School Readiness for 2017

Basic Education

29 November 2016
Chairperson: Ms N Gina (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education presented their school readiness monitoring report for 2017. The presentation focused on Admissions and Registrations; School Management Planning; Teacher Provisioning; Learning and Teaching Resources; and Basic Infrastructure. DBE reported that over the past five years it has made significant progress in streamlining admissions, with the new online processes in Gauteng and the Western Cape doing very well. The main challenges experienced with admissions were migration to major cities and new settlements in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape. There were instances where schools in some provinces such as KZN and Western Cape, were still charging registration fees. There were also many inconsistencies in the application of admission policies by some schools primarily in some of the former Model C schools. Provinces close to national boundaries struggled with undocumented learners - mainly foreign learners, with North West and Gauteng experiencing shortages of classrooms and the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West being slow with their admission responses and the resolution of registered queries.

A sector plan for the procurement and delivery of Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM) is in place and has been communicated to all provinces. According to the sector plan, delivery of materials to the district/provincial/school warehouses should be between September and October of every year. As of 23 November 2016, there was 99.51% delivery of Volume One workbooks delivered to schools across all provinces, with a 32.78% delivery status of Volume Two workbooks for 2017. The 2015 retention and average retrieval rate of textbooks was currently at 85% as reported by provinces and therefore provinces were procuring top-ups at an estimated 15% rate. As of 19 November, stationery and textbook delivery progress reports were received from all provinces except Limpopo and Free State.

Textbook and workbook shortages or delays at schools can be reported telephonically on 086 100 4357, or to the Director of Learner and Teacher Support Material, Allan Subban, on (012) 3574195.

DBE said it had delivered 13 229 desks to 103 schools in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo to the value of more than R8 million this year.

Members were concerned with the lack of accurate reporting from provinces especially on sanitation; the maintenance of furniture was also neglected, and when the Portfolio Committee visited schools it was evident that the quality of furniture was not prioritised. The Chairperson sad her chief concern was what she described as “blind spots” in the delivery of textbooks, which was a provincial competency. During an inspection of schools in the Eastern Cape by the Committee, one school had not received a single textbook in three years.

Meeting report

School Readiness 2017 monitoring: Department of Basic Education briefing
Ms Palesa Tyobeka, DBE Deputy Director General, Oversight Unit, said the main areas of priority focus were: Admissions and Registrations; South African School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS); Post Provisioning Norms (PPN); Filling of Educator Posts; Learner and Teacher Support Materials (LTSM); Infrastructure and Curriculum Delivery (see document for full details and provincial tables).

The major focus has been to identify and address issues that have historically impacted negatively on the effective start of the academic year. These are: Registration of learners ahead of the start of the new academic year to minimise disruptions to learning and teaching; procuring LTSM (textbooks and stationery) ahead of the opening of schools to ensure they are ready for distribution to learners in the first week of school; and ensuring that all schools have the necessary teachers for all grades and subjects at the start of the academic year. At the national level, guiding frameworks and key milestones have been developed and provinces work within these frameworks to set their own timelines. Through the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM), the system agrees on a monitoring tool and provinces conduct their own monitoring while the DBE does sample monitoring.

Despite the significant progress registered, a few challenges still persist: Infrastructure, and in particular ablution facilities and furniture for both learners and teachers, in the predominantly rural provinces; timely delivery of LTSM (textbooks and stationery) in some provinces; and persistent challenges of teacher provisioning in the Eastern Cape.

Approach to School Readiness Monitoring 2017
Pre-closure readiness assessment
The DBE works with provinces and districts to monitor selected areas. Both levels of the system do their own monitoring in accordance with the agreed frameworks and milestones. A specially constituted DBE team complements provincial processes and conducts sample pre-closure assessment visits on behalf. For 2017, the visits – which target two districts per province – started on 07 November and were concluded on 25 November 2016.

The areas of focus during this round of school readiness assessment will to a large extent be limited to:
Admissions and Registrations;
School Management Planning;
Teacher Provisioning;
Learning and Teaching Resources; and
Basic Infrastructure.

Opening of schools readiness assessment
The opening of school readiness assessment will be conducted in January 2017. DBE officials will visit schools between 11 and 20 January 2017, the first two weeks after the opening of schools. Two districts per province, which were not part of the first round of visits, will be visited. Schools/districts where major concerns were picked up during the pre-closure assessment will also be revisited. Follow-up visits will take place from 15 to 26 May 2017 which check progress in a sample of schools identified to have challenges in the first two rounds of monitoring. This process takes forward telephonic monitoring of progress in resolving key challenges during the first two phases of school visits.

Admissions and Registration
Over the past five years the Education Department has made significant progress in streamlining admission processes.The following were key achievements in this area:
• The sector has institutionalised admissions in the year preceding a new academic year;
• Provinces release circulars guiding admission procedures annually;
• Committees were established to adjudicate on admission queries and placement of learners;
• The use of provincial websites to disseminate information was the norm in most provinces;
• There were robust admission advocacy campaigns;
• There was reduced tension between provincial education departments and school governing bodies;
• Gauteng (Grade 8 and 9 only) and the Western Cape managed admissions online.

Migration to major cities and new settlements continued to be a challenge in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape. There were instances where schools in some provinces such as KZN and Western Cape, were still charging registration fees. There were still inconsistencies in the application of admission policies by some schools primarily in some of the former Model C schools. Provinces close to national boundaries struggled with undocumented learners - mainly foreign learners. The North West and Gauteng experienced a shortage of classrooms and the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West were slow with their admission responses and the resolution of registered queries.

The placement of learners is still in progress across the country particularly in ‘hot spots’. Gauteng was experiencing the highest admissions challenge with:
- Total applications received (Grades 1 and 8): 297 505
- Total placed: 173 051
- Total unplaced: 124 454 (41%).
Western Cape has 29 330 unplaced learners for 2017. Details were provided of hot spots in other provinces.

The South African School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS) was discussed.

Post Provisioning
Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) are expected to have declared their post establishments and communicated this to all schools by 30 September 2016. The implementation of the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) has become one of the sector performance indicators assessed quarterly as part of reporting on sector performance. On 5 August 2016 all PEDs committed to issuing staff establishments to schools by the 30 September 2016. A provincial breakdown was provided.

PEDs have submitted their plans for the filling of vacancies in 2017 and this will be monitored and reported on quarterly. They have submitted their plans on the placement of excess educators – this will be monitored and reported on quarterly. Gauteng, North West and Western Cape have submitted their plans for the placement of Funza Lushaka graduates in 2017; other provinces have not yet submitted.

Tables were provided of all excess educators and Post Level One temporary teachers in each province.

Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSM)
A sector plan for the procurement and delivery of LTSM is in place and has been communicated to all provinces. According to the sector plan, delivery of materials to the district/provincial/school warehouses should be between September and October of every year. The key focus areas in the monitoring of LTSM provisioning are: Distribution of workbooks / textbooks/ stationery; Availability of an LTSM inventory; Availability of Braille materials and other assistive devices in special schools; Availability and effectiveness of the implementation of Textbook Retrieval Policies.

As of 23 November 2016, there was 99.51% delivery of Grade R Volume One workbooks delivered to schools across all provinces, with a 32.78% delivery status of Grade R Volume Two workbooks for 2017. The 2015 retention and average retrieval rate was 85% as reported by provinces and therefore provinces were procuring top-ups at an estimated 15% rate. The 2015 average Universal Coverage was 93% as reported by provinces. This percentage includes all forms of text material. The provincial retention rate as well as the Universal Coverage rate for 2016 will be reported by provinces in February 2017 as per the Sector Plan. From reports received from provinces, shortages are addressed as and when they arise.

As of 19 November, stationery and textbook delivery progress reports were received from all provinces except Limpopo and Free State.

Infrastructure
Readiness monitoring will focus primarily on the minimum which includes:
• Safe and clean ablution facilities;
• Sufficient classroom accommodation;
• School furniture for learners and teachers;
• Scholar transport where required.

Monitoring will however also focus on the critical strategic areas such as sanitation, water, electricity and inappropriate structures; and school maintenance plans to ensure that the necessary maintenance, upgrading and rehabilitation of existing assets are being planned for and implemented.

Sanitation
DBE reported that Limpopo, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Western Cape had achieved 100% sanitation facilities by May 2015. Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu Natal had achieved 100% of their targets by November 2016. Sanitation facilities were still required at 61 Eastern Cape and 5 Free State schools. Thus only 66 schools in the country still had sanitation requirements.

Water
DBE reported that KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape all reached 100% of their targets, with the Eastern Cape at 83% (58 schools) and Free State at 65% (23 schools). The other provinces were indicated as not having any schools without water.

Electricity
There was a 50% overall target reached across the country, with Limpopo and Northern Cape reaching 100%; the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West all at 50%, 65%, 45%, 68% and 73% respectively. Gauteng and Western Cape were fully electrified when the first survey was done in October 2014.

Replacement of Inappropriate Schools
The DBE has since October 2014 focused on replacing schools that were built with inappropriate material such as mud, metal, asbestos, and wood. Of the total of 699 schools identified, 217 schools had been completed at the end of September 2016. Some of the schools identified, have been considered non-viable schools and are part of the rationalisation and merger process. DBE is continuing to fast-track infrastructure delivery by:
• Increasing technical capacity through employing built environment specialists in provinces.
• Appointing a professional team of experts from public and private sector to work in partnership with DBE, Treasury and Eastern Cape PED on the process of rationalisation of schools in Eastern Cape.
Projects completed : Limpopo 100%; Northern Cape 9%; Eastern Cape 25%; Free State 40%; KwaZulu Natal 0%; Mpumalanga 62%; North West 100%; Gauteng 0%; Western Cape 85%.

School Furniture
A total of 7 939 schools were identified with shortages of furniture in the 2016/17 financial year. 1 249 468 units of school furniture were required to address this shortage, which was predominantly in KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Eastern Cape deliveries were currently taking place and were at 95%. Limpopo scheduling for delivery was underway for the third quarter of 2016, while in KwaZulu Natal, school furniture budget was included in their school funding norms. DBE had delivered 13 229 desks to 103 schools in Eastern Cape and Limpopo to the value of R 8 340 705 as at September 2016.

Learner Transport
Nationally, 524 662 learners in need of transport were identified but plans for provinces cater only for 405 047 learners in this financial year. In the first quarter, however, 420 526 learners were transported which was more than the targeted number. Transportation of learners was currently at 104% with Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Western Cape the only provinces transporting all learners who qualified for learner transport. The rest of the provinces were conducting audits, with the assistance of the DBE and the Department of Transport, to verify beneficiaries. On a quarterly basis, provinces were to provide progress reports on the transportation of learners. This is an area that still needs attention.

Curriculum Delivery
Monitoring and support of National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA) was reported on using tables.

Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS): Strengthening In 2017
A number of concerns have been received from teachers, subject specialists, parents and education stakeholders about the challenges in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). The concerns raised have been corroborated by the National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA) quarterly reports and the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT). The report on the inputs received from provinces during the School-Based Assessment (SBA) workshops (April-June 2016) were presented to the HEDCOM meeting held on 17 October 2016 for discussion. HEDCOM recommended that some of the challenges should be addressed immediately so that these are ready for introduction to schools in 2017 to provide some relief and support to teachers and learners in the short term.

Mediating CAPS Challenges: Actions for Immediate Implementation in January 2017
• Reduction of assessment tasks per subject where subject has more than prescribed number of tasks;
• Weighting of assessment tasks in terms of time and mark allocation were to be provided where missing;
• Defining the actual tasks where there are none;
• Cognitive levels and difficulty levels to be stipulated for all subjects;
• Editorial corrections in the CAPS documents for some subjects; and
• Examination guidelines for the Intermediate and Senior Phases.

Preliminary Findings of Pre-Closure Readiness Monitoring
The number of schools monitored as at 9 November 2016 stood at 186 nationally. The areas of challenge were that over 50% of schools had not conducted School Self-Evaluations, particularly in the EC, KZN, LP, MP and NW. PEDs have set up robust systems to address challenges with admissions and registrations. However, preliminary findings reveal that there are still challenges with admissions. Only 40% of the schools monitored had finalised admissions and registrations. The filling of posts is also still slow in some provinces (based on schools visited). Most affected were schools in KZN, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.

•  PEDs had to publish post establishments every September. This has been an area of major improvement with 94% of schools monitored so far having reported to have received post establishments for 2017.
• Significant progress has been made in the provisioning of LTSM nationally. However, there were still schools where textbook retrieval systems were either not in place or not fully functional. Schools monitored in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga showed weaknesses. None of the schools monitored in the Eastern Cape had a textbook retrieval policy.
• Schools received an allocation for minor repairs and maintenance on infrastructure. Although significant progress has been recorded in assisting schools to utilise this allocation, more than 50% of schools monitored in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West did not have an infrastructure maintenance plan for 2017.

Parliamentary Visits
During the weeks of 12-16 September 2016, 19-22 September 2016 and 17-21 October 2016 Parliamentarians conducted oversight visits in Limpopo and Eastern Cape. The focus of the 2016 visits was on education, water and sanitation, health, roads and transport, social development, energy. Schools, teacher centres, Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, community and public libraries were visited. Committee reports were given to DBE about the challenges identified and action required in the two provinces. DBE report in detail on the action taken and the envisaged timelines (see document for progress).

The challenges identified in the Eastern Cape were:
Provisioning of scholar transport for deserving learners.
Development of infrastructure in early childhood development centres.
Implementation of the policy on Teacher incentives for rural areas
The rationalisation of small and non-viable schools
The lack of security and safety in the schools
Shortage of learning and teaching support materials
Clarification of the roles with regards to the curriculum and support in pre-Grade R settings
Provision of support to the implementation of the Incremental Implementation of African Languages (IIAL) through provisioning of IsiXhosa and Sesotho Teachers.
Non-completion of syllabus by schools
Lack of therapists and assistive devices

The challenges identified in Limpopo were:
• Rivoni School for the Blind did not have nurses, Social Workers, Orientation and Mobility Instructors, Braille Instructor, Administrators, and Teacher assistants.
• Setotolwane Special School requested for top-up Braille notebooks for use by blind learners to solve problems on Braille textbooks.
• The payment of the stipend to ECD practitioners is often delayed and is not on par with other provinces.
• Temporary educators were not paid their salaries on time.
• The PED needs to increase the budget for teacher development.
• Masakona-Rasikhutha School was recently merged. The process of finalising the merger was slow and was a challenge to the school.
• From 29 July 2016, 23 out of 38 teachers from NtjiMothapho Primary School have not been teaching because 28 classrooms were fitted with cameras. The 23 teachers are SADTU members.
• There is need for further unpacking of modularisation of progressed learners to stakeholders and schools.
• The Limpopo Department of Education needs to coordinate education stakeholders more efficiently.
• Torched schools in Vuwani had shortages of LTSM
• Mugoidwa Secondary School did not have eating utensils
• Declaration and implementation of the PPN was a challenge, particularly Peter Morkel Model
• The PED is not paying a full allocation of the Norms and Standards as per gazetted national norm.
• Infrastructure challenges
• A teacher at Munnik Primary School had been absent from work for more than nine months.

Ms Tyobeka concluded that School Readiness Monitoring is central to the efficient functioning of the schooling system. The coherent manner in which the DBE and the provinces work around ensuring readiness for a new academic year is having positive spinoffs at district and school level – with strengthened focus on these key areas.

Discussion
The Chairperson said that the sanitation slide was worrying as it was not a true representation of what was on the ground, especially what the Committee saw on its oversight visits. This needed to be rectified as this was not true. The Department needed to ensure that it receives correct reports from provinces and hold those responsible to account.

Ms D van der Walt (DA) asked about the accuracy of the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) report and stated that in Mpumalanga, in the Emalahleni area, there were no toilets or no water in the toilets, no sanitary bins, no access to sanitation facilities available to the learners. With the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), if one went to the northern KwaZulu Natal areas, there were challenges and some schools were not used immediately; she asked what was being done with those schools. She stated that she is very annoyed by today’s presentation as the Committee is being lied to with regards to reporting. The President had said in 2014 that 820 schools would be provided with furniture in the Eastern Cape, how far was that promise in its realisation?

Ms J Basson (ANC) said that she supports the Chairperson’s proposal on provinces providing progress reports on a regular basis to the Department and the Committee. In Limpopo there were no deliveries made of LTSM and this needs to be looked into. What was presented by the Department is not what the Committee sees when they do oversight visits. On undocumented learners, there were foreign learners coming into provinces. How is the Eastern Cape getting ready with the merging and rationalisation of schools for 2017? Learner transport will also be an issue in that province given the number of schools that need to be realigned. She asked whether the Vuwani schools that were destroyed, were those schools ready for 2017.

Mr D Mnguni (ANC) said that he has been to the provinces and once again what has been seen on the ground is very different to what has been reported on. He added that provinces need to represent themselves during these presentations.

Mr G Davis (DA) reiterated the concerns raised by Committee Members and that in their presentation the DBE stated that all schools in Limpopo have sanitation, but there are picture that disprove this as fact. He asked what was wrong with the DBE system if they could not pick up such blatant distortions and misrepresentation. On unplaced learners, why did Gauteng have this problem, did it have anything to do with the online system? Why was KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape struggling to fill teacher vacancies? He noted that a number of concerns about CAPS have been raised by education stakeholders and asked what were those concerns.

Ms H Boshoff (DA) said the Department of Correctional Services was to be approached to make desks, what has been done about that? While on oversight in Limpopo, 700 teacher posts were said to be canceled, was there a report on that? There were also rumours that 400 posts in Mpumalanga were to be cancelled. She asked if there could be a report on how many people are in acting posts in the education sector. There was a question of appointing janitors for each school to ensure maintenance is delivered, what were the steps made on this?

Mr H Khosa (ANC) asked about the inconsistencies with admissions, were there standard guidelines that needed to be followed and what happened to those in violation of these? The vacancy rate versus excess educators, there were vacancies and excess educators for all levels of teaching; what was being done to ensure redeployments to fill certain posts? What plans were in place to ensure furniture maintenance?

Ms C Majeke (UDM) asked what was being done for learners who were affected by drugs and alcohol. They went out for lunch break and then came back intoxicated. There were a number of learners who were affected by this and the DBE needed to address this.

Mr T Khoza (ANC) wanted to emphasis furniture quality and how that needed to be taken seriously.

The Chairperson said that the DBE was at a disadvantage as they reported from paper reports received from the provinces and could not be expected to visit all 25 000 schools, but there needed to be real representation of what was on the ground. There is a huge problem with the delivery of textbooks and there needed to be serious focus on this. The provincial commitment of supplying textbooks to schools needs attention from DBE and there needs to be a plan of assistance from the national Department. There also needs to be serious attention given to the quality of textbooks that the provinces procure. There is a separation between Section 21 and 20 schools which are not properly reported on. Except Gauteng, all other provinces excluded section 21 schools in their reporting and oversight.

DBE response
Ms Tyobeka said that she appreciates the work of the Committee as an entity that has oversight on the Department and that there is assurance that the DBE does not plan to present false facts to the Committee.These were not plans for 2017, but was a report on readiness and what has been done up to now. There are some tasks that are easier to track and monitor than others which requires more scrutiny from the Department.

On sanitation, water and electricity, Ms Tyobeka said that facts presented were what provinces have said to the Department not what was uncovered by the Department. The Minister is aware and very concerned with the state of sanitation in schools and had a teleconference with all nine provinces to rouse them to articulate their plans. This has resulted in all provinces releasing their plans for these needs. The furniture delivery promise is one the DBE has adhered to, however delivery was stopped as there were disparities in supply, as some schools were oversupplied, with others being undersupplied. Undocumented learners is a challenge that the Department is trying to deal with and ensure that every person in the country is documented and DBE has developed a partnership with Home Affairs mobile to go to schools to assist with documentation.

The Eastern Cape is ready for the realignment and the merging of schools in the province which is being led by a team headed by Jonathan Gordon and strides are being made. The Peter Morkel Model is a problem in the Eastern Cape and there is a team from the DBE working with the Eastern Cape team to ensure that the model works and the misinterpretation and misuse of the policy is rectified. The Vuwani schools are to be made ready like all schools in the country to ensure learners safety – furniture as well as accommodation is available. The DBE has a call centre to allow members of the public to raise concerns they may have with the sector and if issues are not resolved, there is follow-up on these.

All provincial districts will be presented with readiness information on 1 December and on 5 December these will be raised to HEDCOM. She said the Committee should trust the statistics coming from the Department. However, not the infrastructure ones as NEIMS was not updated so the figures presented were out of date and thus wrong, but everything else it has reported on is true and factual. Unplaced learners in Gauteng had to do more with space availability, not the new online application/registration system. She added that there are questions she cannot respond too as the relevant team members were not present, the Department will however provide responses in writing for those.

With teacher placements and vacancies in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape, rurality comes into play as teachers are not keen to be placed in rural schools. The Funza LuShaka learners are placed provincially, but there were a few issues with those that the DBE is working to rectify and correct. There is a MOU in place with Correctional Services and there was work being done. The number of teachers in acting positions will be provided in writing to the Committee with a sector breakdown as requested. There was no alignment between excess teachers and vacancies due to the profile of the teacher and where they are based.

Mr Suren Govender, DBE Chief Director: Curriculum, replied to the questions on CAPS. The concerns raised were about over burdening and the administrative load on teachers. The Minister then held a public dialogue to ensure that all concerns were dealt with. He said that CAPS is the most efficient model the Department has in place, notwithstanding the challenges that have been identified with CAPS, with the DBE addressing them constructively. A National Subject Committee has been formed, which meet twice a year, to ensure that all education matters raised per subject are addressed. There were also school based workshops n all nine provinces to ensure engagement with all issues at provincial level. Every quarter, reports were presented by provinces which allowed the Department to keep abreast of all issues. There were several challenges which were grouped into two areas: assessment and content.

A large number of challenges under ‘assessment’ were primarily about tasks being weighted too high or not weighted at all. There were also tasks that did not indicate if they were mandatory or were attached to a choice factor. There were also informal assessments that were not regularised. Under ‘content’, there were subjects that teachers needed to teach, but were of a very broad manner. Topics needed to be covered, but the timeframes were too tight for them to be covered. The knowledge content that the Department wanted learners to engage with was not matched with cognitive levels. Going forward the DBE has set short, medium and long term solutions to problems. The short term has been the finalisation of a book that has all the raised concerns and solutions to each of them; this will be implemented in January 2017. There are other changes that will be long term which may require policy changes and regulation changes. A CAPS task team has been set up to deal and consult about these. It has had two meeting so far and a report will be ready soon which will assist with the medium and long term plans.

Mr Allan Subban, DBE Director: LTSM, said textbook retrieval was an issue that was prevalent in the system where textbooks were not returned and schools were faced with low supply the following year. On the proof of delivery in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, there were tracked orders and payment of orders for each school and the Department was planning to hyperlink those to delivery. The stationery tender in Limpopo is being finalised and there were meetings to ensure that books and stationery will be delivered at the start of the school year. There were quarterly meetings with provinces to look into how they were reporting on LTSM delivery and in order to get information. His office number is 012 367 4195 and schools can call it to make delivery queries and raise concerns. A new call centre has been established to deal with textbook queries and concerns, the number is 086 1004 357. This is to be used by any school which does not get textbooks or has a shortage of textbooks.

The delivery of workbooks is separated by volumes as Workbook One is used from the beginning of the school year to end of June. Workbook Two is used from July and the overall delivery for both workbooks is at 60%. The Department is meeting with Limpopo and the Free State has placed their orders and the plan is to deliver before the start of the school year. Special schools, like ordinary schools, receive a budget for the purchasing of LTSM. Braille workbooks are being supplied to all schools for the visually impaired.

The Chairperson noted in Limpopo the tender process is still being finalised for the delivery of stationery and textbooks. This is not news as the province has been that one province with problems and challenges. With the tender process not finalised, this does not sit well with the Committee as the time is too late in the year and could have implications for next year. She asked DBE to provide progress reports on what intervention or progress is being made in that province which must be communicated to the Committee.

Ms van der Walt noted that today was the first deadline of the Norms and Standards for Minimum School Infrastructure to ensure that all schools have access to water, electricity, sanitation and all inappropriate schools were rebuilt. This means that the Department did not make the deadline and, according to the media, that will be reviewed. She pointed out that the Department does have enough funds, but the spending is the issue. The Minister added during the 14 November press conference that the Eastern Cape did not receive all its allocation as it could not spend it – rather the funds were diverted to other provinces. She added that the ASIDI programme was delivering schools, but there was a serious problem with the programme and how targets are set and therefore not met. What is needed is for the Department to clearly state which of the identified schools have been built, where were they built and were they finished and handed over complete with all the resources needed for teaching and learning.

The Chairperson said that this topic is set for next year and there will be a presentation on ASIDI.

Mr Davis said that they are disappointed at the management of statistics by the Department and it never stated that those figures were “provincial” and not final, that seems to be a norm with the Department once challenged by Members. On teacher provision, matric results in rural provinces continue to fall yearly due to teachers not wanting to be sent to these provinces. Learners in those provinces will continue to fall behind and he asked about the rural allowance incentive and if it was working.

The Chairperson asked what DBE was doing about the language policy.

Ms Tyobeka replied that statistics provided by the Department were not preliminary but those that do not align were those on NEIMS and those received from provinces. Everything else was credible and represented factually. The challenge of teachers not wanting to be deployed to rural provinces is something that is important to the Department and they are working at plans to ensure incentives work and the Department is more than happy to make a detailed presentation on the policy and what has come about since its inception. Funza Lushaka is a means that is assisting the Department with rural deployments. There will be a comprehensive report on ASIDI next year from the Department to inform the Committee fully.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for their engagement and added that those issues raised today will be added to the agenda for next year for full discussion as there will be another 2017 readiness presentation at the beginning of 2017.

The meeting was adjourned.

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