Umalusi and Department of Basic Education on their 2013 Annual Reports

Basic Education

14 October 2013
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

Umalusi presented its commentary on its Annual Report - its performance was listed per unit and the financial information analyzed. The current challenges and the way forward was reviewed:
- What was currently occupying Umalusi was the development and implementation of the General and the Further Education and Training qualification sub-frameworks (GFETQSF). There was a debate and uncertainty about who develops new qualifications and the new curriculum. The approaches of DBE and Umalusi were different and that was causing confusion about Umalusi's mandate. One found that DBE reviewed curriculum without touching base with Umalusi. These issues would need to be thrashed out.
- On setting standards for the GFETQSF, the Item Response Theory (IRT) project was a big project for Umalusi. It was a criterion-referenced approach for assessment for authorising its work. Umalusi was engaging other countries in the SADC region in this regard.
- Full accreditation roll-out for independent institutions was important as that provided a licence for them to trade in education
- Budget requirements in the years going forward in terms of the DBE grant needed to increase as the mandate of the Umalusi was expanding.

The Chairperson was sympathetic to the request for additional funding by Umalusi as it was doing good work, had a clean audit, fully adhered to its mandates, and their budget was not big but Umalusi had made use of what was provided. Members congratulated Umalusi and agreed that it needed all the support it could get. It was noted that the lack of qualified staff was an issue that needed to be addressed urgently as this was preventing Umalusi operating at its full capacity. Members commented on how curriculum development and maintain the quality of it should be the main focus of the work that they do. Member discuss the implementation of short courses to train staff and Umalusi defended it by stating that it helped train people to a qualified level. CAPS was discuss as it was still causing issues regarding curriculum development. Members discussed issues on the adult education program and Kha Ri Gude.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) presented to the Portfolio Committee. Members overviewed their current and MTEF fundings and made additional funding request. This was due to the Treasury rejecting the DBE s reasons for applying for a roll- over of funds. The Bids for Additional Funding 2013 per programme were summarized. The implementation of African languages in the compulsory school curriculum was discussed as were plans for setting up school libraries. A request for more funding into special needs learners and their needs was brought up in discussion.

The Chairperson requested more information regarding the reasons for the Treasury rejecting roll- over for the DBE and thought it was due to the department being unable to manage their budget effectively. She assured that the Committee would analyze this matter though. Added that Programme 5 would need to be looked at the curb gangtersism and other negative effects to learners capacity to learn in schools. Members discussed the positive and negative effects on changing the curriculum in introducing African languages. Members agreed on creating controls on students in preventing serious distractions to learning as well as helping out weaker provences with regard to textbooks. The Chairperson overall was happy with the route that was being taken with regard to all issues discussed.
 

Meeting report

The Chairperson mentioned that the CFO of Department of Basic Education was present to lead the departmental delegation. Her presence was important for potential financial support for Umalusi which was also present. She added that this was not only an Annual Report meeting but a budget review too. If there was a need for more funds for the 2014/2015 budget then Umalsui should speak to this in the meeting and they would also need to request it in writing and handed it in by the end of the week so that it can be added to the Portfolio Committee Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) report. She was uncertain whether the department had asked for anything extra for Umalusi.

Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa (CFO, Department of Basic Education) commented that it had not.

The Chairperson responded that it was important to give Umalusi a chance as there were important things that Umalusi had to do. She commented that all the department's entities were credible but particularly Umalusi. She congratulated the CFO for Umalusi on its clean audit. Everyone could learn from Umalusi.
Their budget was not big but Umalusi had made use of what was provided. ELRU and SACE had received unqualified audit reports but with findings. DBE had received an unqualified audit report but with several findings but a turnaround strategy was being worked on so that by next year there would be fewer findings. She was encouraged by the Eastern Cape Education Department's qualified report. It was notable as the Eastern Cape department usually received disclaimers. The national department had set up an intervention for the Eastern Cape department. The two departments worked together tirelessly with a new Superintendent General and she thought they had done a very good job. Limpopo did not do well as there had been a disclaimer yet it had improved slightly. Gauteng and Western Cape had unqualified audits with only one finding in each province. Mpumalanga had an unqualified report. She expressed the importance of looking at the finances and for people to know what was happening with the audits.

Umalusi presentation on 2012/2013 Annual Report
Mr Dan Kgwali (Council member of Umalusi) expressed appreciation for the support that Umalusi had received from the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. The presentation would look at Umalusi's mandate, the impacts of the external environment on Umalusi, organisational performance per unit; financial information; current issues and the way forward.

Dr Mafu S Rakometsi (CEO, Umalusi) reiterated Mr Kgwali’s sentiments. He outlined the mandate which was determined by two Acts: the National Qualifications Framework Act (NFQ) of 2008 and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act of 2001, and amended in 2008. The mandate dealt with developing and managing a sub-framework of qualifications and standards, quality assurance, as well as maintaining an information database of learner achievements in consultation with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) plus commissioning and publishing research on implementation and development of the sub- framework. It also provide advice to the Minister on the sub-framework of qualifications, sought collaboration with the SAQA and other Quality Councils, established co-operative relationships with professional bodies and did advocacy work for the sub-framework and its qualifications.

Certain aspects in the macro environment that had affected Umalusi were:
▪ The passing of the NQF Act in 2009; changes in the roles and responsibilities of the various bodies in the quality assurance landscape;
▪ The amendment of the various Acts that govern the work of the QCs which had required more capacity and a review of Umalusi’s positions and approaches; and
▪ Varying views on the nature of standard setting and quality assurance.
▪ The National Development Plan (released Nov 2011) provided useful diagnosis and identified critical educational challenges to be addressed
▪ The process of collaboration with SAQA (and with the other QCs) in the transition to the NQF Act had meant that staff was extensively involved in both Ministerial and SAQA task teams
▪ In December 2012, the NQF is regulated and QCs advised to finalise their sub-frameworks accordingly
▪ The white paper on the post school system had been completed, but had not been publicly released
▪ The Department of Higher Education and Training had created significant changes in terms of the Acts relating to colleges, but appears to be vacillating about the qualifications it wishes to offer: NC(V) task team report had not been released; uncertainty regarding the location of the N-programme continues
▪ The DBE is implementing the CAPS - Umalusi is currently analysing the changes made to the curricula
▪ The fate of adult learners remains in the balance as energy is dissipated into conflicting qualification processes: planning for the funding and rollout for the National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) seems limited.

Looking at the quality assurance regime in 2012/2013, Umalusi argue that educational standards and quality were set and maintained through a combination of processes and interventions. The 2012/2013 quality assurance regime was designed to include the following:
▪ Evaluation and benchmarking of existing qualifications and curricula (Intended curriculum) and issuing authentic certificates; development of new qualifications and curricula
▪ Ensuring through external moderation processes and benchmarking that assessments at exit points were of an acceptable standard and that the examinations were conducted in a credible manner through verifying the national and provincial monitoring systems (Examined curriculum)
▪ Ensuring that standardisation processes were reliable, consistent and standardization decisions were upheld
▪ Accrediting private institutions (schools, FET colleges and Adult Centres), and private assessment bodies to offer / assess the qualifications it certifies (Enacted curriculum). Dr Rakometsi noted that the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) was a new independent institution that had applied for accreditation. If allowed by council, SACAI would do a full roll-out next year.

Mr Vijayen Naidoo (Acting COO, Umalusi) reported on the Qualifications, Curriculum and Certification (QCC) Unit which was responsible for upholding the quality of the qualifications Umalusi certifies. It quality assures the qualifications and their related curricula to ensure the overall quality of the certificates Umalusi issues. It also oversees the issuing and verification of certificates. He listed the achievements of the unit for 2012/13 (see document).

Mr Naidoo also listed the achievements for the Quality Assurance of Assessment Unit (QAA) Unit, the Evaluation and Accreditation Unit (E&A) and the Statistical Information and Research Unit (SIR).

This Quality Assurance of Assessment Unit's function entailed establishing, maintaining and improving standards and quality in assessment at exit points in General and Further Education and Training. In order to fulfil this function, Umalusi used five key processes:
- external moderation of question papers;
- verification of monitoring the conduct of examinations;
- external moderation of marking;
- external moderation of continuous assessment; and
- standardisation of assessment results.
The qualifications were: SC; NSC; N3; NCV 2,3,4; GETC: adults.

The Evaluation and Accreditation Unit was responsible for accrediting private institutions through quality assurance of their provision for the qualifications Umalusi certifies. The unit evaluated:
- The capacity of education and training providers to implement registered qualifications and approved curriculum they seek accreditation for; and
- The quality of the enacted curriculum in providers i.e. teaching and learning at the required standard
- The capacity of assessment bodies to conduct practical, internal, and external assessment of learner achievement, leading to the issuing of registered qualifications by Umalusi as well as the standards of assessments (products and marking processes)

The Statistical Information and Research Unit (SIR) conducted research as identified by the needs of the organisation and provided statistical support for the work in other units. It also played a role in organizational and professional development at Umalusi.

Mr Jeremy Thomas (CFO, Umalusi) spoke about the Governance and Office of the CEO (GOCEO) unit, Information Technology Systems, Finance, HRD & Admin Support, Financial Performance 2012/13, its financial position and the shortfall of the DBE grant which would meet only 88% of Umalusi's budget requirements next year. Umalusi had a clean audit and would endeavour to keep up that level of performance. He added that all creditors were paid within 30 days. Also all surpluses had been invested at CPD and all assets were registered and labelled. He said that 30 people had attended short courses as well and instances of in- house training and bursaries awarded. His reasons were that head hunting people for the right job was needed as there was no other institution like Umalusi in country. Therefore Umalusi needed to educate and find the right people. These created the need to focus on the Umalusi staff and to account for developing the staff in the budget.

The financial performance for the 2012/13 year was summarized. The expenditure for the year was R89 057 859. The deficit of R7.5 million for the year was due to certificates being requested in March instead of June 2012 resulting in increased revenue reflecting in 2011/12 and consequently a deficit this year. Total assets were R64 million. Umalusi’s three year forecast was overviewed and an assessment showed that by 2014/15 it would have a shortfall of 4 million, in 2015/16 this would increase to R10 million and in 2016/17 R20 million. For 2014/15, Umalusi still had its reserves that it could use but by 2015/16, it would not be able to cope. So a request was made in the meeting for DBE to review the current funding of Umalusi.

Dr Rakometsi took over and summarized the current issues and the way forward:
- What was currently occupying Umalusi was the development and implementation of the General and the Further Education and Training (GFET) qualification sub-frameworks (QSF). There was a debate and uncertainty about who develops new qualifications and the new curriculum The approaches of DBE and Umalusi were different and that was causing confusion about Umalusi's mandate. One found that DBE reviewed curriculum without touching base with Umalusi. These issues would need to be thrashed out.
- On setting standards for the GFETQSF, the Item Response Theory (IRT) project was a big project for Umalusi. It was a criterion-referenced approach for assessment for authorising its work. Umalusi was engaging other countries in the SADC region in this regard.
- Full accreditation roll-out for independent institutions was important as that provided a licence for them to trade in education
- Budget requirements in the years going forward in terms of the DBE grant needed to increase as the mandate of the Umalusi was expanding. It wanted to keep the small reserve that it had for an contingency that might arise.

He finished by thanking the Chairperson and the Portfolio Committee for their support.

The Chairperson thanked Umalusi for the comprehensive report. She said Umalusi should include a breakdown of its contingency reserve in its written request for extra funding that it submitted to the Committee by 17 October. The request would need to be discussed with the department. She continued that Umalusi was an entity of basic education that works in higher education. She mentioned that she had had a meeting with higher and basic education together, including the sector concerning universities. However, each department had different expectations from the other departments. She was encouraged by NASQA and added that its work was important for the future of our adults as Umalusi always speaks about qualifications with regard to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Mr Moni congratulated Umalusi and what they had reported. Most pre-planned objectives were achieved. He asked Umalusi to share their international experience. Based on this experience, was South Africa's education results on par or above or below the level of learning elsewhere. What was Umalusi going to do about the current budget shortfall of 12%. He asked about the short courses - which he had an attitude about as they did not enable one to get a qualification - what sort of short courses were these? Besides resources, what challenges were facing Umalusi.

Ms A Mashishi congratulated Umalusi on their achievements, especially maintaining the 30 day payment deadline of their creditors. However, she found the lack of capacity of some departments bad and asked Umalusi about the FET colleges where learners were struggling to get certificates. She referred to the mention of disaster recovery in the presentation and asked if this was covered in all nine provinces. She also asked what challenges were facing Umalusi.

Mr D Smiles (DA) thanked Umalusi for its transparency in obtaining a clean audit. Although Umalusi obtained a clean audit, it was important that it include the funding provided to its adult learner programme, the money going to the programme needed to be accounted for and its performance needed to be measured. It was important for the Committee to stay updated on the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Programme and check whether Kha Ri Gude was quality assured by Umalusi. In regards to the qualification certificates issued by Umalusi, internationally Umalusi was assisting Namibia in providing qualification certificates but it was important to weigh the risks of providing that assistance and question whether it would jeopardise the deliverance of certificates in South Africa. He said cooperation between the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Umalusi needed to be assisted and prioritised by legislators. He wanted clarification on whether the BRRR would ensure that Umalusi received the funding it required and emphasized that legislators needed to support Umalusi in order for it to receive increased funding.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Smiles for his input and responded that there was a section in the BRRR which enabled the Committee to propose budget amendments for 2014/15, and a request for increased funding for Umalusi would be proposed. She stated that the Kha Ri Gude programme was one of the best programmes to emerge out of the Department of Basic Education.

Mr Rakometsi appreciated the promises of accommodating the budget needs of Umalusi and said it was important for the Committee to know its daily challenges, and also the green and white paper. He commented on the point made on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - saying tinkering with NASQA would have a negative effect if it tried to cater to everybody including learners at schools. They would be appealing to the Director General and the two ministers to leave it as it is - for the needs of adult learners. Mr Rakometsi noted Mr Moni's question about Umalusi's contact with international bodies. He rattled off a series of recent and future engagements in Malawi, Tanzania, Israel and the UK. In short, he said the South African learner could compete confidently with international learners as the qualifications were benchmarked. Information on comparisons of South Africa with international qualifications could be found on the Umalusi website. He had to think hard to list some challenges. These were: Some people assumed all question papers had been moderated by Umalusi but this was not the case. It reflected badly on Umalusi that some un-moderated question papers at FET colleges had spelling mistakes or incorrect formulas - so he saw this as a challenge. But a new mandate was now in place and according to the Act, Umalusi would "progressively" fill that mandate over ten years according to its capacity. Umalusi would like to do this immediately but it did not have the capacity. Umalusi was unique in South Africa and when it lost skilled people and equipment, this was very difficult and one could not poach people. He reasserted the need for more qualified people within Umalusi. He said it was true there had been some delays with the issuing of FET qualification certificates. This was because of a number of factors. The fact that the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) 2, 3 and 4 were seen as separate qualifications was a problem. If you were owing some subjects in NCV 2, you could not proceed to NCV 3. All the Grade 10 and 11 subjects were regarded as prerequisites for Grade 12 but this was not stated as such, they were seen as separate. Secondly, there had been discrepancies in the symbols and the data had to be cleaned. They were busy with this process. Finally, the process had been fraught with irregularities and exam papers had been leaked in certain areas. Certificates could only be released if the results are authentic, so this had caused delays. Another challenge was the non-payment of certification fees by private FET colleges. He mentioned that Kha Rhi Gude had not been put into the NQF so it cannot be quality assured. However, where it was placed now as an adult literacy programme was fine. The Namibian arrangement was a government-to-government arrangement and it had been handed over to them and all protocols had been followed. Lastly, he mentioned that curriculum development was key to Umalusi. For the Minister to revise the curriculum without touching base with Umalusi was problematic. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) had been introduced into the schools and Umalusi was reviewing it post-hoc. In terms of quality assurance, this would create confusion if some of the curriculum had to be recalled. Umalusi needed to be involved right from the word 'go' when the curriculum was revised.

Mr Rakometsi stated that Umalusi needed to work in conjunction with the Portfolio Committee in order to address the challenges associated with education and the training of students. He emphasized that the National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) was fulfilling its purpose and any changes made to it would negatively affect the productivity of its purpose. Umalusi was very involved in interacting with international bodies, especially within the African continent. Internationally the certificate qualifications issued by Umalusi were equivalent to the qualifications standards upheld in other countries. The learners produced by its programs could compete in the global village because its qualifications had been benchmarked to qualifications elsewhere.
 
The Chairperson referred to Mr Thomas.

Mr Thomas expressed a need to consider plans for the next financial year. The short courses were important as they were specific courses to train specific members of staff. For example he listed a two day workshop on a specific function so that staff could be taught to do the work. The courses did not lead to a formal qualification but it helped them. On the vacancy of 17% in staff, he answered that Umalusi was busy finding the appropriate people. One had to pay a premium for the IT sector. One needed to keep paying for adverts to advertise vacancies. When server went down, one needed a back-up server to get back up and running within the hour and to prevent data getting corrupted during the power failure. Once the data was on their servers, it was safe.

Mr Thomas stated that aspects dealing with budget shortfalls would be addressed in the Department's Strategic and Annual Performance Plan Report. In terms of the short courses offered, those were specific to the Umalusi staff with the purpose of enhancing their functionality. Currently the Department had a vacancy rate of 17% which translated to approximately 8-9 vacant positions. The term 'Disaster Recovery' referred to the alternative back-up mechanism put in place in case the Department IT server went down.

Mr Naidoo noted that the certification challenge was also caused by the limits to the capacity of "SEQA" and its IT that fed Umalusi the data. On Kha Rhi Gude, some quality assurance is done by SAQA. In terms of challenges, Umalusi and the external environment were grappling with the transition from a quality assurance body to a quality council - so this was why there was not a clear understanding of its mandate.

The Chairperson said that when it comes to the Department, people were critical. But the Committee knew that the Department was doing its work. In the media, there was much controversy. She added that it was always joyous when Umalusi was there. She mentioned the standardization process Umalusi was currently working on. On the matter of curriculum development, she would mention this to the Minister. In Eastern Cape papers mentioned big newspaper article on learners being overage at school and causing problems. She mentioned that some of these learners were as old as 25. On Kha Ri Gude she gave the example of a 77 year old woman who had completed the adult literacy program. After completing the program she could count, work in the post office and can sign her name, things she could not do before. 60% of women staring in government in 1994 were illiterate so it reaffirmed that the adult literacy program had been especially helpful.

The Chairperson thanked Umalusi for its presentation and stated people were generally very critical about DBE but the Committee was aware that the Department was doing its work. She said the Committee was working towards a standardisation system for curriculum development and it was in the process of consulting with the Department of Higher Education and Training. Overall, Kha Ri Gude was a well-developed program because it was really helping the illiterate population, especially illiterate women in South Africa.

Mr D Kgwali stated that Umalusi fully adhered to its mandates in terms of legislation and looked forward to it continuing its positive engagement with the Portfolio Committee of Basic Education.

Department of Basic Education budget
The Chairperson had asked the Department to present on its budget needs. It would now present a summary of its additional budget needs. She noted that the budget review was not yet aligned with the budget cycle of the government. At the moment the Committee was still grappling with the process but they would work into the BRRR was was presented today by DBE.
 
Dr Jenny Joshua (DBE Director: GET) said the DBE budget for the 2013/14 financial year was R17 606.652 million. Operations and projects would experience shortfalls unless funds could be earmarked for these. She noted DBE had requested a rollover of funds for Kha Ri Gude as the timing of the project was not aligned to the financial year. This had not been successful. She overviewed DBE's submissions it made for additional funding in 2013 and for 2014:

Summary of Bids for Additional Funding 2013 Per Programme (Requests for Adjustments)
Provincial Textbooks

The Department requested provinces to submit their budget shortfalls for the provision of Learning and Teaching Material Support (LTSM) for the 2014 academic year. In ensuring that each learner is provided with a textbook for every subject, there was a proposal/request to bring the 2014/15 LTSM budget forward to 2013/14 to enable provinces to fulfill this mandate. The Department approached the Minister of Finance for his intervention and support on this matter. The Minister advised provinces to approach Provincial Treasuries and they were not successful.

Education Collaboration Framework (ECF)
- The strategic focus of this initiative is to co-ordinate the efforts of the social partners through the National Education Collaboration Framework to put into action the education aspects of the National Development Plan which will ensure that Government meets its goal of achieving quality basic education. To achieve sustainable system improvements in Education, the NECF proposes focusing its support on six themes which are linked to the aims of the NDP and Action Plan 2014. Alongside the themes, the NECF identifies successful conditions that are to be addressed by all partners before and during implementation. The six themes are, teacher development improving school governance and management, district development, improving delivery of learning support material and curriculum implementation, community and parent involvement and learner support well being.

Annual National Assessment (ANA)
- The Department has identified and prioritised Annual National Assessment (ANA) in the key foundational skills of Literacy and Numeracy as a pivotal mechanism for monitoring and tracking the achievement. The Presidency’s injunction an independent agent to monitor test administration, administer questionnaires, marking, capture and analyse data, and provide a report to the Minister, who will report to the public on the learner performance and contextual factors that affect it. Due consideration has been given to, amongst others, the Government's Programme of Action and the objectives and the 18 key targets of the National Development Plan. The current funding is not adequate to carry the intended outcomes with the administration of ANA as part of regular standardised assessment to ultimately improve the quality of basic education in South Africa.

Summary of Projects for Additional Funding for 2014 MTEF Per Programme

National Catalogue
- The Ministerial Task Team’s recommendation was that the lists of approved textbooks must be National (as proposed to the current provincial system), and that the range of options be narrowed down, partly through more stringent selection criteria. The Department developed the National catalogue for Grade 1 to 12. However, there is still a need to develop the following: Grade R, Further Education and Training (FET) Literature; Master Copies for Braille and Large Print for Grades 1 – 12; and Textbooks not on the National Catalogues. Due to budget shortfalls the Department is unable to continue with the catalogue.

Incremental Introduction of African Languages
- Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) will be rolled out in 2015 starting with Grade 1. The project will be piloted in 2014 for Grade 1 in approximately 500 schools that did not offer an African language. The pilot roll-out requires the training of teachers in two levels namely Level 1:Training of core group of African language trainers and Level 2:Training of pilot school teachers in all Provinces

School Libraries
The Action Plan 2014: Towards the realisation of Schooling 2025, goal number 20 states that” Increased learner access to a wide range of media, including computers, will enrich their education”. In operationalising this goal, the Department is looking at increasing access to books for more learners through centralised libraries where the infrastructure is in place and classroom library as well as movable/lockable cabinet.

Inclusive Education
The project will be strengthening and consolidating critical systems that will enable the full roll out of Inclusive Education thus making Basic Education inherently inclusive as well as engendering a multi-disciplinary approach in developing an Inclusive Education and Training System by ensuring that each policy area/programme plays its meaningful role in this regard.
 
ECD Services
- The project supports areas that will improve the quality of ECD. The activities will include ECD practitioner training, pilot innovative programmes, develop materials to stimulate children, establish project management teams to monitor and support ECD centres. The project will to provide distance e-Guidance, establishment of 9 walk-in career guidance centres and access to credible up-to-date career information to improve the quality of the career guidance component of Life Orientation teaching and learning.

Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)
- South Africa is participating in a regional study involving a consortium of 15 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa in monitoring educational quality. The fourth study (SACMEQ IV) of this consortium is scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2015 which coincides with the need to report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). DBE has already collected the data from 350 schools which involved (350x25 learners). The Department therefore requires additional funding to (a) capture the data which will involve the purchase of computers and hire of data capturers, (b) data cleaning which will require necessary training and expertise, (c) data analysis that will require appropriate expertise, e.g. statisticians, IT specialists and specialised software, (d) writing of a report that provides short-, medium- and long term costed recommendations, (e) printing of reports, and (f) dissemination of findings in terms of policy briefs, road shows, conferences and seminars.

Annual National Assessment (ANA)
- The Department has identified and prioritised Annual National Assessment (ANA) in the key foundational skills of Literacy and Numeracy as a pivotal mechanism for monitoring and tracking the achievement. The Presidency’s injunction an independent agent to monitor test administration, administer questionnaires, do marking, capture and analyse data, and provide a report to the Minister, who will report to the public learner performance and contextual factors that affect it. Due consideration has been given to, amongst others, the Government's Programme of Action and the objectives and the 18 key targets of the National Development Plan. The current funding is not adequate to carry the intended outcomes with the administration of ANA as part of regular standardised assessment to ultimately improve the quality of basic education in South Africa.

Cost Cutting Measures and Reprioritisation
▪ The Department reprioritised by cutting 10% in some programmes to fund the following:
- Interventions in Limpopo and Eastern Cape which have never been funded since Section 100 was implemented
- ACE Diploma
- Legal Services due to cases affecting the Departments
▪ Some projects were postponed to make funds available for critical activities of the Department.

Discussion
The Chairperson found the report excellent. She referred to the rollover request that was refused and asked what budgeting system was DBE using – was it cash or accrual. If it was accrual, then these items had already been paid for. If there were commitments at the end of the financial year, then one needed to de-commit. With accrual, it goes on.

Ms N Molalekoa (CFO, Department of Basic Education) said it was still partly cash. All the unspent money needed to be returned to Treasury and then one had to apply for it as a rollover. Usually Treasury looked at the commitments. However, in this instance, Treasury did not approve DBE’s reasons for the rollover.

The Chairperson asked for the reasons given for refusal of the rollover as Treasury normally gave reasons for this. These needed to be put on record. She advised DBE to request these reasons. The BRRR process was still new to the Committee but they would sit with the Appropriations researcher and analyse the request. One had to look at the 2013 strategic plan, the previous year’s Annual Report, the request for 2013 adjustments and for 2014 budget increases and first 2014 quarterly report. The quarterly report was important as it showed that DBE was on track. The second quarterly report would show if DBE were up to 50%. She emphasized that the Committee needed to know why Treasury would not allow the rollover. She asked whether it could be because the DBE did not budget the funds effectively for infrastructure. She emphasized the need for DBE to show that they were on track. She would read through the DBE presentation document with the experts and asked the DBE to trust the Committee to be the best judges on this matter as politicians. She would sit with Parliament’s researchers to analyze what DBE had submitted to the Committee. She would go through the analysis personally. The Committee’s BRRR would contain both the 2013 adjustment requests and 2014 budget increase requests. She asked if the Committee had questions.

Mr Moni said that the DBE document needed to be considered and the Committee could come back to the department at a later stage, saying what they agreed with or what needed to be amended and modified.

The Chairperson agreed, saying this was a new process. Even if the budget cycle is not properly aligned, the Chief Whip had said that the Committee need to submit a properly motivated BRRR requesting budget changes. The Committee would not be able to do the DBE document justice now and would leave the department on that note. She explained that the researcher did a very good job in analyzing reports and knew education matters and would motivate in the BRRR for any budget changes. She mentioned that she and the Committee researcher had picked up on the issues that DBE said was needing budgetary attention. The Minister had said that there was 98% access to basic education. However, now one needed to concentrate on quality of education. When it comes to ECD, DBE needed to universalize it. She mentioned Inclusive Education, and Programme 5 would need to be looked at such as gangsterism in schools, as well as drugs and bullying. Regarding computers and cellphones, control measures needed to be in place. Parents want their children to have cellphones, however, so one need to reach a conclusion on this. The training and development of teachers needed focus and the retention policy. Also important was e-education. DBE needed to speak to the Committee about their 27 issues and what finances you need for projects as quality was now the main focus. She noted that someone had just brought it to her attention that National Treasury had accepted the Committee’s recommendation of the new mandate of Umalusi.

Ms N Molalekoa wondered about Umalusi as DBE had submitted their information but Umalusi had not yet submitted theirs.

The Chairperson agreed that Umalusi still had to motivate for its budget adjustments and additions. Umalusi must be part of the DBE and both departments need to communicate effectively with each other. She repeated that now that they had achieved access to basic education, there must be a focus on quality of education

Dr J Joshua referred to the African language project which would see the incremental introduction of an African language as a compulsory part of the curriculum. She noted that there were about 3 000 schools where the learner profiles had changed tremendously where African language speakers attended these schools where English and Afrikaans were the only languages taught. DBE was looking to improve learning outcomes and social cohesion, by placing African languages into the school curriculum. From 2015 to 2026 all learners would take on three languages incrementally from Grades 1 to Grade 12 – and one of them must be an African language. She expressed concern that the national book catalogue for Grades 1 to 12 had a lack of language books for the African language project and DBE had approached publishers for those books to be prepared but DBE needed the necessary funding for this. A catalogue needed to be in place also for Educare. Blind learners also needed to have text books and funding would be needed to provide the right textbooks, including the master copies. On school libraries, she noted that many secondary school had spare classrooms where they could establish a library if they had shelving and books, and for younger learners they could create lock up libraries. If the funding was provided, 70% of schools would have library access. Those three issues she asked should be looked at when the Committee did the research for the motivation.

Ms P Ogunbanjo (Director of Exams, Department of Basic Education) wished to motivate about funding for Inclusive Education as well as ANA. From an exam perspective, departments had not gone the full stretch for learners who were blind and deaf but their needs should be taken further. Departments should be working together with the Blind and Deaf associations. DBE could not begin building special needs schools when there were not enough teachers and the necessary equipment to do so. DBE’s focus was now on quality and the ANA programme could help to achieve that goal. The international involvement Umalusi had was what all education departments need to have as well, though DBE was lagging on this because of the lack of funds.

The Chairperson appreciated Ms Ogunbanjo’s motivation. The Department and she would have to meet to finalise the motivation in the Committee BRRR. She and possibly the Committee Whip would attend the budget meeting with the Ministry and National Treasury. Together the Department and the Committee would motivate for the additional budget. But they must first prepare themselves well.

The meeting was adjourned.

Share this page: