Council on Quality Assurance and General and Further Education and Training: briefing

Basic Education

28 October 2002
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Meeting report

BRIEFING TO THE EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
29 October 2002
COUNCIL ON QUALITY ASSURANCE AND GENERAL AND FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Prof. S.M. Mayatula

Documents Handed Out:
UMALUSI's Chief Executive Officer Report (Appendix 1)
UMALUSI Chairperson's Address (Appendix 2)

SUMMARY
The Committee was briefed by the Council on the progress of the General and Further Training Quality Assurance Act which had been passed on 5 December 2001. Its mandate was to monitor education and training providers, to ensure that learners were provided with quality education, and ultimately through learning programmes, produce good qualification levels.

MINUTES
Dr C Lubisi, UMALUSI Chairperson
Dr C. Lubisi delivered the Chairperson's address to the Committee. Therein, he reported that the Minister of Education appointed the members of the Council in May 2002. This Council consisted of sixteen members. The Chairperson was appointed by the Minister, and the Council elected Ms Cynthia Mpati as its Deputy Chairperson.

The Council elected an Executive Committee of six members, who will meet between Council meetings, and who will oversee the management of the organisation. The two other permanent Committees of the Council were a Quality Promotion Committee, and an Assessment Committee.

The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act (GENFETQA) stipulated that the new Council had taken "acquired or incurred [the] rights, obligations, assets and liabilities [of the now-defunct South Africa Certification Council]". As a result, some of South African Certification Council (SAFCERT) previous tasks were now the domain of the new Council, such as:
-Monitoring and final approval of the 2002 Senior Certificate and adult basic education and training results;
-Overseeing the moderation of exam papers and scripts

The Council found the name 'General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Council' too cumbersome, and resolved to move for an amendment which would change the name to ' UMALUSI' in Parliament in 2003. ' UMALUSI' is a Nguni word that means 'shepherd', the idea being that the Council, through shepherding education and training bodies, wanted to lead them to producing and maintaining quality education in South Africa.

The Chairperson stated that early in October 2002, a joint task team between the Council and the Department of Education was set up to explore matters common to both, and to establish operational mechanisms for collaboration.

In the light of the expanded tasks of the new Council, it would discuss funding of its activities at the following meeting, which the Minister of Education, Mr Kader Asmal, would be attending.

Public launching of the body was expected to take place early in 2003. By then, the Council would have produced a programme of action for the coming years.

Please refer to Appendix 2

Dr Peliwe Lolwana, UMALUSI's Chief Executive Officer
Dr Lolwana stated that the Council had taken the national objectives of Government with regard to education and training, as their indicators for quality in the eight sectors of learning, including:
School Education (Public and Private), Vocational Educational Education (Public and Private), Adult Education (Public and Private), Early Childhood Development (E.C.D.), and Assessment Bodies (independent examination bodies).

Dr Lolwana outlined the intended programme of 'UMALUSI'. She cited objectives which the Council hoped to reach, together with the various sector as it monitors, guides and assists them in their task (see Appendix 1).

Since the appointment of the Council in May 2002, the bulk of its work has been in the quality assurance of assessment, since there was a need to continue with this function which had been left behind by SAFCERT. This has included:

Grade 12 Examinations: approximately 14000 question papers had been moderated by UMALUSI for the 2002 examinations, and 27 monitors deployed to the provinces to monitor the examinations, from its design phase to the releasing of results.
Grade 9 Examinations: To facilitate the process of outcomes based assessment, and to standardise assessment across all the provinces, a process called 'common tasks for assessment' had been implemented, in which UMALUSI had played an important role.
Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET): This sector did not experience much progress, and received considerable attention from UMALUSI in training for improvement. Dr Lolwana stated here that the Council was attempting to be fair and even-handed across all the sectors, adding that they were aggressively trying to impact the Private Sector.

With regard to Quality promotion and Institutional Accreditation (4.2), Dr Lolwana emphasised that the onus of quality resided with the service provider.

On the issue of certification (4.4), the report mentioned a number of difficulties experienced by the Council:
The current occurrence of a multitude of authorities existing in education did not lend itself to clarity, particularly on matters of awarding of certificates, such as for adults who obtained a pass under General and Education Training towards the end of 2002, had still not received their certificates. The reason for this was that it was not yet clear if this should be done under the authority of the Minister, as had been the case in the past. Another sore point was the cost and paying of certificate levies.

Some challenges which the Council identified were:
-Legal and authority issues among many role players and figures that share common objectives.
-Funding: it was reported that the income generated from certificate levies was minimal, at R12 per certificate, which was offset by the provinces. These levies would no longer sustain the anticipated costs of the Council.

In closing, the report stated that the work of the Council could potentially enhance the achievements that had thus far been made in the transformation of the education and training in South Africa. The Council should be judged on the basis of whether or not it was actually helping to produce quality education in South Africa.

Discussion
Mr L. Kgwele (ANC) commented that the CEO's report had brought the Committee closer to understanding the challenges faced by the Council. He congratulated the Council on the work that had thus far been done, adding that it was commendable. On the issue of the limited capacity, he asked how the Council would overcome that problem, inquiring if they had considered the involvement of the Private Sector in funding ABET Certificates. Regarding the matter of those people who had not yet received their certificates after having passed the General and Education Training Examinations last year, what was being done about that? Was this one of the issues resulting from the transition from SAFCERT to the new body?

Ms P. Mnandi (ANC) appreciated the name which the Council chose for itself, stating that in the past, such Councils had not chosen to address themselves in the country's indigenous languages. She also commented that after only five months, the report tabled was very impressive. Her concerns were the following:
-Overlaps on legislation
-How could she, as a legislator, help UMALUSI?
-Students bearing certification costs. Because the playing fields had not been levelled yet, there would still be those learners from poor homes, who could not afford to pay school fees, let alone certificate levies. What would be the consequences for them?
-The occurrence of fly-by-night schools in the communities were a very real problem. Understandably, since the Council was still very new, they had not yet been able to look into this occurrence. However, Ms Mnandi appealed to the Council to look into the matter in the near future, since education standards in South Africa were in danger of being jeopardised.

Ms M. Mentor (ANC) felt that with regard to membership on the Council Board, geographic, gender and race representation should be ensured. She suggested that the Council consider the possibility of decentralising its operations, rather than the present status where it operated provincially, adding that might alleviate the provinces from the financial burden of certification costs. She wanted to know if there was an internal quality promotions tool, which could indicate how well these providers were doing. Lastly, regarding payment for certificates, if education was regarded as free and compulsory, was it justifiable to expect people to pay?

A member (ANC) commented that there was an unknown number of private providers across the bands. What would be the contributions of the Council to OBE in 2005? What was the status with regard to Grade 9? He also commented on the reported low levels of development at ABET level, saying that swifter progress was necessary in these areas.

Mr I. Vadi (ANC) wanted clarity on what the cohesion was.

In response to Mr Kgwele's questions, Dr Lolwana stated that matter was a difficult one, since some bodies came into existence, only to close very quickly. The Council aimed to relieve the Provincial Government of paying for certificates. She explained that historically, people did not want to pay for certificates, and that situation had carried through to the present time. She conceded that there would be those people who would not be able to afford to pay for their certificates, but added that some school boards allowed for some funding. She stated that R12 was very little to pay for a certificate, and learners who qualified needed to bear such costs.

Replying to the member's (ANC) comments and questions, Dr Lolwana explained that independent schools and the qualifications of these institutions vary monumentally.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1
REPORT BY UMALUSI'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DR PELIWE LOLWANA, TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY'S PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, CAPE TOWN,

OCTOBER 29TH, 2002.

1. Rationale for UMALUSI's existence

The need to establish an organisation such as UMALUSI can be traced as far back as the first education policy debates that took place in the early 90's in preparation for a new democratic government. The national education policy investigation (NEPI) of 1992 can be regarded as the anchor to which many of the policy developments and implementations we see today are attached. For example, in this process discussions about the integration of education and training were first mooted.

The steps necessary for changing apartheid education to a system that the country deserves were also discussed in various other forums and documents. It became clear that structures had to be set in place for implementing the ideas that carried through from NEPI and the implementation of policy in education and training phase (IPET), which was managed by the Centre for Education and Policy Development (CEPD), and from the African National Congress' polices on education and training. One of the structures proposed, outside government delivery, was the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) established in 1995, its objectives being the management of a national qualifications framework that would facilitate the integration of education and training into one system and provide for quality assurance mechanisms.

Our system of quality and standards management has been structured into two layers, with SAQA giving further authority to another layer of quality assurance bodies. UMALUSI is one of these. Though these bodies are many, they can be put into two categories, those that serve the economic sector and those of the education sector. UMALUSI is one of the two education quality assurance bodies, the other functions in the higher education area. UMALUSI's providers (public and private) are in school education, technical and vocational education and adult education in both the general and further education and training bands.

2. Context in which UMALUSI has been established

It is important to understand the environment into which UMALUSI came into being. This will be discussed under the following headings:

assumptions in taking over an older organisation;

the legislative environment;

the funding context;

absence of a national and integrated system; and

pressure points and destructors.

2.1. Assumptions in taking over an older organisation

The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act of 2001 established UMALUSI. The premise on which this new body was established, was that it would subsume all the functions of the preceding body, the South African Certification Council (SAFCERT). SAFCERT was the organisation that dealt with all quality assurance activities of the senior certification examinations in the country. This included moderation of question papers, holding subject meetings, monitoring examinations, implementation of continuous assessments, standardisation of results, issuing of certificates and analysis of results. UMALUSI's broader mandate was put on top of the fulltime functions of a fully-fledged organisation. In other words, the establishment and development of the new body has had to happen simultaneously with the maintenance and improvements of functions of the older SAFCERT.

2.2 The legislative environment

The GENFETQA Act (2001) was preceded by a series of acts that have a direct impact on the functions of UMALUSI. This has lead to many inconsistencies. There are also still gaps in how both the general and further education bands are legislated. It is safe to say there is more legislation effecting the further education and training band than any other (higher education included) and therefore more areas of contention, lack of clarity, gaps and overlaps than in any other!

In the further education and training band it is not only effect of the legislation that causes problems but also the involvement of a large number of bodies as well as many policy makers. For example, the FET Act, ABET Act and the SA Schools Act all give legislative force to the institutional separation of these sectors of the FET band. There are other key pieces of legislation which impact on the FET sector such as the Further Education and Training Act, No.98 of 1998. This act defines further education and training and provides for the restructuring of institutions outside of school education. It does not deal with schools, which are dealt with separately in the South African Schools Act, No.84 of 1996. The FET act itself is not really about the FET band, it is an act about technical colleges or further education and training institutions. Although the FET band includes schooling, technical colleges, and adult education, adult basic education and training (ABET) is also dealt with through a separate act. The South African Qualifications Act, No.58 of 1995 gives SAQA the power to register qualifications and standards on the national qualifications framework (NQF) as well as the power to accredit education and training quality assurers (ETQAs).

The co-existence of both the SAQA Act and the GENFETQA Act makes it possible for the lines of authorities to be blurred. There is no education act that deals with the FET band comprehensively, save for the quality assurance requirements by UMALUSI through the GENFETQA Act. The only legislation that seems to give the Minister of Education power to deal with all aspects of education provisioning is the National Education Policy Act.

To complicate matters even further, there are also other statutory bodies whose functions have a direct bearing on the work of UMALUSI, and yet their legislative authority remains unclear. For example, the Higher Education Act, No 101 of 1997 provides for the continued existence of the South African Universities' Vice Chancellors' Association (SAUVCA), the Matriculation Board, and the Committee for Technikon Principals (CTP). Within the ambit of this Act, the Matriculation Board remains the body with the legal power to determine minimum general admission requirements for universities. The GENFETQA Act gives UMALUSI the power to issue certificates stating that an individual has met the requirements for admission to higher education. Yet CTP does not play a role in determining admission requirements in the way that SAUVCA does.

The Skills Development Act, No.97 of 1998 creates the sector education and training authorities (SETAs) as ETQAs for private providers of industry-specific training, which thus falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour. The SETAs are supposed to develop skills development plans, which impact on technical colleges, which are under the Ministry of Education. Even though, SETAs as ETQAs have a direct interest in the quality of provision in technical colleges, the colleges remain operationally and legally under the Ministry of Education and not under the SETAs. This situation sets the band ETQA, like UMALUSI against the industry ETQAs.

2.3 The funding context

UMALUSI's establishment can be considered to have been relatively easy. This was helped tremendously by the fact that this new body was built on the foundation of a financially viable organisation, SAFCERT. The latter was run on a staff compliment of nine people only, handling a very specific and narrow mandate - control over the norms and standards of the senior certificate examinations and issuing senior and national technical certificates. Funds levied from the certification function were also the only source of income for the organisation. Two years ago, SAFCERT had a healthy reserve fund of about R13 million. Only seven Rand was levied per certificate issued by this organisation then and this amount was recovered from the provincial departments on behalf of those learners who qualified.

At the point of taking over in June 2002, UMALUSI was operating on a full time staff compliment of 27 and 152 part-time workers. In the preparation phase to taking over, UMALUSI had to upgrade and modernise the infrastructure of the organisation, which was archaic. UMALUSI has raised the certificate levy by almost 42%, and now each certificate costs the provincial departments twelve Rand. This can amount to anywhere between R 102 145 paid by the Northern Cape and R 1 221 532 paid by KZN, and often the provinces find these costs excessive.

A recent human resources review undertaken by Deloitte & Touche indicates that UMALUSI will have to double its present staff compliment if it has to service:

nine provincial departments, their districts and about 30 000 public schools;

about 3 000 independent schools;

50 vocational education institutions spread over 152 learning sites;

1 700 adult public learning centres;

an unknown number of ABET private providers;

an unknown number of FET private providers;

an unknown number of ECD providers;

one national assessment body; and

an unknown number of independent assessment bodies.

Certification fees are still the major source of income for UMALUSI, a cost that is not borne by the learners themselves. Approximately R7 million is collected from this source each year, against a budget of about R14 million. This year the difference in the budget has been made up from donor funding, an allocation of R1,5 million from the Department of Education and from dipping into the reserve funds. It has been an unfortunate fact that preparing for the establishment and running the new organisation has depleted more than R5 million of the hard earned reserve funds of SAFCERT. This does not bode well for the future viability of the organisation. Even though the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) that is looming on the horizon does provide some hope for more funds to the organisation, the increased financial burden to the provinces that is not shared by learners, is likely to be a source of contention between provinces and UMALUSI.

2.4. Absence of a national and integrated system in the general and further education and training bands

From the onset of the new dispensation in education there have been concerted efforts to do away with the divides between education and training. Most of the prevailing acts and policies have attempted to address this deficiency. The NQF was meant to translate this into reality. However, there are already signs that schools, as dominating institutional forms of provision, are not likely to be fully integrated into the framework. For a band ETQA such as UMALUSI, that should be aiming at establishing band norms (not institutional) and standards across the band for articulation, this is going to present some difficulties.

There is both public and private provision in the South African education and training system. It has taken long for this fact to be realised. Unfortunately, there is still a perception that the private sector is operating as a spoiler and therefore the government's responsibility is to create conditions to make it difficult for this sector to exist. Even though, there are documented instances whereby private providers have operated in less desirable ways, which could even be characterised as being criminal, this tends to be the exception than the norm. There are many private providers whose contribution to the education and training system far outshine the public sector. Also, the fact that these providers continue to exist, shows that there is a clear demand that cannot be wished away. UMALUSI's responsibilities are national, covering both the public and private providers in the absence of a national system. UMALUSI has to endeavour to demonstrate impartiality and even handedness in an environment where clearly one sector feels squeezed out and there are less attempts to establish a national system, composed of both the public and private systems by government. There are many countries around the world that have managed this divide well and that can serve as good examples for South Africa.

2.5. Pressures and Destructors

Transformation of education and training in South Africa has meant a creation of not only new laws but a plethora of new institutions. UMALUSI is one of them. Sometimes the functions delegated to statutory bodies are duplicated, compounding the state of confusion. Examples of this are the quality assurance functions shared by government and statutory bodies. The education community is definitely now suffering from "new development" fatigue. A small independent church school tucked away in the Free State platteland still wonders how UMALUSI is going to be of any help or change anything for them or what they are doing, let alone figuring who they should listen to - the provincial head office, or their association, or UMALUSI about matters of quality.

It has also been indicated that UMALUSI almost comes at the tail end of many laws and institutions that have been put in place and have a direct bearing on its own mission. This puts an enormous pressure on UMALUSI to perform and deliver. Some of this pressure is the direct result of other institutions having not been able to deliver in the past without UMALUSI in the delivery chain. This hikes up the pressures and is likely to cause UMALUSI to struggle to maintain its own values: integrity, rigour, service excellence and innovation and creativity.

3. Programme of UMALUSI

UMALUSI reads the GENFETQA Act (2001) as requiring the organisation to perform the following functions:

3.1. quality assurance of providers;

3.2. quality assurance of qualifications and learning

programmes;

3.3. quality assurance of assessments;

3.4. issue certificates; and

3.5. monitor and report on quality in education and training.

In view of the complexities in the environment in which UMALUSI operates, as explained in section 2 of this report, UMALUSI decided to commission some research in some of the above mentioned areas in order to better inform itself, its stakeholders as well as clients on the best possible routes to take in executing its mandate. In the area of provider quality assurance, the following is a draft programme that is being currently negotiated with providers.

Sector

Objectives

1. Public school education

 

 

 

 

 

Successful running and management of the provincial system

Improvement of academic achievement in all schools

Successful running and management of schools

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

2. Independent school education

Protection of learners and parents

Successful running and management of schools

Improvement of academic achievement in all schools

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

3. Private FET Colleges

Protection of learners and parents

Successful running and management of institutions

Successful academic achievement against approved qualifications and standards

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

Curriculum is responsive to economic and social needs

4. Public FET Institutions

Successful running and management of institutions

Successful academic achievement against approved qualifications and standards

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

Curriculum is responsive to economic and social needs

5. Public Adult Learning Centres

Successful running and management of institutions

Successful academic achievement against approved qualifications and standards

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

6. Private Adult Learning Centres

Successful running and management of institutions

Successful academic achievement standards

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

7. Early Child Development Centres

Successful running and management of centres

Adequate competency achievements by staff

 

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

8.Independent and national assessment bodies

Successful running and management of the Assessment Body

Successful academic achievement against approved qualifications and standards

Learners possess the knowledge and skills to function effectively in society and for further learning

It is planned that the above-mentioned objectives will be achieved through the following processes:

  • establishment of national standards and measurement tools;
  • establishing a sense of quality ownership by the providers; and
  • monitoring and evaluating the system for continuous improvements.

In addition, a research and evaluation function is going to be established that will be the basis for UMALUSI's monitoring and reporting function. The aim of this function will be to assess the status quo of quality indicators at any given time in the system. This is meant to ensure that the definition of quality remains current and contextual. This function is likely to entail coordination and management of a consortium of research expertise in the country rather than locating the function at UMALUSI. The project is still at the conceptualisation stage.

4. Progress review

Five months down the line, the progress made by the organisation can be described as follows:

4.1. Quality assurance of assessments:

Because of the continuation of this function from SAFCERT to UMALUSI, this is an area of work that has formed the bulk of the organisation's programme thus far, and it involves:

      1. Grade 12 Examinations:

External Examination: Approximately 1 400 question papers have been moderated by UMALUSI for the 2002 examinations. Twenty-seven monitors have been deployed to the provinces to monitor the design phase of the examinations, the writing of the examinations, marking, processing and releasing of results.

During the marking of the senior certificate examinations a sample of the scripts from each of the examining bodies will be moderated by UMALUSI's moderators. The results of candidates will be standardised in accordance with norms that reflect the history of learner performance over the last three years.

Internal Examinations (School Based Assessments): The appointed monitors also monitored the implementation of CASS. Verification activities focused on the five national subjects regarding the rigor of the assessment bodies' moderation process and the standard of assessment.

4.1.2. Grade 9 examinations

The Department of Education has introduced the development of common tasks for assessment (CTAs) as an instrument to build teacher capacity in the field of outcomes based assessment and to standardize assessment across the provincial departments. UMALUSI has been closely involved with this process and has moderated these CTAs based on agreed criteria. A report on the moderation findings has been forwarded to the Department of Education and this report will be used to improve the quality of these CTAs for 2003.

4.1.3 National Technical Certificate (N3 / NSC)

There are many first time activities in which UMALUSI was involved in this year regarding the quality assurance of these examinations this year. First time moderation of nine core subjects; first time verification of examination processes and marking of examinations (in Gauteng only this year). Discussions with the National Assessment Body of the Department of Education and SETAs regarding the assessment of technical and vocational qualifications continue.

4.1.4. Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET)

Two examinations take place in a year and UMALUSI has been involved with the moderation of external question papers as well as the verification of the moderation processes of the site-based assessments. Because of the still low levels of development in this sector, there has been considerable training that had to be undertaken.

      1. Research on Quality Assurance of Assessments

To ensure that UMALUSI's mandate of quality assuring assessment is appropriately executed, UMALUSI has appointed a research team comprising of experts in the field of assessment to evaluate UMALUSI's current approach to quality assurance with a view to recommending an improved model of quality assurance based on international practice and the latest trends in assessment, in all the sectors served by UMALUSI.

.

    1. Quality promotion and Institutional Accreditation
    2. A consultative process has started with both the private and public providers nationally, regarding the content of the programme that UMALUSI proposes as the basis for quality promotion activities. The result of this consultation will be an amended framework that should then be agreed upon by the providers and form the basis for activating the quality assurance activities. In the meantime, developments for establishing a database are well underway. Also, engagement with role players and stakeholders has not been ignored.

    3. Quality Assurance of qualifications and learning programmes:

In both the general and further education and training bands, clearly the schooling sector still form the greatest part by far of provision in this sector, with a small number of students in technical colleges and even a smaller number currently enrolled for the newly-registered SAQA qualifications. When thinking through a new framework for qualifications, we feel it is important to understand the old system thoroughly, despite is complexities, and not simply discard it without understanding the reasons behind the various procedures and mechanisms.

In this regard, research is underway which aims at understanding the terrain, locate UMALUSI's responsibilities and also the outcomes of quality assuring qualifications and learning programmes. This will be the basis on which UMALUSI's policies regarding this function will be formulated.

4.4. Certification

The Certification process that has been developed by SAFCERT has been in need of major renovations and repair for some time now. In many ways this is the flagship of the organisation and UMALUSI cannot afford to have a collapsed system on its hands. Work has started on making the system user friendly and less labour intensive. There are currently a number of problems being experienced as the new systems get introduced, with so many players as authorities in education that clarity has to be established. For example, adults who obtained a General and Education and Training Certificate almost two years ago have not as yet been issued with the certificates because it is not clear if this has to be regulated by the Minister as it was the case in the past. Nothing has replaced this requirement as yet. Whilst, we continue to issue the traditional certificates, it is becoming apparent that more problems have to be sorted out in this area, including the name change, cost and payee of the certificate levy, regulations required, partnering with other authorities, etc. This represents just one side of the issues as the other side is about making the internal operations to respond to the current requirements.

    1. Monitoring and reporting.
    2. Very little work has gone into thinking about this function. Most of what could be said about it is still embryonic.

    3. Internal operations

Many efforts have gone into establishing a new organisation that took over from SAFCERT. This includes:

  • establishing a governance structure and some of the urgent committees, with their procedures, rules and regulations;
  • establishing a quality management system for the organisation;
  • reviewing the human resource needs of the organisation with a view of making recommendations to council as an employer;
  • making the minimum necessary appointments to get the work of the Council going in the meantime;
  • deploying an internal audit function to ensure that we satisfy PFMA compliance requirements.
  1. Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that UMALUSI is definitely going to be facing a number of challenges as it navigates its way and making sense of its statutory responsibilities. A few of these could be cited as:

  • legislative and authority issues among the many role players and authorities that share common mandates (sometimes it is the silence in the existing acts and policies that will be a source of frustration);
  • related to the confusion in the legislative environment, are issues around programmatic overlaps in delivery;
  • the public sector as a provider is likely to present unique challenges (sometimes the challenge comes as a contestation over turf and sometimes it is a genuine plea for lack of capacity); and
  • funding is already a real issue for UMALUSI as it tries to anticipate the cost of all what it has to deliver on - this can no longer be sustained through the meagre income from certification fees.

Having said all that, it is also important to recognise that the work of UMALUSI has potential to contribute to the consolidation of many of the gains that have been made thus far in transforming the education and training of this country. South Africans all agree that they want and deserve quality education, and the work of this organisation should be judged on the basis of whether or not it is making a difference in realisation of that.

Appendix 2
UMALUSI CHAIRPERSON'S ADDRESS TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
Parliament, Caper Town, 29 October 2002


Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Prof S.M. Mayatula,
Honourable Members of Parliament

It gives us great pleasure to address the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Education on the progress of the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training. We feel honoured to have been invited to address the Committee.

As you shall recall, the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act (Act No. 58 of 2001) was promulgated on the 5th December, 2001. After a protracted nomination process, the Minister of Education appointed the members of the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Council in May 2002. The Council is made up of sixteen members, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is a member of Council by virtue of her office. The Chairperson of the Council was appointed to that position by the Minister in terms of section 6 (1) (b) of the Act. The Council has since elected Ms Cynthia Mpati of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education as deputy chairperson of the Council. A list of members of Council is printed in the UMALUSI brochure that will be handed out to you after this session.

The Council has already held two meetings since its appointment. The first meeting was held on 8th June 2002. This was preceded by a one-and-half day bosberaad aimed at familiarising Council members with the task ahead. The second meeting was held on 27th August 2002. This meeting was also preceded by a one-day workshop. The idea of a workshop before a formal Council meeting is now an established part of the Council's modus operandi. It is designed to provide Council with an opportunity to discuss substantive policy matters as opposed to being merely pre-occupied with technical matters. Two more Council meetings are scheduled for the end of November, and for the third week of December where Senior Certificate examination results are to be approved.

The Council has also elected an Executive Committee of six members amongst its number. The Executive Committee meets between Council meetings and plays the role of overseeing the management of the organisation.

In terms of section 29 (2), the Council is regarded to have "acquired or incurred [the] rights, obligations, assets and liabilities [of the now-defunct South African Certification Council]". In this regard, some of the tasks of the previous (SAFCERT) Council have been taken over by the new Council. These include:

-the monitoring and final approval of the 2002 Senior Certificate and adult basic education and training examination results;
-overseeing the moderation of exam papers and scripts;
-overseeing the work of committees inherited from SAFCERT; and
-approving a budget for the latter part of 2002.

The Council also decided to retain the Statistics Committee of SAFCERT. This committee plays a major role in the standardisation of the examination results. A decision on its future role will be taken later, when the Council reviews its policy on quality assuring assessment for certification purposes.

The Council has initiated several actions of its own, in line with the mandate stipulated in the Act. These initiatives include:

-setting up new committees;
-taking steps to upgrade technology and programming used in the organisation's certification unit;
-the appointment of consultants to investigate and advise Council on the human resource needs of the new organisation;
-formulating rules of procedure for the council and committees, and a code of conduct for councillors and staff; and
-the approval of a strategic plan for the organisation.

Other than the Executive Committee, the Council has two other permanent committees - a Quality Promotion Committee, and an Assessment Committee. Council has also set up an Audit Committee in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. Although the Audit Committee reports to Council, it is not a committee of council. The Audit Committee is chaired by Mr Richard Rhoda of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who also held this position under SAFCERT.

At its first meeting, the Council resolved to begin a process of replacing the cumbersome name "General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Council" (GENFETQA). The Minister was canvassed on the proposed name change, and has indicated his in principle agreement to the change. The necessary amendment to the founding GENFETQA Act (Act No. 58 of 2001) will be brought to this committee and parliament early next year. The Council resolved to adopt the name "UMALUSI - Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training", which had gained currency even before Council met for the first time.

With the assistance of external design consultants, the Council also adopted a new logo and corporate colours in anticipation of the official name change in the new year.

Early in October 2002, a delegation of Council met the Department of Education to explore the terms and parameters of our relationship. The Department of Education is an important social partner whose collaboration is crucial for the Council's ability to fulfil its mandate. The one of the results of this meeting was the setting up of a joint task team to explore matters of common concern, and to work out operational mechanisms for day-to-day collaboration.

The Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal, is due to attend our next Council meeting on 28th November 2002. We hope to explore several issues with the Minister, including the important matter of the funding of Council activities in the light of its expanded brief.

The Minister of Education plans to launch the new body publicly sometime early in the new year. It is important that the Council be introduced to the country and the world in order to establish its profile. This will indeed be done when the Council has adopted a clear programme of action for the next few years to come, which programme will be informed by the Council's mandate and the ever-changing context of the quality assurance terrain, including changes to be brought about by the results of the report of the Study Team on the Implementation of the National Qualifications Framework.

In conclusion, the Council is looking forward to working closely with the Portfolio Committee and parliament in ensuring quality educational programmes and qualifications for all our people.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peliwe Lolwana, will provide greater detail about the daily operations and programme of the organisation.

Thank you.

R. Cassius Lubisi, PhD
Chairperson: Umalusi - Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training
29 October 2002

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