Provisional First Term Programme for 2003; Adoption of Reports & Comments on Visits to Thailand, Mpumalanga & Free State

Basic Education

05 November 2002
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


5 November 2002

Chairperson: Prof Mayatula

Relevant Documents:
First Term Programme 2003 (e-mail )
Report to the Portfolio Committee on Education on Study Tour to Thailand
Report to the Portfolio Committee on Education on Provincial Visits to Mpumalanga and Free State
Draft Thailand Recommendations (Appendix1 )
Draft Mpumalanga Recommendations (Appendix 2)
Draft Free State Recommendations (Appendix 3)

The committee unanimously adopted the three reports without discussions or questions. The comments and recommendations of the three reports were adopted with minor modification.

Proposal for the 2003 First Term Programme
The Chairperson presented the ANC's proposal for the first term of 2003. He read through the dates and agenda.

Mr van den Heeven (ANC) moved that the proposed programme be adopted.

Mr Ntuli (DP) was not happy that other parties were not consulted when the programme was drafted and moved that in future other parties should be involved in the drafting of a programme.

The Chairperson expressed his understanding of Mr Ntuli's concern and explained to Mr Ntuli that the proposed programme was provisional and reminded the house that the committee was flexible with its programme dates. Mr Ntuli then seconded the move to adopt the programme. The programme was adopted.

Report and Comments on Study Tour to Thailand

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions on the content of the report. There were no questions from committee members. He later asked if members felt that the report should be debated in Parliament Mr Ntuli (DP) did not see the need to debate the report. Instead he suggested that there should be some ways to inform the public on how the committee was appropriately using funds for such tours. Mr Nkompela (ANC) agreed that the report should not be debated.

The Chairperson then read through the comments on the study tour to Thailand and allowed members to discuss each point. The following modifications were agreed to:

The Chairperson suggested that councils should be qualified by the phrase " higher education institutions" so that it was clearer what councils were being referred to. He added that the phrase "not autonomous" should be elaborated to explain what it meant. Mr Abrahams further suggested that the point on councils should be made a separate point.
Referring to Point 16 "reduced" before "7%" should be inserted.
In Point 17 "encourage" should be substitued for "activated".
For point 18 "are" for "should" and "they" for "it" - should be substituted so that it does not sound like a prescriptive comment.

Mpumalanga Provincial Visits
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions with the content of the report. There were no questions from committee members.

The Chairperson read through the comments on the study tour to Thailand and allowed members to discuss each point. The following modifications were agreed to:

Point 1: Ms Dlamini (ANC) suggested to delete "matter" and insert "to promote" instead. Delete "and conciliation"
Point 2: Mr van den Heerven (ANC) suggested that the paragraph should add that there was also a need to improve communication between district offices and schools.
Point 6: Ms Mentor (ANC) suggested that the word "workmanship" be replaced by "workpersonship" to avoid gender insensitivity. There was a general discussion on gender insensitive phrases. Some members (like Ms Nhlengethwa (ANC)) felt that some before such modifications were made the public should understand the etymology of the word because some words have no gender insensitive derivation even though they may sound so. The Chairperson added that there was a need for a new dictionary to solve such problems. Ms Ghandi (ANC) suggested the word "construction" to replace "workmanship". The committee agreed. Ms Mentor was happy with the discussion on the subject and thanked the committee for engaging in it.
Point seven: Mr Abrahams (ANC) suggested that the acronyms LMS and OBE should be explained in full because not everyone in public was familiar with the acronyms.

Free State Provincial Visit
The Chairperson asked if there were any questions with the content of the report. There were no questions from committee members.

The Chairperson read through the comments on the study tour to Thailand and allowed members to discuss each point.

The following modifications were agreed to:
Point 1: Mr Vadi suggested to substitute "legally defined" with "comfortable" so that the distance between schools and taverns should not be the discretion of a school principal.
Point 10: the acronym ELSEN should be explained in full for the public.
Point 13: Ms Mentor (ANC) and Mr Aucamp (NNP) suggested to delete "employed" because that was not a form of employment for the women.
Point 16: "substitute learning areas managers" for " subject areas'.
Point 17: There was a debate as to the validity of teaching some black children in English and then evaluate them in Afrikaans at the Bultfontein Hoer Skool. The Chairperson, Mr Ntuli (ANC) and Mr Raju (ANC) felt that it was inappropriate to learn in one language and be evaluated in another. Mr Aucamp (NNP) defended the school and suggested that it could be that the medium of instruction was Afrikaans and that the teacher were using English to explain to the pupils. Members felt that such a situation was a problem in itself. Mr Vadi (ANC) suggested that the comment should extend to saying that the MEC would be approached to review the language policy in that schools in a consultative manner.
Point 23: to be deleted because it was a repetition of Point nine.
Point 24 substitute " to" for "should" to avoid a prescriptive tone.

The Mpumanlanga and Free State reports will be debated in Parliament in 2003.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix One
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Education on Study Tour to
Thailand. Dated 05 November 2002
(Re-wording of comments and Recommendation Section of Report

The main lessons to be drawn from the visit of the Education Portfolio Committee to Thailand, are:

A common ownership of parliamentary governance by all political parties.

Big involvement of private sector in the education system.

In Thailand, fees at private schools are determined by the State, system of funding is the same irrespective whether the school is private or public and all schools follow the same core curriculum to promote equality; councils are not autonomous.

Accelerated rural development stabilise family structures.

Work-Oriented Learning and Vocational Education ensures that the curriculum fit neatly in the working environment. Theory and practice works together.

School committees/school governing bodies make meaningful input in policy making.

Partnerships between private and public sectors are common in higher education.

In-service training programmes for teachers in OBE and other teacher development programmes during the school holidays are common.

Clear-cut standards and benchmarks exist for schools to build up core curriculum.
Thailand has a decentralised curriculum. The principle of decentralisation should be responding to the capacity of people. The Thailand Department of Curriculum and Instruction Development has distinguishing features in curriculum development.

Thailand non-formal education is well structured.

Religious education is taken into consideration in Thailand education system.

There is a strong emphasis on sport and culture in rural communities.

There is good teacher-pupil ratio (20:1) in Thailand.

Volunteerism makes Non-Formal Education operational and functional.
As there are Non-Formal Education centres around Thailand in all provinces1 the programmes reach people in rural areas and cities who are unemployed and other special groups with social problems, especially those unable to speak Thai. As their needs are different they are treated differently and need special programmes. Literacy forms part of assistance for people to sustain them and as a result, illiteracy has been from 70/o to 4.50/o.

Museums in Thailand are daily resource centres for learners and schools are activated to make full use in any field of study of such museums.

Museums should be comprehensive as it covers interest for young and adults for life-long learning

Appendix Two
The Department of Education should delegate the appropriate functions and powers to the district offices within the applicable legal framework so that they can take full responsibility. This will assist in governance matter such as accountability, transparency, efficiency and flow of information and conciliation.

Communication between the MEC's Office and the District offices needs a drastic improvement.

The farm schools need a special dispensation for post provisioning.

The newly established inclusive schools need special attention, especially in terms of ramps and toilet facilities.

There is a need for a special programme to provide toilet facilities in most of the schools, as this is a health hazard.

There is a need for Departmental supervision of repair work commissioned by the Department as reflected in the shoddy workmanship in flushing mechanisms of most toilets.

The distribution of LSM, OBE, stationery and textbooks needs a special attention.
Procurement/provisioning processes of LSM to be tightened up such that financial accountability is enhanced.

The provision of scholar transport needs to be fast tracked.

The provision of substitute teachers needs to be improved.

The reliance on parents to provide pots and other necessities for the provision of the School Nutrition needs to be reviewed. The exclusion of townships schools from the programme also needs to be reviewed.

The urgency of greater emphasis to be placed on HIVIAIDS awareness like, workshops and counselling programmes.

Appendix Three
The Department of Education to liase with relevant departments to ensure that no taverns are permitted within a comfortable radius from Schools.

The effectiveness of the Primary School Nutrition Programme should be closely monitored to ensure that targeted learners are reached, curb mismanagement and corruption. As part of government's poverty alleviation strategy, the participation of women groups in the form of co-operatives should be explored.

The partnership and co-operation between Farmers and the Free State Education Department should be nurtured through the creation of a Unit to focus on liaison with farmers on a regular basis.

The Free State Education Department should improve on its communication with schools and other stakeholders, e.g. letters received should be promptly responded to.

The Farm Schools Clustering Hostel Model of education provisioning piloted in the Southern Districts should be extended to all rural communities as it eliminates transport problems, late coming, multi-grade teaching and transforms farm schools into well resourced centres of excellence.

Clustering of Schools and exploration of twinning arrangement to be considered to assist schools with little or no prospect of successful fundraising opportunities.

To improve on monitoring and evaluation of programmes, Circuit Managers should visit schools on a regular basis to give professional support and guidance.

The Department should consider extending Performance Contracts to District Managers in order to hold them accountable for service delivery rendered at the level of Circuits.

Functionality of School Governing Bodies needs to be monitored to ensure that they perform roles and functions allocated to them in terms of the South African Schools Act.

The Free State Education Department should give priority to the Expansion of ABET to rural communities, the provision of ELSEN, its location and programmes.

Adequate resources need to be allocated to eliminate the shortage of textbooks in school.

The Free State Education Department to conclude the process of written agreements between the department and farmers.

The Free State Education Department to intervene in the non-payment/ delayed payment of women employed to assist in the provision of feeding scheme at school levels.

The redeployment process in the province should be finalised to bring stability to school. The Free State Education Department should speed up appointment of educators after interview processes are concluded by School Governing Bodies.

The Free State Education Department should discourage the teaching of African languages by inappropriately qualified white educators and instead encourage integration at the level of teaching staff and governance.

Subject Advisory Services should ensure that HOD's at school level establish and maintain functional subject committees to develop subject policies, discuss problematic subject areas and to familiarise educators with curriculum changes and exchange of ideas teaching techniques/ methods.

The introduction of dual-Medium of instruction at Bultfontein Hoer Skool should be implemented as Afrikaans is imposed on Black learners who are taught in English and expected to write in Afrikaans leading to failure amongst them.

The Policy Document - Alternatives to corporal punishment should be workshopped to Educators and be widely distributed.

The provision of water and sanitation at schools should be prioritised.

The Free State Education Department should partner with the Department of Labour and organised Farmers Union towards the eradication of child labour in the farming community.

Information regarding National Student Financial Aid Scheme should be provided to all Secondary Schools.

The Free State Education Department should discourage cluster school fee determination as each school should have its own school Development Plan.

The Free State Education Department should speed up appointment of educators after interview processes are concluded by School Governing Bodies.

The training model for SGB's to be revisited; as two days crush courses are inadequate to empower school governors to perform their functions.

School Management Teams should be empowered to implement Educators Code of Conduct disciplinary procedures and processes.

Circuit Managers should develop programmes to visit schools on a regular basis and ensure that schools have management plans and that school management team meetings and staff meetings are held regularly.


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