The Committee met to adopt the Draft Report on the Fourth Quarter Expenditure Patterns for the 2015/16 financial year and for the First Quarter Expenditure Patterns for 2016/17 financial year, and to be briefed by Committee support staff on the submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education. However, as the Committee was not quorate, the draft report could not be adopted, and the meeting was devoted to developing recommendations for its submissions to the Commission.
The Committee had been asked by the Commission to comment on the following issues:
- Its role in furthering the State’s obligation to further higher education. If so, what was the Committee’s view on the right to education?
- Inefficiencies in the higher education system, as identified by the Committee;
- Key factors which could be considered towards the improvement of higher education in South Africa.
The Committee’s support staff identified some of the main submissions which the Committee should make to the Commission of Inquiry. These were:
- The Committee performed the functions mandated in the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009 (Money Bills Act), guided by the urgency to fulfill its Constitutional obligations in terms of Section 29 (1) of the Constitution and the Freedom Charter.
- It should speak to its duty of Parliamentary oversight, as stated in terms of the section 4 (3) of the Money Bills Act, in which each House is required to establish a Committee on Appropriations, and describe their powers and functions;
- The Committee was said to have a direct role in the importance of higher education in terms of the National Development Plan (NDP), which recognised higher education as a vital component in skills development. More specifically, the 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) set out the targets aligned to the NDP as follows:
- Increasing university enrolment from 950 000 to 1.07 million;
- Increasing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), formally known as Further Education and Training (FET) student enrolment, from 650 000 to 1.2 million;
- Increasing artisan production from 18 000 to 24 000 per year;
- Increasing PhD graduates from 1 800 to 3 000 per year;
- Increasing the number of science and engineering graduates;
- Increasing the number of qualified TVET lecturers;
- Reducing the student dropout rate.
Members raised a wide range of issues surrounding the Fees Must Fall campaign. They referred to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), where R40 billion had gone missing. A forensic investigation had been established last year, but there had been no outcome and the money had not been recovered. It was essential for NSFAS to have the power to recover the students’ debts, and for those responsible for funds going missing to be brought to book.
They pointed out that 50% of students who enrolled at universities dropped out. This was a waste of money, time and tuition fees. Universities should be investigating whether students understood the curriculum. It was unacceptable for so many students to drop out of tertiary institutions.
A Member made reference to the Bill of Rights and the Freedom Charter, and said that none of these texts entrenched an entitlement to free education, and this appeared to be the problem. The law did not accommodate ‘blanket’ free education.
The solutions and way forward, offered by the Support Staff and Committee, were as follows:
- The Committee should note that the post-school system currently catered for approximately one million university students, 720 000 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students and 330 000 Continuing Education and Training (CET) college students. The Committee should note further that the NDP states that all qualifying NSFAS students should receive the full cost of study loans, and that students who did not qualify should have access to bank loans, backed by state sureties.
- The Committee should state that the Committee would ensure enhanced and strong oversight by Parliament, together with all partners in society, for the adoption of budgets that eliminated wasteful expenditure, and that government would implement more cost-effective service delivery models that would make more resources available for sustainable, adequate and equitable funding for higher education.
- Recovery of student loans by NSFAS should be recovered through the SA Revenue Service (SARS) as a tax against the beneficiary’s salary.
- Employers should be encouraged to negotiate with employees who were beneficiaries of NSFAS, to deduct the repayments from the employee’s salary.
The Chairperson recommended that the Committee submit to the Commission the reasoning behind the annual increase of fees, and why this was necessary. All members supported writing off of the debt owing to NSFAS by students.
The Chairperson said that as there were only four Members attending the Committee, there was not a quorum, and therefore the draft report on the Fourth Quarter Expenditure Patterns for the 2015/16 financial year and for the First Quarter Expenditure Patters for the 2016/17 could not be adopted. Permission was given to the Committee’s support staff to proceed with their presentation on the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education
Ms S Shope-Sithole (ANC) suggested that the Acting Chairperson call Ms N Ndogeni (alternate) if it would make a difference to the quorum.
The Chairperson stated that it would not be proper to adopt the draft report anyway.
Dr M Figg (DA) said that at a previous Committee meeting, the Committee had been informed that the Commission would send correspondence to the Committee, and requested that the essence of such correspondence be read out so that they knew what steps needed to be taken to fulfill the correspondence
The Chairperson proceeded to read the following correspondence to the Committee:
- Addressee: Ms Yvonne Phosa (Chairperson)
- The Commission’s evidence leaders have identified the Chairperson in her capacity as such of the Standing Committee on Appropriations.
- The issues upon which she is required to testify are:
- Role of the Committee in furthering the State’s obligation to further higher education. If so, what was the Committee’s view on the right to education?
- Inefficiencies in the higher education system, as identified by the Committee;
- Key factors which can be considered toward the improvement of higher education in South Africa;
- The Chairperson was required to confirm that she is available on 11 October 2016.
The Acting Chairperson indicated that the Chairperson had requested an appointment time from Monday to Friday as a time at which the Committee could consider the subpoena.
Dr Figg understood the issues at hand. He was concerned about the legality of the Commission’s ability to summon the Committee.
The Chairperson stated that it was not legally correct for the Commission to summon the Chairperson. A simple invitation was enough. The Committee was an entity of Parliament and therefore the request should have been sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly. Upon receipt on the invitation, Ms Phosa had referred it to the relevant office and it had been recognised by the Office of the Speaker. This Commission had been set up by the President, and it was not the Committee of Parliament which must account to the executive through the Commission. It was the other way around, as the President was accountable. The Committee could not be expected to be accountable to a body established on behalf of the Executive. These issues had to be corrected. The view should be that the delegation should go and make the presentation to the Commission and to indicate that it was not accountable, but that its appearance was mandated in terms of the Constitution on behalf of Parliament.
Ms Shope-Sithole inquired whether Dr Figg thought that the Committee should appear before the Commission, as this would set her mind at ease.
Dr Figg said that the matter was of importance to the nation, which was waiting for a solution. He proposed that a presentation be done, as long as is the Committee’s appearance was considered as an invitation.
Committee Support Staff on submission to Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education
The support staff said that the presentation was a response to the Commission’s request for the Committee to appear before the Commission.
They outlined the key guiding principles of the Committee as follows:
- It was performing the functions mandated in the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009 (Money Bills Act), guided by the urgency to fulfill its Constitutional obligations. In particular, the Committee had to ensure that resources were directed to the achievement of the progressive realisation of the right to education in terms of Section 29 (1) of the Constitution.
- The Bill of Rights was the bedrock of South African democracy and affirmed the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
- The Committee was further guided by the Freedom Charter’s principle that the “doors of learning and culture shall be opened” and “that higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships on the basis of merit.”
The support staff said that once the Committee had been guided by these principles, it would be able to consider its Constitutional mandate. It was recommended that the Committee speak to its duty of Parliamentary oversight, as stated in terms of the section 4 (3) of the Money Bills Act, in which each House is required to establish a Committee on Appropriations, whose powers and functions included considering and reporting on the following matters:
- Spending issues;
- Amendments to the Division of Revenue Bill; the Appropriation Bill; the Supplementary Appropriation Bill and the Adjusted Appropriation Bill;
- Recommendations on the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), including those referred to in the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Act, No. 97 of 1997;
- Reports on actual expenditure, as published by the National Treasury; and
- Any other related matters.
The support staff emphasised the need for the Committee to state to the Commission that the functions and powers mandated by section 4 (3) of the Money Bills Act, had been carried out. This was because oversight and accountability were constitutionally mandated functions of the legislature. Oversight functions included ensuring that policies introduced by the government and authorised by Parliament were actually delivered. This function included monitoring the achievement of goals set by legislation and the government’s own programmes. The Committee was one of the oversight mechanisms set up in terms of section 55 (2) of the Constitution, to ensure that all executive organs of state were accountable to the National Assembly.
The support staff stated that the Committee had a direct role in higher education, as the National Development Plan (NDP) recognised higher education and training as playing a key role in promoting skills development and innovation. The 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) set out the targets aligned to the NDP as follows:
- Increase university enrolment from 950 000 to 1.07 million;
- Increase Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), formally known as Further Education and Training (FET) student enrolment from 650 000 to 1.2 million;
- Increase artisan production from 18 000 to 24 000 per year;
- Increase PhD graduates from 1 800 to 3 000 per year;
- Increase the number of science and engineering graduates;
- Increase the number of qualified TVET lecturers;
- Reduce the student dropout rate.
The support staff drew attention to the four principles underpinning the funding framework of higher education in South Africa:
- Cost sharing: the primary mechanism allowing for cost sharing was the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
- Autonomy: the institution was allowed to set its own fees.
- Funding for service delivery: funding was linked to teaching and knowledge outputs.
- Funding as a steering mechanism: steering education in line with social and economic goals in order to increase the qualified teachers in mathematics and sciences.
It was emphasised that the immediate focus was to find practical solutions in order to save the 2016 academic year and sustain the academic programme. Therefore, partnerships and stakeholders needed to work together. Stakeholders included parents, unions, institutions and government.
The support staff encouraged the Committee to state to the Commission the Committee’s active role in facilitating public participation on the issues of higher education, and that the mandate to do so had been taken seriously. Attention should be drawn to the participation of unions; the executive; researchers; students and citizens who had made submissions. The Committee should emphasise that public participation was not only a matter of technical compliance, but was part of the solution. It was the responsibility of all stakeholders to find a solution. A number of stakeholders had been identified in the Fifth democratic Parliament:
- Department of Higher Education (DHE), including NSFAS;
- National Treasury;
- Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC);
- Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO);
- Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC);
- Council of Higher Education (CHE);
- Joint Committee hearings with other Committees of Parliament (JCCP);
- Business Unity of South African and Business Leadership South Africa;
- National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA);
- Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU);
- Researchers, students, civil society, and citizens.
In discussion of key questions, the Support Staff observed and made the following recommendations to the Committee:
Observation made during 2014 Appropriation Act process:
The Committee highlights that the investments made by the government in higher education and training had increased significantly over the past few years. However, the increase in expenditure had not been proportionate to the increase in the skills level of the country’s workforce, especially within previously disadvantaged communities.
National Treasury, in partnership with the DHE, should implement strategies to link funded municipal building programmes with FET programmes and position municipalities as employers of choice for FET graduates.
Observation made during the 2014 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) process:
The funding allocations for tertiary education and training will rise rapidly in the medium term from R59.5 billion in 2014/15, to R68.1 billion in 2017/18. 55% of the increase in the medium term consisted of subsidies to universities and contributions to NSFAS.
National Treasury, in partnership with the DHE, should consider mechanisms for leveraging funding streams within the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the National Skills Fund towards student funding in higher education, especially increased funding for NSFAS,
Observations made during the 2015 Budget Adjustment Process:
In recognising the 2015 Fees Must Fall (FMF) student protest, the Committee convened a special joint briefing with the Select Committee on Appropriation and the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training.
The Committee had invited and received briefings from the DHE, National Treasury, the CHE, as well as FFC. The aim had been to find adequate funding and a zero fee increment in Higher Education and Training.
The Committee had received National Treasury’s submissions that it was not necessary to amend the 2015 Adjustment Appropriation Bill, as resources could be used to fund the shortfall as a result of the no fee increment at universities in 2016. The Committee had welcomed the initiatives to fund the zero increase in fees. The Committee was, however, concerned about the impact that a zero fee increment would have on programmes for the historically disadvantaged institutions. The Committee had earmarked support for TVETs and universities. The DHE had submitted that the zero fee increment shortfall of R2.330 billion for 2016 would be shared between the universities and the DHE.
The National Treasury, together with the DHE and all stakeholders, must support universities most affected by the reprioritsation exercise, especially historically disadvantaged institutions. These government departments should also ensure that funding is used in the 2016 MTEF for all affected programmes in historically disadvantaged institutions and TVETs as a result of the reprioritisation. The DHE should ensure continued support for TVETs and Continuing Education and Training (CET) institutions, and that its link with the private sector was continually strengthened.
Observations made during the 2015 MTBPS Process:
The Committee had considered a range of options for long term funding provided by the various stakeholders. Options included changing the priorities in state funding, committed implementation of plans to sell non-strategic assets, increasing the tax burden, and/or ensuring those who could afford to pay more or borrowing more, repaid the money.
The Committee had agreed with the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, that adequate funding for higher education would enable departments to achieve their objectives, and that the allocation of infrastructure grants to TVET colleges would allow colleges to maintain, expand and develop their infrastructure to alleviate the shortage of student housing in colleges, and the need for partnerships between the private sector and the DHE.
Embark on a comprehensive reprioritising programme for the leveraging of funds for higher education through the state; consider the sale of non-strategic assets; consider the options of increasing the tax burden while considering macro-economic growth objectives; consider the re-examination of SETAs, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and their budget balances; research into South African higher education with comparable countries; and drive a comprehensive partnership with key stakeholders in the financial sector to implement innovative means for funding higher education.
The support staff had considered the inefficiencies which the Committee should state that they had found in the higher education system;
- NSFAS had suffered administrative and operational challenges as a result of the lack of proper monitoring and evaluation by the Department. The universities act as an intermediary between NSFAS and the students, and therefore contractual agreements were missing or hard to find in the system. Some contractual documents that did exist were reported to be not properly data protected.
- Universities were internally inefficient, in that about 50% of students who enrolled into universities dropped out before graduation. It was a wasteful and unsustainable expenditure, and the Committee had taken a concerted effort to address these inefficiencies.
- The Committee had assessed and considered submissions by various stakeholders on the need for attention to be given to the NSFAS loan and the poor debt recovery rates. The universities should be encouraged to self-examine their operational effectiveness and implement cost containment measures. SETA funds should be re-examined.
The support staff presented the key factors looked at when considering budget allocations to the DHE. These included:
- FET function shift: In 2013, the MTBPS and the Committee had recommended that National Treasury develop and implement mechanisms to ensure that baseline funding requirements were in place for the successful transfer of the FET colleges’ function to the Department.
- The Committee was concerned that monitoring and evaluation by the Department consisted of desktop exercises, and had submitted reports that the desktop evaluations were due to limited budgetary allocations.
- The Committee had agreed that rigorous monitoring and evaluation over the Department’s entities was necessary for the effective and efficient use of resources towards the improvement of student success.
- The Committee had supported the submission by the DHE that more funding within the Budget Vote be repriotised towards its operations, as this allowed more resources to be allocated towards the monitoring and evaluation of transferred funds.
- The Committee had noted the DHE’s indication that a forensic investigation relating to the NSFAS administration and operations would be undertaken. In responding, the Committee had recommended that National Treasury, as part of the Adjustment Appropriations Bill, consider ways of increasing operational budgets.
The support staff agreed that the way forward was for the Committee to note that the post-school system currently catereds for approximately one million university students, 720 000 TVET college students and 330 000 CET college students. The Committee should note further that the NDP states that all qualifying NSFAS students should receive the full cost of study loans, and that students who did not qualify should have access to bank loans, backed by state sureties.
The Committee should state that the Committee would in the current budget process, and 2016 MTBPS, ensure enhanced and strong oversight by Parliament, together with all partners in society, for the adoption of budgets that eliminated wasteful expenditure, and for government to implement more cost-effective service delivery models that would make more resources available for sustainable, adequate and equitable funding for higher education.
Ms Shope-Sithole said that she was left more worried that she initially was about NSFAS, as it appeared that the whole Department had not been properly crafted. What was particularly shocking was the fact that NSFAS was unable to recover the money from students. The money should be written off. If NSFAS was unable to recover the money, what was the use of keeping the debt in their books?
Dr Figg said that there were more serious concerns with NSFAS. If one took a loan, then one should pay it back. Everything was so simple, but so complicated. People had to be taken to task from now on. The real issue was that the situation in which the Committee found itself now, it had anticipated during the last year, and more specifically on 16 May this year. On 16th May 2016, the Committee had made a proposal on the NSFAS shortage, and the document had been tabled by the DA. The DA had identified the need for funding. The DA had offered a solution, albeit one for this financial year. If the proposed solution had been taken more seriously, the current situation would have been better. The Committee needed this Commission, and a long term solution. When the budget had been presented, the Committee had proposed a 2.73% increase in funding. What was required was a saving of R9.25 billion. There had been a solution, or part of a solution, and if this had been adjusted in the budget, it would have shown some effort. In his view, there had not been a serious intention to solve the problem. The Commission had to produce its findings only by March 2017 and the adjustments to the budget could be made only in the 2018 financial year. The Committee had to find bits and pieces to add to a short term solution, and then find a long term solution later.
Mr A McLoughlin (DA) made reference to the Bill of Rights and the Freedom Charter, and said that none of these texts entrenched an entitlement to free education, and this appeared to be the problem. The law did not accommodate ‘blanket’ free education. Section 29 (1) of the Constitution was vague, but the impression was that over a period of time, accessibility to education would become greater, and this may not be easy. The Freedom Charter allowed for state scholarships on the basis of merit. This was the basis on which the law looked at the right to education. It was not the Committee’s decision to change the law. The DA argued that funding for tertiary education should be based on three levels;
- Free education: this would be provided to the poor.
- Missing middle: partial funding to students whose parents earned too much for free education, but too little to afford to pay for tertiary education themselves.
- No funding at all, where one could afford it.
Emphasis had been placed on the fact that not much oversight had been exercised on the issues in higher education. A presentation by NSFAS had shown that R40 billion had gone missing due to corruption. The Committee should emphasise why? Controls needed to be tightened. Furthermore, NSFAS should have the same power as SARS to recover its money. There was no real basis for denying NSFAS the power to recover money. If one had a loan, one must pay. If it was a gift, it was a different story. There had to be a built-in mechanism allowing for the money to be recovered with interest.
Ms D Senokoanyane (ANC) raised the fact that one of the challenges facing the Committee was that the Commission had been established during an abnormal time. Students were unwilling to listen. The support staff presentation had been an eye-opener. It was unfair for students to lose all their hard work when they lose private funding during the year, and were then unable to rely on NSFAS for assistance. She said that South Africa was so wealthy, but that the persons who possessed the wealth were unwilling to contribute to funding tertiary education, and that this put government in a difficult position.
Ms Shope-Sithole said that she fully supported what had been stated by her colleagues. When a challenge was faced by the country, the Committee should stand together and speak with one voice, particularly because higher education was an issue of national interest. She stressed that it was a question of a South African child, not a DA child, or an ANC child. It was extremely important that in a Committee that people speak as Members, and not bring the party stunts into the Committee. The observance of neutrality was key. She criticised Dr Figg for bringing up the DA, as it closed the ears of the Committee. What was required was one’s voice as a Committee Member, with no politics involved. South Africanism, rather than ‘Party-ism,’ was encouraged.
She said that she and Mr McLoughlin had always complained about the love of the boardroom, and Members needed to exercise oversight where the cheque books were. Departments could write in good English -- they may not be lying, but they knew very well what Committee members wanted to hear. Why do we bother saying that we are going to recover the money from students, when we know that we can not? Students who boast on television should be traced and appear before the Committee and show us their confidence in refusing to pay back the NSFAS loan. This would assist the Committee in reconstructing the contract. Was the person who constructed the existing contract a lawyer? Or did he not have any interest in what he was doing? Why would one draw up a contract based on scarce resources without being able to recover the money, or making it a binding agreement? It was leaving her with more questions than answers. She was confused, but suggested Members attend the Commission to hear what had to be said, and perhaps they would come back more informed than they were now.
The Chairperson noted the spirited effort to grapple with the funding issue. He said there needed to be a clear contract between NSFAS and the students, to enable a follow up. Secondly, the forensic investigation into the R40 billion that went missing had been initiated one year ago, and the money needed to be recovered. The person who committed the act of allowing the money to go missing should be found, and that person needed to pay the money back. Thirdly, it was very strange that the Fees Must Fall movement always flared up during the examination period. Parties needed to be persuaded to save and complete the academic year, and then re-enter the engagement with the purpose of hatching solutions as to where the money that should contribute to funding tertiary education was to come from. Money was being wasted by allowing students to destroy property and waste other human capital, which would otherwise have funded degrees. All role-players must be ready to engage during the year and not wait until September to say that fees must fall. One simply could not have 50% of students dropping out. So many resources were going to waste – time, money, books and tuition – it could not be. At the end of the day, the country was poorer. The universities should dig deep and determine how they would approach the high dropout rates. It was unacceptable, and had gone on for far too long.
Linked to this issue was whether there was a curriculum in the university which made sense to the students. Everything that tertiary institutions did required careful consideration about how they could use resources. One issue that this Committee must raise to the Commission, was the issue of re-assessing the reasons for the annual increase in fees. The Commission should understand why fees were increasing every year so that one could begin to appreciate what universities were doing. This linked to the improvement of access to tertiary education. The Committee raised the issue of an increase of fees every year, and that was part of the problem as to why students were protesting. What made universities increase their fees? We need to be able to see the justification for the increase.
The other point that Committee members were making was that there must be a concerted effort to exercise oversight over the funding of post-school education by all relevant committees of Parliament - the Appropriation Committee being one of these Committees. This was so that the money invested into higher education was used efficiently and effectively and Parliament was able to see where it was going. These were some of the issues which Members had raised, in consolidating what had been said.
Mr McLoughlin interjected to state that when reference was made to repayment of the money, it did not necessarily mean paying the money back immediately, but in time. If one make a deal with the state that the state paid for one’s education, one had to pay it back at some point.
The Chairperson continued by saying he was concerned about the basis of the students’ demands for free education. The Freedom Charter did not promise free education, but funding on the basis of merit.
The support staff added to the recommendations made by the Committee, stating that the Committee should request documents and financial recovery plans from NSFAS. The additions were as follows:
- Writing off debt: there had been some movements around this issue. It gave a false impression to investors when money owed had not been repaid, but was reflected in the balance sheets.
- Abuse of the legal protections relating to debt repayments: beneficiaries of NSFAS funds had been abusing the good system we have in South Africa - that as long as someone could demonstrate that they were able to pay, it should be fine.
- Universities as intermediaries in NSFAS funding: the loan administration system had always been done through the universities, and the problem was that, because it was not the university’s core function to oversee loan agreements and repayment of the debt, they would not make an effort to tailor their use of resources. It was only recently that the NSFAS loan system had been centralised.
- Private sector assistance: companies who were the employers of beneficiaries needed to come forward and negotiate with the employee to have money deducted from the employee’s salary on behalf of NSFAS. This should be done where the employee can afford it. The blame cannot entirely lie with the student, nor with NSFAS, but it should be ensured that the issue was resolved.
- Economic performance of South Africa: the economy was not growing. We need to find new sources of funding.
- Lack of honesty in departments: this was seen as one of the biggest contributing factors to the Committee’s inability to exercise proper oversight.
- Solution going forward: maybe NSFAS should be linked with SARS, to allow a NSFAS loan to be deducted as a tax if the employee was a NSFAS beneficiary.
Ms Shope-Sithole raised the concern that departments would not voluntarily account unless they were compelled to do so. Departments did not approach the Committee for assistance, but rather ensured that the Committee did not receive what was required from them for proper oversight to be exercised. The Committee must reduce the time spent on boardroom presentations and meetings, and actively participate in the exercise of oversight. Too much reliance was placed on belief and trust – this was where the problem lay. Someone could easily say that they had five cars, but in reality there was only one car that operated. Research should also be done into the length of time that students stayed at a university, as this would be helpful to determine who was overusing the state’s money, and reallocate that money to new students who wanted to study. People would spend years at a university, beyond the years required for a PhD, and did so to avoid contributing to the economy.
Dr Figg was concerned about how the link between SARS and NSFAS would be established. The university should be included to contribute to a solution, as they knew when a student graduated. Sometimes the student started studying at one address, but then moved to a new address or changed their contact details ten times.
The Chairperson interjected to allow deliberations to take place on the draft report.
Dr Figg raised the point that it would be difficult to deliberate on the draft report while the other Members were not present. The Chairperson agreed, and said that Members should go over the draft report and submit their improvements to the Secretary.
The meeting was adjourned.