Some of the key aspects touched upon by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) were:
They are moving towards the electronic registration of educators. Current revenue is R55.4 million and the highest source of income is from subscriptions which will increase by 10% annually over the next five years. On infrastructure, SACE has now Provincial Offices in Bloemfontein Free State and Durban Kwazulu Natal. There are plans for three more next year and three more in the following year, which will amount to eight so that each Province has one and the Head Office will serve for Gauteng. Detail was provided on the registration of educators, the promotion of ethics, and the plans for its three Professional Development and Research programmes of Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD); Professional Standards and Policy and Research. With regard to the registration of educators and ethics, SACE’s objective is to register 20 000 new educators and to update 30 000 provisional registrations. Therefore 50 000 educators should have their qualifications vetted and verified in the 2015/16 year. There was also the need for more staff in place and five full time trained staff will be employed.
The Committee asked for details on the cost of the ‘new’ Head Office building and why this still had not been finalised. Some Members said the plan to have eight provincial offices was wasteful. All the provincial offices should be closed and a proper qualified fit-for-purpose Head Office and staff. The Committee noted the complaint from SACE that the Department was slow to transfer CPTD funds and encouraged the two to build a better relationship otherwise training delivery would be affected. The list of struck off educators should be made more freely available to school governing bodies and school principals. The Committee complained that SACE had been too slow to deliver in the area of ethical standards and this was unacceptable if one looked at the sexual abuse figures. Some Members pointed out that the Annual Performance and Strategic Plan still had discrepancies in them. The Committee was concerned that the administration staff and the Council itself were not a united entity.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) presented the outcomes and challenges that were faced in the 2015 School Governing Bodies (SGB) elections. The successes of the 2015 SGB elections are that 94% have completed the election which is a record in the sector. The election period was uniform across all provinces, all provinces promulgated elections regulations except the Eastern Cape. The Minister of Basic Education conducted road shows to encourage participation, Education MECs held public meetings or used the media to launch the elections. Media houses flighted interviews regarding the elections, The SGB associations conducted their own advocacy campaign with similar messages to those of the Department. Schools were creative in encouraging parents to vote in the elections, Dispute resolution teams responded to complaints immediately and resolved 99% of disputes within a three day timeframe. There was improved adherence to procedures and execution of elections by officials and stakeholders and a low number of registered grievances.
Some of the challenges faced were the low turnout in rural and some township schools and it seems that there is a link between school functionality and the rate of turnout. Other challenges were late preparations by the Eastern Cape, there were communities threatening to disrupt SGB elections to raise issues not related to school governance such as Bushbuckridge and Malamulele schools. However the Malamulele school has completed its election. The last challenge was the lack of capacity in districts to monitor all elections in the schools as there just too many.
The Committee asked for clarity on the low numbers of SGBs elected in the Eastern Cape, how does one appeal against a clearly unjust SGB decision; is there a dispute breaking mechanism for when the elections are disputed. Training was emphasized and questions asked about language of instruction and training materials for SGBs. How is poor attendance at SGB meetings attended and what about dysfunctional SGBs? Union involvement in SGB elections was queried as was DBE disputes about teacher appointments by SGBs and rejection by SGBs of DBE teachers deployed to that school.
South African Council of Educators (SACE) presentation
Mr Rej Brijraj, SACE Chief Executive Officer, acknowledged the presence of SACE Chairperson, Ms Veronica Hofmeester. He apologized to the Committee for inconveniencing it the previous week when its presentation documents had not been in order. SACE had gone back to realign some items, get more detail and correct the mismatches. He took responsibility for this and assured the Committee that this would not happen again. They would prepare well in advance and more thoroughly for future meetings. The previous documents should be discarded and the documents presented today are now the official documents.
He said SACE is moving on to electronic methodologies for registering educators. There is a system to cater for registration within seven working days including electronic registration and electronic correspondence. There is also a categorization of register; update of register and differentiation of certificates to be undertaken. All new applications and the ones already in the register will be thoroughly vetted and verified. In terms of Professional Development of Educators there is a detailed presentation on it to follow, the 80% figure is used to say that all endorsement, approval applications and for programmes offered for educators are processed within a three month cycle which will be put on the website. SACE is in consultation with Stakeholders to make sure that educators will aspire to professional standards. An important development in the coming year is the work on induction, SACE is striving towards the point where educators will have to go through an induction period and details will be given on this. With regard to ethical standards we are making sure that we finish up 80% of our cases. If one looks at the stats; the stats are a bit skewed as there has been a backlog of cases and next time a meeting takes place, SACE will hopefully be able to give the exact number of cases that are being carried over from the previous year so that the Committee can see that it is a problem of the past. On research, policy and planning; the research unit now has a pool of researchers which are working on six to eight projects for the current year. On administration and infrastructure, SACE has now got Provincial Offices in the Bloemfontein Free State and Durban Kwazulu Natal. There are plans for three more next year and three more in the following year, which will amount to eight so that each province has one and the Head Office will serve for Gauteng.
Mr Morris Mapindani, SACE Chief Financial Officer, referred to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) projections. The current revenue is R55.4 million and the largest source of income is from subscriptions. The increase in subscription fee since July 2010 means better service delivery can take place. The Council will consider an increase of member subscription over the MTEF by 50% to counter the effect of inflation and to increase its delivery levels at provincial levels. The Council receives funds from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to subsidize the administration of professional development. To date no written commitment has been received, hence the zero budget. The budget will be adjusted on receipt of written commitment of funds. The registration fees remain at R400 for foreigners, R200 for South Africans and R50 for renewals. The reason for the fees for foreigners being higher is that there is more paper work and administrative costs when dealing with foreigners. There is a reduction of interest income in line with reduced bank balance due to purchase of own building. The price of the building is being ‘settled’.
The Chairperson asked for further elaboration on the status of the purchasing of the building.
Mr Mapindani replied that SACE has already signed the paperwork related to the purchasing of the building and the process has been concluded in terms of SACE’s internal processes. The registration thereof has however not taken place. The money for the property is in a trust fund account and will be paid over on the day of registration. The funds which were directed at the building are now directed towards improvement of mandatory functions. An example of this is the building of more provincial offices. The Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) funding is still under discussion with the ministry to find a stable funding process, hence only R1 million is set aside for non-CPTD activities under professional development. A reserve fund is also planned towards the establishment of provincial offices over the MTEF period; the Bloemfontein and Durban offices will be fully functional by June 2015. Slide 8 of the presentation dealt with the budget for these two provinces which is costing R4 million at the moment. The offices will be rented and that is why you will find that there is no capital expenditure except for furniture and equipment.
Ms Tsedi Dipholo, SACE Chief Operations Officer, dealt with the registration of educators. The objective is to register 20 000 new educators and to update 30 000 provisional registrations. Therefore 50 000 educators should have their qualifications vetted and verified in the 2015/2016 year. There is a trend that the bulk of the people registering are still studying so therefore 60% of those anticipated to register will fall within the provisional register. Two percent of this will be for foreigners. Provisional registration consists of conditional status and foreign educators. The Council came to a decision that all conditional educators are given a five year registration status with the condition that they study further. All foreign educators are also given up to a maximum of five years or on the expiry date on their work permits, however there may be a delay In the update or registration of Zimbabwean educators as their permit processes have changed again. The Council will vet all applications and verify qualifications of all applicants which will be done in two batches which is for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. The process will be done in partnership with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and Higher Education Institutions. Meetings have been had with Social Development in getting a way to access the Child Protection Register and the Sexual Offences Register. For the current year SACE will be vetting all the 20 000 new applicants and verifying their qualifications and those of the 30 000 updating their registration status. The Department of Home Affairs have also been contacted to find out how many of the educators on the register have passed away and therefore for the first three months SACE will be dealing with deceased educators. We are hoping that by the end of the current financial year that the database will be clear and authentic so that next year the 200 000 educators currently on the system will be vetted and verified.
The COO went on to deal with ethics. The focus is now on doing training on the code of ethics not only for educators but also for School Governing Bodies (SGB), learners and school communities. The objective of this is to explain to them the code of professional ethics so that they can uphold it which will result in more stable schools and SACE will facilitate any discrepancies on this. The target is plus minus 15 000 people in school communities and stakeholders within the school who will benefit as a result. For the current year there are 720 cases or 80% of cases received so therefore the backlog is quite minimal and this will hopefully continue into the next year. There is also the training of people to assist as the human resources within the entity is quite limited as they do investigations full time. The people trained are those that have knowledge on education and labour law and they will be the presiding or investigating officers on the cases to be dealt with. SACE have been in contact with the Department and has signed MOUs to streamline the work as there will be a focus on the ethical conduct of educators which will make it easier for both to deal with incidents in schools without delay. Currently all the names on the roll are forwarded to the Child Protection Register so that the names can be published. However, Council is currently in a debate as to whether those names should be published for public consumption. Currently all employers or the SGB can contact SACE to verify that they are employing someone of quality. Hopefully soon the Council will come to a decision on whether or not to publish the names that were struck off.
Ms Ella Mogkalane, Senior Manager and Researcher of SACE, focused on the three programmes under Professional Development and Research. These are:
(1) Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) with the objective to promote career-long quality professional development for all school-based educators. There are three aspects of this that are being focused on: approval of service providers and endorsement of Professional Development Programmes, the orienting and signing of teachers to participate in the CPTD management system and earn up to 150 points in three year cycles; and the monitoring and supporting Professional Development (PD) uptake. With regard to the status of the implementation of the CPTD system, the Principals/Deputy Principals that have signed up in 2013/14 will have concluded their three year cycles. In the current year 31 060 Head of Departments (HOD) will have been signed up and orientated in preparation for their first three year cycle from 2015 to 2017. Currently post level one educators are being signed up and orientated from combined and secondary schools only and will start their three year cycle from next year January. This includes students studying towards a B.Ed. or PGCE at higher institutions. Next year focus will be more on primary school post level one educators and therapists and psychologists who are employed as educators. SACE will try to engage with the Health Professional Council in dealing with psychologists and therapists employed as educators. On provider approval systems the employers have been categorized into three groups. These groups are those employers who are accredited by one of three the quality Councils, those not accredited by any quality Council and lastly the employers and emerging providers from the nine provinces. The last category, category C in the application form is exempted from submitting their financial statements and tax certificates but have to meet the other requirements.
In response to the Chairperson asked for more explanation on Category A, Ms Mogkalane said that category A has the same requirements as category B but this has already been done through the Quality Councils and they will receive their accreditation in advance. An example of this is Higher Learning Institutions that have been approved by the Council on Higher Education. On the approved providers there are 61 from category A, 18 from category B and from category C six employers, five from departments and independent associations and 4 from teachers’ unions.
On the endorsed Professional Development activities, there are a total of 654. These are broken down into languages 201, mathematics 98, science 58, leadership and management 180, special education needs 43, 30 ICT related and 44 for other. The endorsements are largely reflecting the needs of the system, such as pushing mathematics and sciences. The targets for 2015/16 for the programme are: number of educators orientated and signed up for participation is 110 000 secondary and combined school educators and 70 000 final year students. 55% of signed up principals, deputies and HODs. There is also a need for a National Report on professional development uptake by educators and overall participation in the CPTD system so to determine trends and whether needs are being addressed on different levels. The target number of professional development providers to be approved is 200 or 80%. The target number of professional development activities to be endorsed is 500 or 80% of applicants within a three month cycle.
(2) Professional Standards programme is completely new to SACE and is a checkpoint to determine if things are in place before letting them into the profession as the Council is the first entity applicants have to pass through. The setting, upholding and monitoring of professional standards will be on the entry into the teaching profession from admission into IPED to full registration with SACE, IPED and CPTD programme content and professional practice. The Professional Standards Model provides that firstly standards should be given for admission into the profession graduate with SACE Provisional Registration, induction/probation programme by employers, portfolio of evidence for induction and awarding of professional designation by SACE, full registration, continuing professional development and lastly the periodic registration renewal which is three years.
(3) The Policy and Research programme has a research agenda and one of the things coming out of Council is that SACE has to be in a position to advise the Minister and the profession on the basis of research and detailed information coming out of the system. For this financial year we are targeting six research reports but we need to understand the extent to which this research is being utilized by internal and external stakeholders and this will be done through a national report. The target number of professional magazines/journals produced is two.
The Chairperson commended the progress made in the presentation from the previous session. She noted in certain areas great strides had been made in upholding the professionalism in the profession and that SACE deserved praise.
Ms A Lovemore (DA) referred to the reports given, these being the annual performance plan (APP) and the strategic plan where in the annual performance plan there are targets for five years and in the strategic plan there are no targets. She believed that the reports are totally unacceptable. She had many questions but was limited by the Chairperson to five. On the issue of registration SACE indicated 20 000 educators but the DBE stated that the registration will be in the region of 9000 educators and she asked about the difference in numbers. She referred to the mention that 60% will be provisionally registered and asked why the number was so high. She referred to the three-year cycle for registration updates which actually made a lot of sense but she was disturbed that it is mentioned in neither the APP nor strategic plan. She referred to CPTD and the target of 30% of Principals and Deputies signing up and participating and asked why the participation expectancy is so low. Linked to this was the Provider Approval and more specifically category C which is a low level of control and category B which is the highest level of control and asked why category C is not given the highest level of control. She asked why in the provider approval requirement list the quality and appropriateness of the programmes are not mentioned in the plan and on what they will be presenting. She said the numbers do not all tie up in the documents given as in the Strategic Plan it says there is a target of six research reports but the APP says a target of five. She referred to the target of 30 000 teachers for registration and quoted SACE saying that “when updates are happening we do not necessarily receive them” which is probably the case. On this basis she asked if 30 000 teachers will come forward and say their details have changed and if this target was realistic.
Mr H Khosa (ANC) applauding the preparedness and quality of presentation. He asked what informs the number of 20 000 educators for registration. He asked about the inflation of the subscriptions by 50% over the coming years and asked for clarity on the ‘drastic’ increase of subscription fees. He asked about the publishing of names of struck off educators and why it has not been done.
Ms H Boshoff (DA) referred to ethical standards and pointed to the foreword of the presentation where it says that things are ‘going to’ happen. This is totally unacceptable as it should have been done a long time ago. If one looks at the figures of sexual abuse, these standards should have been in place and one cannot accept that SACE is still has to gear up and develop this. The Provincial Office budget shows that the budget is R4 million but the salary expenditure is R2. 4 million which is more than 50% of the budget on salaries and this is unacceptable. She asked what the percentage component for salaries should be. On capacity and training the Committee was promised that staff would be trained to assist but in the presentation it speaks of ‘getting’ staff to assist and asked where the staff members are that were to be appointed in September last year. On ethics it was said that employers, principals and SGBs can access the list by contacting SACE and said that this was unacceptable as the list of struck off educators should be made available to SGBs and school principals.
Mr D Mnguni (ANC) said that the progress made by SACE on the presentation is good. He would have been happier if the Committee knew how much the cost of the building was. He asked if there are any mechanisms to deal with publishing the list of struck off educators. Lastly, he asked how SACE will monitor the presentations of the programmes.
Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) said that his first reaction was to sympathize with SACE on the professional ethical code of conduct as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is ‘untouchable’ and that the Committee should meet with the DHE. He referred to the statement made on ethical standards that SACE is trying to reduce breaches by 10% per annum and asked how SACE got to this figure. He asked how the target figure of ‘15 000’ stakeholders benefiting from the training on the Code of Professional Ethics was reached. He asked for the building costs, legal fees and the transfer costs. On the fitness of educators, he asked whether any educators coming into the profession that were not accepted as a result of incompetence.
Ms D van der Walt (DA) asked whether the CEO can state how many educators are currently registered in each province. She noted the wasteful expenditure for SACE having to return to the Committee and wanted that noted. She was concerned about the building and asked what the absolute final amount for the building and by when will it be paid or will we come back next year and find out that there is still cost incurring from the building. She raised a concern about the inner workings of the entity and said that she wonders if the DBE should give them money. In her opinion all the provincial offices should be closed and a proper qualified fit-for-purpose Head Office and staff and SACE will not need the millions being wasted on provincial offices.
The Chairperson commented that whenever SACE comes to the Committee there is always an outcry from SACE that the DBE is so slow to transfer funds for CPTD which is one of their core functions. She looked at the relationship between SACE and the DBE and asked what is being done to manage the relationship. She foresees problems arising such as SACE saying that they cannot implement some of their things because the DBE has not given the funding. She said SACE has ‘very good’ plans even though some of the things should have happened a long time ago but some of the progress has been good such as the standards. She asked that according to SACE’s plans; by when SACE can say that they are actually are or have implemented the plans. She asked whether the funding from DBE should be considered to fall under the risk category. On the issue of low participation for the CPTD she asked why it is so low when it is said that it could positively affect the system. SACE and the DBE should get together to discuss how they can get better participation by Principals and Deputies. Her next question was directed at the CFO in relation to the 50% raise and whether the unions have accepted this so that next year SACE will not come back and say that this plan has been rejected by the teachers. The issue of the building has been a long standing one and asked the CEO what is happening to the building, when SACE will be moving in and what is its status. The last time SACE came to the Committee it said that ‘it is the last time we are discussing the building’ but it is still nevertheless an issue, so today should be the final discussion on it.
The CEO of SACE replied that there is a statutory Council that gives the office its ‘marching orders’ and we as management have a lot of ideas on taking the Council forward but it has to pass through Council and they are as mentioned the one that ‘call the shots’ but SACE has high regard for the Portfolio Committee recommendations for enhancing SACE’s work. SACE will try and persuade Council to move in the Committee’s suggested direction. In response to the strategic plan, the plan was changed on advisement and SACE regrets coming back and apologized for it. On registration, he said that SACE registers approximately 20 000 teachers per year and it is a tough prediction because it is unknown territory and that is why SACE will strive to register at least 80% of that. As to the actual needs of the profession and how many enter the profession is another matter. The 30 000 updates is the approximate number that is dealt with every year and rejections do happen but not many. Registration figures will be able to be given per province but not now. It can be extracted from the database and can be given to the Committee as soon as possible. On the updating of registrations every three years it is a matter that has to go through Council for Council’s finalization but Council has been reluctant to go into that so far. Up until Council pronounces on the matter this is the status for updating the registrations.
The Chairperson was disturbed about the CEO’s statement about the management and the fact that Council having to first pronounce on various issues as it seems that the Council and SACE have not sat down and agreed upon certain things
The CEO replied that he made an error and that Council actually agreed that there are consultations that have to be undertaken. There are two processes on Approval and Endorsements. The first process being the approving of the providers and the second being endorsing the appropriateness of the programme content. In terms of publishing the list of struck off names, the Council has not so far given a direction to publish names so that the public can access it. However, the names are accessible to employers, all that has to be done is to punch in the ID numbers to determine if they are registered or not. It is high time that the names be published for public consumption. On the issue of increasing of staff, Council has been ‘slow’ and it is only now that they have agreed to hire more full time investigators, a paralegal clerk and to beef up the ethics section, but there has been an increase in staff.
Ms Lovemore raised as a point of order that a lot of the questions answered had been answered by saying that Council has not agreed or given the go ahead. The Committee is in fact having oversight over the Council as the name of SACE describes surely the Council? The Council should answer as the Chairperson for the Council is also in attendance.
The Chairperson said the chairperson of the SACE Council would also be given an opportunity to respond.
The CFO answered some of the questions. He said that the subscription increase is due to happen in 2017/18 and if we count back from the last increase in 2010 there has been no increase in levy for the last eight years. Consultation will take place with the stakeholders on the increase. On the percentage component of the salaries in terms of the budget, currently before the CTPD funding the percentage is on 58%. On the many questions regarding the building and the costs there was bidding for the building and the adjudication process is almost complete; the money will be transferred after registration. He requested that the Chairperson allow him not to answer any questions related to the building costs at this moment as the process of informing the bidders that did not get it has not taken place and he might get into trouble as a result of releasing the information. A full detailed mention of the building costs will be given after registration has taken place. They will be moving in by no later than June 2015.
Ms Van Der Walt on a point of order said to the CFO that it is public money that paid for the building and it cannot be hidden and the bidders should have been informed of who was the winner before going to the Deeds Office for Registration. To come to the Committee and say that you do not want to give figures is totally unacceptable and a forensic audit can be asked for as well.
The Chairperson said that the CFO might need to consult his leadership but the Committee is under oath and the details of the building transfer are needed unless the Committee can be convinced otherwise. The explanation given was unacceptable and figures should be given even if it is not in detail.
Ms Lovemore said that surely the figure is in the budget and that is why an objection was made to the budget.
The CEO authorized the CFO to disclose the figures of the building as accurately as possible. The CFO said that he did not want to disclose the figure as the losing bidders have not been told yet and the media might latch on to it. [He did note the amounts to the Committee]. The money is in the trust account which will be paid on registration. The building will be moved into soon. The transaction was mentioned in the previous financial year and that is why it is not included in the budget for this financial year.
Ms Van Der Walt on a point of clarity asked whether they are in the building already or if it is a different building as it has been said that they will be moving into the building soon.
The CEO responded that they are currently in the building but terminology in the presentation was incorrect as they will be moving into the building soon as ‘owners’.
The COO responded on who the 20 000 educators to be registered are and how this figure had been reached. When mention is made of new people registering, it does not necessarily mean those that are graduating. It also includes foreign educators, coaches in different categories of schools and unfortunately it does include educators employed by public independent schools on a yearly basis. In the previous financial year it was predicted that 26 000 new educators would be registered and in the current financial year it is predicted to be 29 000. In answering the question on the 60% figure for provisional registration, foreign educators, ECD educators and independent schools are given provisional registration status hence the fact that the bulk of the new registrations are provisional and that is why the percentage is so high.
On the 30 000 updates, it does not necessarily mean they are coming to change their surnames but they are coming to change the status of what they are studying. Students who are studying towards further qualifications, are provisional educators. SACE is giving them an annual registration so that it can be ensured that they are indeed studying. Therefore the Council took a decision that those that are studying towards a B.Ed. are giving a four year annual registration period and this constitutes the updates as those students will come in with proof of registration for the individual years of their course. As touched upon earlier there are loads of Zimbabwean educators that come for updates as there have been changes in the permit policy. One of the things that have been picked up is the fact that most provinces are advertising promotion posts and there has been a huge number of educators who have been on the system prior even to SACE being developed and are only coming now to register. This shows that there is a need for a more vigorous advocacy campaign to ensure that they are actually on the system. It is often assumed by educators that SACE is deducting money from their pay slips and that they are registered until they apply for a particular post and find out that a SACE certificate is needed. The numbers of these educators are around 5000 for the current year. It is hoped that by the end of the five year period that that number will decrease. A combination of all the above mentioned reasons is the cause for the number of updates being so high.
On the issue of ethics and training of more staff mentioned by Ms Boshoff, there are a low number of employed full-time investigative staff members. Council has given the go-ahead to add two or three more staff members but the number is not enough to deal with the number of cases that are received on an annual basis. Currently additional staff members are not employed on a contractual basis but are paid R500 on a case by case basis however there are plans to advertise and negotiate a contractual agreement with these additional staff members. On the 15 000 educators, the budget does play a role but SACE wants the Department to train the ones within the 15 000 that are not being trained. It also seems unfair to only include the educators and not the whole school community. Strides are to be made in future to include them as the budget increases over the years. With regard to the monitoring of educators struck off the roll, reference was made to section 15(2) of the Employment Equity Act. A letter must be written to the school principal, HOD and Director to inform them. The stipulation simply provides that when the letter from SACE arrives you have automatically resigned. It has been seen in many areas that teachers that are struck off are still teaching but this has not happened when letters have been written. In 2015/16, with the smoother relations between the provinces and the departments, we will have our “struck-offs” implemented as quickly as possible.
Ms Mokgalane responded to questions on the approvals and endorsements of programmes. On the questions on emerging providers which fall under category C, these are new fresh providers which do not yet have financial statements and have to run for a year before this can be altered. They can only be assisted once they have been moved into category B and once all those requirements are met they can apply for endorsements of their programmes. On monitoring of programme presentations, they have three processes. The first being a clause in the agreement which provides that the meetings can be observed when the programmes are running, the second is school visits and lastly feedback from teachers. With regard to the low level participation, it is a reality. Principals and Deputies have signed up but their reporting levels are very low and this is affected by the low level of professional development culture amongst that cohort. It does not necessarily mean that they are not participating at all but they are not fulfilling the responsibility to report for the three different types of activities. So what is being done now is to refine the system to say that teachers must report on type one. Schools are also being given a responsibility as schools are signing up to report on school based professional development for all the teachers in the school. The providers have to report on all the participants so that we have it from three different levels but at the end of the day it is the teachers responsibility to report. In addition a problem also lies in the fact that the provinces are not captured in the databases and they are the main providers and it has a direct impact on the low level of reporting. Consultations have been made with the department and the provinces to rectify this problem. She responded to Mr Mpontshane’s question on standards and said that they do not have a problem with the DHET and in 2016/17 there will be a move towards implementing the standards.
Ms Veronica Hofmeester, SACE Chairperson, replied about the ‘fit for purpose’ intervention and what one encourages SACE to do is research. When you look at the cases, they are very specific to a particular region so therefore the context of the case has to be looked at. One of the important issues touched upon besides that of registration is the fact that SACE does not have control over certain ‘products’ and the vetting thereof. Many of the educators are not from South Africa but from other African countries. SACE is part of ‘AFTRA’ which is an African regulatory body. All the countries within AFTRA meet yearly to discuss how issues within all African regulatory bodies can be streamlined and aligned. Another important thing SACE is focusing on is the professionalization of the profession and work is being done with the Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP) Sector Education and Training (SETA) and other entities dealing with this so that this goal can be realized. In the next Council meeting, vetting will be discussed.
Ms Hofmeester went back to the endorsement of activities and the activities that are fit for purpose and said that one has to look at the school improvement plans, reports on needs from teachers and whole school evaluation reports which shows that SACE does not only look at programmes from universities (and some of these university programmes are not ‘fit for purpose’). Therefore in the CPTD process we look at how we can ensure that the programmes listed with SACE are fit for purpose.
On the comments that the ‘Council is slow’, Ms Hofmeester said that this needs to be addressed when going back to the workplace. As a Council we can ensure that the Council is doing its best in making SACE become the professional entity that is envisioned. She had only recently become the Chairperson of the Council and she would ensure that everything noted in the meeting will be dealt with so that when SACE reports back again that they do not blame the Council, and also to have better oversight so that a better report can be brought forward next time. Lastly, she agrees that the names that have been struck off the roll must be provided as educators struck off the roll should never work with the learners of this country. The DBE should also take responsibility for not checking whether the people employed are in fact the correct people to work with children.
Ms Vivienne Carelse, Strategic Planning Deputy Director General (DDG) in the Office of the Director General, said DBE would be brief and would touch on the delivery of CPTD and the department’s relationship with SACE in relation to it and general comments on the structure and planning process.
Mr H Mahomed, DBE Director: CPTD, commented on the funding issue and said that they have received a verbal commitment from the Finance Office that for the next three years an amount has been committed to the CPTD system and they are just waiting for the written correspondence to come through. The amount committed is R8. 5 million with a 5% annual increase.
Ms Stella Mosemege, DBE Director: Strategic Planning and Reporting, commented on the targets in the strategic performance plan (SPP) versus the targets in the annual performance plan. After the 2014 elections the preparations for planning for the new cycle and the functions moved from the National Treasury to Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). Training on these plans happened very late. The training framework require us to state your five year targets in your five year strategy plan. The targets in the five year strategic plan are transferred and put into the APP which is updated on a yearly basis and there one will develop more indicators on very specific indicators. If one looks at the SPP it does have those indicators which do appear in the APP but the targets are not stipulated in the APP. If one looks at the programmes there is a table which reflects the five year targets. The Planning Frameworks do not require that the year targets be shown but what can be shown is what is intended to be achieved at the end of the five year period.
Ms C Majeke (UDM) asked for clarity on the registration of South African teachers and foreign teachers. Her understanding was that the certificate is specifically for the SACE database. She gets confused when teachers leave South Africa yet they still want the same certificate as she thought that the certificates are only used in South Africa and it does not serve as a testimonial.
Ms H Boshoff referred to a statement made by the CEO that the strategic plan was altered on receiving of advice. She asked who gave this advice. She asked whether the DPED’s, school principals and deputies know that they can access the list on registered educators by looking on the website. She said that they should be informed. The statement that the ‘vetting of the programmes will be much better than the vetting of the teachers’ reflected a shocking piece of work SACE does. She asked Ms Dipholo on the ethics problems and the increasing of SACE staff in relation to this, whether they should rather be permanently part of SACE and not on a contract basis because we can know it is something that has continuity and will not stop after a few years. She referred to the SACE chairperson’s comment that ‘In the next Council meeting the issue of vetting will be discussed’. She was of the view that one cannot wait for that and a urgent meeting should be called where this is discussed and made a priority. The training and capacitating of SACE members should be made a priority as it seems that they are lacking this. In her last question she referred to the endorsement of specialised needs programmes which is a specialised field for which one cannot have an ordinary service provider.
Ms A Lovemore said she accepted what the CEO has said but she cannot accept the SPP as it cannot tell you what the educators of South Africa will be doing for the next five years. She noted the vast difference in quality between the DBE’s SPP and that of the SACE. In the SACE APP there are just intentions and outcomes where in fact it should state how these targets will be realized. With respect to initial teacher education she does not believe that SACE has the resources to do it and it will be a SAQA decision. Already the Council for Higher Education is responsible for this and has not done a great job in assessing initial teacher education. The SACE Act give SACE the power to enforce this role. She asked if SACE is resourced to do it. With regard to the educators officially struck off the roll she has reservations as to whether it will be legally compliant to publish the names; however there has to be other means of making the names available. There are no mechanisms in the APP and SPP about the curbing of struck off the roll educators merely going to the next school to try and get a job. She would like some level of commitment of action on this.
Ms Van Der Walt said that Ms Boshoff had touched on the training section for special education needs which stood at 43 activities in the plan. She was also concerned about the ICT related activities and asked if it were about our connectivity for the long term programme yet the plan has only 30 activities. She said that the 180 endorsed Professional Development activities for leadership and management is a concern as it might become top heavy with nothing at the bottom with learners, where it is crucial. She said the figure of 58% of the budget for salaries should be watched. Businesses are doing something wrong and usually do not survive when the budget percentage for salaries goes beyond 60%.
Mr Mpontshane asked why Zimbabweans are treated differently, with the changing of the permit policy by the Department of Home Affairs, and not giving a five year renewal period. Recently verification of qualifications of civil servants has become a big thing and he asked if this will apply to SACE verifying the qualifications of teachers. He referred to the 10% target for reducing breaches and asked about the scale of these breaches.
The CEO replied on the advice given by DBE officials and admitted that they are lacking the detail in the presentation of the breakdowns that the Committee is seeking and he will add this as soon as possible. He agreed that more should be done to make employers aware that they can check teacher registration on the SACE website. The advocacy division has now much more money in their budget and more will be done to make people and even departmental heads aware of this accessibility. Other ways will be sought to ensure that educators struck off the roll are not employed in that capacity again. There are a lot of educators working in private posts and private schools and measures need to be put into place to bring them within SACE’s jurisdiction.
The CFO responded to the issue of salaries being too high. The salary bill grows as the revenue increases because more staff are employed. Salaries have not really increased in the past eight years. That is the reason for the percentage spent on salaries.
The COO responded to Ms Majeke’s question on foreign educators and the usage of the SACE certificate. She said that South African educators teaching outside the country need the status of good standing by SACE and they want the original copy to be sent. Therefore it is not for educators coming to the country, registering and then leaving the country but it is for our own South African educators. On Zimbabwean educators, SACE wants to register them for five years. Unfortunately our Department of Home Affairs is one of the only ones that changes its permit policy on a yearly basis. This makes it difficult to have a permit for five years. The problem therefore lies with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and SACE hopes DHA will give clarity on the issue soon.
The Chairperson said that there are many schools that employ Zimbabwean educators which are not being paid by the DBE and schools are still using them. This could open up a threat as to whether these educators are in fact qualified. She would love it if the Department could give clarity on the issue.
The COO said that most of the Zimbabwean educators mentioned are not professionally qualified but have academic qualifications. Independent schools do use educators who have various qualifications but who do not have a teaching qualification. This is why SACE is giving them the status of provisional acceptance if they go on to study towards a teaching qualification. With this in mind there needs to be a sit down with the DBE and provincial departments to raise the issue of the large number of unqualified educators in independent schools and to discuss how to reduce the number. It is stated that 90% have to be qualified and 10% may be unqualified educators who need to register with the view that all will eventually be registered,which is actually difficult to manage.
Mr Mpontshane asked for further elaboration on the 90%;10% ratio.
The COO replied that of 100 educators, 90 must be qualified and ten do not. However the objective is to register the whole 100 with SACE. Hence SACE is trying to get schools to employ fully qualified educators as it will make registration and the realization of the target so much easier. On additional staff for SACE and their permanence, they will be made permanent and will total five added permanent staff who will investigate and preside over cases, but there is still a reliance on the staff members already trained. SACE is focusing on the training of stakeholders and hopes that it will minimize the number of transgressions. One the things being done with the MOUs is to ensure that the Departments do deal with issues on time.
Ms Mosemege from the DBE referred to the 43 for ICT and said the database will increase with the introduction of the new cohorts. On special educational needs, there are seven or eight evaluators specializing in the field including the associations for the deaf and blind amongst others which are working closely with SACE as it is an area that needs specialisation. The DBE has also assisted in this regard with their Specialised Education Directorate.
The CFO dealt with the issue of vetting and verifying, saying that SACE has to liaise with all the Higher Education Institutions to merge their databases with SACE database which has to be cleaned up by vetting all the old teachers that have been in the database from the beginning.
The Chairperson asked the CEO to wrap up by responding to whether SACE has the resources for assessing the initial teacher training programmes being offered.
The CEO replied that presently what they do is input to the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to ensure what is in the programme. For example all of them have ethics modules however SACE should be more vigorous in its quality assurance. The Higher Education Quality Council has been written to in an attempt that SACE have a seat on the Council which was not successful. It would be ideal to have a seat on that Council as it will allow SACE to participate better in its involvement in quality assurance.
The Chairperson encouraged SECA to focus on IPED as it is a core function of SECA that ‘may’ be done.
The SACE Council chairperson said that what she failed to mention was that with regard to scarce and critical skills, the registration form will be extended and this will enable SACE to determine if the educators registered fit within the scarce skills category and to determine the supply and demand of these educators by looking at the number of educators with certain scarce skills. She would ensure that the points raised today are dealt with and that next time a detailed report will be given as to how far SACE has come since this meeting.
The Chairperson said that SACE should be commended on making itself more visible in the provinces but they are responsible for the professionalism of the profession and it is always an issue. They should continue with the good that they are doing.
Ms Lovemore asked that the DA’s rejection of the SACE APP and SPP be recorded.
School Governing Bodies Elections outcomes/challenges: input by Department of Basic Education
Ms Vivienne Carelse, Strategic Planning Deputy Director General (DDG) in the Office of the Director General, said School Governing Bodies (SGBs) constitute a very critical tool for the management of quality in the sector as well as the delivery of the curriculum and access of schooling. This report will serve as a signal for the raising of accountability in schools entering the next SGB administration cycle and also to look at the some of the points mentioned in the SACE strategic plan such as verification and vetting, especially when SGBs are involved in the appointment of teacher posts.
Mr James Ndlebe, DBE Director said that the SGB election process takes place once every three years and now that the elections are over, DBE has commenced working towards the 2017/2018 elections. Lessons learned from the previous elections are incorporated into the planning and what is done in the three years is to reestablish SGB electoral teams at all levels; Heads of Departments are asked to appoint in writing the electoral officers at various levels. There is an agreement with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as they have a duty to oversee all democratic elections within the country. The three year management planning is put into place which includes the training of electoral officers, the promulgation of SGBs regulations in provinces and the conducting of elections.
DBE worked closely with stakeholders and provinces to discuss and determine the rules and regulations for the provinces in the name of the SGB Association. The National SGB Association was brought on board and guidelines developed to inform each province on how to develop regulations to govern SGB Elections. A training manual and advocacy materials were developed and the DBE oversaw everything to see if the stakeholders are on board. Schools had to provide a voters roll as the DBE has to know who exactly is responsible for each particular child. The advocacy campaigns were important to ensure everyone is aware of the elections. There is a common misconception on what the SGB really is; it is made up of a combination of parents, learners, teachers and public servants serving the school.
Each province was expected to promulgate provincial regulations for each period, appoint electoral officers, provide training to electoral officers, pair schools to swop electoral officers who are principals at school level, ensure the schools compile voters’ rolls, conduct the advocacy campaign and develop an election schedule. With advocacy it was crucial for the sector to run a campaign to raise awareness about the SGB elections, communicate the benefits of participation in the elections, explain the role of members of the community in the elections, and attract quality volunteers to promote good governance in schools. Some of the key messages were to encourage all the parents to support the elections by standing as candidates or by participating as voters in the SGB election. Without parental and community support, education can never be a societal issue as envisaged by government. Lastly, ‘good governance starts with you’.
For further elaboration on the advocacy campaigns, a public announcement was made about the election at the Social Protection, Communication and Human Development (SPCHD) cluster media briefing on 9 October 2014. There was a press release statement to major media houses on 9 October 2014 and there was a meeting of all the communicators in the education sector to plan for the advocacy campaign. There was a presentation of the election report to the SPCHD technical working committee on 4 November 2014. There were also ministerial road shows and provincial launches and a cabinet presentation.
The elections were conducted from 6 to 8 March 2015 and school principals were used as electoral officers of their neighboring schools. National, provincial and district officials including the IEC monitored the elections and members of governing body associations monitored the elections as observers.
Progress as at 28 March 2015: the Eastern Cape has the lowest number of SGBs in place and this was aggravated by a ‘go slow’ in the province as the officials demanded cellphones and laptops before they did anything about the elections. This is the one of the reasons why Eastern Cape has so few SGBs in place. The successes of the 2015 SGB elections are that 94% have completed the elections which is a record in the sector. The election period was uniform across all provinces, all the provinces promulgated election regulations except the Eastern Cape, The Minister conducted road shows to encourage participation, Education MECs held public meetings or used the media to launch the elections, the media houses flighted interviews on the elections. The SGB associations conducted their own advocacy campaign with similar messages to those of the Department. Schools were creative in encouraging parents to vote in the elections, Dispute resolution teams responded to complaints immediately and resolved 99% of disputes within three day time frame, there was improved adherence to procedures and execution of elections by officials and stakeholders, and a low number of grievances were registered.
Some of the challenges faced were the low turnout in rural and some township schools and it seems that there is a link between school functionality and the rate of turnout. Other challenges were the late preparations by the Eastern Cape. There were some communities threatening to disrupt SGB elections to raise issues not related to school governance such as Bushbuckridge and Malamulele schools. However the Malamulele school has completed its election. The last challenge was the lack of capacity in districts to monitor all elections in the schools as there just too many.
Schools elect office bearers within 14 days of the elections and there is a handover process between the outgoing and the incoming SGBs. Provincial Departments will inaugurate newly appointed SGBs and thank outgoing members, provincial departments will conduct an induction and orientation programme on roles and responsibilities of SGBs to newly appointed members. SGBs will be trained throughout their three year term of office as it is a provincial mandate but Section 16 of the South African Schools Act allows for the assistance of training of SGBs. The development of an SGB effectiveness tool will be used to assess the functionality and effectiveness of the SGB, to determine areas of support for SGBs, to determine the needs for capacity building and to be used as a self-evaluation tool.
In conclusion the DHE can indicate that there has been an increase in school parent participation over the last six SGB elections. This is because more and more parents understand the supportive role that they have to play in schools and maturing democracy over the years.
The Chairperson said that as a Committee, the public expects that we know everything and she pleaded for the guidelines mentioned to be sent to the Portfolio Committee.
Ms J Basson (ANC) said she liked the fact that the presentation was straight to the point. She asked who is supposed to appear on the voters roll; such as biological parents or foster parents. She asked what constitutes the SGB associations.
Ms Boshoff raised a concern about the pairing of schools at provincial level. What happens when there is a pairing of a special needs school with a mainstream school and the principal appointed as electoral officer has no idea what the challenges are at the special school. She asked how one goes about determining which learners are in the learner components. She asked whether elections have been done at the Bushbuckridge School after the disruptions. She referred to the handover and asked whether it might be a problem in checking whether it has been done from a capacity point of view.
Mr T Khosa (ANC) referred to the issue of vetting and training of the SGBs and asked whether they will be equipped with vetting processes so that the Committee can be in a position to support if possible. Lastly, he asked what the grace period for handover to the new SGBs is.
Ms Lovemore thanked the Department for an excellent presentation. She asked for clarity on Eastern Cape situation as elections cannot take place unless the regulations have been gazetted. She has not found anything by way of legislation which allows for SGB decisions to be changed or for an appeal to a decision. She referred to a Karoo school which is predominantly Afrikaans speaking but there was an SGB decision to teach in isiXhosa. How does one appeal against that SGB decision as these children are prejudiced by a decision of the SGB. When using the SGB effectiveness tool, it provides that the MEC may appoint someone to determine this. She asked who such this person would be.
Mr Mpontshane asked the DBE if they have a dispute breaking mechanism in place for when the elections are disputed. Training was rightly emphasized. Most of the training material is in English and he was surprised as some of the members on the SGBs ‘cannot read or write’.
Mr H Khoza (ANC) noted the challenges only mentioned the elections and he asked what about the effectiveness of elected members and how this issue is managed. He asked if they understand the training materials.
Ms Majeke (UDM) asked whether the SGB has the right to say whether they want a particular teacher or do not want a particular teacher deployed at the school. She asked how the SGBs and principals will be monitored as to whether they collude against a particular teacher deployed at the school.
Mr Mnguni said it was a good presentation and asked what is being done to improve the situation of elected members of the SGB serving a full three year term as towards the end of their terms they are sometimes never available.
The Chairperson asked when does the DBE begin to realize that there are areas and provinces that are not gearing up towards the elections. She cited the example of the Eastern Cape and asked when did the Department find out about this particular problem because the signs should have been seen earlier.
Mr Enoch Rabotapi, Acting Chief Director of the DBE, responded on training and vetting and said that it is something that needs to be taken up as vetting has not been institutionalized within the sector and is an area that needs to be worked on very hard. On the monitoring of principals so that they do not corrupt SGBs, it is quite a challenge but after the last round of elections this point was taken from it and moving towards the next elections there will be more focus on the characteristics of the members being elected and whether they are eligible. There are high levels of awareness amongst those elected so this would minimize those people being manipulated. He however admitted that they are trying their best to minimize the issue but it still does exist. On when the department knew about the problem areas, the DBE monitored the state of readiness in the provinces in the run up to the elections and Mr Ndlebe was even deployed in the Eastern Cape to assist in the setting up of SGB elections. They realized that they were not likely to complete the elections and this was caused mainly by administrative issues.
The Chairperson asked whether the regulations have been gazetted in the Eastern Cape.
Mr Ndlebe responded that they ended up without regulations but indicated that it was impossible to do that. Whilst he was deployed there he spent two days assisting them in writing the regulation guidelines and these were ready and taken to the printers and they were given a code and told to deposit the money so they can be published. However when they found out that at the eleventh hour the deposit was not made and the lack of time needed for public comment, it was accepted that they would not make it in time. In a situation like this where there are no regulations, one has to use the previous regulations, beef them up with national guidelines and inform the SGBs in that area. On behalf of the Eastern Cape, negotiations were held with the relevant SGB associations and they were told that the previous guidelines should be used.
The Chairperson asked whether this situation in the Eastern Cape was a result of incompetence, unwillingness or negligence.
Mr Ndlebe replied it was not a lack of capacity as the document was ready and nothing happened. He responded about the voters roll and said there is a SGB association meeting next week and he promised to bring all the SGB guidelines on elections and the capacity building tool for the Committee. When one looks at the guidelines they define what a parent is such as a biological or legal guardian and decide who in the voters roll will be eligible for elections. The definition defines a parent as a biological parent or anybody that takes care of the child in the absence of a biological parent. The guidelines provide that way before the elections the school has to determine who is looking after the child and therefore when determining the voters roll one must not look at the number or pupils but rather the number of parents as a result of the subtle variations. In essence the definition defines a parent and whether they qualify. On who are these SGB associations, normally the SGBs in a certain area will form a SGB association. To mention a few there is the National Association of School Governing Bodies which operates predominantly in townships and in rural areas. There is also the Governance Alliance which is very strong in Gauteng. There are about a total of six associations. So what the schools do is to look at the national associations and affiliate themselves with one of those to be members. To support this process the Department has norms and standards for funding which have been amended to allow for the department to pay the school’s affiliation fees to these associations. So in essence all the school needs to do is to affiliate to the appropriate association. It is not compulsory but schools are strongly encouraged to affiliate.
On the issue of pairing of schools and special schools, it is not a problem as when elections take place the process is the same. The difference with special schools comes at the end of the elections when parents have already been elected. The law says that these schools must have specialists that are brought into the SGBs. These specialists are external to the elections and are determined according to the disability of the schools. It is always the MEC that decides who are the specialists designated to those schools.
On the handovers, when the DBE said that it does not have the capacity it is because the election period happens in a very short period of time and everyone is electing at that time but when it comes to handovers it is organized, as it is the Circuit Manager and his 20 to 25 schools and he needs to draw up a programme with those schools to decide when the handover will take place and now that there are more District Managers they can be deployed to oversee the handovers. The handover usually goes smoothly as it has to be recorded that signatures are in place and that the handover occurred. For teachers to belong to the SGB the DBE does not check the competence of being a good teacher because these are democratic processes. The grace period is 14 days, but something might happen in that time, so that is it states it must be done ‘as soon as possible’. There is also a dispute breaking mechanism and any parent not happy with the elections must go through the District first, then the Provincial office and then the National office if he was not satisfied. Some of the grievances go directly to the Minister and it is dealt with by the National office. The disputes are usually around the eligibility of an elected parent and where applicable the said parent will be removed and the next in line will be put into the vacant position.
When training SGBs, the training is localized within smaller groups in communities so that the issue of language is dealt with. For example, in Bushbuckridge they will be able to use their local languages and the facilitators are usually employed from the same area so communication is via the language of the area. People need to understand what a SGB is, it is not a Principal or Deputy Principals but rather a collective where decisions are taken. Principals cannot just influence particular members in the SGB as they are made aware that decisions are taken together. The statement about the SGB members being illiterate is flawed as in many of the SGBs, members are learners and teachers and surely they can read and write. However there may be a few from the parent component but this is rare. Whether they can read and write or not, they are not stupid as they have been elected for a reason. He said that most of the training material is in English but moves have been seen by provinces to translate the material into other languages for better understanding and particularly in areas where there are predominantly other language groups. SGB teacher redeployment is another area that is regulated by the guidelines as to what teachers can be deployed and what the SGB can decide in this regard. The challenges arise where the SGB simply decides to reject the redeployed teacher without reason because a redeployed teacher is redeployed according to the needs of the school. The SGB gives itself powers that they do not have. On the corruption of principals on the SGB, he said that the SGB cannot be influenced as they are not one person and meetings are taken in the boardroom.
He dealt with Ms Lovemore’s questions. On the dysfunction of the SGBs, they are regulated by the South African Schools Act (SASA) which states meeting are held three times a quarter. If the SGB does not meet the responsibilities laid out by the Act the Head of the Department will remove the person in charge and replace him with another person to steady the ship and to deal with the administrative issues for a period not exceeding three months, so that another election can take place. If the decision of the SGB is wrong it is the Head of Department and officials duty to draw the attention of the SGB that they are not working in accordance with the spirit of the law, and refer to the Constitution and SASA and deal with it along those lines. The problem arises where these pieces of legislation give the SGB power to deal with it, for example, language determination. However where the SGB decision was wrong and there is no protection from legislation and they refuse to work according to the law, the Head of Department can disband the SGB. Legal Services are working on these stipulations to make SGBs more in line with the Constitution. Often the delay such as the release of the guidelines for regulations that are only being published on the day before the elections such as in the KZN, this is usually a result of an administrative issue or the document not being signed by someone who was supposed to sign it such as the MEC.
He responded to Mr Mnguni’s question on what is being done to improve attendance of members over the three year period the law allows for a cohort where the members have missed three consecutive meetings. It is however the responsibility of the principal to ensure that the SGB is functional and this is why section 16(a) has been amended in the SASA as it stipulates the roles and functions of the Principal, this being one of the responsibilities.
The Chairperson asked why the Eastern Cape figure for SGBs is so low.
Mr Ndlebe responded that it is a result of a lack of follow up on the plans. Two dates were asked from each school, date number one being the date on which elections are to be conducted and the second date being a date that will be used for elections if the first date has been missed.
Ms Boshoff asked whether Unions are involved in the SGBs and if so what role they play.
Ms Lovemore clarified her question she posed earlier as to if there is a legal mechanism available for an appeal against an SGB decision.
Mr Mpontshane referred to the situation at three schools where there are disputes between the SGB and the District Officers as the SGBs do not want the teachers that have been deployed at the School by the Office. On this basis he asked whether this is common and what would be done in a situation like this.
Mr Ndlebe responded to the follow up questions. Union involvement is not much when considering the elections of parents but sometimes they do affect the elections of teachers and is usually evident if the school are aligned with either the South African Democratic Teachers Union( SADTU) or the National Teachers Association (NATU).It is common in the Kwazulu Natal but not in other provinces. The SGB needs to understand that it is representative of the community and if the community realizes that a decision taken was wrong through their structures the grievance can be taken through to the Department. All the Department needs to do is to determine if the decision taken was right or wrong and overturn it if it is wrong regardless of who reported it and can even overrule the decision without receiving a report as it is their responsibility to do so. On disputes on appointments, when it comes to this issue there legislation that come into effect such as SASA which provides that the SGB can ‘recommend’ the appointments and when the recommendation goes to the department they have to look at a few things such as is the teacher qualified, the profile of the school and the advertisement against the qualifications and experience of the educator. The Department has the right to not select the recommend number one and the reasons for the non-deployment. If the Head of Department backed this decision in terms of the Employment of Educators Act; there are three things he can refer to and the SGB will never win the case in a court of law. It is therefore a matter of merit.
The Chairperson said that she was so refreshed to listen to the presentation that flows logically, is insightful and is from someone that is enthusiastic about his job. It was a great presentation. Mr Mpontshane agreed.
Ms Carelse said many of the issues raised today have cross cutting consequences affecting other work done by the DBE especially in relation to SACE. The purpose for the retreat was exactly that to get coherence between the role players across the board. The Minister said that no unfinished business should be left. The work on the SGBs also signal a legislative review that as a National Department the DBE is very good at creating policy but implementation often leaves the DBE ‘wanting’. The meeting today also reflected the need for the DBE to oversee the entities in its sector. The DBE will reflect on what was said in both presentations today and sit with Senior and Board Management and determine the follow up actions to be taken. She made a commitment that the quality that was seen today will be upheld in future meetings and a constituent feature of the work being done by the DBE.
The Chairperson announced the Committee will meet the following day to adopt Committee Report on the DBE 2015 budget. Secondly, the meeting next week with the DBE on management of schools and the social cohesion will be postponed due to changes in the parliament programme. There will be no Portfolio Committee the following week a result of the upcoming DBE Budget Vote. Meeting adjourned.
- Follow-up Budget Review 2015: SACE; Department of Basic Education; Report-back on 2015 School Governing Bodies Elections (outcomes/ challenges): briefing by DBE 1
- Follow-up Budget Review 2015: SACE; Department of Basic Education; Report-back on 2015 School Governing Bodies Elections (outcomes/ challenges): briefing by DBE 2