National Feeding Scheme; Human Resource Development Strategy; Whole School Evaluation: briefing

Basic Education

14 October 2002
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Meeting report

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 October 2002
NATIONAL FEEDING SCHEME; HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY; WHOLE SCHOOL EVALUATION: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Prof Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation on Human Resource Development Strategy
Presentation on Whole School Evaluation
Whole School Evaluation Policy: Guidelines and Criteria
National School Feeding Scheme

SUMMARY
The Committee was briefed on the National Feeding Scheme and it was agreed that the programme was necessary as part of poverty alleviation. Members suggested modification to improve the programme. Much of the presentation of the human resource strategy project was still in its policy form. The Committee welcomed the project but was worried about the growing unemployment of skilled South Africans. The presentation on the Whole Schools Evaluation was purely in its policy form. The Committee was worried that the proposed structure of schools evaluation might replicate problems of the old apartheid system of schools evaluation.

Briefing on the National Feeding Scheme

Mr Duncan Hindle: Deputy Director General, Education and Training, presented on the primary school nutrition programme (PSNP). He explained the background to the programme since its inception in 1994. He further described the current progress of the report and concluded by listing some of the challenges facing the PSNP.

Discussion
Ms Nhlengetahwa (ANC) asked if there was any budget that could be set aside to build kitchens for under-resourced schools so that they could continue with their feeding schemes under bad weather conditions. Mr Hindle explained that the Department of Education was considering such issues. He added that there would be no need for an ad hoc budget increase but that there would be a reallocation of resources.

Mr Kgwele (ANC) welcomed the Cabinet's approach to the PSNP. He asked Mr Hindle to explain the way in which the Department of Education would insure improvement between now and 2004.

Mr Hindle said that the Department was getting better at monitoring the programme and that it would try to improve on targets. The Department was still trying to learn the PSNP system as it progressed.

Ms Ghandi (ANC) suggested that the Department should work closely with the Independent Development Trust on the community feeding schemes.

Mr Hindle agreed and noted that community-feeding schemes were more established than the Department initiatives.

Mr Vadi (ANC) expressed his delight at the Department's involvement in the PSNP. He asked whether the Department had any idea of the extent of corruption in the feeding schemes. Mr Raju (ANC) later asked the same question.

Mr Hindle explained that he could not be certain of the extent of corruption in the feeding schemes but that it was an on-going process to ascertain the extent.

Ms Mentor (ANC) advised the Department not to nationally generalise feeding schemes. She urged the Department to be regionally specific. She observed that provinces such as Northern Cape needed special intervention with regard to diseases such as asbestosis.

Mr Hindle agreed with the observation. He further explained that his Department was not going to generalise the feeding schemes but rather provide a standardised set of options, which would be context specific, and that it would also take into account cultural diversity.

Briefing on the Human Resource Development Strategy
Ms Nyanda: Director of Human Resource Development Planning, conducted the presentation on the National Human Resource Development Strategy. She explained the background to the strategy since Cabinet adopted it in 2001. She also highlighted the objectives and priorities of the strategy and listed and explained the role of the Departments that would be involved in the strategy.

Discussion
Mr van der Heever (ANC) could not understand why skilled people were still unemployed.

Ms Nyanda explained that causal factors were complex and that those skilled people could probably been suffering from structural unemployment.

Mr Kgwele reckoned that the problem was not unemployment but rather unemployability. He also observed that for the strategy to succeed it needed impressive input at secondary school level. Mr Kgwele also reckoned that South Africa should accept global mobility of skilled people as part of the process of globalisation.

Ms Nyanda agreed but added that the that the Human Resource Development Strategy aimed at a net gain of skills migration.

Mr Vadi asked if the Department had any idea of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the human resource development strategy. He also wanted to know if there was any progress or work on the human resource development strategy in the education sector. How would the Strategy increase demand for labour intensive jobs against increasing mechanisation?

Ms Nyanda explained that there was no formal study on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the strategy but from the studies that were already published it was clear that there would be a loss of human resources due to the epidemic.

Mr Soombraman: Deputy Director General, Planning and Monitoring, explained that there was pressure to supply more teachers because of the aging population of teachers. The Strategy would look into these factors in the education sector.

Ms Ghandi (ANC) said that there was no mention of co-operatives in the presentation. She advocated the proliferation and support of co-operatives against SMME's, which she said often had showed tendencies of job insecurities and being sweatshops. She also wanted to know what kinds of skills were imparted to employees. The Chairperson emphasised the unemployment of youth with tertiary qualification and he wanted to know what was meant, in practical terms, by reskilling.

Mr Soombraman agreed with the advantage of cooperatives in comparison with SMME's. He viewed them as a good model that South Africa needed to take into consideration. On the issue of skills he said that he could not describe the exact skill but that aim was to create a pool of skills that produced a competitive market and that attracted competitiveness. He also added that such skills should enable people to create their own wealth and that the skills should be transferable and life-long.

Mr Raju (ANC) commented that it was difficult to deal with economic ills while the economy was still in the hand of those who once maintained apartheid.

Briefing on Whole School Evaluation Policy
Mr Mofokeng: Director, Whole School Evaluation (WSE) gave a presentation on the objectives and desired outcomes of the evaluation of schools' performance and governance. He described the progress of the initiative and the challenges it faced.

Discussion
Ms Mentor (ANC) wanted to know if the Department's conflict with SADTU regarding evaluations had been solved. The Chairperson and Mr Soombraman explained that negotiations between the government and SADTU were in progress and that there was a draft instrument to align DAS and WES.

Mr Kgwele commented that the evaluation policy should not only look into the communication problems within schools but also between schools and the Department of Education.

Mr Vadi was not in favour of the establishment of the evaluation unit as a separate entity. He argued that evaluations were supposed to be the core duty of district inspectors. He also warned against the employment of young inspectors who had no knowledge of everyday management of schools. He foresaw an old apartheid style of evaluation imposed form the top and warned that the system would backlash

Ms Ghandi commented that the presentation did not mention how schools would benefit from the evaluation process.

The meeting was adjourned.

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