schools.
Mr Mweli added that the DBE worked on the reports together with provinces. The document was presented to the Heads of Education Department Committee (HEDCOM), so it was taken seriously. There might be some variances in the figures, but no province could claim not to have seen the report, or interacted with the content.
Dr Simelane added that Heads of Departments had made a request, after the presentation of this report, to correct some of the errors perceived, so the report was evolving and would be changed if further input was received. Inputs had not been received from all the departments, which was why there were still gaps and seeming disparities. However, it was important to be able to start drawing trends and make plans for the future.
Mr W Madisha (COPE) commented that a number of questions raised in the previous week had been responded to by this report. He was concerned at the lack of implementation in some areas, and asked that the Department attend to that.
Mr D Smiles (DA) said the report was an improvement on what had been received in July, but, because it was now more comprehensive, it painted a sad picture. He wondered why the WP6 was not being implemented and who would be held responsible. The Minister had indicated, in the budget speech, that Inclusive Education and Special Schools were being dealt with in DBE, as well as in the provinces, yet it seemed either that it was being handled by way of after-thought, or else totally forgotten.
Dr Simelane said attention was now being given to the policy implementation. Key priorities for the policy area had been identified, and the planning across all levels of the system should be an expression of what was encapsulated in the DBE Action Plan to 2014. That could begin to arrest the challenge.
Mr Smiles noted the figures for human resources of professional specialists. Gauteng had 512 therapists but zero social workers and zero other specialists. He wondered who was giving directions, and why the situation was skewed, suggesting that somebody needed to improve this. The same skewed direction was also apparently for progress and implementation, and he wondered who was directing the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. There was human resource scarcity, and the Department needed to improve that situation.
Dr Simelane added to the previous response on health professionals that one of the areas identified as areas of weakness from DBE was that it had not come up with those guidelines or norms for an inclusive system, either in terms of human resources or in terms of funding. One of the critical issues going forward was for DBE to bring attention to those strategic issues, and put guidelines in place.
Mr Smiles referred to the budget, which was R1.5 billion in 2008, then reduced to R300 million and then nothing was mentioned after that. He asked for the total amount spent on Inclusive Education.
Mr Smiles said it was time to take sides with the vulnerable people. Even “ordinary” people were neglected, and he hated to think how much worse it would be for others more vulnerable.
Mr Mweli responded that the United Nations said ‘the development of any nation was measured by the extent to which it was able to take care of its most vulnerable. In the future, he assured Mr Smiles that the Department would give the requisite attention to that area.
Mr M Kganyago (UDM) said the reports on health professionals currently employed, including remedial and special needs teachers in special schools and in full service schools, and the numbers of teachers without requisite qualifications in special schools carried an unpleasant message. He added that it was disturbing to note that there was always something negative to say about Limpopo and the Eastern Province.
Mr Kganyago was concerned that Limpopo had only one therapist and no psychologist, and that Gauteng had 512 therapists but no psychologists. There were qualified people who could occupy those positions, so he questioned whether there were problems with salaries, or something else that was preventing their employment. He also asked if those who were available were appointed permanently or were itinerant across the schools. He asked where all the school psychologists and trained remedial teachers were.
Mr Kganyago did not understand why children with disabilities were in separate classrooms, agreeing that it was anti inclusive. The appointment of sufficient teacher assistants would help solve the problem. A child with autism could not be in a class with others, and that problem would need to be addressed.
Dr Simelane agreed that teacher assistants were critically important and the report revealed a picture of how many teacher assistants were needed. If the Department could only provide 1 700 schools with those teacher assistants and remedial teachers, it meant there was still a serious gap.
Mr Mweli noted that special schools were still needed for profoundly disabled learners who required special attention.
Mr Kganyago asked for clarification as to whether teachers were itinerant or appointed permanently, and would like more information about the Western Cape.
Mr Kganyago emphasised that the Department should consider appointing guidance teachers to advise children where to go on finishing school.
Dr Simelane agreed that guidance and counselling was critical, and was something to which more attention must be paid.
Ms C Dudley (ACDP) was concerned that the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga did not have budget allocations for the expansion of Inclusive Education. She asked if DBE foresaw any change, and asked what had to be done and who would do it.
Mr C Moni (ANC) expressed appreciation for the comprehensive report. He asked about the consequences of the differential approach to implementation.
Mr Moni asked if it was a coincidence that, on the slide on the composition of functional District Based Support Teams, the Western Cape figures were all eights, and the Eastern Cape all zeros.
Mr Moni also noted, with serious concern, the many zeros on Remedial and Special Needs Teachers in Special Schools, which undermined the children with special needs. He suspected the figures were not accurate.
Mr Moni asked what the national commitment was and if donor funding funded an important aspect of education.
The Chairperson asked what DBE did when provinces did not comply, and noted that certain provinces did not have allocated budgets, and simply top-sliced from others.
Mr Mweli responded that money could have been allocated to line departments, and line departments could have had equitable shares and decided to reallocate that money to things other than Inclusive Education. Money from DBE might have also been appropriated to the province, who could have decided to use that for some other purpose.
The Chairperson said White Paper 6 dated back to 2000. There should be a separate Directorate for Inclusive Education, as there was a need to ensure compliance with full service schools and special service schools.
Dr Simelane said that spoke to one of the challenges in terms of the organisational structure, and where it placed policy implementation. The policy was implemented in different units across the provinces.
Mr Mweli added that there was a Directorate at DBE, called Inclusive Education. The Department was dealing with a national psyche that would take some time to change. However, he was happy with the support expressed in this Committee and wished it could be transferred to all, to propel the system to better performance. Although it was speaking of inclusive education, the DBE continued to provide special schools, although they must be seen as a small component of Inclusive Education. The challenge in the future was to get NT to change Programme 4, currently called “ special education” to “inclusive education”, and thus empower that system, rather than merely providing for special schools.
The Chairperson added that norms and standards and accreditation should be worked on.
Mr Mweli reminded Members that on numerous occasions when the DBE had met with the Committee in the past, it said that the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Director General had identified two areas in the Basic Education sector that had been ignored and neglected – one being multi-grade schools, and the other inclusive education. The DBE fully acknowledged that it had not done well in certain areas. This report gave an outline of what had been done to implement WP6. Although DBE had managed quite well in revitalising special education, it had not gone far enough in implementing Inclusive Education, although it had made some interventions into recapitalising special schools.
The Chairperson asked the DBE to revert with written responses to questions not answered. She thanked the presenters for their comprehensive report, and noted that it had outlined the challenges and a number of interventions needed. She urged prioritisation of funding and accreditation. She was worried that this vulnerable sector were being lost once they were out of the school system, because there were not enough sheltered employment centres.
Mr Makhubele asked in particular that his question on the quality of the passes and the drop in the pass rate be responded to.
Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) Progress Report 2011/2012
Mr Habib Karimulla, Deputy Director: IQMS, Department of Basic Education, briefed the Committee on the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) implementation in the DBE.
IQMS currently had 65 external moderators deployed in all the provinces, managed and remunerated by the DBE. They were home based and visited schools on a daily basis. They moderated the quality of Integrated Quality Management Systems (IQMS) implementation and school effectiveness, and engaged at district level with the schools. The purpose of this report was to highlight findings and recommendations as contained in the Annual Progress Report, and to highlight strategies that the DBE had put in place to monitor levels of accountability as well as the goals of Action Plan to 2012 at school and district levels.
Moderators had visited a total of 8 407 schools in 2011/12, and lessons of 1 469 educators were observed in their classrooms. The reason for the observation was not to assess their performance, but rather to provide support to improve the quality of the teaching and learning. This was done on a purely voluntary basis; if a teacher refused to accept the monitoring, the moderator would not attend, although few refused to be moderated.
Provincial IQMS coordinators also visited 4 935 schools. The purpose of their visits was to follow up on recommendations provided by the external moderators in their reports. Their findings were shared with the district officials. A Chief Director would, every quarter, visit the provincial HOD with all the individual school reports, and shared these also with the IQMS coordinators, so that they could do follow up and interventions so that further support could be provided to the schools or individual teachers, where the need arose.
Educators were evaluated on an annual basis. There had been an increase in the number of educators evaluated in terms of the IQMS over the past three years. There was, however, a decrease in the number of principals evaluated by their immediate supervisors, circuit managers, over the past three years. It was found that circuit managers were not fulfilling their responsibility as supervisors in evaluating principals. There was a problem in absenteeism of principals from schools. 9% of principals were not present on the day of external moderator’s visit. Reasons for absence were given as leave, attending district workshop/meeting, attending community/union meeting, and delivering documents to district/school banking. The absence of the principal compromised leadership of the school. 9% of schools visited were managed by acting principals.
It was found that the majority of schools had systems in place to monitor class attendance by learners and teachers. However, the monitoring of teacher class attendance by the Senior Management Team (SMT) was inconsistent.
Provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM) was moderate in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, with Mpumalanga being the poorest. Provision in the other provinces was satisfactory in 2011. The methodology had been changed for future reports. Schools were receiving workbooks progressively. All schools visited received workbooks (at Grades 1 – 9), and learners were utilising their workbooks.
Teachers in schools visited were doing fairly well and kept pace with their work schedule in the implementation of the curriculum, other than in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Subject advisors needed to advise and provide support. The circuit managers in provinces other than the Eastern Cape were visiting schools fairly regularly, to provide support. However, appraisal of principals by the circuit managers was inadequate in all provinces. Support provided by Subject Advisors in schools was also inadequate, with the exception of Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape, where support was reasonable and regular.
Mr Karimulla then turned to the IQMS Report covering the period April to June 2012. He noted that during these months, external IQMS moderators visited 2 332 schools in 71 districts to monitor, amongst others, IQMS implementation in schools, curriculum management and district support to schools. The District/Provincial IQMS coordinators visited 2 108 schools during the quarter. IQMS coordinators in the Free State and Gauteng visited over 30% of schools in their respective provinces. Only 34 schools were visited in KwaZulu-Natal.
IQMS External moderators found, in relation to IQMS implementation in schools, that schools in all provinces satisfied the minimum requirements in terms of IQMS planning, self-evaluation and development. The quality of monitoring, support and development provided by principals in the Free State, Gauteng and the North West was reasonable. Circuit managers were supporting schools through visits, workshops and telephone calls. However, procedures in terms of Collective Agreement 8 of 2003 were not followed during the appraisal of principals. The support provided by Subject Advisors to schools in Gauteng, North West and the Western Cape was consistent.
The Provincial IQMS Coordinators Report found that 21 800 educators participated in developmental activities in areas identified in the School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and Personal Growth Plans (PGPs), with the majority of the support being provided in the Western Cape. In general, schools were implementing the recommendations contained in the reports of the external moderators. Principals were positive about improving their management of the IQMS processes in their schools. There was, however, a challenge that School Management Teams (SMTs) at many schools were unable to provide internal development and support to their teachers.
During July to September 2012, moderators visited over 5 000 schools in the Eastern Cape to collect data on the status of the Annual National Assessment (ANA), utilisation of ANA results, availability of workbooks, utilisation of workbooks by learners and teachers, implementation of the School Improvement Plan, support provided by the district and teacher profiles.
Preliminary reports indicated that the majority of schools were successfully implementing the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP). The learners in grades 1-9 were, at the majority of schools, utilising their workbooks. Almost all schools had been trained on, and were using SA-SAMS.
Some specific challenges were isolated in the Eastern Cape. Only two-thirds of teachers monitored the utilisation of workbooks by learners, thus compromising the development of learners’ skills in Numeracy and Literacy. Just over half the principals were appraised in terms of IQMS by the Circuit Manager, thus compromising the professional development of principals. There was inadequate monitoring and support on the SIP, as well as curriculum implementation.
DBE was monitoring and providing support to schools, in reaching the goals of Action Plan to 2014, through the implementation of IQMS and Performance Management Development Scheme (PMDS). There was a focus on improving professionalism, teaching skills, subject knowledge and computer literacy of teachers, as well as monitoring curriculum implementation, school functionality, and giving district support to schools. The main DBE strategy focused on teacher accountability, school monitoring, and performance management.
Ms Mushwana noted with concern that some principals had been acting for periods exceeding one year. She asked why the vacant posts were not being advertised. She also questioned why these acting principals were found in the more disadvantaged provinces, asking how budgets were allocated, and why some provinces seemed to get more money although they had fewer learners.
Ms Simone Geyer, Chief Director: Education Human Resource Management, DBE, responded that circumstances in the provinces differed. If a principal was ill for a very long time, but would be able to return, then this was not treated as a vacancy, and an acting principal would be appointed until such time as the incumbent could return. Where the principal had retired, or died, or resigned, that was considered as a vacant substantive post, and because the school could not run without a leader, an acting principal (normally the Deputy Principal) would be appointed, and that post would be advertised.
In instances where principals had acted for more than a year, there were various reasons, and these acting posts were found mainly in Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Limpopo had a serious money problem, and was not able to pay its teachers, so it had held back on advertising promotional posts. Later, the principal’s posts were prioritised, but there was still a holding back on other posts, as part of a cost-savings exercise, but this had a ripple effect. Deputy principles could be appointed to acting principle, HODs to fill the Acting Deputy Principle post, and then the teacher’s post also had to be filled. The same had happened in the Eastern Cape.
In most cases, the provinces, in line with the HEDCOM decision, were required to fill the post within three months of it becoming vacant. In the case of retirement, the advertisements could be done in advance, and there were cases where these posts were successfully filled without any need for acting appointments. However, the same could not apply where principals had died. A school could never be left without leadership.
Mr Karimulla added that although there were many acting principals in 2011, a number of posts were filled in 2012.
Ms Mushwana noted that there were fewer curriculum advisors in 2012 than the previous year, and stressed the importance of having educators advised on all six learning areas. However, she recognised that allocations might change, where money was needed to put in infrastructure such as electricity.
Mr Karimulla responded that the PMDS section that dealt with performance management officials would deal with that. Some districts were under staffed, and this was also linked to budgetary issues within the province. The DBE had guidelines as to the number of subject advisors, and the number of circuit managers who needed to be allocated, based on the learners in each district.
Ms Mashishi asked when implementation was done of the review of the performance management instrument, and what had been the reason, when teachers refused to be monitored.
Mr Karimulla responded that only the District Schools Governor was allowed to sit in the classroom to observe a lesson, as this person was the supervisor of the teacher, not an external moderator. However, schools had been accommodating to IQMS, because it was not evaluating, but providing support.
Ms Geyer added that because it was a condition of service, which needed a collective agreement decision, it was not up to DBE to decide how quickly the revised management system could be implemented. It was hoped to reach agreement by the end of the year.
Ms Mashishi noted the preliminary findings were that almost all schools were trained and were using SAMS, in Eastern Cape. She asked when that would be complete.
Ms Lovemore appreciated the report but would like to have seen more quantitative measurements, as a statement that support was “ inadequate” did not give the level of inadequacy. She wondered if this could be addressed through a training course.
Mr Karimulla responded that there was an IQMS Annual Report for 2011, to be found on the DBE website. Reports were provided per province and per district.
Ms Lovemore asked for clarification on how the IQMS directorate worked. She presumed those at national level were external moderators, and people at provincial level were the internal moderators. She asked if provinces had to employ IQMS moderators, and how moderators were at national level.
Ms Geyer clarified that when the Department signed a collective agreement in 2003, a policy of Whole School Evaluation applied. There was strong resistance to that policy, because of problems around the scoring. A compromise was reached at the Education Labour Relations Council, resulting in the IQMS. An internal self-assessment was done before moving to the Whole School Evaluation. Because it emanated from a compromise, a Directorate had to be put in place to manage it, which was how the IQMS directorate came about. The provincial departments also each appointed a Performance Monitoring Directorate. These looked at the performance management of teachers and of public servants. DBE needed people who were able to go into the schools and determine the extent to which the IQMS instrument was used successfully. IQMS was intended to look at how a teacher was developed, and establish correlation between teacher development and learner performance. IQMS moderators were appointed in all nine provinces, but were part of the national DBE staff complement. They were monitored by DBE, and they sent reports on a monthly basis, with quarterly reports and finally an annual report as well. However, this Directorate also bore the task of home school evaluations, and analysis of the Skills Development Plans, which were submitted also to the Department of Labour. The key issue was that the national DBE had people working in the provinces, giving information regularly on what was happening in the provincial schools.
She added that provinces were not compelled to have moderators, and so they did not have moderators. There was a clear distinction between IQMS moderators and coordinators. The coordinator’s role was to follow up on what had been isolated in the reports of the moderators, to ensure that the schools were improved and taken to the next level of performance.
Mr Karimulla added that the moderators at national DBE monitored, reported and provided support to schools. Provincial officials were responsible for training, for conducting workshops, and providing support on the PGPs. Provincial IQMS coordinators could take on other tasks. Their presence in the province made a difference.
Ms Lovemore said that ideally, if the schools were properly accountable, IQMS moderators would not be needed. She had raised some questions to the Minister, and had received a substantial response. In 2010, there were 3 717 educators who were of poor quality, yet they were still in the schools. She suspected that principals merely filled in the IQMS forms to get their increases, without any real accountability.
Ms Geyer responded that that the dismissals had to comply with the Labour Relations Act, and the employer had to take steps before dismissing, such as assisting with development, and targeting any other problems and considering alternative placement, before dismissing. It was very difficult to fire someone in South Africa. She said that although the DBE may do so, it first had to follow all the correct procedures. For the 3 717 teachers found incompetent, DBE would have to put development programmes in place, and report back on them. This should, however, result in some improvement in under-performing schools.
Ms Lovemore asked why IQMS was called to the Eastern Cape, and by whom.
Mr Karimulla responded that the decision was taken in discussion with the Deputy Minister.
Mr Smiles thanked the IQMS team for going to the Eastern Cape. He pointed out that IQMS was supposed to achieve improvement of learner performance, but it did not seem to have the desired results, and perhaps IQMS needed to look at adjusting the strategy.
Mr Karimulla agreed and said the Department was concerned about learner performance. Last year, IQMS targeted under-performing schools and subsequent comparisons were done. The plan for this year was based on the ANA results, so that schools that performed poorly would be monitored and further support provided. District accountability, teacher accountability, learner improvement, and teacher and learner performance were all vital.
Mr Smiles said accountability was not only for teachers but also for the district. One of the points under teacher accountability was inculcating a culture of performance management in schools, and he suggested that teachers should be held directly accountable for the number of passes in the class.
Mr Makhubele commented that people had embraced the issue of IQMS, and he did not understand why there were no regular visits.
Mr Karimulla responded that the DBE had noted that since the external moderators had been visiting schools, there had been a greater awareness of IQMS, not only in the schools but also in the provinces. Provinces were now appointing IQMS coordinators, which was not the case in 2007 and 2008. Training workshops based on PDPs had increased, and there was also an increase in the number of teachers evaluated over the years. There was an indication that more people had embraced IQMS, although there were still challenges.
Mr Makhubele asked whether Personal Growth Plans had been implemented anywhere, and whether they were successful. He wondered also if there were challenges where people had to be assisted beyond the School Improvement Plans.
Mr Karimulla responded that the success of the implementation, nor support by provinces, had been measured, but in future, impact studies would be done. It was the provinces, not the IQMS, who identified special needs of teachers.
Mr Mweli highlighted that the report provided another vulnerable piece of information that the Committee could use for its oversight work. Some of the issues raised by this report had been confirmed by provinces. DBE was trying to develop monitoring and accountability to schools, and IQMS was a very important system in doing that. In countries such as the UK, an Office of Standards operated outside the department and had some features of the work that IQMS was doing. IQMS was one of the initiatives in the system that would help to heighten accountability. There were still challenges, as reported by social partners, but leadership had taken steps to heighten accountability.
The Committee noted the programme for the remainder of the year.
The meeting was adjourned.
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