The Department of Basic Education presented its 4th quarter report 2015/16 and 1st quarter report 2016/17. The presentations set out the performance in each of the five programmes of the Department and indicated statistics for exams, school readiness, progress against individual targets and spending. For 2015, there were 30 indicators for 2015/16 and of those only four were not achieved, 24 were fully achieved and two were partially achieved. The Committee looked forward to getting the Annual Report.
The financial report was presented. The total budget of the Department for the 2015/16 financial year amounted to R21.286 billion and was split up as presented on slide 63. The total actual expenditure of the Department for the 2015/16 financial year amounted to R20.796 billion, with the bulk being under the conditional grants and transfers. Two programmes spent lower than expected. The underspending on Programme 2 was due to the Expanded Public Works programme (EPWP) and in Programme 4, the under-spending on this programme is mainly on the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery (ASIDI), where consultation took longer than expected. There was some overspending under goods and services as well as transfers and subsidies. The bulk of the capital assets allocation related to the ASIDI project. The under-spending on the project was due to the rationalisation of schools. The process of consultation for the merger of schools took longer than anticipated. There was also underspend on Annual National Assessments due to problems between teachers and unions. The Integrated Exam System cost more than projected. All conditional grants showed overspend.
Members' discussions focused on the concerns that many school principals had not met their target of being assessed for competency, and they also interrogated the remarks on exam results, saying the decrease in the pass rate was in fact due to decreases in the quality of the systems. The pass rate should not be the only indicator, and others were suggested. They asked about the delays in releasing the SACMAQ report. Members also wanted to know short-term plans for placing graduates, for monitoring of school management and budgets. Members asked about the phase-out of the Kha Ri Gude, and the Second Chance programme, although the presentation on this was not given. They were worried about the underspend on EPWP. Members also indicated that where there was under-performance this raised questions about accountability, and what were the consequences for underperformance. They wanted to know if the Department had catered for Special Schools, and noted that nothing was said about recreational facilities, the progress of rationalisation and whether schools could be assisted on ratings of municipalities. Quality of furniture was addressed at some length. The Chairperson noted that the same points were raised time and again, and suggested that it was time to look at definite solutions. The way provinces reported was a continuous challenge for the DBE although not directly of its own making. Kha Ri Gude also needed to have better reporting so that it was not recorded as under achievement every September. Overall the Department was also asked to give comparative figures not merely statements.
Members' questions on the 1st quarter report focused on the Intervention Model and wondered if it was possible to cascade the programme to lower grades. They asked about the impact of three meals per day and the matric camps for the Vuwani programme. They questioned the impact of the school readiness programme, and noted that many of the same issues seemed to recur time and again. They asked what was done when learner teacher support materials were delivered to the wrong places or in the wrong language and how quickly this was amended. They were interested in the kinds of collaboration with other departments, particularly on Early Childhood Development. They wanted to know the lessons learned from the National School Nutrition Pilot in Limpopo and whether this would be rolled out to other provinces. Members asked about the DBE's role in trying to ensure that all schools caught up on technology and how data was reported. They wanted more detail on the Annual National Assessments which had faced problems in the recent round.
Chairperson Opening Remarks
The Chairperson said that the Committee is aware of the work and targets of the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department), and would be able to follow the reports well, and it would be looking at the achievement, challenges and how those would be addressed in the future. The core duty of the Committee is to ensure delivery of quality education to the country and to look at what may be stopping the Department from achieving, or how it is performing well. The National Development Plan must underpin the work.
She noted that the Second Chance programme was essential to the quarterly reports but the Committee was looking forward to hearing the report on that specifically, whether it was benefiting learners, because of concerns at how many would get lost once they were in the system.
Department of Basic Education Fourth Quarterly Report 2015/16 briefing
Mr Hubert Mweli, Director General, Department of Basic Education, introduced his delegation and briefly outlined the structure of the report.
Ms Tlhabane, Acting Director: Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, DBE, reported that the DBE was divided into five programmes: Programme 1: Administration, Programme 2: Curriculum; Programme 3: Teacher education and Human Resources, Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment and Programme 5: Education Enrichment Services. There were 30 indicators for 2015/16 and of those only four were not achieved, 24 were fully achieved and two were partially achieved.
Programme 1: Administration
She said there were four indicators for Programme 1, with all of them being met. The achievements were the Department being able to award bursaries and also maintain all the administrative requirements according to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). All grievances and disputes have been fully attended to by the Department as expected and in accordance with the regulations set by DPSA for the Department. On a continuous basis, all queries were attended to by the Office of the Minister and the Office of the Director General, within seven days deadline. Ten pieces of legislation have been interrogated in the past financial year. There is continuous media interaction in the Department, with a total of seventy two interviews held on various topics that relate to education. Continuous contact is kept on social media, connecting with young people. The use of Twitter and Facebook is high at the Department and is monitored on a regular basis. The internal audit of the Department completed approved audit reports and one verification report as per Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) requirement.
The Department continues to have engagements and agreements with the global education system. It has a Co-operation Agreement with China and Cuba, Memorandum of Understanding with the French Embassy. The Chinese Embassy donated a Planetarium which was launched on 7 March 2016. All were attempts to strengthen the South African education sector. The Department continues to meet all expected requirements and all reports are tabled in Parliament, DPME and National Treasury as expected. The Department continues to engage on research work and evaluate programmes. In the last financial year, the Curriculum and Assessments Statements (CAPS) and the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) were evaluated.
Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring
There are eight indicators under this programme, DBE being unable to meet one; the Kha Ri Gude programme. The programme had a target of 430 441 learners completing the programme,but no results were available yet, due to the timing. The National Senior Certificate (NSC) target was partially achieved. The target was 76% with 72.1% achieving rate after the Supplementary Examinations. Of the 646 000 learners 465 00 learners completed the NSC. This is as a result of the high order questions that have been developed by the Department to raise the standard of education, understanding and cognitive development in learners.
One of the major concentration areas is to achieve an improvement in early grade reading which plays a role in all other forms of learning. The Department was paying much attention to this area in the last financial year. A team of researchers had focused on rural education and on the development of policy. Incremental introduction of African languages was piloted in 2015/16 in 264 schools across all nine provinces. Further report and progress will be shown in the first quarter. With regards to Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM), workbooks have been printed and delivered for the 2015/16 financial year, which also includes the delivery of Braille workbooks to the 22 Special Schools across the country. Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) is one of the areas of high focus. The Department provided Information and Communications Technology (ICT) resources in the form of tablets, laptops and software technology to support the teaching of Mathematics. It also ran a number of workshops to equip teachers with technology issues. Technology is an area of growth; 136 Physical Science laboratories in Mpumalanga were supplied with consumables and subject- related apparatus to support curriculum and practical teaching methodology at FET level. This was to enable learners to do their experiments and take interest in the subject. 17 824 learners were funded to participate in the Maths and Science Olympiads. CAPS for Technical High Schools was in Grade 10 which was being prepared in 2015/16. The Department provided a platform for CAPS where learners could access subject materials. There was continuous training for teachers on CAPS issues. The Three Stream Model is underway which will introduce focus schools. There were 329 641 learners targeted for Kha Ri Gude and a report will be given on the 2015/16 financial year at the end of the audit process. The Department has been able to focus on providing digital resources; access to broadband and digital devices. The Department has a Universal Service and Access Obligation (USAO) programme which ensures security and maintenance of all digital devices handed out. Before a school gets connectivity or any form of devices, the school goes through a process of training, of being vetted, and are tested in terms of being able to access these platforms and being e-ready. All schools currently being built under the Norms and Standards guidelines are being built to have ICT in the schools.
Programme3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development
There are 7 indicators, with two not being achieved properly; including the percentage of principals appointed on the basis of a competency assessment, as a result of the continuous negotiations with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC). These type of assessments will become a natural phenomenon as DBE was looking at professionalising the teacher profession, which teachers will have to develop themselves and take courses to equip themselves and to verify if their pedagogical skills are on par and if they service learners accordingly. The second indicator of concern was the Self-Diagnostic Assessments for English First Additional Language(EFAL) and Mathematics. This was a pilot programme that was started last year and only a particular number of teachers were able to participate.
The Funza Lushaka programme had produced 13 980 awards, and the Department has been able to place 93% of the bursary holders. The Department is looking at recruiting learners from rural and disadvantaged communities so they are able to go back to these areas and teach after the programme. 1 074 applicants have been recruited for the next cohort. 9 891 young (under 30) educators were placed. The DBE is going through an Integrated Quality Management System, whereby educators are evaluated on a regular basis and DBE provides monitoring of provinces on a regular basis. Schools are also be evaluated, under the Whole School Evaluations platforms; in the last financial year 408 schools were externally evaluated, which constituted of 254 primary, 129 secondary, 19 combined and 6 special schools. Teachers are continuously being acknowledged and awarded for their dedication and excellence where the Department holds National Teaching Awards.
Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment
This programme has nine indicators with the only one not achieved being the Annual National Assessments (ANA) indicator, due to the examinations not going through. The Department wrote to National Treasury, The Auditor General and the DPME to inform about the status of ANA and as a result the ANA was not audited in the last financial year. The 2015 NSC examinations were written by 646 020 candidates and 465 956 candidates passed. The final examination in December 2015 was at 70.7% pass and after the supplementary examination, the results rose to 72%. A task team was set up to undertake the remodeling of ANA including departmental officials, union officials, provincial officials, and academic experts coming together in sessions and sitting on working groups. Participants reviewed the gaps, inadequacies and deficiencies in the current ANAs, and also took note of the benefits.
The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ IV) study was collected from a random sample of 298 schools with 7 046 learners participating across all nine provinces. The results for the SAQMEQ are not released as yet.
The Educational Management information systems (EMIS) showed great improvement in terms of the use of South African - School Administration and Management System (SA-SAM), it was also part of the indicator. As at the end of the 4th quarter, 98.2 % of ordinary schools comprising 92.57% learners were uploaded to the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS).
By the end of February 2016, 570 026 units of furniture were delivered; being 52% of the total units to be delivered but this is updated in the quarter 1 report.
By end of February 2016, 386 448 learners were transported through the Learner Transport Programme.
She spoke to the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI) for the replacement of inappropriate schools. In this whole year, 138 schools have been completed, 211 schools with low learner enrolment are under a rationalisation process by the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department and have not been awarded to Implementing Agents (IAs). 412 schools have been provided with sanitation facilities. 573 schools have been have been provided with water. 294 schools have been provided with electricity.
Through the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC), the Department is focusing on the Drop All and Read Campaign. Continuous support to Districts is given by the Department to the provinces encouraging them to support schools. 60 officials from 30 districts have participated in training focused on data management, analysis, reporting and utilisation. For the 2015/16 financial year School Improvement Support Co-ordinators (SISCO) worked with a total of 187 Circuit Managers to assist them to develop specific interventions to support schools, and managed to support 5 517 schools, working with and through districts and circuits. During the year under review, School Improvement Support Coordinators also participated in the pre-closure School Readiness Monitoring exercise, where 1 734 schools were supported. In addition, School Improvement Support Co-ordinators were also utilised to support 45 selected underperforming schools in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, and to monitor the 2015 NSC examinations.
The community is in continuous contact with the Department through the The DBE Call Centre and the Presidential Hotline. The Department had the highest resolution rate was 100% obtained in May and June 2015 while the lowest was 99.45% obtained in January and February 2016. The Department also assists community queries through the web and walk-ins and other mediums. The Department has completed the development and publication processes of the 2017 and 2018 School Calendar.
For School Readiness Assessments for 2016, s total of 931 schools from 50 education districts in the country were visited.
Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services
This programme had two indicators, which were met. For the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in the 2015/16 financial year, the programme provided daily nutritious meals to 21 203 Quintile 1 – 3 primary, secondary and special schools nationally, reaching an average of 9 294 831 learners.
The deworming programme was further rolled out in the nine provinces with the help of the Department of Health.
A Draft Charter on Harmful Religious Practices and the draft National Strategy on the Implementation of the Prevention and Management of Bullying (Homophobic and Cyber Bullying) in Schools has been submitted to the Minister for consideration.
The South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) took place in some of the provinces. All provincial SASCE championships were successfully held in May – June 2015. The national championship was successfully held from 30 June to 02 July 2015.
On 22 January 2016, the South African team scooped 1st place at the 3rd International Moot Court Award at The Hague City, Netherlands. The team consisted of eight learners from Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape. These Moot Courts were run in actual court rooms with real judges presiding over the cases. Learners are exposed to legislation and are able to argue cases in the presence of esteemed legal bodies.
The iNkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Programme allows learners to research history and go through different topics.
Bill of Rights Activities involved a total number of 2 329 learners from Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Gauteng who participated in engagement sessions on education, career guidance, the commemoration of Youth day (16 June), active citizenry and national identity.
99 schools in North West and 77 schools in Northern Cape have been identified as provinces that need the National Flags and flag poles. 322 National Flags were installed in schools in the Eastern Cape. This programme is implemented in schools through the Department of Arts and Culture.
Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa, Chief Financial Officer, DBE, presented on the Fourth Quarter Expenditure Report. The total appropriation budget of the Department for the 2015/16 financial year amounted to R21.286 billion and was split up as presented on slide 63. The total actual expenditure of the Department for the 2015/16 financial year fourth quarter amounted to R20.796 billion, with the bulk being under the conditional grants and transfers. Two programmes spent lower than expected. The underspending on programme 2 was due to the Expanded Public Works programme (EPWP), there were changes on how results had to be submitted and there was a delay in finalising the submissions. The major problem was the delay in submitting the certified ID Copies to EPWP. To ensure that this did not happen again, the Department held meetings with EPWP unit of the Department of Public Works where both Departmentsagreed on amendment of the application form for volunteers to meet the categories required by the EPWP electronic system. For Programme 4, the under-spending on this programme is mainly on the ASIDI programme. The process of consultation on rationalisation of schools took longer than anticipated and impacted on the spending trends for the ASIDI project. The consultation on rationalisation of schools has been completed in some areas.
There was some overspending under goods and services as well as transfers and subsidies. For goods and services, the over spending was due to the procurement and provision of school furniture for non ASIDI schools that was not budgeted for under the ASIDI allocation. The Department will ensure that during the adjustment budget funds are shifted from the capital budget to cover the remaining commitments on this item. For transfer and subsidies, the over expenditure on this item is due to the transfers to foreign/international organisations which are made in Dollars and Euros. At the time of the transfer the exchange rate was higher than projected. The Department will in future estimate the exchange rate based on the value of the rand at the time of receipt of these invoices and request National Treasury approval to increase the transfers. The bulk of the capital assets allocation related to the ASIDI project. The under-spending on the project was due to the rationalisation of schools. The process of consultation for the merger of schools took longer than anticipated.
Under Earmarked Funds; the under-spending on this item is due to ANA. The impasse between Teacher Unions and the Department on the writing and administration of ANA had an impact on the spending trend. Expenditure was incurred on the item as when the papers were cancelled, they were already printed and an external service provided was contracted to register the learners.
There was over-spending on Departmental operations related to the setting and moderation of Grade 12 examinations. The over-spending on the projects is due to payments of the Integrated Exam System that was higher than projected. Payments on this project are made to the South African State Information Technology Agency (SITA).
Under earmarked funds, National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) overspent which was mainly on compensation of employees. All conditional grants were showing overspending. The Department does not see this as the case as when provinces report, they include the parts they are paying for themselves from their side, or when they receive roll-overs they show it as a total.
The Chairperson said that the main objective is to see quality education delivered to learners in the country. She was worried about those aspects where the Department said it had not done well, particularly in relation to the competency of principals, as they were vital to the success of the school. It was troubling to see 7% achieved versus a target of 75%, as it suggested there were not quality leaders in South Africa as an indication of not reaching targets. She asked what systems were in place to increase confidence.
Mr G Davis (DA) thanked the Department for the comprehensive presentation. He questioned the NSC results, which were said to be due to the higher demand of the papers. However, the Committee had been taken through the adjustment process with Umalusi, and he wondered when it would be acknowledged that the decrease in the pass rate is due to the decrease in the quality of the system, and that the quality of the system is declining. It was disappointing to look at the pass rate as an indicator, as he felt that the Department should be targeting, for instance, maths and science pass rates, dropout rates and retention targets. He wanted an explanation on slide 27. He pointed out that the SACMAQ was to be released to the public in June 2016, as it was now August. NEEDU overspent by R3.2 million, and he questioned why, and what NEEDU was working on at present.
Mr D Mnguni (ANC) said that the issue of targets not being reached was cause for concern as these are self-imposed targets. He asked what were the plans in place for the short term - for example with Funza Lushaka, what is the plan for the 7% of graduates not placed? He asked about the monitoring of school management in six provinces, and asked what report the Department had on the status of it. He asked what measures were in place in the short term to avoid underspend in ANA again.
Ms J Basson (ANC) was also worried about the targets that were not reached. She asked how far was the phase-out process for Kha Ri Gude was being phased out. She questioned the Second Chance programme. She was concerned with the balance of resource distribution and connectivity. There were provinces not featured and there were provinces with disparate numbers of learners participating. She was also concerned that only 52% of furniture was delivered and she asked which provinces were affected by the remaining undelivered 48%. On ASIDI, she asked for clarity on how far the Department is in reality from reaching the target. She agreed that underspend on the EPWP grant was worrying as there is a high rate of unemployment in the country.
Prof C Msimang (IFP) stated that his concern was with Programme 2, where there was lower spending as it deals with the improvement of teaching critical subjects such as Mathematics and Science.
Ms N Mokoto (ANC) would have preferred it if the Department had given an indication of how much was spent in the quarter, not table the year's spending. This would have helped give more clarity on how much was underspent per programme. She asked that the Department report on the financial statements, as it did with non-financial items. She raised the issue of accountability, noting that the report highlighted that senior managers had signed performance agreements with the Department, and so she enquired what were the consequences for underperformance. There was regular underperformance and underspending on ASIDI and the bulk was on capital projects and then the bulk of overspending are on generalized items, but not on core programmes. These are the programmes they should be worried about when they lag behind. She said that she is aware that there is a separation of power between National and Provincial Departments, there are certain aspects like SASAM that make the system more functional. The issue of competent principals needs strengthening. There were less than 300 people that did the competency test before employment, when the Department employed around 1 500 people.
She asked for more detail on whether the targets achieved were for all provinces or specifically for ASIDI. She asked if the Department had catered for Special Schools, and noted that nothing was said about recreational facilities. She asked for an update on the progress of rationalisation, the negotiations and whether the Department could manage this properly. She asked if there was a rescue plan to help schools with zero-ratings from municipalities. She wanted to know the criteria for the awards and where the schools were located.
Mr T Khoza (ANC) asked if the Department was looking into quality of furniture delivered. Competency testing of the appointment of principals should include Heads of Departments (HODs) as they manage the curriculum given to learners. He asked what was being done about the issue of security in schools. The IQMS was supposed to be helping in identifying gaps that exist in the system, but he was worried about the attitude of educators. The IQMS was meant for development purposes. With the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), were there no changes in various provinces and he asked the Department to look at how to address them.
The Chairperson noted that some points were raised time and again, and suggested that it was time to look at definite solutions. The way provinces reported was a continuous challenge for the DBE although not directly of its own making. Kha Ri Gude also needed to have better reporting so that it was not recorded as under achievement every September. On the issue of infrastructure, there are Minimum Norms and Standards for water, sanitation, appropriate structures and electrification, and by end of November the Department should have met those targets, so she enquired how far DBE was in achieving that? The reporting on learner transport does not mean much merely to give a figure but not relate it back to total figures, or numbers of learners in need. She agreed that on the NSNP, a lot had been done, but there was an issue with the standards in storage facilities and kitchens. With LTSM, when the Department reported 100% delivery, she asked if this meant that all learners had a text book, and whether the targets were being reached.
Mr Hubert Mweli, DG responded by saying he will request each programme representative to respond to relevant questions.
Mr Themba Kojana, Acting Deputy Director-General, DBE, responded by starting with the questions on not reaching the target on principals and the self-diagnostic assessment of educators. There was no policy, therefore no uniformity between provinces, so the DBE needed to establish one, which it did on 18 March. The Department had set high targets for itself, and was ready to ensure that it covered all avenues, especially in languages and Mathematics. It is the pilot result that gave them indicators to show that they do not have platforms. The results showed that the Department needed to have trained individuals in place to administer. Training was also needed to ensure confidentiality. The Department had been in contact with Microsoft and Vodacom to ensure that the platforms used were of a high standard. The third element is around the procurement processes, with the need to have a strong e-learning platform that is managed by service providers. These listed elements hindered the Department from meeting the targets.
Mr Ramasedi Mafoko, Director: Physical Resources Planning and Rural Schooling, DBE, answered that the 52% of furniture related to delivery from DBE to Eastern Cape. Only when the DBE had verified that furniture had been delivered, was the payment processed, so that up to that point the DBE could not invoice. The DBE is looking at quality and the specifications of furniture was approved by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). When the Department found in Limpopo, with Treasury, that the quality delivered was not up to standard, it had cancelled contracts and deliveries.
The second issue on the indicator of basic services, of access to sanitation, water and electricity in all provinces, was in the process of being met. Not all provinces will meet those targets according to the norms by end November. The National DBE was discussing this with the provinces and had already been to KwaZulu Natal. The question is thus now what are the mitigating processes and when will DBE meet those targets; in most cases the issue was not money but delivery.
The indicators in the APP do not refer to the sports facilities. The Department said it had 527 000 learners that needed transport, but it transported 418 000 learners or 71% of learners that need transport.
Dr Faith Kumalo, Chief Director: Care and Support in Schools, DBE, acknowledged the points made by the Committee around the infrastructure for NSNP storage and cooking facilities, and will work towards the interventions needed. Ensuring the quality of the meals needs strong monitoring and training, and DBE was strengthening that capacity through monitoring, and through food technology. It had implemented a pilot with Vodacom in Limpopo and was looking to roll that out aggressively. This will also give real-time responses from learners. In relation to safety, every school is linked to a police station and DBE ensured that there were programmes running involving both the police department and the schools. There will be a liaison person dealing with each school and police station.
Mr Sihle Mlambo, Chief Director, DBE, said that districts that had shown remarkable improvement in their results and continuous improvements were targeted for the awards. These awards were sponsored by the private sector so finances did not come from the Department's budgets.
Dr Mamiki Maboya, Deputy Director General: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring, DBE, responded to the questions on underperformance of the NSC. She said that the reason for not achieving the pass rate was because of the cognitive demand of the papers that were written in 2015. That related to three points; the quality of questions that were set during the year and at year-end; access to the types of questions before year-end, and language proficiency, because the higher the standard of questions, he more proficiency in language was needed. The Department understands that it is a process and has therefore trained teachers by capacitating them in setting good questions, also ensuring that the Department creates a bank of exemplar questions of good quality. The Department also ran a programme aimed at improving the language proficiency of learners, which was done through the Language Development Framework. These attempts were made to close the gap.
The Chairperson added that when it comes to language proficiency, teachers should also be targeted.
Dr Maboya added that at the start of the Kha Ri Gude campaign the Department had targeted reaching 4.7 million adults, which it had done. The target in 2015 was set as adults completing, not enrolling in the programme, but 275 000 had managed to complete.
Mr Bheki Mpanza, Chief Director: Information Monitoring and Evaluation, DBE, responded to the questions on rationalisation and zero rating of municipal services. He said that the Department had started identifying inefficiencies in the education sector, and this included the issues of small and non-viable schools. Challenges had arisen when the DBE had no guidelines, but HEDCOM had now approved the guidelines, which would assist provinces. The guidelines are clear and also identify the structures that must be in place before this process is undertaken. The DBE has done an analysis of data to identify where the problems lie and looked at historical trends from 2012 till now, which showed that the problem was mainly centred on three provinces; KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The zero rating of municipal services is an issue that was discussed in the last HEDCOM meeting, with counterparts form COGTA and National Treasury, and recommendations had been made on how to proceed with the process.
Dr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director: Public Examinations and Assessments, DBE, added that in terms of the pass rate, the point is that there was a conscious decision in the introduction of CAP, that the DBE would increase the cognitive demand of the questions papers, but this will be done progressively. An adjustment process is now in place which is based on the history of the last five years, but this did not take into consideration the DBE's intention to increase the cognitive demand in a phased in manner. The process would not return to where it had been before. DBE had allowed 65 000 learners who would have been in Grade 10 and 11 to write the Grade 12 examination, as progressed learners, and there were positive spin offs as 22 000 of them obtained their NSC, with 3 000 obtaining bachelor passes. IN relation to the point about focusing on pass rates, he clarified that the DBE actually did look at a host of indicators and followed performance very closely across the board. It was also looking at creating a basket of criteria to not only respond on one variable, but consider the dropout rate, mathematics and science passes in a consolidated way.
There were discussions around the delay of the SACMEQ results,but there were doubts on the final result so that there would need to be more clarification. The report will be finalised after the meeting with SACMEQ and then will be released.
Mr Kojana, responded on the Jobs for Cash investigation, and said that the Ministerial Task Team had asked for an extension to deal with cases that were not concluded, so the report is not finalised; it was expected to be handed to the Minister by end August. Under ASIDI there were 510 projects of building schools, of which 290 have been allocated to IAs and 167 have been completed. There were 126 schools at various stages of building. 216 of those schools have only been allocated to IAs recently due to the fact that 24 of those schools had been affected by closures, and 14 had been addressed by other programmes within a province. He added that there was progress in the provision of water, sanitation and electricity.
Ms Ntsetsa Molalekoa said that the Chairperson's recommendation of how to report on Kha Ri Gude and conditional grants was noted. The Department will look at separating between what Provincial versus National responsibilities for the conditional grants. The Department would look at reporting per quarter and having cumulative amounts. She said that the amount that was underspent in programme 2 could not be shifted to any other area, as EWPW funding was not a DBE allocation, and if not spent, could not be moved elsewhere.
Mr Mweli agreed with Mr Khoza and the fact that the attitude of educators should focus on incentive rather than performance. The DBE is trying to change the public service paradigm. Competency testing does not guarantee that a person will do well. DBE will pay closer attention to the quality of furniture. The DBE will make the criteria in selecting schools for excellence awards available to the Committee. He added that ANA will not be written this year.
2016/17 1st Quarter report Presentation
Ms Carol Nuga-Deliwe, Chief Director: Strategic Planning and Reporting, DBE, presented the 2016/17 first quarter report. She said that it really looks into the context with a great amount of effort and emphasis on integrating the system and what the DBE has aimed to do is focus on quality improvement and how that plays itself out in the system. It is also focusing on the curriculum and learning outcomes; both the cognitive and the broader outcomes, in terms of learner wellbeing and how sub groups of learners perform in schools. She added that a lot of work in the last financial year was”under the radar” and related to getting the institutional context right, getting HR compliance right with policy, especially in the provinces. The DBE has been working with provinces to harmonise their indicators as reflected in the APP. She said these plans link to the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTEF) and the National Development Plan priorities.
A lot of the performance indicators are annual indicators, but the DBE wants to look at the milestones in those indicators and also level of achievement. She said there are 87% of the 44 annual targets which speak to things that will be focused in at the end of the financial year.
Programme 1: Administration
This programme looks at the Department’s administration and getting the institution right in the DBE. This report will look at institutional effectiveness and how the DBE set Norms and Standards and policy for the rest of the sector to adhere to. This speaks to the media liaison, HR compliance, strategic planning and outputs that are expected in the public service, and research, monitoring and evaluation activities particularly in relation to reading and support in curriculum provision, as well as impact evaluation. One of the things proposed this year is an evaluation of scholar transport.
She said in relation the internal audit processes, the Department is trying to move away from compliance and look at the quality of the evidence provided, which speaks to the quality improvement agenda.
She said that there was a minor under-performance in terms of grievance processes in quarter one, but the DBE is hopeful that in the next quarter it will be able to move the processes along.
Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring
This programme looks to a lot of the setting up, development of tools and fortifying of monitoring early grade reading and assessments. After a huge amount of curriculum reform and stability in the sector, there is a lot of integration in the system.
With regard to the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) programme, she outlined that in 2015 the sector implemented the IIAL pilot in Grade 1 classes in 264 schools across all nine provinces. In 2016 a total of 873 schools are implementing the IIAL in Grade 1 across all nine provinces. The 2016 -2019 IIAL implementation targets all the schools that are currently not offering an official African language. According to EMIS record, there are 3 558 such schools.
A Rural Education Round-table was held on 8 April 2016, where discussions were centered around strategic provision of quality rural education. The revised Draft Guidelines on the rationalisation of Small and Non-viable Schools were developed and presented at HEDCOM. A concept paper on Mega Agriculture Focus School was developed and presented to the inter-provincial Rural Education Committee (IPREC) meeting held on 9 to 10 June 2016.
LTSM Grade R resource packs had been distributed, a Grade R Resource pack for the 2017 academic year has been completed and the development of textbooks for the technical subjects is in progress. Also, the delivery of Grade 5 Braille workbooks was in progress. Grade 4 Home Language Braille books were being printed and delivered. Similar to the past, and in terms of the Three Stream Model, the DBE had been learning from the lessons of the past, and would do materials, instructional improvements, teacher support and development as well as curriculum rollout together, rather than in separate phases as had been the case before. There was also work done in Mind the Gap (MTG), a matric improvement intervention that has worked well and was scientifically proven to be useful. The Department is also doing translations for four MTG titles for Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Math Literacy. With the MST, the projects cut across teacher development, assessment, development and items indicated before. CAPS training was completed, and training at Skills Training Centres commenced in Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Northern Cape. Teachers were trained in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Technology as well as Technical Sciences Practical Assessment Tasks. Eight schools implementing CAPS for Technical Subjects (Specialisation) in Grade 10 and preparing to train for Grade 11 were visited in KwaZulu- Natal (4 schools), Western Cape Schools (1 school), Gauteng (3 schools).
She briefly added that for the Second Chance programme there was a lot of traction and interest from across the country and that more details would be given during that presentation.
She said that where indicators do not show any colour this was due to the fact that they were annual indicators and some of them usually get finalised in the second quarter.
Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development
This Looks at teachers, and the majority of the work was on teacher support and also ensuring provincial compliance with HR prescripts, ensuring they took advantage of the huge amount of work being done. There has not been such a high number of teachers through the system as with the Funza Lushaka programme. The Department had completed an assessment, with the Presidency, on the programme and found a huge impact in terms of the supply of teachers. There has been a response from provinces in absorbing these teachers. The Department monitored the improvement of professional teaching skills, subject knowledge and computer literacy of teachers. Provinces were unable to participate in reporting so a lot of indicators will be reported in quarter 2.
Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment
This programme speaks to national assessment and the importance of bedding down the foundation of quality learning and teaching in the system, with a way of evaluating how that quality is occurring. This is very important in terms of measuring learning outcomes, not just with cognitive, but also with more social outcomes at schools and district levels.
Data improvement and cleansing is really an important emphasis is terms of monitoring the quality of systems in place. Integrity in the system was vital, and they must have valid identification. There has been much collaboration with other departments and security agencies to ensure verification of the data that the DBE has, to ensure that it is useful and accurate, in order then to facilitate directly targeting those teachers and learners who need to most assistance in the system.
There has been a lot work done in budget analysis and preparations for the MTEF, deepening the sector pressures, compensation of employees and also the effects of the Department’s cost containment management.
The National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) data at the end of first quarter 2016/2017 included schools captured, verified and approved using NEIMS assessment forms. This needs tightening to provide better data on plans and also on achievement in all aspects of infrastructure delivery.
In the areas of district Planning and Support; there was training of district managers in all aspects of their works, plus school level planning and Implementation Support for circuit managers and work on improving call centre calls resolutions.
Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services
This service deals with learner well-being and social cohesion. For the 2016/17 financial year, the NSNP programme has provided nutritious meals to all the targeted 19 800 schools nationally. The Department just completed a national evaluation of the NSNP and has identified high quality interventions with the Presidency and the research unit, to ensure they plug the gaps in implementation and any provincial level problems. The Department is hoping to share these interventions with provincial departments and work on different aspects of implementation. The report will eventually go to Cabinet.
Training on trauma was conducted for Provincial Trainers to assist traumatised learners.
The Chairperson thanked the DBE for the presentation and indicated that it was a continuation of what has been presented on.
Mr Khosa said he was interested on slide 18, the 1+4 Intervention Model issue which is doing well when checking with schools. Its main problem is that it only starts in Grade 8, and he asked if the Department is looking to cascade the programme to lower grades, so when they enter high school, learners come prepared. He asked about the impact of three meals per day on time for schoolwork.
Mr Mnguni asked about Programme 3: IQMS, asking when the name would change and what was its impact and value on using the programme, as schools are not using the system correctly, but have given themselves high scores?The WSE reporting and the implementation process need to be looked at. With the He wondered what was happening and what impact the school readiness programme had because in January schools are visited, and challenges reported but there did not seem to be effective intervention because after schools report their challenges, the same issues come up each start of the school year?
Ms Mokoto noted the comment on Vuwani, the catchup programme focused on matriculants, but asked what happened to the other grades? In regard to LTSM, the Committee had seen, whilst on oversight, that some books ordered were in different languages, and asked have those problems been dealt with? Lastly, with the Early Childhood Development (ECD) she wanted to know how the collaboration with Department of Social Development was going.
The Chairperson asked what the Department learned from the NSNP pilot in using the technological monitoring in Limpopo and wondered if the programme would be implemented throughout the provinces. She added that there are still provinces that are left behind in terms of technology, so what was the intervention plan for that, from the DBE, to assist? On SA-SAMS, she asked if there was uniformity in how data is reported across provinces. In relation to learner and teacher well-being, there are alarming reports coming from throughout the country that teachers are still abusing learners, and she enquired about available programmes that will arm learners and communities, and are these programmes working?
Dr Kumalo agreed with the Chairperson on the need to expand the pilot on the NSNP technology usage as was the case in Limpopo. DBE had agreements with Limpopo to expand implementation to an entire district, mainly Venda, but despite the fact that it was included in the business plan for the province, the province had not fully realised the commitment. There is a responsibility to ensure that steps are made to implement, and that the business plan is put together. The onus is now with the HEDCOM sub-committee on NSNP to share those findings and lessons with other provinces so they too can plan interventions . The 3 meals per day was a temporary arrangement because of the residential camps in Vuwani. This was a challenge as the Department was not prepared for this and needed to respond with speed.
Dr Mamiki Maboya responded on the 1+4 programme which showed some very promising signs. When it was conceptualised, DBE was trying to respond to the challenges the Department had with regards to the teaching and learning of Mathematics at the senior phase. Also, in looking at ANA results for Grade 9, the Department wanted to look into implementing the programme in Grade 8, and it may be expanded only after proper impact evaluation. She said DBE will able to implement it in the intermediate phase. The ECD programme cuts across 3 departments; DBE, Department of Health and Social Development, but in December 2015, the integrated policy on ECD was approved by Cabinet and in the plan that would follow it would be possible to articulate the separation of responsibilities between the involved departments. There is already a report that will be tabled at the Portfolio Committee on Social Development.
Mr Bheki Mpanza responded on the SA-SAMS and the challenges of standardised reports, saying templates for their reporting. He said that KZN was the only province that was behind and he had met with the DDG responsible for curriculum last month and greed that they will standardize the collection of learner collection information which was done manually in the past. The Province sent a notice to all districts to inform them how performance information was to be collected using SA-SAMS.
The Chairperson added that the SA-SAMS system does not allow a ‘zero’ to be added as a rating.
Mr Mpanza responded that he would check the system; it should be available in the drop-down selections.
Mr Kojana said that QMS will be implemented next year to allow for time for the training which will start in the next quarter. This is supported by the MTT report . The Department has launched a Teacher Protection and Support Programme with the School Governing Body Association to support educators and appreciate their work. All those stakeholders have gone through advocacy around issue of behaviour over and above individual cases.
Mr Mweli, added that in the foundation phases there is a programme called Japan International Cooperation Agency Engagements (JICA), which has started in Mpumalanga and KZN and is being extended to the North West and the Eastern Cape, and eventually to all provinces. In the senior phase there is the 1+4 programme,. There has been talk to these programmes to the intermediate phase. For now the FET seems to be going well. He added that the role of WSE does not focus on individual teachers, but rather evaluates the status of teaching, and a profile of the school is created. QMS will then focus on the teacher and these two systems will supplement each other. On school readiness, there were differing standards but the Department is reducing problems around functionality.
The catchup programme in Vuwani for Grade 12 was specific to the grade because of the available time. The team in Vuwani developed guideline documents and progress was seen, with information shared.
The Chairperson asked if teaching and learning was taking place in Vuwani? Were schools open? Where are the matrics, have they closed down the camps?
Mr Mweli responded that all schools have started in Vuwani, and matric camps have been discontinued to allow Grade 12s to rejoin schools in Vuwani.
On LTSM, the Department deals with all the problems associated with wrong language and quantity in the first three months. The Department is aiming to deal with three areas; ,simulation of programmes in the form of curriculum, teacher training and development and conditions of service.
The Chairperson then said that there should be discussion on what the National and provincial offices were responsible for, to give clarity on separation of powers.
She requested that the addition presentation stand over until the following week.
The meeting was adjourned