Inclusive Education: Department briefing; National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) progress report

Basic Education

25 February 2013
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Implementation of Education White Paper 6: 2001- 2012 Progress Report
The Department had presented extensively on 6 November 2012. That presentation isolated work that was done and work that was still outstanding. This presentation focused on how the Department planned for the work reported still outstanding at that time, and also progress of work done since November 2012.

In December 2012 the Minister of Basic Education had declared 2013 the year of Inclusive Education. Key implications were:

- 2013 was the year of consolidating and institutionalising all systems for implementing Inclusive Education on full scale, because over the years implementation had been to selected districts and schools progressively.

- Inclusion to be mandatory and find expression across programmes and levels of the system down to classroom level; and

- Implementation to be prioritised and adequately resourced both through funding and human resource provisioning across levels up to the classroom.

The Chairperson was dissatisfied with the report on inclusive education. White Paper 6 was in 2000 and thirteen years later 2013 was declared the year of inclusive education. Many things were not done; provinces were better off than the Department. Members also expressed their dissatisfaction with the report.

The Department responded that the Hon. Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education had acknowledged last year and the year before that that two areas that were Cinderellas in the system in terms of implementation and the quest to provide quality education. Area number one was the implementation of inclusive education; the second was providing support to multi grade schools. She said the Department was lagging behind and something extraordinary had to be done to bring those sectors to the same level as the rest of the system. So the disappointment expressed by Members was the same as expressed by the Minister.

The Department commented that the inclusion concept was critically important. Inclusion simply looked at how to respond to diversity of learners within the system, how to accommodate them in terms of responding to their learning and development needs. Diversity of learners meant differences, no two individuals were the same; there were many differences and among those differences were learners with disabilities and learners that did not have disabilities. Learners with disabilities also needed to be brought into the stream because for a long time their learning and development had been neglected. In international studies our learners in special schools were not participating in those studies. The concept of barriers to learning was very comprehensive

The Chairperson requested answers to questions in writing, and that the Department present on the budget, the norms and standards of funding, human resources, remedial teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, the overall budget.


The Department said the problem with inclusive education was not necessarily money but the psyche as a sector and as a nation and what it meant to implement inclusive education. People were only now waking up to the reality that inclusive education was not only about learners with special needs. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report recognised that learners with special needs constituted in some countries less than 1%. In this country special schools constituted less than 3%. The high failure rate and high drop out rate was due to not implementing inclusive education. In the past inclusive education meant special schools, even the budget referred to special schools. That was the kind of transformation that was needed; start with the budget structures so that special schools became a component of inclusive education.

National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) progress report
NEEDU reported on progress of the NEEDU Bill, which was expected to have gone through Parliament last year after it was forwarded to Cabinet in July 2012. National Treasury required a business plan, which was now ready, and NEEDU requested advice on how to proceed. The concern was when it came to Treasury for approval it could be blocked further. NEEDU was keen for Treasury to approve the business plan and for the bill to go to Parliament.

NEEDU focused on curriculum delivery, teaching and learning, in the schools, in the classrooms, and what districts were doing to support that, what provinces were doing to support that, and what the national Department was doing.

In 2012 NEEDU evaluated 133 schools, for which reports were sent to the schools for comment; 15 district offices and 9 provincial offices. Each institution commented on its draft report. Some showed that actual results differed from the DBE database, and the DBE database was not correct. The 15 district reports were then condensed into a draft national report that went to the Minister on 04 March.

The reality was that our schools were under performing because teachers did not know what they were teaching. In 2010 teachers were also tested on their knowledge and results for teachers in Grade 6 showed that they did fairly well in arithmetic operations but fell below 50% when the mathematics became a little more complex, and achieved an average of 52.39% overall. Similarly in language teachers did well in retrieving but for inference, interpretation and evaluation they did extremely poorly. If a teacher could not exercise those things herself how could she teach it?

NEEDU gave an example of what a good principal could do and also what a good principal was unable to do. The school was situated in a very deep rural area. Reading levels of six of the best Grade 2 pupils were above those in the majority of schools in the country. 49 of the 619 learners in the school were different in their abilities in some way. What was so special about the principal was she noticed that one of the children was not making progress in reading and took the child to the clinic, where she was told the child had only 20% vision and was severely sight impaired. She started a programme for the child, and thought maybe she was not the only one with problems and began looking for disabilities among the children. She announced to the community that children with disabilities were welcome at the school, and a deaf teacher tutored the class of eight hearing-impaired children. It was not about money; it was about leadership and awareness, energy and initiative.

Recommendations:
- Instituting discipline in our schools regarding time management.

- Instructional leadership, managing the curriculum. The Department spoke about professional development. The lack of knowledge would not be fixed in an afternoon workshop, or even a weekend workshop. A hundred hours of intensive tuition would begin to make an impact. Rethink the whole question of professional development and rethink the question of what subject advisors could do. Subject advisors were responsible for 300 schools.

- Professionalising the civil service, which would be intersecting with the National Development Plan that talked a lot about that and also directly to Minister Manuel’s concerns about the ‘Capable State’. NEEDU recommended recruiting and promoting people within the schooling system so that these problems could be addressed and over time eliminate them and build a very strong school system based on strong subject knowledge among teachers.

Members raised serious concerns about conflicting reports on the issue of delivery of text books, particularly in Limpopo; oversight visits and media reports differed to that of the Department. The Department was requested to submit a written report on the textbook saga by Thursday and to report before the Committee.

Meeting report

Introduction
The Chairperson welcomed officials from the Department of Basic Education (DBE); the report on inclusive education had been outstanding for some time. There had previously been problems regarding inclusive education, she understood it was working very well but there seemed to be problems when it came to the Department.

The Chairperson received a letter from NEEDU, Dr Nick Taylor, expressing concern regarding the NEEDU Bill; it was desirable to push the bill through Parliament by the end of June. There was a report on the programmes and on a programme on the state of schooling in the foundation phase through 12 that would be presented to the Minister on 04 March.

Ms N Gina (ANC) raised another item. Different reports were coming through the media with regard the status of delivery of textbooks in Limpopo, and the Department had assured the Committee that everything was on track. The Committee needed to know the exact situation. She suggested the Department submit a full report on the progress of textbooks throughout the country, and specifically Limpopo, by Thursday, and what steps were being taken in that regard.

The Chairperson agreed to the proposal and requested the Department to submit a written report by Thursday and to present to the Committee on Tuesday. On reading reports and on oversight visits there were schools in Limpopo that did not get maths and science textbooks. There were also problems in the Northern Cape, but the report must concentrate on Limpopo.

Dr A Lovemore (DA) welcomed and supported that. It appeared to be happening the same as last year; principals that raised their voices were intimidated to do so and the truth had to be found.

Ms C Dudley (ACDP) said the ACDP was pleased the Committee was dealing with the issue, there was a lot of confusion and people were very concerned. The Department needed to explain why those reports differed to their reports, and their take as to what they thought was going on.

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) added his support to the proposal.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) supported the proposal but was concerned that the problem may not be only in Limpopo.

Ms Gina thanked Members for supporting the proposal. The Committee needed to be assured of those areas and where the challenges were.

The Chairperson said the Department must hear what the Committee had requested, all political parties had spoken, and the Committee spoke as one.

Ms Dudley asked to be excused she had to attend the briefing on the budget.

Dr Lovemore also asked to be excused early to attend the Minister’s presentation.

Dr Hubert Mweli, DBE Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG): Curriculum, acknowledged that although there might be issues coming out of Limpopo they could not necessarily be the same as had happened last year. A report would be compiled, the message would be conveyed to the Director-General (DG), and the report would reach the Committee as requested. He would also convey to the DG that the Committee would like a presentation on Tuesday.

In terms of the National Development Plan (NDP), the Department had started work before the National Planning Commission put the Diagnostic Review Report together. When the NDP was adopted by Parliament in November last year the Department immediately aligned its programmes with the specific focus on chapter 9 of the NDP. Extracts from the NDP were used in some of the presentations including improving the rate in maths, science and technology by 2013. In future the assessment of the annual performance plan would be better as the Department had aligned its plan to the NDP.

Implementation of Education White Paper 6
Mr Mweli said the presentation picked up on the real interest around implementation issues and progress in November 2010, and then over time culminated in a workshop where the Department was requested to come back and satisfy the expectations of the Committee. The Department then presented an extensive presentation on 6 November 2012. That presentation isolated work that was done and work that was still outstanding. This presentation would focus on how the Department planned for the work reported still outstanding at that time, and also progress of work done since November 2012.

The Chairperson asked Mr Mweli to send his remarks through to the Committee’s secretariat.

Dr Moses Simelane, DBE Director: Inclusive Education, briefed the Committee.
The November presentation was in response to the request from the Committee to present a comprehensive report in terms of the development, any gaps, that came about during the course of implementing policy from 2001, when it was first launched, up to 2012. This presentation took it forward beyond that.

In December 2012 the Minister of Basic Education declared 2013 the year of Inclusive Education. Key implications were:

- 2013 was the year of consolidating and institutionalising all systems for implementing Inclusive Education on full scale, because over the years implementation had been to selected districts and schools progressively.

- Inclusion to be mandatory and find expression across programmes and levels of the system down to classroom level; and

- Implementation to be prioritised and adequately resourced both through funding and human resource provisioning across levels up to the classroom.

In the comprehensive report presented in November most provinces did not see the implementation of White Paper 6 as priority and therefore in a situation of competing priorities resources that would otherwise be allocated to the programme would be reprioritised for other interventions.

Dr Simelane recapped on the roles and responsibilities of the National Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments (PEDS).

Achievements since the report of 2012 included:

- 2013 declared by the Minister of Basic Education as year of Inclusive Education

- All key systems promoting implementation of Inclusive Education policy to be in place in 2013/14.

- The comprehensive report was presented and well received at Senior Management, Ministers’ Management Meeting, Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) and the Council of Education Ministers (CEM).

- A two-day Indaba was held by the Eastern Cape Province on Inclusive Education and Special Schools late 2012.

- A special Inter-Provincial integrated planning meeting was held in January 2013 on Inclusive Education.

- In February 2013 discussions were held to plan a roadmap on the development of Funding Norms for an inclusive system.

- R28 million secured from within the DBE for preparing Braille master copies of 118 titles for schools for the blind. A lot was done by DBE in adapting workbooks from Grade R to Grade 9 and in developing teacher guides for teaching learners who were deaf through the sign language.

Dr Simelane turned to what had not been done by provincial education departments (PEDS):

- The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape had never appropriated funding for the Expansion of Inclusive Education Programme, resulting in serious backlogs in the implementation of the policy.

- Most provinces did not implement the Funding Principles as provided by the DBE, resulting in glaring disparities in resourcing Inclusive Education.

- Some provinces would not take the implementation of White Paper 6 seriously or see it as a national priority.

- Distinguishing between Special Needs Education and Inclusive Education.

- Ensuring District-based Support Teams (DBSTs) were established as multi-disciplinary teams.

What had not been done by DBE:

- DBE did not use the opportunity provided by National Treasury in 2012 for the DBE to make submissions in terms of how the budget structure could be reviewed to accommodate the Sector plan and include the funding of White Paper 6. Programme 4 was allocated for Special Needs or to Special Schools only. Inclusive Education was not only concerned with Special Concerns but was also concerned with a wide range of barriers to learning.

- Strengthening inter-departmental cooperation and stakeholder engagement for inclusion. The Department had the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) system machinery that was supposed to coordinate the involvement of partnership with all stakeholders involved in education, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with disabilities that needed to be brought on board because they had a lot of expertise that could be gained from having them involved.

- Development of a curriculum for moderately and severely intellectually disabled learners. However, beyond 2012 there was progress.

- Development of guidelines for funding an inclusive system.

- Development of guidelines for human resource provisioning for an inclusive system.

- Timeous provision of Braille workbooks and textbooks.

Dr Simelane elaborated on the implementation plan to close the gaps identified in the comprehensive report of November 2012:

Early identification, assessment and support:
A training programme on the South African School Administration and Management System Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SA-SAMS SIAS) has been developed and approved and should be in place by June 2013.
Training and retraining all structures on the revised SIAS; and monitoring and supporting the implementation of SIAS in trained special schools and full service schools.

Teacher development and support
One of the key activities for 2013 in relation to human resource developed specifically focused on teachers; training teachers of learners with visual impairment; training of teachers of Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners to prepare the system for the implementation of the South African Sign Language (SASL) curriculum grades R – 12. The draft sign language curriculum for Grades R – 12 was finalised in December 2012, so 2013 became a year for preparing the system for phased in implementation of the sign language curriculum. Teacher Training Manuals were being developed in Curriculum Differentiation, Guidelines for Full Service Schools (FSS) and Special Service Schools (SS). 80% of schools were dysfunctional; institutionalising the guidelines was the main important aim to ensure that all schools were functional.

Institutional Management and Development
Officials from all 86 districts to be re-orientated in SIAS by September 2013.
Guidelines for Full Service Schools and specials to be mediated for all district officials by March 2014.
Establishing functional school-based and DBSTs to support the inclusion.
Funding Norms for an inclusive system developed by March 2014.
Developing Human Resource Provisioning Norms for an inclusive system.
Orienting grades 7-9 and grade 12 subject advisors on Curriculum Differentiation alongside Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).

Strategic Objective:
DBE would engage on a process of strengthening inter-departmental and inter-sectoral partnerships through the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) framework. DBE was implementing a framework to coordinate all the work intended to support teaching and learning in the classroom. The programme was implemented with the support of the Department of Health, and the Department of Social Development; it was important to work closely with those departments and also Civil Society and the NGOs.

Aligning assessment protocols (including SIAS) across departments, which was informed by the fact that the implementation of screening tool was dependent on the availability of specialist professionals such as therapist, psychologists and medical practitioners.

Facilitating special needs learners’ access to specialist services including assistive devices and specialist professionals, through partnership with the other departments. The Department would also address the procurement of assistive devices. Some of the devices could be health assistive devices which the Department should not be providing but had been providing in the past, such as hearing aids or wheel chairs, that were the responsibility of the Department of Health but with a framework to coordinate all the departments in that regard.

Developing a watertight advocacy programme on the Inclusive Education Policy. To ensure the approach of the development of an inclusive system from the same angle it was important to send out strong and unambiguous messages across the spectrum, ensuring that all understood what the policy stood for, so that approaches would be integrated and be able to measure what gains were made as the policy was implemented.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Simelane for the report. She was dissatisfied regarding inclusive education. White Paper 6 was in 2000 and thirteen years later it was declared the year of inclusive education. She referred to a very comprehensive report given to the portfolio committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities that set out the extent of the work in the provinces, which was important. She was dissatisfied, many things were not done; provinces were better off than the Department. She expected the Members would also express dissatisfaction with the report.

Mr Mweli responded that the Minister had acknowledged last year and the year before that that two areas that were Cinderellas in the system in terms of implementation and the quest to provide quality education. Area number one was the implementation of inclusive education; the second was providing support to multi grade schools. She said the Department was lagging behind and something extraordinary had to be done to bring those sectors to the same level as the rest of the system. So the disappointment expressed by Members was the same as expressed by the Minister.

The report the Chairperson referred to as having been presented to the portfolio committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities was not presented there, it was presented to this Committee on 6 November 2012.

The Chairperson apologised, but the problem was still why the national department was so far behind?

Mr Mweli said that report brought everything into one, from the national picture up to the last province.

The problem with inclusive education was not necessarily money but the psyche as a sector and as a nation and what it meant to implement inclusive education. People were only now waking up to the reality that inclusive education was not only about learners with special needs. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report recognised that learners with special needs constituted in some countries less than 1%. In this country special schools constituted less than 3%. The high failure rate and high drop out rate was due to not implementing inclusive education. In the past inclusive education meant special schools, even the budget referred to special schools. That was the kind of transformation that was needed; start with the budget structures so that special schools became a component of inclusive education.

Discussion
Mr Smiles concurred with the Chairperson regarding dissatisfaction.
The Minister declared 2013 the year of Inclusive Education – when was that declared? He saw a serious problem in the need to provide funding and the Department also had to provide human resources. The DBE missed an opportunity with the budget review to get funding. That put even the declaration of this year under serious scrutiny and question as to whether it would be implemented without funding. Somebody had to take responsibility for that, whether it was the Chief Director or the Director responsible for Education or the DG, somebody had to account. The children were let down. If Treasury did not support that in the following day’s budget then the presentation may as well not have happened.

Mr Mweli responded that the problems in education were not about money, it was doing the right things. The provinces referred to National Treasury had made money available but they used it for something else other than inclusive education. North West and Mpumalanga used that money for the right purpose, which was why progress was to be seen.

 Mr Smiles referred to human resource provisioning. Sometimes things could happen even without a budget; would the Department consider a plan to get psychologists and therapists to come to the rescue of the learners by doing a community year such as doctors did after completing their studies?

Mr Smiles asked whether the Director for Inclusive Education nationally ensured that there was at least one specialist in each of the 86 districts.

Mr Smiles said Members had heard about SIAS for a long time but did not receive the current situation other than that there would be training. What was the current situation?

Dr Lovemore had also not heard of the declaration of the year of Inclusive Education and thought it was misplaced. Thirteen years after publication of the White Paper inclusive education had not been implemented. The bottom line was not that we must have inclusive education in the country; the bottom line was we had learners with barriers to learning and those barriers to learning must be addressed. If policy were put together, was that the way to address it the problems of learners with barriers to learning? She did not think so. On visiting schools teachers constantly said to bring back special classes. The widely held view was that inclusive education did not work. The special classes were because people were different. The bottom line was barriers to learning, why was the Department not going back to the needs instead of to implement policy no matter what?

Dr Lovemore noted Dr Simelane made reference to the funding norms for human resources. Was the Department developing a set of norms for children with barriers to learning? It would include human resources and LTSM funding. Those norms were applicable to provinces but the Eastern Cape could not be relied on to implement.

Dr Lovemore requested a list of dysfunctional schools that were mentioned.

Dr Lovemore referred to the implementation plan to close gaps and noted that all district officials and teachers must be trained on the revised SIAS in all provinces by December 2013. The programme would only be developed by end June so it was not practical for the Department be able to train all district officials and teachers in all nine provinces in that short space of time. How would that be done?

Dr Lovemore was very interested in the intersectoral approach to children with barriers to learning; did the Department have a good relationship with NGOs working in the field? Dr Lovemore had attended a conference last year where inclusive education was one of the topics. A gentleman who was himself blind and had a blind daughter had translated into Braille his daughter’s books and said they had to do so because they could not wait for the Department. The same comments came from other NGOs involved in inclusive education.

Dr Lovemore asked whether resource schools were working. There was a special school in Port Elizabeth. Cape Recife High School was a resourced school for all-inclusive schools in the area and when they had problems they were supposed to go to Cape Recife, but that was not happening.

Mr Mpontshane asked how far was the work for the R28 million for making Braille master copies of 118 titles for schools for the Blind?

Mr Mpontshane asked what steps were being taken about the provinces that were not using the funds for inclusive education.

Mr Mweli responded that it was difficult. Members had been in the public service long enough to understand concurrent function and whether the Minister had powers to take action against an MEC. The Minister could only raise the issue with the President and the Premier and it would be up to the President and the Premier to do something about that.

Dr Lovemore asked for a point of order. She did not agree. In terms of legislation if the provinces were not addressing the constitutional right to basic education the Minister could ask the MEC for a report on what steps had been taken to address the constitutional right. If that report was not forthcoming or was not satisfactory the Minister could take further steps.

The Chairperson proposed bringing someone with more experience to speak to the Committee on the issue. Mr Mweli was correct. Treasury gave money and Treasury had to call people to book. Equitable share was given to provinces. It was a concurrent function.

Mr Mweli said that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) spelt out what the Minister could do. If instructions were not carried out the Minister could not directly take action, it would either have to be through section 100 of the Constitution with the President or through the Premier in direct relation with the MEC.

Mr Mpontshane noted that the Department was responsible for the framework but the provinces were responsible for implementation, which in the past resulted in unfunded monies. Did provinces have to secure their own funds that had not been budgeted for? Inclusive Education was mandatory but some schools lacked infrastructure.

At this stage Mr Mpontshane indicated that he was also required to be in another meeting and the Chairperson was concerned that the number of Members remaining would not constitute a quorum. Under those circumstances Dr Lovemore agreed to stay.

Ms Mushwana asked for a list of the dysfunctional schools.

Ms Mushwana did not understanding why funding was not for all programmes.

Ms Mushwana was also surprised about the year of Inclusive Education after thirteen years.

The Chairperson remarked that the Department did not have its ducks in a row but on the ground they were.

Mr C Moni (ANC) wondered how progress would be made when there were so many questions. Some things should be done immediately, in the medium term, and in the long term. Under things not done by the Department, development of a curriculum for moderately and severely intellectually disabled learners. How was it that since the ear 2000 no curriculum was developed?

Mr Moni referred to human resource development and qualified teachers who were facilitating learning to people with disabilities. If the Department had not been able to develop those teachers in the thirteen years how would that situation be transformed?

Mr Moni asked whether the Department was fully resourced in terms of people.

Mr Moni suggested looking for solutions rather than just asking questions and accepting answers.

The Chairperson commented that it was very important for Members to attend the two-day Indaba to hear what the people had to say. At the very first meeting on inclusive education the Committee felt much was not being done nationally but the NGOs said they wanted inclusive education, it was a legal issue and a human rights issue and they did not want to change.

The Chairperson was concerned that the different provinces – the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape – did not have appropriate funding for the expansion of inclusive education. Provinces received equitable share from national government. That meant that the policy of the national government was not being implemented.

The Chairperson asked which institutions would develop the teachers. Previously colleges did that.

The Chairperson asked why the time line for the norms and standards of funding of the whole system was March 2014. When it came to the budget vote in Parliament the Department had to know what was allocated for inclusive education. That time line had to be brought closer.

Dr Simelane responded that as it was a sector plan it directed what should happen throughout the level in the system, and the roles and responsibility of each level. The sector plan emphasised the need to work with and through provinces with regard to the implementation and delivery of inclusive education. The plan suggested that DBE should provide leadership in the implementation of the programme and also do the monitoring and support. What was happening in the provinces in the main was not only the doing of the provinces as individual entities but was working at a national level to identify what has to happen in a particular financial year going forward. Through the Action Plan to 2014 the Department tried to align the planning. In January DBE organised a special inter provincial meeting wherein all officials of inclusive education were brought together for the purpose of unpacking what the declaration of 2013 meant to officials at all levels in all provinces. It was to put together one plan for the sector implementing and identifying priorities for 2013, ensuring each province had the same activities that needed to be carried out. Through the Sector Plan DBE worked very closely with provinces, and as national had to provide the direction as to what should happen.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Moni that the Committee would always be dissatisfied with the Department at national level. On visits to the North West and Mpumalanga they were doing very well running with the programme. Why was there no synergy between national and provincial departments?

Dr Simelane commented that that report of 6 November 2012 was also presented to Heads of Departments of all the provincial departments, and also presented to the Council of Education Ministers. As those gaps were identified per specific province it was up to those executives to realise what kind of progress had been made or not in terms of implementation of the policy. It was expected that when they went back they would try to have that kind of engagement. The Eastern Cape, after acknowledging all the gaps that were picked up, organised a two day Indaba strictly on the implementation of White Paper 6 and brought together all officials so that there would be alignment centralised. Even with regard to how DBE needed to manage those provinces that did not appropriate funding, even though National Treasury had made it available through the equitable share. DBE met with provincial officials on a quarterly basis. There were also structures such as HEDCOM and CEM where challenges were presented at that level.

The Chairperson asked Dr Simelane to put answers to the questions in writing.
She asked the Committee Secretary to arrange for Legal Advisors to advise the Committee on intergovernmental relations and cooperation.
The Department also to present on the issue of delivery of textbooks in Limpopo.

Dr Lovemore was interested in the two day Indaba in the Eastern Cape Dr Simelane had said was involved in inviting principals from all special schools. How was that inclusive education if it was just special schools?

The Chairperson asked Dr Simelane to explain the distinction between special needs education and inclusive education.

Dr Simelane responded that the inclusion concept was critically important. Inclusion simply looked at how to respond to diversity of learners within the system, how to accommodate them in terms of responding to their learning and development needs. Diversity of learners meant differences, no two individuals were the same; there were many differences and among those differences were learners with disabilities and learners that did not have disabilities. Learners with disabilities also needed to be brought into the stream because for a long time their learning and development had been neglected. In international studies our learners in special schools were not participating in those studies. The concept of barriers to learning was very comprehensive.

In terms of the Eastern Cape two day Indaba, the Eastern Cape had been plagued with a lot of problems, especially with regard to how special schools functioned in that province. Because of all those challenges that was why the principals were brought on board, but it was looking it was looking at the implementation of White Paper 6 in its entirety in the province. The DBE was invited to identify challenges over the years.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Simelane. She requested the Department present on the budget, the norms and standards of funding, human resources, remedial teachers, therapists, psychologists, and the overall budget.

NEEDU presentation
Dr Nick Taylor (CEO: NEEDU) reported on progress of the NEEDU Bill, which was expected to have gone through Parliament last year when it was forwarded to Cabinet in July 2012. Treasury required a business plan, which was now ready, and NEEDU requested advice on how to proceed. NEEDU was keen for Treasury to approve the business plan and for the bill to go to Parliament.

During the second half of last year NEEDU looked principally at urban schools in the foundation phase in areas of high inward migration. South Africa was a country with a population in a state of urban migration, of rapid migration from areas of low density towards areas of high population density. Mount Frere could be considered a rural area but Mount Frere was crowded with people, the N2 ran through the town. Migration was to Mount Frere, to Port Elizabeth and then to Cape Town. Schools along the route were crowded out with children in the process of migration. This year NEEDU was looking at rural schools in the intermediate and multigrade phases; and next year to urban and rural schools at senior and FET College levels. NEEDU also covered districts, so by the end of the three-year period it would have covered all phases in both rural and urban and 86 districts in the country.

NEEDU focused in all those areas on curriculum delivery, teaching and learning, in the schools, in the classrooms, and what districts were doing to support that, what provinces were doing to support that, and what the national Department was doing.

In 2012 NEEDU evaluated 133 schools, for which reports were sent to the schools for comment; 15 district offices and 9 provincial offices. Each institution commented on its draft report. Some showed that actual results differed from the DBE database, the DBE database was not correct. The fifteen district reports were then condensed into a draft national report that went to the Minister on 4th March, for comment by the Minister and the DGE.

Our schools were under performing and people said if only we could hold our schools accountable everything would change. It was thought schools were not producing what they were expected to because of poor discipline but it was because teachers did not know what they were teaching.

In looking at poor discipline time was one of the principal factors. Optimal use of time provided for greater opportunity to learn, and awareness of time inculcated good productive habits, which were just as important as learning to read and write. Lax time management practice was a problem in about 30% of schools. The main problem was learner late coming; well-managed schools did not experience that problem, even in the poorest SES conditions.

Dr Taylor gave an example of what a good principal could do and also what a good principal was unable to do. The school was situated in a very deep rural area. Reading levels of six of the best Grade 2 pupils were above those in the majority of schools in the country. 49 of the 619 learners in the school were differently disabled in some way. What was so special about the principal was she noticed that one of the children was not making progress in reading and took the child to the clinic, where she was told the child had only 20% vision and was severely sight impaired. She started a programme for the child, and thought maybe she was not the only one with problems and began looking for disabilities among the children. She announced to the community that children with disabilities were welcome at the school, and a deaf teacher tutored the class of eight hearing-impaired children. It was not about money; it was about leadership and awareness, energy and initiative.

The majority of schools in this country were not being held back through poor discipline, but because our teachers did not have the requisite knowledge. In the SATMEC tests in 2010 teachers were also tested on their knowledge and results for teachers in Grade 6 showed that they did fairly well in arithmetic operations but fell below 50% when the mathematics became a little more complex, and achieved an average of 52.39% overall. Similarly in language teachers did well in retrieving but for inference, interpretation and evaluation they did extremely poorly. If a teacher could not exercise those things herself how could she teach it?

Recommendations:
- Instituting discipline in our schools regarding time management.

- Instructional leadership, managing the curriculum. The Department spoke about professional development. The lack of knowledge would not be fixed in an afternoon workshop, or even a weekend workshop. A hundred hours of intensive tuition would begin to make an impact. Rethink the whole question of professional development and rethink the question of what subject advisors could do. Subject advisors were responsible for 300 schools.

- Professionalising the civil service, which would be intersecting with the National Development Plan that talked a lot about that and also directly to Minister Manuel’s concerns about the ‘Capable State’. NEEDU recommended recruiting and promoting people within the schooling system so that these problems could be addressed and over time eliminate them and build a very strong school system based on strong subject knowledge among teachers.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Taylor for a very good report. These were things at the very heart of teaching. What was recommended used to be inculcated in teachers. He was correct, the problems would not be solved by workshops, and things should be done differently. She was very happy with the report. The DBE’s report of last week should be taken into account where it spoke on performance policies, on roles, and that the subject advisors were responsible for so many schools.

Discussion
Mr Smiles thanked Dr Taylor for the report and asked where the 86 districts were, and whether they were ranked from weaker to better.

Dr Taylor responded that the districts were random but the first set was taken from urban areas and many of the poorest performing districts were in the rural areas. The districts were not ranked in any way.

Mr Smiles noted that the focus was on curriculum delivery. The NDP was directing the government towards 2030, which meant Education should be there as indicated in the NDP. In six years the Grade 1s of this year and next year would be in that time period. Was NEEDU as a quality development in Education agent ensuring that throughout the country there would be expertise in those classrooms to give those Grade 1s a world class start in terms of the requirements of the NDP?

Dr Taylor responded that NEEDU had no executive authority and no implementation authority; it could only influence what happened. The Minister was obliged to table the report at the first meeting of CEM, if she did not accept the recommendations she would need to respond to NEEDU. NEEDU only had the power of persuasion and therefore had to have very strong evidence that was linked to research nationally and internationally. It would keep going back to see what had been done with the recommendations and would keep reporting.

Mr Smiles would like to know how such work as the principal in the school Dr Taylor mentioned would be rewarded.

Dr Lovemore asked for clarity as to what Dr Taylor wanted with respect to the way forward for of the Bill.

Dr Taylor said he was requesting that the Committee convey to the Minister of Finance the context in which the NEEDU business plan was coming to his department. It came with strong political force and with a strong feeling in the country that there was a need for the institution.

Dr Lovemore noted that Dr Taylor said there was no need for inspectors, Circuit Managers were there and should be doing the work. The Minister’s media briefing of that morning said school management and governance supported the school management team and were a direct replacement of the school inspectors. They were the ones who supervised the school principals’ work. Another instance was professional development; Dr Lovemore agreed 100% to stop the workshops. Professional development was one of the responsibilities of the South African Council for Educators (SACE) that did the workshops? How was NEEDU fitting in the Education Sector?

Dr Taylor did not think he and the Minister were speaking differently about inspectors. NEEDU made a very strong case of what the school management team should be doing. The majority of its recommendations were about the functioning of the school management team and why it was missing the mark. There was monitoring but the substance was missing. They did not understand the curriculum themselves. Again it was a knowledge question. In ill disciplined schools circuit managers should come in strongly and behave like inspectors.

Dr Taylor was not sure what SACE was saying; he would check on that.

Ms Mushwana noted the concern that educators would not do where there was no knowledge and also the challenge about workshops. She thought workshops were necessary.

Dr Taylor agreed workshops were necessary, in the training of CAPS for example, but could not help them when it came to knowledge.

Mr Moni was impressed with the recommendations as well as the glimpse of the kind of education the country currently had. There was a remedy that somewhere in the future our education could be called normal. He thought it was contradictory to say professionalise people who were unable to do their work. It seemed teachers compartmentalised too much.

Dr Taylor responded that NEEDU proposed filtering them through, starting with HODs in schools, giving them knowledge tests and testing their inferential reasoning. There should be entrance tests for all promotional posts, and exams for civil servants.

Compartmentalising was a very important point. One of the points emphasised in the presentation was the relationship between mathematics and language. The Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests in maths were largely what were called work problems. Before you could do the maths you had to understand what it meant, to translate it, to understand the grammar and the words.

The Chairperson asked what was NEEDUs relationship, and after the Ministers and Members of the Executive Councils (MINMEC) meeting what happened with this knowledge now? The people who were training our teachers were doing something wrong.

Dr Taylor explained that NEEDU had evidence that the Higher Education Institute (HEI) had not really been assisting NEEDU. In 1994 53% of South African teachers were qualified, in 2012 95% of our teachers were now qualified. They did ACE (Accelerated Certificate in Education) programmes. The system had not changed at all and the programmes were not worth anything. The Council for Higher Education did an evaluation of ACE programmes two years ago and basically said many of them were not worth the paper they were written on. The Higher Education Institute (HEI) let NEEDU down in terms of addressing the knowledge needed in the schools system. We had to rethink our approach to professional development, including the universities.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Taylor for the report, it was an eye opener of things we had always taken for granted. He was correct regarding the professionalisation of teachers because there was a difference between primary and high schools.

When it came to Higher Education the Department spoke of scarce skills, but so many students at universities were taking subjects that were not needed. There was a need to look at what universities were doing. There was a lot of work to be done.

Regarding the NEEDU Bill, when a bill was formulated the first question asked was about the cost. She suggested the DG speak to the Minister because they would want it through before the end of June to give sufficient time for a public hearing. Also to speak to the Chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations.

Mr Mweli concluded that the DBE was very hopeful that it started touching on very important areas and could turn things around. The Diagnostic Report said there was a need to come up with a radical turnaround plan. Findings such as those of NEEDU and others all pointed in the same direction, the need to rethink progress and address fundamentals that were not in place. It also had to acknowledge that the curriculum change had gravitated away from the old days and some teachers did not even possess the basic knowledge and skills. All these developments seemed to put pressure on the system two years after adopting the Integrated Framework on Teacher Development. It was possible to adjust the framework. The plans would be expected to yield the intended outcomes.

DBE had already started, whilst waiting for the comprehensive Teacher Development Progress it needed to do something. For two years running the Department produced a diagnostic report for Grade 12 learners, to guide teachers who were about to graduate and get into the system and train them at Come and Teach level. The Department also responded to the Diagnostic Report for Grade 12 and started developing remedial plans that were in response to the diagnostic report. It was diagnostic of the performance that the Department thought learners performed at that level because learners were important to tell the Department about the ability of teachers in respect of teaching and therefore the remedial plans spoke of what was expected of teachers in every subject. That was taken to Annual National Assessments (ANAs) and the Department was producing it for ANAS for the first time in March, doing the same in terms of developing remedial plans that would be instructing in terms of what should happen at that level.

The challenge remained in terms of bridging the gap in terms of the subject content and knowledge of the teachers and the Comprehensive Teachers Development Plan would have to be implemented. The Minister was clear on that matter. The focus would be finalising key priorities and plans for 2013 so that by June there would be feedback on the results.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for that report and conclusions, and Dr Taylor for the work on NEEDU.

Committee Announcements
Next week the Department was to present its Third Quarterly Report and also on the Limpopo textbook saga.
The DG was to explain when the NEEDU bill went before Cabinet.

Thereafter would be the budget review and then the workshop in Pretoria. All HODs, including MECs were expected at the workshop which would include the Auditor General’s report from the different provinces and turnaround strategies was.

The meeting was adjourned.

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