South African Council for Educators: briefing

Basic Education

31 March 2003
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Meeting report

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 April 2003
SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL FOR EDUCATORS: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Mr S Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out:
SACE Briefing Report (Appendix)
The following documents are awaited; they will be available here shortly.
Appendices to Report
Activity Plan 2003/2004

SUMMARY
The South African Council for Educators presented the Committee with a brief overview of the Council's activities from January 2002 to 31 March 2003, and its plans for the next twelve months. The Council's mandate is to provide for the registration of educators, promote their professional development and set, maintain and protect ethical and professional standards.

MINUTES
The Chair, Mr SM Mayatula, said that the meeting had been convened to discuss the new legislation affecting children as well as to hear the South African Council on Educator's report. He proposed that the discussion of the new Bill be proposed to the next meeting and this was accepted.

Briefing by South African Council on Educators
Mr Glen Abrahams: Chairperson, SACE, invited the Committee to spend a day with the Council, possibly on 10 and 11 April.

Mr Rej Brijraj: Chief Executive Officer, then gave the following presentation: SACE provides for the registration of educators and promotes the professional development of educators as well as setting standards for educators. The Council briefed the Committee on the number of educators registered between January 2002 and 31 March 2003, its activities around professional development and a general overview of their administration and finance.

Mr Brijraj updated the Committee on their planned activities for the next twelve months. These included further registrations, upgrading their call response facility and providing further professional development.

Discussion
Mr R van den Heever (ANC) asked what kinds of charges were most commonly hear at disciplinary hearings. He noted that there appeared to be many charges of sexual misconduct and asked for details of the Council's plans to combat gender violence in the long terms. Noting the charges of assault, he asked for details of the kinds of assaults.

Prof SS Ripinga (ANC) commented that the registration system and database should be improved in terms of the detail available and its comprehensiveness. Noting that 40 000 teachers on the state salary payroll were not registered, he asked for more details on how the Committee could help to rectify this. He said that the Council should be autonomous but seemed to be attached to the Department of Education (DoE).

Mr B Mthembu (ANC) asked how the Council would integrate the many instruments in operation in teachers' professional development.

Mr R Ntuli (DP) asked what the focus of the Council's interaction with primary teachers was. Regarding the Council's plan to register early childhood development (ECD) practitioners, he asked how many the Council anticipated registering, and what kinds of qualifications they were likely to have. He shared Mr Van den Heever's concerns re the kinds of offences most commonly heard about in disciplinary hearings as well as Mr Mthembu's.

Mr Abrahams said that 430 000 teachers were registered, of whom 330 000/360 000 were on Persal, the official DoE payroll, including office-based staff. About 50 000 people on the persal system were not registered. He said that in some cases, rural teachers did not receive the Council's information in time and when there were errors on the forms, it took some time to rectify this in rural areas. Regarding the non-Persal educators, he said that the council would begin writing to MECs, naming the unregistered educators and pointing out that their teaching without registration was unlawful.

He said that the Council was entirely detached and from the DoE but embraced it in partnership, along with other stakeholders.

Regarding the instruments for monitoring and evaluation, he said that the Council maintained its own system but sometimes played a mediating role, such as between the DoE and teacher unions on the DoE's developmental appraisal system.

With respect to the ECD practitioners, who care for learners aged up to nine years, he said that there was little professional development in the sector and that the Council aimed to register the practitioners and professionalise the system. The Council was unable to intervene if they heard of children being molested at crèches, because the carers were not registered. ECD practitioners' minimum requirement would be level 4 of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), 4000 of whom were currently in training. The first target for registration would be 40 000.

Ms Rethabile Kikine, manager of the Council's legal affairs department, said that most cases were related to sexual misconduct, corporal punishment, theft and fraud.

In the long term, the Council focused on workshops with scenarios, such as those in the Council's handbook.

Regarding registration, she said that the biggest challenge was "fluidity of the role of independent schools", which were recently approached to "fix the cracks in the system".

Mr Abrahams added that with respect to disciplinary cases, the Council was constrained by time and money. Although most cases were not related to sexual misconduct, the Council targeted those as they considered them most serious. There is a wide variety but most of the less serious ones were 'put on the backburner' until the Council had capacity to deal with them.

Ms Rashieda Bobat, chair of professional development at the Council, said that the Council could not confine itself to 'fire fighting', that is, prosecuting misconduct, but should change behaviour in the long term. The council's long-term strategies lay in professional development. The Council's handbook was therefore used to train educators. DoE personnel and Higher Education Institutions had been approached to incorporate the contents into their pre- and in-service training.

Regarding the integration of systems to monitor and evaluate professional development, she said that unless teachers reflect on their practice, any professional development would be superficial. If they began to think about their professional development, starting with their Curriculum Vitae, their needs could be linked to the development appraisal system and into systemic evaluation. If they did develop well, they would be paid more.

Ms Cynthia Mpathi, deputy chair of the SACE, said the advanced certificate in education (ACE) was run with the council by seven HEIs. She said the Council was required by law to have a professional development policy.

Mr Brijlal said that the Council's first aim for rural teachers was to induct them into the registration system and hand out registration forms. The quality of programmes was to be checked in the coming year. He acknowledged that the Council's database was not authoritative and said that this was because of a funding constraint.

Ms PN Mnandi (ANC) stressed that satellite offices were needed in the rural areas. She mentioned a case of a child being punished by a teacher which had resulted in the child's death and had received much coverage in the media. She asked for an update with respect to this case. She asked how many publications the Council distributed to teachers every year as she felt that would help in the rural areas and perhaps the ANC constituency offices could be used as distribution/registration points. She asked the Council to consider publishing in indigenous languages for ECD practitioners.

Mr I Vadi (ANC) asked about an apparent discrepancy in the sentencing of sexual offenders in the briefing document. An educator had been sentenced to two years suspended for five years for having sex with a learner. Other educators had been struck off the roll for similar offences. He asked for the sentencing benchmarks; what the relationship between the council and the police was; and whether the Council waited for complaints or was proactive in taking up cases. He noted that the message of misconduct not being tolerated was obviously not getting out, as evidenced by the increasing number of cases.

Mr SB Ntuli (ANC) asked whether it was appropriate to put educators back on the roll.

A Member said that if ethics was interpreted broadly enough to include attributes like punctuality, absenteeism and so forth, it would appear that teachers at formerly white schools were more ethical because their matric results over the last three years were better. She felt that issues of absenteeism and punctuality should be addressed more firmly by the council.

Mr K Moonsamy (ANC) asked what progress had been made with un- and under-qualified teachers.

Mr LM Kgwele (ANC) asked whether school governing bodies (SGBs) and ABET employers could employ teachers who had been struck off the role.

He asked what was being done to encourage reporting of misdemeanours or the withdrawal of complaints after the accused had apologised. Did the Council, for instance, train managers? He asked whether there had been any cases against officials and who would report them.

Mr Abrahams said that publications were limited to two a year because they were expensive. He felt that it was not so much that formerly non-Model C school teachers had better ethics, but that the schools were overall poorly resourced. He agreed, however, that lateness was a problem, but was not confined to teachers and it was not clear how to address it. In response to Mr Vadi, he said that there could be an increase in the number of sexual misconduct cases because there were more such incidents, or because there were more being reported. Regarding police intervention, he said the Council reported most serious cases to the police but in most cases they did not.

Ms Kikine, regarding the discrepancy in sentencing referred to earlier, said that details differed. It could be that the educator concerned had been charged with rape but the complainant could have been as old as 23 and there could have been some doubt as to whether the sex was forced or consensual. She asked for the Committee's assistance in taking the Council to provincial levels as there were no strong provincial structures to accommodate it. Most provinces did not have teacher development complements.

A council speaker said that cases were detailed by means of a visit, telephone call or letter for the investigating and disciplinary panels. She said that the case of the child who died after being disciplined by a teacher would be finalised in the month of April.

Once a case had been referred to the Council, it was not possible to withdraw it, although the Council did need independent witnesses. An apology in itself constituted an admission of guilt. An apology might be sufficient, but there were guidelines for appropriate sentencing/punishment.

Mr Brijraj said that educators who had been struck off the role should not be punished forever but that the council needs to develop policies and procedures around reinstatement. Regarding un- and under-qualified teachers, the Council could not do much beyond lobby for those teachers to be trained. He said that it was illegal for School Governing Bodies or independent schools to employ teachers who had been struck off the roll and if such practices were brought to the attention of the council, it would be investigated and brought to the attention of the relevant authorities. Although office-based educators were bound by the Council, there had been no cases brought against them.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:
SACE BRIEFING TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
DATE: 01-04-2003
VENUE: CAPE TOWN

1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

On behalf of the South African Council for Educators (SACE) we thank the Portfolio Committee for offering us this opportunity. My name is and my position in SACE is The team representing SACE is as follows

SACE's mandates in terms of the SACE Act (No.31 of 2000: South African Council for Educators Act, 2000) are:

(a) To provide for the registration of educators;

(b) To promote the professional development of educators; and

(c) To set, maintain and protect ethical and professional standards for educators by means of functioning of Council. (SACE Act - Section 2)

The report, we shall present, consists of two parts.

The first part deals with SACE activities for the period 01-01-2002 to 31-03-2003. The second part deals with the period 01-04-2003 up till 31-03-2004. (Legislative imperatives required SACE to adjust its fiscal year so that future financial periods would run from April to March). Each of these parts is divided into the three sections in terms of its primary mandate with a fourth part referring to Admin, Finance and general issues. The report concludes highlighting some of the challenges facing SACE.

BACKGROUND:
The Council convened three (3) Council meetings during the period under review. These meetings gave specific directions regarding the functioning in the four (4) areas mentioned. Eight (8) executive committee meetings were held to ensure SACE fulfilled its obligations to Council. The three main committees of SACE viz Registration, Professional Development and Disciplinary Committees met at least four times each to implement their mandates. The other sub-committees of SACE are Finance, Staffing and Public Relations. The Rules and regulations governing Council are at Annexure A. The work of Council is managed by the Chief Executive Officer and a staff complement of twenty four (as per Annexure B). The CEO is assisted by four (4) managers and a Director.

The year under review is the second period under the auspices of the SACE Act. The first period witnessed a huge overload in demands on SACE emanating from its three main areas of operations. The period under review required SACE activities to be constrained by the Budget. Some elements of the projected programme of activities were compromised e.g.

· Establishment of 30 contact points around the country for the purposes of facilitating registration, complaints processing and co-ordination of professional development activities;

· Updating of registration details, validation of registration and categorization;

Electronic registration;

Outreach to trainee teachers;

Publications; and

Workshops on ethics.

While SACE managed to execute its core functions satisfactorily as the rest of the report will indicate, the shortfall in projected activities is to be corrected by a levy adjustment proposal to the Minister.
2 OVERVIEW

The following is an overview of the activities of SACE for the period 01-01-2002 to 31-03-2003.

2.1 Registration:

· Approximately 30 000 educators were registered in the period. Altogether about 430 000 are registered.

Registration numbers are now printed on salary advice slips.

· A provisional registration mechanism is employed to ensure that educators are not unduly disadvantaged in their employment situation.

· Council has taken an in-principle decision to increase the scope of SACE to include Early Childhood Development practitioners within its scope. The implementation strategy is to be finalized in the period ahead.

More details regarding this section is at Annexure C.

2.2 Professional Development:

·
SACE has produced 30 000 copies of a Handbook for the Code of Professional Ethics (copy in packs). These have been sponsored by the National Department of Education. These books will be distributed to all schools and will form the basis for workshops and training programmes that endeavour to make educators more ethically competent - i.e. Educators will be empowered to make the necessary distinctions between right and wrong and right and right as well.

· The SACE Professional development policy draft is being finalized and will be circulated for comment. The policy aims to centralize teacher development co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation.

· SACE has embarked on pilot workshops to guide educators on how to develop their own Professional Development Portfolios (PDP's). The PDP's are intended to serve as self evaluation instruments informing an educator's own professional growth.

· The Council has agreed that SACE asserts itself in "Quality Assurance" of all pre-set and in-set programmes and providers with a view to establishing shortfalls and weaknesses and to make recommendations thereupon.

· SACE has partnered the Department of Education in facilitating an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) - on integrating values and Human Rights.

· SACE has partnered INTEL to launch the "Intel Teach to the future" programme. The company has invested approximately R9m to ensure that about 40 000 educators will be trained to use Information and Communication Technology in the classroom.

· Council has decided to establish a special publicity and communications division within SACE to ensure maximum advocacy and assistance directed towards educators.

· SACE has partnered the Department of Education and the ELRC to host the historical P.E. Convention held late last year. The focus of the Convention was on access and quality in public education. SACE has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that the resolutions emanating from the Convention are implemented.

· SACE partnered the ELRC in hosting World Teachers' Day Celebrations in Bloemfontein in October 2002. Approximately

2 000 educators attended the function which sought to promote solidarity in the profession - nationally, continentally and globally -as well as to salute the service of educators.
2.3 Ethics:

· Forty (40) investigations were conducted nationally. These resulted in thirty two (32) hearings. Sixteen (16) educators were struck off from the register.

· SACE held a workshop to update panelists and potential panelists on issues related to gender violence.

·
SACE in partnership with UNICEF to set up offices dealing with gender violence. Programmes dealing with coping with and preventing gender violence were conducted in schools. UNICEF sponsored approximately R2m towards this project.

Details regarding the work of this division is at Annexure E.

2.4 Admin, Finance & General:

·
SACE has reconfigured its office space so as to increase its delivery potential to educators. It shares premises with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC).

· SACE has also re-structured its telephone answering system in its ongoing quest to develop an efficient response system.

· SACE has launched its Website www sace.org za and is busy populating the pages.

· SACE financials for the twelve months ended 31 December 2002 (see Annexure F) indicate a surplus of R433 692 which has been utilized in the full 15 month period.

· On completion of SACE's current fiscal period (i.e. 31 March 2003) a final report including completed financials will be submitted to the Ministry.

3. PREVIEW:

The following is a summary of projected activities and programmes for the period 01-04-2003 to 31-03-2004.

3.1 Registration:

· There are apparently about 40 000 educators who are still not yet in possession of SACE registration numbers. Technically these educators are teaching unlawfully. The priority of this section is to develop a procedure to identify these educators and formalize registration within the next few months.


· The call response facility to be upgraded to deal with the hundreds of calls that come in daily.

· A verification process of confirming registration status is to be embarked upon as soon as budget permits.

· Upgrading of application forms and reconfiguration of data base to be done with a view mainly to categorization e.g. qualifications, employment status, experience, specialisms and teaching area. This is geared to inform the teacher development needs.

· Conceptualisation and implementation of a sectoral registration format. Future registration to accommodate sectors e.g.: ECD, Adult, GET, FET etc. (Discussion phase)

· Financial reconciliation system designed and operationalized to track payments on an individual basis.

(Draft time frames as per Annexure C).

3.2 Professional Development: (PD)

Finalization of PD policy

· Quality Assurance interventions to identify weaknesses and shortfalls with a view to making recommendations.

· Further popularization of Professional Development Portfolio concept.

· Research and formulation of SACE positions regarding issues pertaining to professionalism and educational transformation.

Publication of a professional iournal

Creation of a volunteer data base.

Publishing of SACE Handbook.

· Partnership with UNICEF to produce guidelines for educators, learners and the parent community regarding Gender Violence issues.

(Annexure H)

3.3 Ethics:

Completion of investigations and hearings still outstanding.

Training of Workshops for panelists and new panelists.

Advocacy workshops in Provinces.

Re-instatement and curtailment of registration hearings and circulation.

Compilation of manuals and packs for panelists and educators.

Development and implementation of a tracking system of educators investigated and/or charged.

(For further details refer to Annexure I

3.4 Admin,Finance and General

Upgrade of call response system.

Update of website and development of on-line systems.

De-lineation and re-structuring of SACE's communication and publicity strategy and mechanisms - creation of a specialized unit within SACE.

Creation of satellite offices to cater for professional needs of educators.

Integration of SACE Information Communication and Technology (ICT) needs.

4. CHALLENGES

· The above projections depend on a levy adiustment from R2 per educator per month to R5 per educator per month.

· EXCO has agreed to the increase (as per motivation in Annexure J). This decision is subject to endorsement of Council which meets on the 10/11 of April 2003. Thereupon a request with motivation will be made to the Ministry, as the Minister has to approve of levy adjustments in terms of the SACE Act.
· Enclosed (at Annexure K and Annexure L) are the draft R2 and P5 budgets separately.


· In conclusion, it will be fair to say that, a delay regarding the levy increase or a reduction in the proposed increase will adversely affect the projections of SACE and will restrict SACE to performing minimal core functions viz completion of the register, administration of serious complaints and a superficial intervention regarding the professional development of educators. In the considered opinion of the executive, this would seriously compromise a transformative interpretation of SACE's mandate as obtaining from the SACE Act referred to in the beginning.

CONCLUSION

· Once again we thank the committee for this opportunity and look forward to your input and guidance.

· We also wish to place on record our sincere appreciation to the Ministry, Departments of Education, Teacher Unions and all the other stakeholder groupings in SACE for their direction and support.

· We thank all educators for their co-operation as there has not being a single challenge regarding the existence and functions of SACE once clarifications have been offered.

· Lastly we unreservedly apologize to educators and constituencies who have difficulty in getting through to us or in receiving timeous responses. While system still has to mature to an optimum functioning level, the CEO has availed his office to deal with such problems.


Thank You.


For and on behalf of Council.

REJ BRIJRAJ

Chief Executive Officer.

01-04-2003

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