Safety in Schools: DBE & SAPS briefing; Feedback on KZN Oversight Visit

Basic Education

12 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms N Mokoto (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education received briefings on safety in schools from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the South African Police Service (SAPS). It was also given a report back by the KwaZulu-Natal DBE on the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations following its oversight visit to the province.

 

The Department said it had established a working relationship with the SAPS, and it was evident in the protocol which had been signed. There was a linkage between management and disturbances in schools, as good management resulted in fewer disruptions. The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) had conducted two surveys on crime and violence in schools. Learners who did not experience bullying scored 68 points higher than those who were bullied. Learners who frequently spoke the language of the test scored 60 points higher than those who did not, and learners in households with a post-Grade 12 education scored 43 points higher in maths than those who did not.

The prevention of bullying in schools was currently being dealt with, but rates of bullying were extremely high. However, that was also due to increased exposure and coverage from the media. Addressing corporal punishment was a key issue. Accessibility of alcohol and drugs were found to influence the levels of violence within schools. The DBE had developed a national strategy for the prevention and management of alcohol and drug use among learners. The objective was to strengthen safety in schools and the community and allow each member to take an active role create linkages between the schools and the SAPS, and to raise awareness and mobilise communities to encourage the establishment of a reporting system.

Members asked why schools were near shebeens, and how the issue of shebeen owners could be dealt with when they argued that schools were built near the shebeens, and not vice versa. Out of 1 000 learners tested, 66% had tested positive to drugs, so what was the Department of Social Development doing to assist parents and learners to get these learners “clean,” as no learner could learn while on drugs. Was the DBE effectively using the reporting system as some learners, young as they were, were threatened at school and therefore failed to report incidents. Was there a way learners could report issues anonymously without being identified?

The DBE KwaZulu-Natal stated that the Committee conducted an investigation following the reports of various forms of discrimination in schools. Schools had been instructed to comply with the Bill of Rights and respect human rights, as entrenched in the constitution, and school governing bodies (SGB’s) had been advised to revisit their individual school policies to ensure that they did not contradict legislation. An audit of schools with extra textbooks had been conducted in order to reallocate those books to the neediest schools. For consequence management over staff, the Department had put policies in place that were applied to all its employees in cases of breach of codes. Learner transport was an issue, and ferry boats in specific areas were also recommended, as a study conducted by the Department gave evidence that 181 schools had learners that crossed rivers or dams on their way to school. The Department had purchased eight boats of which four had been delivered. There were already indications that the project would not be sustainable.

Members felt that schools needed to be advised on using the money allocated to them for specific purposes. Was furniture distributed to the schools in KZN which needed it? Was the lack of furniture in the rural schools which had been visited, as these schools produced good learner results? If using the ferry boats was already deemed to be unsustainable, why could the DBE not just consult the necessary departments on building small bridges to allow children and teachers to cross the rivers safely? 

Meeting report

DBE: School Safety Report

Mr Paseka Njobe, Director, School Safety: Department of Basic Education (DBE), said that there was a working relationship between the DBE and the SA Police Service (SAPS), and it was evident in the protocol which had been signed. The core purpose of the Department was teaching and learning, but social issues were undermining the core business of learning. In order to prioritise what needed to be done, the Department questioned whether it was still possible to protect learning and teaching due to the social constraints which presented themselves, and which were not allocated for in the DBE’s mandate or its budget. The social issues emanated in broader civil society, and made it harder for learning to take place. However, that there was an improvement in research. It was extremely hard to get learners into teaching and learning once they were disrupted, and statements would be made in the oncoming presentations about what was being done to combat those challenges.

He said that the presentation covered areas around the overview, data and scope of problems that were dealt with, and the response to the issues. The substance of the presentation dealt with bullying and violence in schools. School violence was common in schools and was a reflection of social issues. There was a linkage between management and disturbances in schools, as good management indicated fewer disruptions.

The survey which mapped out the issue was reflected upon. The research organ used was the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP), which had conducted two surveys on crime and violence in schools. The location of violence in schools varied from toilets to classrooms, and even to the principal’s office. The studies of 2008 and 2012 indicated the levels of violence and theft. It reflected that female learners were highly affected and feared being in the vicinity of the schools. Females were also more exposed in secluded environments like toilets where they were the most vulnerable and victimised. The presentation showed general household surveys on learners who received corporal punishment from 2011 to 2015, indicating the levels of corporal punishment in metropolitan areas.

Mr Njobe said that bullying was recorded on a weekly basis, and the household education above matric and bullying was related, as learners who were not bullied scored 68 points higher than those who were bullied. Learners who frequently spoke the language of the test scored 60 points higher than those who did not, and learners in households with post Grade 12 education scored 43 points higher in maths than those who did not. It was indicated that those who experienced bullying in schools almost weekly scored extremely low in achievement outcomes, while those who did not, scored exceptionally in achievement outcomes

The first thing the DBE had done was to create and share a mandate, and in 2011 the protocol was signed and implemented. Programmes to address violence in schools, and parental and community support interventions to support safety in schools, were created. The DBE SAPS protocol linked schools to the local police and created school safety audits that schools themselves could do in order to create their own school safety plan, and one of the structures was that the school had to have a School Safety Committee. This mobilised communities to take ownership of schools and implement school-based crime prevention programmes. About 23 000 schools were linked to their local police stations.

Mr Njobe said that with the DBE SAPS protocol, specialised interventions were created for hotspots in collaboration with SAPS, and policing patrols were provided at periodic hours -- morning, midday and after school. Joint planning with SAPS and the DBE was done. Searches and seizures at identified hotspot schools were randomly done, to address the presence of drugs and weapons in schools. The closure of illegal shebeens within a 500m radius of schools was also done.

The prevention of bullying in schools was currently being dealt with. Rates of bullying were extremely high, however, which was also due to increased exposure and coverage from the media. The focus was on physical, cyber and homophobic bullying, and training manuals on the prevention and management of these types of bullying had been developed and made available to schools. The DBE had developed an E-Safety Guideline to address cyber-bullying. “STOP, WALK AND TALK” was the slogan for the campaign which would be launched in February/March 2018, and would be rolled out in schools.

He said that addressing corporal punishment was a key issue. The Minister had hosted a school safety summit in December 2015 to discuss the challenges related to school safety and seek innovative solutions to address the scourge of corporal punishment. Accessibility of alcohol and drugs was found to influence the levels of violence within schools. As a result, the Department had developed a national strategy for the prevention and management of alcohol and drug use amongst learners in schools. A guide to drug testing in South Africa was developed and made available to schools. This area required increased cooperation between various arms of government, such as Education, Social Development, Health and Police. He added that the provision of psycho-social support to affected learners, in partnership with the Department of Social Development, was being implemented.

South African Police Service: School Safety Programme

Maj General Maruping Mamotheti, Component Head: Social Crime Prevention, Visible Policing, SAPS,  stated the overview and aims of the protocol. The objective was to strengthen safety in schools as well as in the community, and allow each member to take an active role in the linkage between the schools and SAPS. This was also to raise awareness and mobilise communities to encourage the establishment of a reporting system. At each school, there would be a coordinator of the school who was a member of SAPS to deal with issues. The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West were still lacking in the linkages to the schools and SAPS, but emphasis was placed on the Eastern Cape, as they were having issues with linkages. 23 064 schools were linked out of 24 844, and 1 780 schools were yet to be linked.

Programmes jointly identified by SAPS and the DBE included substance abuse, safety awareness, teenage pregnancy, theft, vandalism, gender-based violence and sexual offences, and in some programmes the Department of Health was taking part. Iidentification needed to be made of hotspot schools. They were identified on the basis of the crime or threats, and the local Crime Threats Analysis (CTA) was utilised for this purpose. Elements of school safety programmes were crime prevention, school-based crime prevention and awareness campaigns, and community crime awareness programmes aimed at schools. A total number of 6 882 programmes had been conducted at those schools which were not hotspots.

Challenges included early interventions that were required to address behavioural and social challenges, inadequate infrastructure of medical examinations. One SAPS member was required to serve multiple schools in addition to having to perform other functions. Lastly, there was inadequate involvement of other departments.

A way forward meant joint annual planning had to be conducted, and standardised monitoring and evaluation tools must utilised. Joint interventions would be conducted to address the emerging challenges at identified schools. SAPS would continue to strive for the alignment of databases. There would be a focus on strengthening the committees to include a civil society representative. SAPS were able to close 15 100 illegal liquor outlets within a 500m proximity from schools in 2016, and from April to September 2017 it had closed a further 5 120 outlets.

Discussion

Ms J Basson (ANC) said that the topic was a really worrying factor, and it was highly publicised in the media. The problem was still huge, and while there were strategies and programmes, the violence continued. She asked if it was because the strategies were inadequate or not effective. The Northern Cape was the highest in bullying, and the province was linked, yet the bullying remained high. Recently the news had been dominated by KwaZulu-Natal, but the presentation slides had shown nothing about KwaZulu-Natal. Why was this? How were these programmes being monitored, and were they functional, or were they just there for compliance purposes? Both presentations had referred to the closing of shebeens. How could the issue of shebeen owners be dealt with when they argued that schools hadbeen built near the shebeen, and not vice versa? For oversight, some programmes mentioned were available to schools, but were they accessible at each and every school?

Mr D Khosa (ANC) said he was happy with the relationship between the DBE and SAPS. The issue was where one police station equalled four schools, but where he came from, it was where a satellite police station equalled 30 schools. The situation now was that people did not see the learners getting drugs from schools, not from teachers, but from drug lords in the communities, so that needed to be dealt with. Some shebeens had licences, but the state of the shebeens and the environment were not good. How effective were committees like the Students Representative Councils (SRCs) in schools? With regard to corporal punishment, only one NGO had responded on that, and he was awaiting the DBE’s response. Was there capacity to carry out policing and patrols when one had cases like a satellite police station dealing with 30 schools?

Mr I Ollis (DA) said that the DA was doing research by site visiting, and the results were bad. For example, a teacher was not reported for alleged sexual assault or rape, and the school had been more worried that a vacancy would occur. Some cases were so bad that children were offered money not to report them. An intervention was required to inform and educate parents not to take the money and “hush up” the cases, but to go and report them. Another finding was that when the principal and teachers went on strike, some learners remained behind and sexual assaults took place. As a result, there should be a declaration that no learners should be on school premises without adult supervision. 1 000 learners had been tested, and 66% had tested positive for drugs. What was the Department of Social Development being asked to do? Parents and learners needed programmes to get learners off drugs, as no learner could learn while on drugs. It seemed the police in the Eastern Cape were asleep, as the total number of schools not linked in the Eastern Cape was over 1 000, and this was not the case in the other provinces, so something must be done about this urgently.

Mr L Ntshayisa (ANC) agreed that the Department’s core business was teaching. It should not just be a matter of coming together with SAPS, but also working together for success. Teachers should be trained to be able to pick up disturbances among children who are bullied, and then report it quickly. Corporal punishment would lead to anger in learners, and then lead to violence -- learners would band together and then turn on the teachers. Schools should also learn to exercise and observe the rule of law. The 500m radius for liquor outlets was not enough -- it should be at least 1km, whether they were illegal or legal. There should be involvement of other stakeholders, such as traditional leaders, in those areas.

The Chairperson said she appreciated the infrastructure that had been put in place so far, and even though some was inadequate, it provided a baseline at least and most of the schools were secured, as in the past it had been easy for thugs to enter schools and do what they wanted. In most cases, issues of trauma, violence and security did not emerge from the schools but emerged from learners’ backgrounds, and it needed joint action. Counselling and psycho-social support was particularly critical for learners, as they were exposed to things which could emotionally traumatise them, and this was lacking. The DBE should have developed peer counselling and included it in the development. Although the DBE did not have sufficient resources at schools, it could always have a peer counselling system if no counsellor was available for the school. She noted the issue of the involvement of stakeholders, as she did not hear of police reservists.

The Chairperson asked if the Department was effectively using the reporting system, as some learners -- young as they were -- were threatened and therefore failed to report it. Was there a way the learners could report the matter anonymously without being identified? The Department should actually consider a hotline which should be made known to the learners and parents, and even communities, to assist with the monster of violence. How effective were school safety communities? What was the alternative to corporal punishment, because learners fought with teachers and the reports did not refer to the violence against teachers or scholar transport or various staff of schools, so where did the Department classify that? Were the violence levels higher in high schools or primary schools, by comparison?

DBE Response

Mr Hubert Mweli, Director General, DBE, said he did not recall a comparison between primary and secondary schools but would go back and check the data, as Grade 5 and Grade 9 were covered and could provide some conclusion about the split between the two. The abolition of corporal punishment was not confined to schools only -- no one was allowed to administer corporal punishment in the country. The violence in schools had to be nipped in the bud, and learners should learn in a conducive environment.

Social issues distracted the Department from its core business of education and learning, and if more attention was paid to those issues, no time would be left to push for quality issues of education that needed to be dealt with. There were cases where learners had to walk over bodies to get to schools and classrooms in gang violence areas, and it could not be resolved just by the DBE. He agreed that the DBE needed to work hand in hand with all stakeholders to nip this issue in the bud. What he had seen since working as part of the committee was that education, health and social development were the gaps in development that needed to be focused on. Positive behaviour and intervention support was the alternative to corporal punishment.

He said that there was a hotline, and its number was even distributed in the workbooks received by all schools in South Africa. The Department would continue to popularise it, as there was a provincial and a Presidential hotline. Peer counselling and school-based support teams would also be used for counselling and support, and this would be popularised. Many departments were indeed working together, and evidence was even made of the work being done with the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Referring to school safety, he said the fencing was an issue. When fencing was removed, it was for various reasons such as building shacks, or getting free water from schools, and the main issue was to gain access to schools. The increase in technology in schools also increased theft and vandalism. This was a big societal problem, as schools were even paying security services for personnel to protect the school and its belongings.

He said that the involvement of traditional leaders was welcomed. It was a good idea that the radius of the shebeens from the schools be increased.

At those schools which did not observe the law, learners should not hit back at teachers when receiving corporal punishment, but instead report it. Teachers were overwhelmed, as there was increasingly little involvement by parents, and teachers were even taking on the responsibility of parents.

In instances where there was a strike, there were challenges, especially if principals were involved. What was usually done was a survey to assess the involvement of teachers and principals, and to take precautions.

In the cases where parents were accepting money to keep quiet about sexual assault and rape, these were linked to poverty and social decay. With regards to the assertion that if teachers were reported, then posts would be vacant, that was untrue. The post remained valid and the only reason for principals to choose teachers over students was where favoritism took place, and this was bad. It showed that learners were not in the right hands.

He urged that the research conducted by the DA be shared and made available to the Department, as it could prove to be beneficial. The SRCs and school governing bodies (SGBs) should all come together under the Quality of Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC). It had served well in many areas, but the Department could do better.

Dealing with drug lords in communities, the SAPS could help with that as drug lords even recruited learners to sell drugs for them. Illegal shebeens would be dealt with, but for legal shebeens there were other measures to follow.

Dealing with cyber bullying through social media and various other forms of media was complicated, as there was very fast implementation and measures implemented through reports. There was no decline in school violence, but an increase in media coverage due to technology, although this did not mean that there was an unprecedented increase in the levels of violence and bullying.

He said that the province with the highest reported bullying according to the presentation was not even Northern Cape, but the Free State. He agreed the strategies and programmes did not stop violence, but there was positive feedback about the programmes being used to decrease violence.

Maj General Mamotheti said that SAPS took note of the monitoring, and as the DG had indicated, SAPS would work with the DBE. She agreed that whatever the programmes were at the local level, SAPS would be able to check if they were working or not.

Mr Ollis said one of the black spots against the DBE was the vetting of educators. The sexual offences register was inadequate. There was a gap, so criminal educators were not getting blacklisted before they could obtain a position in a different province where there were different measures.

Ms Basson asked to whom the Community Policing Forums (CPF’s) were accountable, because sometimes when taking an issue to them, they resisted or one was met with excuses. As learners were bringing dangerous weapons to school, were random searches still being conducted?

Mr Khosa said that when he spoke of capacity, he not saying SAPS was not doing its work -- he was saying that SAPS did not have enough resources to do the work.

Mr Mweli agreed about the vetting, but corrected Mr Ollis not to say “black spot,” but rather blind spot, as he was a black person. He would go back and find out, because as far as he knew, if someone was dismissed from the system, that person could not re-enter it. The Community Police Forum (CPF) was servicing the community, and it was not right for any CPF to say it was not being paid to deal with this or that. The CPF was there to help identify issues and report them to the local police.

He thanked Mr Khosa for clarity on the issue of capacity. The specialised units administered situations and then responded, so in terms of that capacity, SAPS was able to support satellite police stations and police stations in general.

Mr Mweli also mentioned that the Department had received notice of possible industrial action from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) on 17 October. The issues involved dated as far back as 2014.

KwaZulu-Natal Oversight Visit: Implementation of Recommendations

Dr Enoch Nzama, Head of Department: DBE, KwaZulu-Natal, said that the Committee had conducted an investigation following the reports of various forms of discrimination in schools, like the Nazareth Church learners who were forced to cut their hair. He said that circular 20 of 2017 and KZN circular 73 of 2016 had been issued to inform schools to comply with the Bill of Rights and respect human rights as entrenched in the Constitution, and SGBs were advised to revisit their individual school policies.

On the process of filling vacancies, school-based posts were always prioritised and School Management Team (SMT) posts were advertised twice every year. Level 1 posts were filled immediately, using excess educators and bursary holders to ensure continuity in curriculum delivery. Office-based educators and public service posts were frozen immediately by Treasury upon becoming vacant. For any post to be advertised and filled, the recommendation and approval had to be granted by the Premier.

The third issue that had come up was that schools that had a shortage of textbooks must be supplied immediately. Queries raised were in respect of seven schools. An audit of schools with extra textbooks was conducted in order to reallocate such books to the neediest schools. Schools were encouraged to opt for central procurement in order to benefit from the maximum discount, thereby getting more for less.

With regard to reviewing the subject streaming/combinations for affected schools, KZN was reviewing guidelines in collaboration with the Department for the streams/packages that could not be offered by schools. This was done taking into account the enrolment of each school and the availability of resources --physical, human and financial. Low enrolment schools automatically suffered the consequences of low Post Provisioning Norms (PPNs), thereby being unable to have diverse curriculum streams. Schools were directed to streamline their subject packages to ensure that every subject had a teacher. The process was long term, since other Grade 10 and Grade 11 learners were already split into various streams. Excess educators from other schools were deployed to work over and above the PPN just until the streamline was finalised. The whole programme of re-streaming would take two years.

On consequence management over staff, he said that the Department had put policies in place that were applied to all its employees in cases of breach of codes. These were applicable to all personnel, whether they were educators or public service staff. Compulsory induction programmes were conducted for all new appointees to ensure that the policies of the Department were well understood and adhered to.

Regarding the budget allocations for learner transport and ensuring that all were qualifying learners, some schools were unable to have sufficient educators to teach all subjects due to low enrolment. This required that the Grade 12 learners be relocated to a nearby, reasonably bigger and better performing school, which in turn had implications for learner transport. This special arrangement required a separate allocation of transport to those affected learners. The budget of the learner transport last year was R185 million, and this year it was R195 million. Next year, it would be R202 million. Other learners in lower grades were assisted by deploying excess educators to be placed over the PNN until permanent relocation/merging was finalised. The Department had allocated a budget of R10 million to this cause.

The shortage of qualified and experienced maths and science educators was a national challenge. Funza Lushaka was one vehicle to train educators in the field. After graduation, educators were deployed to mostly rural districts where it would have been impossible to find a fully qualified educator. A challenge remained of retaining such teachers in rural areas, as they tended to have a wider choice than the rest in other subjects, and often found it easy to relocate. He said that a policy should be developed which forced these teachers to serve in disadvantaged districts for a certain period before they were allowed to relocate. The province should also make use of foreign educators who were qualified in the subjects. However, the process of confirming their status in the country sometimes took long, hindering their activation on the Personnel Administration System (PERSAL).

Regarding ferry boats in specific areas, a study conducted by the Department showed that 181 schools had learners who crossed rivers or dams on their way to school. The Department had purchased eight boats, of which four had been delivered. There was already a challenge, pointing to the fact that the project would not be sustainable.

On schools without running water and electrification, municipal bills remained unpaid by some schools if their allocation was low, as per the PPN. The Department tried to assist, but sometimes too late and as a result this attracted interest and legal fees from municipalities. He emphasised that this was a serious issue that schools faced. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) was negotiating on behalf of the DBE on the possible lowering of the municipal tariffs for schools, to lessen the burden of schools’ municipal debt. The Department was awaiting a report from COGTA.

With regard to allegations that certain schools had no results for learners, some schools had had their results withheld for various reasons. These were mostly in instances where there were allegations of mass copying, which then necessitated further investigations being conducted.

Discussion

Mr Khosa asked if all the schools in the province were being audited, and what type of audit opinion had they received. Schools needed to be advised on using the money allocated to them for specific purposes. If money was allocated for food and was used for fencing, what happened to the food then? The initiative for the ferry boats was a good one, but he was surprised that the Department of Transport had advised the building of bridges, and this suggestion should be declined.

Mr Ntshayisa said he had not been part of the oversight, but wanted to get gain clarity on the issuing of textbooks which had taken place. His question was that if the DBE allowed circuit managers to monitor the process, what was the whole displacement about? He also wanted to know about the system being used, and why no initiative was taken to modernise the model, as the model was clearly not working. Lastly, he wanted to know which was better from a budgetary aspect -- the closing of a school and sending learners to other schools, or to transporting the learners?

Ms Basson appreciated the detailed and comprehensive presentation. She wanted to know if furniture was distributed to the schools in KZN which needed it. There had been a lack in the rural schools which were visited, and rural schools produced good learner results. She added that there was a river that learners and children had to cross, and she wanted to know why the DBE could not just consult the necessary Departments on building a small bridge to allow the children and teachers to cross the rivers safely, especially when it came to winter months, instead of using the ferry boats, which was already deemed to be unsustainable to some extent. As much as the DBE needed foreign teachers, the foreign teachers needed the DBE, so how would the DBE make sure that the foreign teachers were correctly qualified?

The Chairperson addressed the issue of interventions and governmental structures and leadership. There were so many instances where the Committee visited sites, and leadership roles were poorly executed. How far did the interventions go to turn this around, and what had been done thus far? On social cohesion, what programmes were in place? Another point was the lack of sports facilities. During the oversight visit, there had also been the suggestion of boarding schools as an option. She wanted to check what the possibilities were in considering boarding schools for learners, in order to alleviate the possible risks of the ferries and the river.

KZN DBE Response

Dr Nzama responded that all schools were being audited, even though not all at the same level. There were audit statements received by the Department which had not been well done, so going forward the Department would centralise the audit programme by appointing at least 10 accredited auditors, so that the fly-by-night auditors were removed. If there was a need to launch an investigation, then the same accredited auditors would be used. If the auditors used were outside the ones assigned, then it would not be recognised as being appropriate. The Department would introduce this programme by 2018.

He said that there was a budget allocated by the DBE to schools, and the money should be used for what it was meant. Therefore, a circular would be issued to inform schools that the money issued should be used for what it was allocated for, and if a school deviated from the allocation, then it would be held accountable.

He said that the ferry boats were doing well, but wrong advice had been given. This advice had come not only from the Department of Transport, but also National Treasury, because the Department had thought it would not be sustainable and had sought to look for alternatives. He said that it was not the Department’s mandate, but it sought support and wanted to prioritise those schools.

The reason why some schools did not have textbooks was because the allocation had not been enough. Schools did not need to buy new textbooks, but they needed to look at what they already had and then top up on their current databases. With the current managing agent, the DBE was able to get a high volume of discounts, and instead of paying close to a R1 billion, it had paid only around R300 million. That was due to diligent and prompt payments, which had been rewarded with discounts, which indicated good leadership within the Department.

Learner transport and boarding facilities were both viable, and the DBE had started thinking along the lines of building massive hostels and creating schools in the vicinity of the hostels. This was a way to deal with the issue of transport. Both transport and building of hostels were expensive, but the perspective would be to look at the long-term solution.

He said furniture had been supplied to the schools without furniture.

Where there was a request to provide more educators but the teaching was not of a good quality, the Department moved Grade 12 learners to neighbouring schools with a good system and quality teaching.

The DBE had a unit responsible for dealing with the appointment of the foreign educators, and it conducted investigations with regard to the vetting of newly appointed educators and foreign nationals. In the case of foreign nationals coming with fake qualifications, it was hard to tell, but appointments were done firstly on a probation period and dismissal could occur within the period. The Department would do its best to verify the qualifications of foreign educators within that probation period, and even before appointment

The status quo was that there were strong and weak principals, and governing bodies that were weak and strong, but the Department was able to identify the weak governing bodies, investigate and provide programmes to strengthen them, or elect a new governing body. With the issue of weak principals, the DBE dismissed principals due to non-performance.

On social cohesion, KwaZulu-Natal had a challenge with the high number of teenage pregnancies and dropouts, and allowed pregnant teens to come back and write exams. There was a lot of engagement in the sense of peer groups.

On the lack of sports facilities, he admitted that they were very weak, and the agreement which was signed recently with the Department of Sport and Recreation seemed to be helping in that respect.

Mr Ntshayisa asked if the principals were immediately dismissed upon not performing, and were there not processes which needed to be followed, as principals could not just be removed.

Dr Nzama clarified that he was merely just stating a summary of what happened. Processes were followed when it came to that.

The meeting was adjourned.

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