The Department of Basic Education (DBE) presented its Annual Report 2012/2013 to the Committee. The key systematic improvements occurred during 2012/2013 included the learner performance in National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Annual National Assessment (ANA), the institutionalisation of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) in the schooling system, the delivery of the first Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) schools, an expanded coverage of workbook distribution, and improved Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) provisioning in the sector.
There was a growth in access to education and the DBE came closer to universal coverage. The percentage of seven to 15 years old children attending an educational institution increased from 96.3% in 2002 to the 98.8% in 2011. Also, the percentage of five-year-old children attending an educational institution increased from 39.3% in 2002 to 84.8% in 2011. There was an improvement in the learners’ performance during examination and in the percentage of admissions to bachelor studies and higher certificate studies.
Several vacant positions were filled and this improved the DBE’s capacity. Capacity was further developed through the establishment of a culture of accountability and performance-based reporting and management. The implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) was on track. The reading culture was in the process of being promoted and services in schools improved through the distribution of workbooks including those translated into Braille. Strategies were also developed to train educators in dealing with Sign Language as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication. The Human Resources department maintained the stability in schools and supported the curriculum delivery and learner performance through the placing of educators and support where in need. Implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) supported effective teaching and improved levels of accountability. The Diagnostic Report on Learner Performance highlighted areas of weaknesses and provided suggestions for improvements in teaching and learning. Progress was also achieved in replacing inappropriate schools such as mud schools, plankie schools, corrugated sheeting structures and prefab schools that were no longer fit-for-purpose. In promoting the overall well being of learners, the Integrated School Health Programme was launched in October 2012. In addition, a total of 16 749 Life Orientation educators were trained and 1 201 500 sets of Learner Teacher Support Material were distributed to schools.
Most of the departments within DBE spent 95% or above the allocated budget. On the allocation per economic classification, the lowest percentage was to be found on the category of ‘Buildings and other fixed structures’ and this fell under Programme 4, which spent below 95% of the allocated budget. The Audit-General’s gave the DBE an unqualified audit opinion with emphasis of matters because of the material under-spending of the budget on Programme 4 and the restatement of prior year comparative figures, as the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) accruals for 2011/2012 were incorrect.
Members asked what the situation was with acting allowances, as several DBE staff members were in acting positions. They wanted to know if there was any cost involved. Fearing an impact on the DBE’s budget, Members wondered if the high number of interns could affect the DBE’s expenditure. They asked what the difference was between a lead teacher and a subject advisor. More clarifications were requested on the issue of re-deployment of lead teachers from one province to another. Members asked if there was an impact on remuneration and what the strategies were to incentivise teachers to move. They asked if the DBE intervened and supported schools with the building of libraries and the provision of materials. Concerns were raised over the under-expenditure within the infrastructure sector. Members wondered if there was a programme in place to solve this matter.
The Committee was concerned with the training of teachers and asked clarification on the unions’ role in the training process. The implementation of CAPS was also a concern for them. While CAPS seemed efficient to the DBE, on the ground schools were experiencing difficulties in understanding it and implementing it. They asked what the DBE was doing to improve the quality of teaching and learning and monitor progress. They wondered if the DBE was assisting provinces that received qualified reports. Members asked what was done to reach the 2% target of DBE staff with disability and wondered what the DBE’s strategies were in addressing the needs of children with disability in terms of buildings and classrooms’ accessibility. They expressed a general concern on safety issues and safe infrastructures in schools.
The Chairperson read out apologies from the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and Deputy Minister Enver Surty, who were attending a UNESCO event.
Briefing by the Department of Basic Education
Mr Paddy Padayachee, Acting Director-General, Department of Basic Education (DBE), presented the 2012/13 Annual Report. The presentation was divided into three parts. Ms Vivienne Carelse would present the first two parts dealing with the service delivery environment and context, and the programme performance, and the third part on the annual financial statements would be presented by Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa.
Overview of the service delivery environment and context
Ms Vivienne Carelse, Deputy Director-General: Strategic Planning, DBE, said that the legislative mandate of the DBE came from the National Education Policy Act (Act 27 of 1996). The DBE’s statutory role was to formulate policy, norms and standards and monitor and evaluate policy implementation and impact across the country. The key systematic improvements occurring during 2012/2013 included the learner performance in National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Annual National Assessment (ANA), the institutionalisation of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) in the schooling system, the delivery of the first Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) schools, an expanded coverage of workbook distribution, and improved Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) provisioning in the sector. The DBE also expanded the growth in Early Childhood Development (ECD) services, collaborated with Teacher Unions on teacher development, and significantly expanded the care and support for learners (in terms of expansion of National School Nutrition Programme, no-fee schools programme and the health screening). There was a growth in access to education and DBE came close to universal coverage.
Comparing the November 2012 NSC performance examination with the 2013 supplementary examination, there was a significant growth and the DBE achieved targets across the provinces. The performance was of 75.6%. From 2008 to 2012 there was a steady increase in the performance of NSC learners. Limpopo showed a significant improvement of 3.9% (from 66.9% to 70.8%). Admission to bachelor studies had improved with 26.6% of learners that obtained admission. The total number of candidates that obtained admission to Higher Certificate studies increased from 88 604 to 98 256, with an increase of 9 652 candidates.
The ECD improvement was shown by the rise in the percentage of seven to 15 years old children attending an educational institution from 2002 to 2011. In 2002 the coverage was 96.3% while in 2011 the coverage was of 98.8%, which was closer to universal access. In terms of the percentage of five-year-old children attending an educational institution, the coverage was of 84.8%, which indicated a significant improvement if compared to 2002 percentage of 39.3%.
The lack of books in school was defined as a challenging area in the previous years, but there was an improvement. Concerns expressed about lack of books had been declining. Also previous concerns around fees being too high, facilities in bad conditions, classes being too large, lack of teachers and poor teaching were still a concern but the DBE showed improvement in addressing these issues. Since 2002 there was a steady decline in those concerns being expressed.
The DBE achieved 78% of its annual targets. The Annual Performance Plan (APP) had been aligned to the Delivery Agreement of outcome 1 of the government, which was ‘Improving the quality of Basic Education’ and the ‘Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025’. The activities of DBE were captured in five programmes:
Programme 1: Administration
The purpose of Programme 1 was to manage the DBE and provide strategic and administrative support. Two key posts of Deputy Directors-General and seven Senior Management Services (SMS) posts were filled, and this alleviated the DBE’s capacity constraints. Capacity was also developed through the Workplace Skills Plan and the Personal Development Plans of the officials. Efforts to establish a culture of accountability and performance-based reporting and management in the DBE culminated in the finalisation of performance assessments of all officials by the end of the financial year. The quality of generic management practices in the DBE was assessed using the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT). The assessment determined the current level of performance of the Department and pinpointed specific areas, which were in need of improvement and that, were currently being addressed.
The DBE finalised the Quarterly System Monitoring Tools for School and District Planning, Management and Monitoring Tools. The DBE also secured approval for them at the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) and the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) levels. The School and District Planning, Management and Monitoring Tools and a guideline were developed in accordance with school and district reporting requirements as a basis to report on a quarterly basis and to assist school and district level accountability. The DBE also partnered with various institutions to engage with strategic stakeholders across the world. In the period under review, the Department negotiated a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Education of China, which focused on key national priorities such as further education, peace and security and health. It was signed on 26 March 2013. The DBE also negotiated a second cooperation agreement, between the South Africa government and the British government regarding English in education. The Declaration of Intent was awaiting approval and signing.
In terms of outputs and performance indicators, the DBE achieved, and in some instance overachieved, its targets. The number of officials participating in staff development activities was 350 against a target of 280. Number of interns hired was 87 against a target of 55. Two reports were compiled on the South Africa’s role and participation in multilateral bodies and international affairs in education activities. Four reports on the legal cases instituted against the basic education sector by type and province were compiled and one annual report on legal cases concluded in the education sector by type and province was achieved.
Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring
The purpose of Programme 2 was to develop curriculum and assessment policies and monitor and support their implementation. The implementation of CAPS was on track with the implementation in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6) and Grade 11 commencing in the 2013 academic year. Preparations for implementation in Grade 12 and the Senior Phase in 2014 were at an advanced stage. The Senior Phase CAPS orientation programme for all provinces started from 8th March, and ran till 24th May 2013. The training on the Certificate in Primary Education Language Teaching to support the introduction of English First Additional Language (EFAL) in the Foundation Phase was conducted in August 2012. The Ministerial Task Team Audit of Reading Programmes finalised its report on February 2013. The Ministerial Report highlighted areas for concerted and immediate action especially with respect to teaching children to read, and the practice of reading in schools across our country.
An impact evaluation of the reception grade (Grade R) had been finalised, and preliminary findings indicated that while the effects of school-based reception grade provision were indeed beneficial, quality improvements were essential to ensure consistent and sustainable benefits. A Diagnostic Review on Early Childhood Development had been undertaken and finalised together with an implementation plan that would guide implementation for the Departments of Social Development and Basic Education. Workbooks had been adapted for Braille readers for Grades 7 to 9 and the teacher guidelines for Sign Language as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) were developed. The Human Resource Development (HRD) strategy for Inclusive Education (IE) was approved in 2012 and made available to provinces and Higher Education Institutions to support development of educators in this category. The National Guidelines for School Library and Information Services were launched on 13 August 2012 to support the consolidation of the culture of reading in public schools.
The DBE achieved its targets in the number of schools with access to electronic content (4 513 against a target of 1 650), the number of digitised workbook aligned resource available for use in under performing schools (four against a target of two) and the number of subject advisors and other teaching professionals orientated in the CAPS (4 003 realised against a target of 3 000). The new e-Education strategy that updated the 2004 White Paper was developed but was yet to be approved due to weaknesses in the implementation plan. The number of personnel trained in multi-grade teaching per province was 151 against a target of 140 and the percentage of Grade 3 learners performing at the required literacy level was 57% against a target of 55%. The target for the percentage of Grade 3 learners performing at the required numeric level was 55%, and only 36% of learners achieved above 50%. This was still an increase if compared to 2011 when only 17% of learners achieved above 50%. The same applied for the percentage of Grade 6 learners performing at the required language level. The target was 51% but only 39% of learners achieved above 50% in their home language. Although it seemed that this was an under-achievement, this was still an improvement if compared to the figures of 2011, which had only 15% of learners achieving above 50%. Percentage of Grade 6 learners performing at the required mathematics level was only 11% against a target of 44%.
In 2012 a total of 136 047 Grade 12 learners became eligible for admission into university. 15 280 more bachelor passes were achieved in 2012 than 2011. The sector was therefore on track to achieving its target for 32% of Grade 12 graduates able to be admitted for Bachelor degree studies. This indicator moved from 19.9% in 2008 to 24.3% in 2011 and to 26% in 2012. The percentage of passes in Mathematics for Grade 12 learners in 2012 was 54%, which was an improvement from 46.3% of 2011. The percentage of passes in Physical Science for Grade 12 learners was 61.3% in 2012, which also was an improvement from the 53.4% in 2011.
Regarding the percentage of learners who obtained an NSC, the target was set at 70% and the pass rate was 73.9%. After the Supplementary Examinations the pass rate increased to 75.6%. For the percentage of learners with a textbook for each subject, the target was set at 85%. 99.4% of Grades 4-6 and Grade 11 orders were delivered to schools for utilisation by learners. The number of learners who had received workbooks was 10 979 625 against a target of 10 300 000. 665 246 learners were enrolled in the Kha Ri Gude programme against a target of 630 990 and the percentage of learners completing the programme was 93% against a target of 83%. Positive variance was also recorded in the number of district officers training officials on the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support strategy with 56 achieved against a target of 50 and the number of schools that had teachers trained in Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support strategy were 211 against a target of 100.
Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development
Programme 3 aimed at promoting the quality of teaching and institutional performance through the effective supply, development and utilisation of human resources. Maintaining stability in schools in support of curriculum delivery and learner performance was a crucial focus of HR planning, provisioning and monitoring. A National Education Human Resource Framework was developed and approved. The framework contained interventions that would allow the DBE to place educators additional to the post establishment, improve the absorption and deployment of Funza Lushaka bursars and to effect the translation of temporary educators to permanent staff where appropriate.
Proper implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) not only supported effective teaching, but also helped to improve levels of accountability. During the reporting period IQMS moderators conducted 13 527 school visits. Teacher Centres were one of the focuses of the work of DBE. A survey of teacher centres was completed in the reported period yielded information on how the 112 centres in the country could assist in playing a more active role in supporting educators. Linked to this process was the development of Norms and Standards for Teacher Centres, which would assist in ensuring uniformity across the network of Teacher Centres. In terms of Teacher Union Collaboration, the objective of the Memorandum of Agreement with teacher unions was to facilitate the achievement of the teacher professional development targets set out in an Action Plan for 2014. This involved the collaboration and the evaluation of plans developed by the unions. Allocations were made to unions, totaling R70 million, to commence with implementing teacher development programmes. The Funza Lushaka bursary allocation from National Treasury had increased from R109.7 million in 2007 to R671.9 million in 2012. In 2012/13 the number of bursaries awarded increased to 11 715. The reporting period witnessed the introduction of a district-based recruitment programme that targeted learners from rural and poor communities to assist them to access Funza Lushaka bursaries. The Policy on the Organisation, Roles and Responsibilities of Education Districts was Gazetted. Through this policy, education districts could be provided with the necessary roles, delegated authority, functions, resources and skills to enable them to perform their core functions.
The percentage of ordinary public schools where the School Governing Body met minimum criteria in terms of effectiveness was 71% against a target of 60%. The percentage of school principals rating the support services of districts as being satisfactory was not detected. Data was unavailable, as the instrument to measure principal rating was not fully administered.
Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment
Programme 4 aimed to promoted quality and effective service delivery in the basic education system through planning, implementation and assessment. Examination results were processed and released to candidates in January 2013. The Diagnostic Report on Learner Performance highlighted areas of weaknesses and provided suggestions for improvements in teaching and learning. Another significant area of work was the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS) that aimed to collect unit record data for each learner in the country from Grade R through to Grade 12. A total of 20 564 schools and 8 940 799 learners were successfully uploaded to LURITS as at 31 March 2013.
The ANA tests were administered from 18 to 21 September 2012 to Grade 1 to 6 and Grade 9 learners in public and state-funded independent schools. A total of 90 DBE officials, inclusive of IQMS monitors, were deployed to the nine provinces to monitor the implementation of the tests. A Diagnostic Report on the ANA results was subsequently developed. The purpose of the report was to enable various tiers of education to utilise the findings to devise ways to improve education. Regarding the progress on replacing inappropriate schools, inappropriate structures covered those structures viewed as temporary and known as mud schools, plankie schools, corrugated sheeting structures and prefab schools which were no longer fit-for-purpose. New schools within the ASIDI programme were to adhere to the ‘Guidelines relating to Planning for Public School Infrastructure’ as far as practically possible.
The DBE facilitated meetings with all 86 District Directors and Senior Provincial Managers responsible for district coordination. These were chaired by the Minister of Basic Education herself and attended by DBE Senior Management, and were convened on a quarterly basis, to address challenges and improve best practice in a collegial manner. The school calendar for 2014 was Gazetted (Government Gazette No 35929) and a total of 3 500 enquiries were received from the Presidential hotline. The average success rate for resolving the enquiries was 80%. The 94+ Projects for Madiba Campaign targeted 104 schools serving approximately 63 000 learners. During the reporting period, National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) met its target by evaluating 134 schools and 15 district offices across the nine provinces.
The DBE produced 680 different exemplars in Mathematics and Languages for Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9. The National Technical Report was completed. Regarding the percentage of schools complying with a very basic infrastructure, the latest available data for this indicator was 55% against a target of 92%.
Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services
Programme 5 aimed to develop policies and programmes to improve the quality of learning in schools. In promoting the overall well being of learners, the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) was launched in October 2012. In addition to this, a total of 16 749 Life Orientation (LO) educators were trained and 1 201 500 sets of LTSM were distributed to schools dealing with Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps on health, education and poverty indicators for all nine provinces were developed to assist with health interventions where most needed. 284 workshops were conducted by provinces to improve NSNP implementation, food production and financial management. The DBE conducted phased-in implementation of the social cohesion toolkit in selected schools and districts. The DBE also organised the national rounds of the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Young Historians’ Competition, the third National Moot Court Competition and the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod. Social cohesion programmes were targeted at countering some of the social ills that plagued the schools. To respond to the call made in the National Development Plan for inter-sectoral cooperation to improve educational outcomes, the DBE put in place an Education Collaboration Framework (ECF). This was followed by a multi-stakeholder Education Dialogue convened in December 2012.
The DBE had taken steps towards the strengthening of the planning, reporting and monitoring and evaluation (M & E) process. This was done by building capacity for officials in the various branches on the planning, reporting and M & E supporting branches on their operational planning and providing customised templates so that a uniformed approach could be adopted. The DBE also looked at data verification and this was supported by the DBE’s Internal Audit Unit and the M & E directorates.
Annual Financial Statements
Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Chief Financial Officer for DBE, presented the Annual Financial Statements. Most of the departments within DBE spent 95% or above of the allocated budget. Only programme 4 spent below 95%. On the allocation per economic classification, the lowest percentage was to be found on the category of ‘Buildings and other fixed structures’ and this fell under Programme 4.
The reason for the under-expenditure of R5.557 million for Programme 1 was due to saving with regard to office accommodation budget and unitary fee payment based on the Consumer Price Index that fluctuated. A further reason for the under-spending was as a result of vacancies of which many were filled in the latter part of the financial year. Under-expenditure for Programme 2 amounted to R18.842 million and this was mainly due to the delays of procurement processes of the LTSM in respect of the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign. The under-expenditure for Programme 3 was of R43.042 million and there were two main reasons for such under-expenditure. Moderators appointed in respect of the Integrated Quality Management System project were appointed on contract. However, resignations of moderators when they found permanent employment resulted in the compensation of the project not being fully utilised. In addition to this, the budget approval for teacher training in collaboration with teacher unions was only received in October 2012. There was collaboration with unions to train teachers but there was no budget for this and this was funded through savings within the DBE. Once the areas of savings were identified, the DBE had to ask permission to the National Treasury to utilise the saving. In this case, approval was received in October 2012 and the project implementation could only resume in January 2013 due to exam time during October and November. Training workshops were rescheduled to March, April and May 2013 and some invoices for this training were received late falling in the following financial year. For Programme 4, the under-expenditure amounted to R1 228 665. This was because the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape did not appoint environmental specialists from their allocated budget. There was also under-spending for the School Infrastructure Backlogs indirect grant because some contractors’ contracts were cancelled due to non-delivery. There were adverse weather conditions and poor road conditions that also contributed to slow delivery of the project. The under-expenditure of Programme 5 was for R22 million. The reason for this was that funds were withheld for HIV/AIDS, Dinaledi Schools and Technical Secondary Schools conditional grants to Limpopo Province due to low spending.
The Auditor-General (AG) gave the DBE an unqualified opinion with emphasis of matter because the material under-spending of the budget on Programme 4 and the restatement of prior year comparative figures as the ASIDI accruals for 2011/2012 were incorrect.
The Chairperson temporarily left the room and asked Mr TL Makunyane (ANC) to sit in as acting Chairperson.
Mr M De Villiers (DA; Western Cape) thanked the DBE for the briefing. He was concerned with the advertisement of the teaching positions. The DBE mentioned that there were 140 posts and that 49% of them only had been filled. What was the reason for not filling 51% of the posts? Were there problems with the advertisement? Did candidates not qualify? What was the plan to fill these positions? On the acting allowances of DBE staff members. There were a few DBE members in Acting positions. He wanted to know what costs the DBE incurred for this. He noticed that the DBE exceeded in its target of interns. Were there any consequences on the budget? He asked what the difference was between a Lead Teacher and a Subject Advisor, the roles they played and their duties. There were a lot of schools with libraries in classrooms. When was the BDE plan to out-phase the classroom libraries? On the teachers trained by teacher unions, he asked if the DBE had a programme to train teachers. In what areas did the training offered by teaching unions consist? How were the unions helping the DBE to train teachers?
Mr W Faber (DA; Northern Cape) had a question on the outputs of Programme 2 on slide 34 of the presentation. He was surprised that the percentage of Grade 9 learners performing at the required language and mathematics levels were unknown and still to be determined. There should have been an outcome already. He asked them to clarify this. He said that no one was keeping the Members of the Committee up-to-date with what was happening with the DBE Director-General (DG), Mr Bobby Soobrayan. Was he suspended? Was he on leave? Was he receiving his salary?
Mr T Makunyane (ANC; Limpopo) asked how the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Young Historian’s Competition worked. He wondered if, in the eventuality a school convinced somebody to build a library, the DBE offered library services and support. He also wanted to know more about the library materials, especially for computer content.
The Chairperson said that according to the report, the DBE had 6 160 multi-grade schools, 1.5 million learners but only 846 subject advisors. Was that number of subject advisors able to deal with the high number of learners and high number of multi-grade school? How many multi-grade schools did the DBE have per province? What was the difference between lead teachers and subject advisors?
Mr Padayachee replied on the DG position. He said that the DG was on special leave and that was paid. The Minister had appointed a judge to conduct a hearing in which charges would be determined. The Minister and the Ministry handled that process. The DBE was not involved in the matter.
On the libraries for schools in the eventuality donations would have been received, he said that the DBE encouraged that, but reminded them that there were guidelines and norms on how the library had to be built. This was usually done through the Provincial Education Department. Provinces were in charge to provide support in terms of materials and any library assistance. He admitted that this was not done consistently in the nine provinces. When involved in building libraries, the DBE made sure the building was completed and that materials such as books were provided. The DBE was discussing with the Minister the option of giving young learners the opportunity to become librarians and get a bursary. There was also an ongoing collaboration and discussion with the Department of Arts and Cultures to set up community libraries where none was present.
Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, Acting Deputy Director-General: Curriculum, Policy & Support, DBE, explained the difference between lead teacher and subject advisor. The lead teacher was a senior teacher identified as such because of experience and knowledge of a particular subject. In particular, she could be used in the absence of a Head of Department (HoD) to take those responsibilities and assist. In the presence of a HoD, the lead teacher could be a resource in assisting with the developing and support of teachers in a particular school. The subject advisors were located in a district or a circuit outside the schools. In the absence of subject advisory services, the lead teacher and the HoD would provide support to teachers. The lead teacher could therefore substitute the HoD and a subject advisor in supporting teachers and providing training. Lead teachers could be used in professional forums for different subjects too. The role of the subject advisor was very clear. She was assigned a cluster of schools in the province and had to provide monitoring and support to schools. One of the provinces that moved quickly on the requisite number of subject advisors was the Eastern Cape. However, some provinces were still struggling with this.
On the issue of libraries, Mr Mweli said that library services were not defined in an old and traditional way with a central library only. Having a central library was preferably for secondary school learners. Classroom libraries were preferably for the primary schools, from grade R to Grade 6 to 12 learners with books allocated to the class. The teacher in this case became the librarian. This was a system that worked in many countries. The reading culture needed to be improved if the DBE wanted to improve the performance of learners.
Regarding the programme in place for teacher collaboration, Mr Mweli said that the CAPS implementation would be the right programme to start with. Teachers had been trained and orientated around the CAPS implementation, which was a programme, developed by the DBE in conjunction with unions, universities and others. Universities were involved for instance with the training in physical education with the North West University. Also Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were involved in collaboration projects on developing programmes in multi-grade schools.
On grade 9 and targets still to be determined, he replied that that Grade 9 was set for ANA only in 2012. The DBE set targets on the available data. This was the only reason. For other Grades the DBE had enough data.
Mr Mweli addressed the question on schools acquiring a library or facilities and whether the Department was able to provide support in terms of materials, contents and IT. Provinces had started to budget for library services. In the past it was not prioritised, but now the situation was different and every province was budgeting for library services. When a school acquired a facility or building by virtue of a donation, this had to be addressed through the budget of the provincial department, which provided materials and content. He also noticed that librarians were among the scarce skills that needed to be prioritised.
On the question of the low number of subject advisors and the number of multi-grade schools, he acknowledged that in the past multi-grade schools did not receive the attention that they required. In the past two years, the DBE had been focusing on multi-grade schools, but he noticed that there were no subject advisors that were dedicated to multi-grade schools. The DBE was training the current subject advisors to provide support to mono-grade and multi-grade schools.
Mr Anton Schoeman, Deputy Director-General, Administration, DBE, replied on the questions of the acting allowances and interns. The management and the implementation of acting allowances were defined within the public service act and regulations. The DBE could not decide by itself. For senior management members, from the position of director upwards, acting period could be for six months only and this had to be approved by the Minister. This happened when the post was vacant until someone was appointed. For lower positions, the acting period could extend up to one year and could be approved by the Director-General of the Department. There was a difference in salary. If a person was on one level and acting on an upper level the salary was taken into account and the difference of salary considered and offered with an allowance that was taxable. Data and numbers would be provided to members if requested.
On the interns, Mr Schoeman said that internships were part of a government project to train people within the job and make them employable in the future. The interns were remunerated from the personnel budget. There was no over-expenditure. A monthly stipend was paid according to the intern’s qualification. A person with matric certificate could get R2 000. A person with an honours degree could earn approximately R3 000 or R3 500. There was a recruitment process and most people that did an internship found a job within public services.
Ms Gugu Ndebele, Deputy Director-General: Social Organisation and Support Services, DBE, replied to the question of the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Young Historian’s Competition. It started few years before and it was established to encourage young people to have an interest in history and to start researching about their local communities. It was for Grade 8 to 11 and through this project learners could know more about the heroes in their communities. The 2013 winner wrote about the impact of the 1913 Land Act in his community in the Eastern Cape. With this project learners could acquire research skills.
Ms Carelse added some information on Mr Mweli’s reply on the multi-grade schools. Numbers were available in the DBE website and the School Realities report.
Mr Padayachee added that the DBE could also provide tables per province with the number of multi-grade schools. He asked Mr De Villiers to clarify his question on the 140 teaching posts advertised and 49% filled.
Mr De Villiers said that there were 140 posts advertised in the Department. This was perhaps reported in the Annual Report under the Programme 1 of Administration.
The Chairperson invited Mr De Villiers to pose the other questions he wanted to ask while he was searching for those data.
Mr De Villiers expressed his concerns over the under-expenditure, especially in the infrastructure. Did the DBE have a programme to address the under-expenditure? Could the DBE provide Members with a programme on the ways to address these issues?
He said that he did not fully understand the role of the lead teacher. In his understanding the Department could pull out the lead teacher from certain schools and make use of her skills in other schools, other provinces or inside the Department. If this understanding was correct and the lead teacher was pulled out of the school to have a leading position in another schools and province, would that teacher get her salary from the Department or from the school?
He asked for clarification on physical education and the ways in which it was taught. What did physical education consist of? On the AG’s report, the accruals for the 2011 and 2012 were incorrect. If the data was incorrect, why was the AG saying that?
Ms D Rantho (ANC; Eastern Cape) asked clarifications on the lead teacher and the logistics in the eventuality someone was temporarily relocated in different places. Did the DBE assist in the relocation? What was the incentive to move somewhere else? She asked clarification on the implementation of CAPS especially in rural areas. Did the DBE explain CAPS? Was CAPS fully understood also in rural area?
The Chairperson also asked the DBE to clarify on the issue of CAPS, which he did not fully understand. She wondered if the Department reached the 2% target of staff with disabilities. What was the Department doing to achieve that target? On the issue of leave in schools, she wondered if there was any programme to assist teachers that felt overwhelmed with workload. She asked how the DBE ensured that programmes were taught, as it seemed that some teachers seated in the classroom but actually did not teach. How could the quality be ensured?
She also worried about the performances of provinces with some getting qualified reports. What was the DBE doing to assist provinces with qualified reports?
Mr Mweli replied on the quality of the teaching and how the DBE guaranteed the quality of teacher’s performances. The DBE developed a curriculum-monitoring tool, which was populated by the principal, and the school manager. It covered the topics taught by teachers and linked the topic to assessment tasks for learners. This started in KwaZulu-Natal and since two years it was distributed nationally to monitor performances in the classroom. There was also an external monitoring undertaken by the DBE itself and NGOs that the Department commissioned to verify the reports that schools submitted. From the reports it was clear that there were improvements and this was achieved through the DBE’s monitoring system.
On the CAPS, Mr Mweli said that the DBE and the Members needed a session to discuss this. CAPS was the strengthening of the existing curriculum to specify the content of what was to be covered per grade and this facilitated monitoring.
The Chairperson wondered how the DBE could ensure that people in schools actually understood CAPS.
Mr Mweli replied that historically schools were not monitored particularly in lower grades. Data were now created to facilitate monitoring. Results and performances were improving through monitoring. Through the implementation of CAPS, the DBE had reduced administration for instance in the number of files used by teachers that was reduced from five to one. But he assured that the DBE paid attention to these concerns.
On the remuneration, he said that senior teachers were remunerated more than ordinary level one teacher. On the incentive for relocation, this would vary from one province to the other. The DBE needed to discuss this matter with provinces to ensure uniformity and to incentivise redeployment.
Regarding physical education, Mr Mweli said that there was physical education as related to the curriculum and physical education as related to curriculum and enrichment programmes that could include other recreational activities. This was under the programmes of life skills and life orientation and supported the implementation of the curriculum with the playing and training for different sports. From the point of view of curriculum there were no challenges. From the point of view of curriculum and enrichment programme, Ms Ndebele could address the question.
Ms Ndebele replied that the teacher development was an ongoing challenge for the area of curriculum and enrichment. The DBE was cooperating with the Department of Sport and this collaboration was beneficial. There was a challenge for the infrastructure and equipment. The Department of Sport managed to secure some funding to deal with sporting facilities and equipment.
Mr Schoeman replied on the assistance to provinces on the audit report. The DBE had a directorate that could assist provinces with that on any matter. Most of the problems experienced by provinces according to the audit report were around assets. Improvements were occurring. The Eastern Cape that received a disclaimer report in the previous years moved up to a qualified audit report and the Western Cape that was qualified in the previous year received an unqualified audit report in the last year.
On the issue of incorrect accruals, he said that the ASIDI unit was well equipped with specialists such as engineers, architects etc. When the DBE started the project the Department was not well geared to it. The DBE employed agents that could assist in building the schools. The chain to get information became too long. When the AG audited this, some information, especially for the accruals, needed to be received from implementing agents. The information that the DBE received was that there were 100 million of accruals. The DBE gathered a team of specialists and re-worked the data. The DBE only raised the accruals from 100 million to 140 million. The AG did not raise any issue about the 140 million but just gave the DBE time to rectify the incorrect number. Now measures were in place to assist the ASIDI unit.
On the matter of the target to employ 2% of people with disabilities, Mr Schoeman said that the target was achieved with the former Department of Education. When it was split between the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training, neither of the Departments reached the target. In all advertisements, the DBE specified that people with disabilities were encouraged to apply. Unfortunately the DBE did not received lots of applications from people with disabilities. The DBE building complied with norms and regulations of accessibility.
Mr Padayachee acknowledged the sensitivity of this issue, but said he was confident that the DBE would achieve the 2% target of people with disability employed.
On the under-spending within the infrastructure category and what was done to prevent under-expenditure in the future, Mr Padayachee said that the DBE had a project for replacing inappropriate schools in March. At the time R5 billion was allocated. At the end of September, it became a R6 billion project aiming to cover more than 250 schools and over 1 000 projects on basic water, sanitation and electricity. In order to get paid, contractors had to show progress. There were previous experiences with the DBE paying in advance and with no facilities at the end. Now the DBE changed the approach. If there was no improvement, payment was not made. Instead of having over-spending, the DBE was careful in paying if contractors and agents did not show progress. This was not unique to the DBE but also other Departments. The under-expenditure actually showed how the DBE was careful in spending if targets were not achieved.
On the issue of the leave, Mr Padayachee said that also the Minister suggested to develop a national uniformed system. The Western Cape was already discussing the implementation of a system. The DBE had a team in the provincial departments that would come up with a proposal for the national uniformed system. The report was still due and the DBE would communicate what the result would be.
Regarding the monitoring of performance, district directors guaranteed that it was impossible for teachers to seat in the class, not deliver and get away with it. District directors were also monitoring and cooperating with the DBE on the matter. Areas of under-performance would be revealed. It was important to recognise that there were teachers who were not committed to teaching and others who simply needed more support and training. The DBE was committed in providing that support.
On the audit report for provinces, he said that the Eastern Cape had a disclaimer for many years and finally managed to improve. Also Mpumalanga was assisted and improved. The DBE had a successful system of monitoring through four quarters and assisting provinces when the latter needed help.
Mr De Villiers asked if buildings were now done by DBE and no longer a prerogative of Public Work.
Mr Padayachee replied that Public Work was not the only implementing agent for the DBE. The DBE had a budget to deal with ‘inappropriate schools’ and beyond the Department of Public Works, had used also others service providers. This was because the performance of Public Works was not good enough.
Ms Rantho wanted to comment on the strikes of some communities because some schools that were left behind. On the management of files in schools, teachers were now using one file, but management remained a problem also with one file only. On the issue of Grade R teachers that wanted to be remunerated like Grade 1 teachers, she asked if the DBE had a programme to look into this matter. She asked if the DBE was aware that Grade R teacher wanted to be remunerated like Grade 1 teachers. She was concerned with children with disabilities and schools being inaccessible to children with wheelchair for instance. Some children were forced to miss their education because of inaccessibility due to lack of infrastructure.
The Chairperson acknowledged that this was an important issue. She added that in schools there were also issues of safety especially for people with disability.
Mr Mweli replied on the teachers’ management of the file. The DBE would continue to address this important matter. The CAPS were implemented to respond to the outcry and issues raised by teachers in particular in 2009. Teachers asked to reduce the five files to one file so that their work could be facilitated. Teachers were not fully trained and just received orientation. Ongoing training would continue. He was confident that CAPS would eventually be welcomed.
On the service delivery protests in Sterkspruit, the DBE was working with the province to develop a recovery plan for Sterkspruit. Learners could continue to study and pass their end of the year exam. The HoD guaranteed that recovery was proceeding on the right track.
Regarding the remuneration of Grade R teachers, Mr Mweli said that the policy was very clear. If teachers did not have the REQV13 they could not be remunerated as fully qualified teachers. Minimum requirements had to be met.
Replying to the question of building compliance, he said that new buildings were constructed respecting all the norms. Those with physical disability would be able to access the schools. In the interim, for the old schools, this depended on the planning of the school and it cooperation with the district and the DBE to make sure that accessible classroom could be reserved to those who could not access other areas of the building.
Mr Mweli said that there were also programmes for learners with disability. Each province was catering for every kind of disability and there was a big progress on the matter. The number of learners with disability had increased and also the number of successful learners with disability. The DBE prepared this information for the Portfolio Committee and was ready to share this with the Select Committee if Members of the Committee so wished.
Ms Ndebele replied on matters of school safety. The DBE was committed to guarantee the safety of children and the safety of schools. One of the strategies was to build fencing and improving the physical infrastructure. The DBE also implemented a programme that linked schools to the nearest police station so that officers could come and assist. This was also important to avoid crime or prosecute episodes of physical violence or psychological violence in schools. It was important to also develop programmes to assist children with problems.
Mr Makunyane said that the issue of safety was not only linked to crime, but also a problem of infrastructure itself. This also needed attention.
The Chairperson said that in the schools for the blind in the North West for instance there was an accident as a learner drowned in a pool. This was the safety that concerned the members. She also pointed out that perhaps Mr De Villiers was not very open in asking his question on the teachers trained by unions. She said that maybe he meant to ask the reason why teachers had to be trained by unions. Unions might have their own agenda. This was a serious issue.
Mr Padayachee replied saying that in some countries unions carried out teacher development activities. The training however was based on the DBE programme. To simplify, he said that the trade unions were basically a service provider for the Department. This was part of the cooperation with unions, which had to provide training according to the DBE’s programmes and guidelines.
Mr Mweli said that the DBE was also training unions in order for them to train teachers. Unions training teachers was common also in other countries.
The Chairperson thanked the DBE for clarifying Members’ concerns and for their briefing.
The meeting was adjourned.
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