The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) had a roundtable discussion with the Committee on indicators and targets for PED Annual Performance Plans (APP). The Auditor General had raised a concern that certain indicators in the 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework were not indicated in the 2017/18 DBE and PED Annual Performance Plans and thus posed a risk towards the achievement of MTSF targets. The Free State province was not part of the roundtable discussion and no document was provided either. In the discussion, Members asked DBE:
• How DBE assesses a school manager needs support if the principal does not sign the performance agreement? What are the contents of the performance agreement?
• What is the proportion of principals who have signed performance agreements?
• Do the agreements have a requirement for attendance of teachers and principals at the school?
• What is the tool or process DBE uses to measure if teachers have the required content knowledge??
• What does the DBE do if the Province does not do what it is required to do?
• Does DBE know that there are still Funza Lushaka graduates that have not been placed and does DBE help place the graduates in other provinces?
• What is the number of learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability (C/LSPID) with access to therapeutic and psycho-social support services to enable them to improve their participation in learning?
• What is the effectiveness of the tools used to assess District Officials, principals and circuit managers?
• How does DBE coordinate its activities to ensure that the sector can be seen as one?
• How does the sector ensure that planners are empowered as well as those that are monitoring?
Members asked the North West PED:
• How many Grade R teachers are properly qualified to teach? The Committee was informed in 2017 that only 22.6% of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners are appropriately qualified at NQF Level 6.
• Does DBE follow up with Eskom or the municipality to ensure that infrastructure is fixed so that there is electricity in all schools?
• If DBE says that there is no system to assess District Managers, how do they assess the performance of the manager and how are support strategies to the district drawn up if there is no way to assess them?
• How does DBE use the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS)? What is done with the results after the teachers have assessed themselves if there is no assessment?
• Why does DBE not have a system to collect data on content knowledge?
• How is attendance of principals and teachers measured in North West?
• Where is the information on educator targets and learner workbooks?
• The Committee was pleased that the province is able to place 100% of Funza Lushaka graduates.
• Should not security of the school be increased due to challenges of vandalism of school infrastructure?
• What is the plan for internet connectivity?
• Complained about the inadequate reasons given for not having adequate information on important matters.
• Are there any mud schools in North West?
• North West was asked to redo its report as its oral responses conflicted with its presentation.
• Mpumalanga had prioritised schools with below 70% performance for assistance but all schools should be supported.
• What qualifications do the educators in Special and Full Service schools have to deal with learners with profound disabilities in KZN.
• Limpopo provides good results. Why is there a huge performance gap with other regions?
• How does Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape monitor teacher and principal attendance?
• How is Scholar Transport monitored in the Eastern Cape.? There is one school that transports half the learners one day and the other half the next day due to lack of payment to service providers.
• How does Mpumalanga monitor principals? How is the province dealing with the Auditor General’s dissatisfaction with provinces using the School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS) as the only monitoring tool for attendance?
• Has Northern Cape raised the lack of funding for an increased number of posts due to increased learner enrolment with the relevant management bodies
• What indicator does the Gauteng (GDE) use to determine if the teachers are in the classroom?
• What is the progress in eradication of asbestos school?
• What indicators does the GDE use to inform Department of its over-supply of teachers which could assist provinces such as Mpumalanga that are in short supply of teachers?
• GDE reports that it is difficult to confirm the accuracy and completeness of reported learner absenteeism rates at schools, does that mean that SA-SAMS is not providing accurate information?
• How effective is the IQMS in Gauteng?
• How relevant are the internships offered by GDE?
• What happens to graduates who are not beneficiaries of the Funza Lushaka programme?
• When the Committee visited Gauteng, it noted scholar transport gaps and overloading. Has this been addressed as well as the security at schools?
• How is the DBE dealing with systems and policy challenges in implementing the new indicators?
• On National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) audit of provinces, the Committee had an argument with the Office of the Auditor General about what is being audited, is it the number of schools getting fed or is it the number of learners and quantity of the food. How has that indicator been resolved by provinces?
The Chairperson invited DBE to address the Committee on its specific concerns about indicators and targets for the 2018/19 financial year and share the developments and interactions between the DBE and PEDs on programme indicators and targets for 2018/19.
Department of Basic Education on indicators / targets for PED Annual Performance Plans
Ms Carol Nuga-Deliwe, DBE Chief Director: Strategic Planning, Research and Coordination said that the Portfolio Committee had noted certain indicators in the 2014-2019 MTSF were not indicated in the 2017/18 DBE Annual Performance Plan and thus posed a risk towards the achievement of MTSF targets.
Many oversight indicators belong to DBE and some to the Provincial Departments. What DBE is working on is to ensure that certain indicators have found a place in provincial plans and this is something that has been happening over the last 12 years. She went through the indicators that had been identified as a concern:
• Percentage of learners in schools with at least one educator with specialist training on Inclusive Education, was part of the DBE plan but is now decentralised into the provincial plan. DBE felt it was better placed in the provincial plan with DBE oversight.
• Number and percentage of Funza Lushaka bursary holders placed six months after qualifying. The responsibility for placement lies in the provinces; the DBE function is to allocate the bursaries. A PPM has been developed for inclusion in the 2018/19 PED APP as newly aligned MTSF PPM 214.
• Proportion of principals who have signed performance agreements. The DBE had an agreement on this late last calendar year. The DBE is now working closely with PEDs on exactly how they will be reporting on that. Negotiations on the signing of Principal Agreements had not been finalised in time for the 2017 APP.
• Number and percentage of learners who complete the whole curriculum each year. The DBE standardised the indicator and has nine provincial indicators. A PPM has been developed in anticipation for inclusion in PED APPs for 2018/19 as PPM 219. National DBE is currently collaborating with UNICEF to develop a standardised Curriculum Coverage Solution to address this indicator.
• DBE has an indicator on capacity of district offices. In 2017/18, the DBE APP indicator was changed to: an improvement plan for district offices in areas rated as unsatisfactory by school principals during the school survey. In 2018/19, the DBE APP indicator has been re-crafted to align to the MTSF. DBE is already working with provinces and districts to help strengthen the quality of support given to schools by districts such as through capacity building programmes, establishment of the fundamentals of performance (FOPs) for districts and provision of the guideline on district standard routines and operations. A PPM has been developed for inclusion in the 2018/19 PED APP as PPM 107: Percentage of school principals rating the support services of districts as being satisfactory.
• Percentage of district managers whose competency had been assessed against criteria. There is a 2017/18 DBE APP indicator for this but no PED indicator. It is now mandatory for all new District Director appointees to undergo competency assessments. The current incumbents who have not done competency assessments will be encouraged to do so as part of their personal development plan and all PEDS need to report on this.
• Complete and consistent post-provisioning policy and regulations in place and proceeding with implementation and monitoring. The DBE had this APP indicator in 2017/18: Number of PEDs that had their post provisioning process assessed for compliance with the norms and standards. In order to accomplish the MTSF target, the focus will be on monitoring the existing policy through the APP indicator. Reporting is done on a quarterly and annual basis. The current policy is being reviewed.
• Clear roles and functions for district offices and minimum competencies for district officials. A Collective Agreement No 4 has been signed in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) clarifying the job descriptions of office based educators. The Roles and Responsibilities plus Recruitment and Selection Criteria for District Officials will now be used as a guide by provinces. Future PED reporting on this has been highlighted as important.
In addressing the Portfolio Committee concerns about missing indicators in the 2019/20 DBE plans, a lot of the plans are already existent. DBE is making the implicit indicators explicit and tightening up how DBE responds to these. The missing indicator identified as Percentage of learners in schools with at least one educator with specialist training on inclusion, although it is a provincial competency, the DBE needs to indicate oversight. DBE will be working on an annual report on its oversight so that it is in the public domain so the public can be aware of how the Department steers the system in terms of Inclusive Education. For the second missing indicator on Percentage of learners who completed the whole curriculum, there will be engagement in 2018 through the quarterly Branch Reviews with DBE Indicator Managers to strengthen the monitoring and oversight role of DBE on curriculum coverage.
To respond to the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), DBE’s role as lead in the sector is to guide the implementation in the sector in response to the five-year government plan. DBE key functions are:
• Give effect to National Education Policy Act (NEPA) in setting standards for the sector with PEDs.
• Developing systems and structures for the management of performance information for the sector.
• Ensure uniformity across all spheres
• Play an oversight and supporting role within the Education Sector
• Provide systems training
• Assist and coordinate the management of performance information for the sector
• Develop policies, frameworks, guidelines and tools to guide implementation of priorities in provinces.
• Collaboration with PEDs in crafting sector indicators.
The responsibilities of PEDs include:
• Implementation of government policies, framework, guidelines on education.
• Implementation of sector priorities through Programme Performance Measures (PPMs).
• Ensuring effective and efficient management of systems in implementing government mandate.
• Ensuring synergy in planning and reporting and management of Performance Information.
• Producing credible and accurate information in the implementation of Education Sector Priorities.
• Compliance with Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and Office of the Premier reporting requirements and timelines to ensure adherence to the Treasury guidelines.
A PPM is a Provincial Performance Measure (PPM) which represents an indicator of performance that is provincial and sector specific. A performance measure is an indicator, that takes on past and future values, where past values reflect achievements, and future values reflect performance targets. It is used to gauge performance in the provincial education system and speaks to monitoring of the education system obligation according to NEPA. Each performance measure is linked to one measurable objective. Each performance measure takes the form of one provincial time series statistic.
The developments around PPMs in the previous year were outlined See document): 54 PPMs were considered at HEDCOM. PEDs urged to adopt in writing before 31 October 2017. Approval of extended DPME deadline of 31 October 2107 was missed due to non-approval by some PEDs.
Since the Auditor General’s findings, progress has been made in the inclusion of most MTSF indicators in the plans and programmes of the DBE. Effort and emphasis will be undertaken in collaborating with the sector to align the DBE and PED plans with the MTSF. The aim is to ensure a credible outcomes-focused planning and accountability system in reaching the set targets.
The Chairperson said it is worrisome when we look at the APPs of the provinces and find that there are some indicators missing. Performance and progress in the provinces comes from tracking through indicators. If the indicators are not included in the APP and are not aligned to the NDP bigger picture, it leaves less space for the provinces to realise the end goals that the country has for education.
Mr I Ollis (DA) asked about the contents of the principal performance agreements. DA members of the Portfolio Committee had been visiting schools and it was evident that some of the school principals were not performing their duties and absenteeism is a huge problem. When the principal is absent, there is no discipline. He asked if the performance agreements, which not everybody has even signed has a requirement for school attendance of teachers and principals.
How does DBE evaluate whether the teacher has met the required content level? What is the tool or the process used to measure whether the teachers have the required content knowledge?
Ms J Basson (ANC) noticed that in some of the DBE responses to the highlighted indicators, most of the PPMs have not yet been approved by all PEDs. She asked if DBE is striving to work in a uniform manner and not to have other provinces disagree with the plans but put in place. Some of the indicators emanate from the Auditor General’s audit report which needs to be accounted for as they are aligned with the MTSF. What does DBE do if the Province does not do what it is required to do?
She is concerned about principals not signing performance agreements because some problems in schools emanate from poor management performance. How will DBE and the Committee assess that a specific school manager needs support if the principals do not sign the performance agreement?
Mr X Ngwezi (IFP) said there are still qualified Funza Lushaka educators who have not been placed. Does DBE know that all graduates have not been placed ? Is there any form of assistance provided to help place the graduates in other provinces? It does not benefit anyone to train an educator and find that they have not been placed and are not using the gained skills. In some provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, there are areas that say that principals must manage the enrolment and no new posts will be circulated. Is there a plan in place that will place graduates in other provinces so as to avoid the problem that Department of Social Development has of unplaced qualified yet unemployed social workers?
Ms H Boshoff (DA) brought up the mandatory new District Director appointees going directly for training and competency assessments. DBE cannot just say that the current incumbents who have not done competency assessments will be encouraged to do so as part of their personal development. She stressed that the current incumbents should be trained and not merely encouraged to train.
She asked about the Programme Performance Indicator 2.7.2: Number of Children/Learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability (C/LSPID) with access to therapeutic and psycho-social support services that will enable them to improve their participation in learning. She asked how many learners are there and how many learners are neglected with regard to this particular training and learning programme.
Mr H Khosa (ANC) said his worry is that even though there are good indicators, the problem that arises comes from the lack of implementation. What is the effectiveness of the tools used to assess district officials, principals and circuit managers? Whenever you visit a school, you find there are complaints from principals not receive sufficient support from circuit managers and circuit managers complain of lack of support from the district. This needs to be looked into because support is crucial and the indicators need good implementation to avoid such complaints.
Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) said she would have really liked to see interventions in areas that raise concern because even though there are indicators, one finds that there are more gaps on the ground. She recently visited a school in KwaZulu-Natal, where the school results dropped from 95.5 % in performance to 26%. This is because the teachers they had were moved to other schools and got better posts and the teachers were replaced by Funza Lushaka graduates who were not at all prepared to teach due to inadequate training. DBE has not made mention of such a phenomenon or any possible intervention in schools where this is happening.
The Committee’s recent visit to Mpumalanga made them realise that there are a lot of schools that were converted from Commerce schools to Mathematics and Science schools and you find that the teachers at the school are not equipped to teach Maths since they have been teaching Commercial Studies and the school does not let them go. That indicator was not mentioned during the DBE presentation. The teacher training centre recently visited by the Committee in Mpumalanga did not have enough resources to train teachers in that particular district; they only had about 10 IPADs and laptops available. She is concerned about meeting these gaps when there are no indicators to actually highlight these issues.
DBE is saying that out of the 2 000 sampled school governing bodies (SGBs), 80% met the minimum criteria in terms of effectiveness. Especially now that government is looking to changing the responsibilities of the SGB, she wonders which schools were visited.
Ms N Mokoto (ANC) asked what actions have been taken to deal with the Auditor General’s findings. Is the DBE working as a team or is each province just fending for itself because that is how it seems? Ensuring integration, cooperation and coordination is of absolute importance. How does DBE coordinate its activities to ensure that as a sector, DBE can be seen as one? How often does the sector ensure that plan makers are empowered as well as those that are monitoring?
Mr D Mnguni (ANC) said that the presenter indicated that different provinces have different priorities. He referred to one of DBE’s key functions which is to ‘ensure uniformity across all spheres’ and asked where the uniformity is ensured if provinces have different priorities. He asked if South Africa is a federal state that provinces have their own priorities. He challenged DBE’s commitment and its monitoring and asked for clarity on the different priorities.
The Chairperson said that monitoring of the schools is important, there are sanctions for schools and you find that some schools are underperforming and that is where support is most needed but how does the sector get to a point where each schools provides quality education to learners.
Ms Palesa Tyobeka, DBE Deputy Director General: General Education and Training and Head of Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit, replied the point is well taken about encouraging district directors do competency assessments. DBE is working collectively with the districts on this and it is not a matter of encouraging districts but ensuring that all districts perform competency assessments. On tools for assessing district directors, DBE has looked at key competencies for district directors and then developed Standard Procedures and Operations for District Directors as well as circuit offices. What DBE is monitoring now is whether they follow the procedures as these are all linked. DBE is looking at what competencies they require and the recruitment criteria since it is one of the challenges that the sector experiences. On Mr H Khosa’s question of who is supervising whom, the recruitment criteria are there and are official. A focus on compliance is emphasised with the recruitment criteria.
On the functioning of schools, provinces report annually to the Minister by 31 March firstly on the schools they have identified as underperforming schools and secondly what support systems have been put in place for these schools and the current monitoring state. Identification of underperforming primary schools has been an problem since 2015 and is being addressed with guidance as there was a hiccup in the sector in the absence of the Annual National Assessments (ANA). What has been included this year for chronically underperforming schools is that DBE is using the Schools-that-Work lessons for all provinces to support underperforming schools.
The DDG addressed the question of DBE’s monitoring culture which was brought up by many of the Committee members, especially in terms of the NDP. It is clear that DBE as it was in 1994 is different from how it is now in terms of its functions and it has now included a lot of oversight in their plans and reports. A lot of the conversations about programmes are around monitoring and tightening up the monitoring tools and making them credible. In terms of the Performance Agreements, absence of teachers and principals is an issue of management even when there are no performance agreements.
On teacher content knowledge, in the MTSF there is an indicator that speaks to competency assessment of teachers which is something that DBE has not standardised because each province does its own thing when it comes to teacher development and ensuring the improvement of content knowledge. What DBE needs especially when it sorts out standardised curriculum coverage indicators is to take teacher development expectations into consideration. Teacher content knowledge is not standardised as yet and each province will discuss how they each deal with the matter. There are continued professional development efforts to standardise certain aspects of teacher development but in terms of content knowledge, it is not yet standardised.
DBE does have oversight of placement of Funza Lushaka graduates and at the end of the last financial year the Funza placement rates were 94% and these are annually reported on. DBE continues to report on the matter with provinces on a quarterly basis. Teacher utilization is an important point. It is not enough that they are addressed in Post Provisioning Compliance Norms and Policies in terms of distribution of teachers but what the teachers are actually doing at the school is what matters. How responsive the districts are to a sickness, temporary leave and absence of teachers is something DBE needs to start working on to standardise and it is something that is an agenda item on the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) sub-committee.
DBE will provide the total number of learners with intellectual disabilities.
On SGB effectiveness, DBE does a scientific sample of 2 000 and the concerns around SGB effectiveness, conceptualization and capacity concerns are important issues that have been raised not just by the Committee but by other bodies. SGB participation needs to be developmentally orientated and needs to yield learning about improvement and ways of dealing with it which are being explored at national level.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi noted her misunderstanding of the indicator as she did not realize that SGB effectiveness was a target. She thought it was something that has already been completed and that DBE sampled 2 000 SGBs and found them to be effective.
Ms Tyobeka responded on how DBE coordinates its activities to ensure that the basic education sector can be seen as one. One of the main reasons for this meeting with the provinces is it will provide information as to how the provinces view coordination and alignment in the sector and the information will be useful. DBE has HEDCOM and the HEDCOM sub-committees which have to deal with a lot of the detail and DBE has an improving sense of how the sub-committees work when it come to the nitty-gritties of delivery. The sub-committees meet every quarter such as the HEDCOM sub-committee on Teacher Development and Curriculum Management. They engage with provincial department representatives of the National Department on issues so that those are then institutionalised. At national level, DBE also engages with Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) on issues that are common in the sector and the NDP and to a certain extent this works much better in some cases than others.
Ms Tyobeka replied that the question on the realities of provincial priorities is important and the presentations from the provinces will be useful to DBE.
North West PED presentation
Ms Pamela Rasetshwane, Director of Strategic Planning in the North West Education and Sport Development, looked at the extent to which the Department has incorporated the MTSF indicators in the 2017/18 APP as well as what has been included in the 2018/19 draft APP draft and what issues have come up in the process of inclusion. In the 2017/18 APP, all MTSF indicators were included and the only problem was that the Department did not have targets for some of the indicators. AGSA reviewed the APP before tabling and insisted that all MTSF indicators be included. AGSA raised the matter that the Department had not included all MTSF indicators in the previous financial year even though the Department had explained that the inclusion was done gradually.
Mr Khosa noted that North West PED says that under Programme 2 their only job is to monitor, what are the findings of the monitoring or is the monitoring something that is yet to be performed.
Ms Boshoff asked how many of the Grade R teachers in the North West are properly qualified to teach because last year the Committee was informed that only 22.6% of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners are appropriately qualified on NQF Level Six. She asked how many teachers from the North West are appropriately qualified to teach ECD. If the electricity pole infrastructure is damaged and Eskom or the municipality is liable to have it fixed, after the Department now reports the damage, how long does it take to get a response? Does the Department follow up to ensure that infrastructure is fixed so that there is electricity in all schools?
Ms Basson noted the Department refers to a document on ‘PPM 104’ that is not part of the presentation. If the Department says that there is no system available to assess district managers, how do they assess the performance of the manager and how are support strategies to the district drawn up if there is no way to assess them? How does the Department use the IQMS? What do you do with the results after the teachers have assessed themselves if there is no assessment?
Mr Ollis asked for the percentage of Grade R teachers with appropriate qualifications and asked the province not to avoid the question. Why does the Department not have a system to collect data on teacher content knowledge? He understands that teachers are assessed on content knowledge levels and qualifications are checked on day one of employment, but in this case it is assessment based on the how much the teacher has improved in terms of performance. How is attendance of principals and teachers measured in North West as it is one of the fundamental measurements?
Mr Mnguni was unhappy with the response by the province because it does not seem as if they are aware of their duties as a province. There is an IQMS programme to assess educators in schools, but how does the Department ensure that the district and circuit performs its roles if the Department states that they do not have a system to assess district managers? He is not pleased with how the Department relegates data collection to National Department. This shows an element of laziness in the province as the data is collected from the ground.
The Chairperson said that it is good to highlight that some tasks are DBE competencies but now the discussion is on educator targets and learner workbooks which is a DBE competency but the provincial departments are the recipients – so these are issues that need to be talked to.
Mr X Ngwezi (IFP) said that he is happy that the province is able to place 100% of the Funza Lushaka graduates and said he is very passionate about the bursary because he is a recipient of the programme. He suggested that since North West has challenges with vandalism of school infrastructure, then perhaps security at schools should be increased.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said that she is also concerned by the presentation because she thought the whole exercise was to give the Portfolio Committee an idea of how the province is faring in terms of the APP and MTSF. She would have also liked to hear how the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme is developing in the province. The province should have data irrespective that this responsibility lies with the National Department.
Ms Mokoto asked if North West has adopted the PPMs since DBE mentioned that some departments have not approved the PPMs. She emphasised the importance of providing actual data because if credible information is provided then the Auditor General findings will improve. What is the DBE plan for internet connectivity? North West said that internet connectivity is the responsibility of the National Department but when you go to individual schools, you find that there have been donations by private companies to some schools. How is that information recorded?
The Chairperson said she is pleased with how the placement of Funza Lushaka graduates was done in the province but asked for clarity on the statement that North West had placed more than they had been allocated. She said it is difficult to accept some of the reasons North West is giving for not having adequate information on important matters. For example, if assessment of teachers is not mandatory, there will be problems where teacher do as they please and there is no monitoring guidance.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said that she would have liked to get data on scholar transport – its budget as well as the number of learners who are transported. She did not get enough information on school infrastructure. How many schools were built and how many provided with water and sanitation?
The Chairperson pointed out that the roundtable discussion was focused specifically on the indicators highlighted by the Auditor General. She asked if North West could pardon Ms Tarabella-Marchesi for wanting extra information in the areas not highlighted by the Auditor General. The Department could respond to the question she had raised.
Mr M Tshwaku (EFF) asked if there are any mud schools in the North West.
Ms Stephinah Semaswe, North West HOD for Education and Sport Development, replied about the workbooks and said that indeed the budget is not from the province but the province is working together with DBE via the PED’s Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM) Unit and the appointees by DBE in the province on the provision of learner workbooks. North West does have statistics and monitors the delivery of the workbooks and regularly gives feedback to the National Department regarding shortages.
The province is also able to provide assistance when there are shortages where possible. Delivery of the Volume 1 workbook was 99.9% and Volume 2 was 97.4% at the time the HOD received the report. She hopes that when she requests the latest report on workbook delivery in schools, the report will be that workbooks have been delivered to all schools in the province apart from exceptional places where there are issues. The LTSM managers receive reports from the schools on a weekly basis and the LTSM manager reports to the HOD weekly on all LTSM issues.
On Grade R practitioners, North West does not appoint practitioners but only trains Grade R practitioners for community based ECD centres which are operated by the Department of Social Development and have qualified ECD teacher for schools. However there is no actual data on the total number of appropriately qualified Grade R teachers in schools. North West will provide the actual number and send the information to the Committee.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said she is not satisfied with the response on LTSM. The answer to the question was vague and it is unacceptable to hear that there are schools which have not yet received workbooks at this time of the year without a clear reason for delay.
The HOD replied that the statistics she provided were taken captured on 20 January 2018. Textbook delivery was at 95.4% and 100% for stationery delivery at that time.
The Chairperson was not pleased with response. North West was aware that they will be presenting to the Portfolio Committee on 6 February and yet they came with statistics that have not been updated. She asked North West to provide the updated information in writing.
Ms Semaswe replied that North West does experience problems with security in its schools and it has set aside funding that will assist in improving security in schools. Once burglaries at schools have been reported to authorities, the process to reinstall stolen infrastructure takes long due to the extent of the burglary and that the Department is sometimes forced to pay for the reinstallation on behalf of the schools.
On assessment of District Managers, North West PED assesses the managers through their PMPS and the areas of development are being captured through Human Resource (HR) processes and the HR then comes up with a comprehensive plan for further development and training of not only district managers but senior managers as well. On assessment of school-based educators North West PED has the IQMS in place and areas of improvement and development are captured from the results submitted from the IQMS. The sector for teacher development then comes up with a plan to improve training and development of teachers.
The Chairperson interjected that if that is what North West PED is saying on teacher assessment then what has been outlined in the presentation by North West PED was not true since they said there is no mandatory form of assessment of teachers. She asked what North West PED is trying to communicate exactly since the roundtable discussion is a meeting of important magnitude and everything discussed at the meeting will go on record. The HOD said that she thinks the question was misunderstood and is trying to correct North West PED’s earlier response. The collective agreement on the Principal Performance Agreement is still a collective bargaining matter and is done by the national ELRC and to date, the process is still not yet concluded. The provinces are waiting for the collective agreement by ELRC.
Ms Semaswe replied that teachers complete the manual attendance register in schools which are uploaded on the SA-SAMS and the district is able to determine the attendance of both teachers and principals. There are government structures in place to ensure that district and circuit managers are performing their required duties. There are monthly meeting from the district level as well as accountability sessions which are structured as well as monitoring schools completed by circuit managers. The monitoring tool is very comprehensive.
Ms Semaswe replied that SGB effectiveness is included in the North West PED APP and there is a monitoring tool used to determine and monitor the effectiveness of the SGB and the School Governance unit reports on the item every quarter during North West PED performance review meetings.
The Chairperson said that it is clear that North West PED was not yet prepared with its presentation based on the responses that North West PED is giving to the questions posed and it looks like North West PED stills needs to go back and put together a report.
The Committee members agreed.
The Chairperson said that the responses that North West PED is giving seem to almost be correcting everything outlined in the presentation and asked if the province could go back and work on their presentation so that the Committee can get something that reflects what is actually taking place in the province. The report is expected in seven days.
Gauteng PED presentation
Mr Albert Chanee DDG: Strategic Planning in Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), said the executive authority is responsible for developing a five year vision which should guide the development of DBE’s strategic plan. The aim of strategic planning is to bridge the gap between policy and budgets. Strategic planning must ensure common purpose between the executive authority and the accounting office in the pursuit of government objectives and outcomes. Strategic plans must form the basis for identifying departmental progress. The MEC in consultation with the Premier and EXCO has agreed on the key goals and objectives for the five years and has signed a performance agreement.
The Department has taken into cognisance all the planning documents and what becomes important are the planning documents of provinces separately. In term of the Intergovernmental Relations Act, concurrent functions get managed differently. Provinces are told to report to the Provincial Executive Council and receive funding from the Provincial Legislature and the Department’s plans and actions will be approved at that level. While provinces work with DBE because of Policy Norms and Standards to ensure that there is a comparable education system across all the provinces, there are still provincial imperatives that have an impact on how the provinces structure their five-year plan and APP. The Gauteng Department had the MTSF and the Gauteng Provincial Executive Council developed an interpretation of what is the provincial programme of action in response to the MTSF. Provincial departments have to fit into the provincial plan that has been developed and in Gauteng the plan is called Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialization which is the theme of the 10 pillars that drive Gauteng. The Department gets its mandate at a provincial level out of the 10 pillars of the province. Based on the pillars, there are three elements in the 10 pillars that have an impact on the 10 priorities identified which are not totally different from the national MTSF.
On the performance indicators, the Department has since 2014 introduced 24 province-specific measures that will link to the provincial MTSF and has been reporting on it since 2014. It may not be the indicators identified by the AG, but the measures have been audited as the provincial set of indicators in response to the MTSF and have been adopted by the Department’s Executive Council.
The approved GDE five year Indicator Framework comprised 60 indicators: 36 constituted PPMs or sector/national measures, 24 were Specific Performance Measures (SPMS or Provincial MTSF measures). In 2015/16 the sector introduced 42 statistical indicators which included many or most of the MTSF indicators. This was discontinued except for 13 assessment and exam related indicators. The approved GDE 2017/18 APP comprised of 73 indicators: 36 constituted PPMs, 24 provincial measure and 13 constituted Statistical technical Indicators.
The HEDCOM sub-committee meeting of 24 February 2017 took the decision that all PEDs would include the previously-omitted MTSF indicators in their 2017/18 APPs. It was further agreed that PEDs that did not include the MTSF indicators in their approved 2017/18 APP would need to incorporate them in their revised 2017/18 APP. GDE incorporated 19 MTSF indicators across three programmes (Administration, Public Ordinary Schooling and ECD) not previously included in the approved 2017/18 APP.
On addressing the MTSF, GDE planning officials were part of DBE team in formulating MTSF indicators. GDE agreed to all of the MTSF indicators, except requesting that Technical Indicator Descriptors be amended for the following four new MTSF indicators:
• PPM 211: Number of teachers who have written the Self-Diagnostic Assessment.
• PPM 212: Percentage of teachers of meeting required content knowledge levels after support
• PPM 214: Number and percentage of Funza Lushaka bursary holders placed in schools within six months upon completion of studies or upon confirmation that the bursar has completed studies.
• PPM 219: Number and percentage of learners who complete the whole curriculum each year.
GDE also requested the AG audit all the new MTSF indicators for readiness but not deliver an audit outcome. GDE has workshopped all Branch Managers, Chief Directors and Direct Line Managers on the 19 new MTSF indicators and the related Technical Indicator Descriptors (TIDs). Business processes have been developed for all the new MTSF indicators. The business processes will be used to develop standard operating procedures. Line managers have been notified to be audit ready.
Challenges with the MTSF indicators include: setting targets in light of the non-availability of historical data; lengthy consultative process both nationally and provincially (GDE line managers) to prepare for the successful introduction of the MTSF indicators; the full introduction of the MTSF without a prior pilot phase imposes a significant reporting obligation on provinces. The absence of a policy framework for some of the MTSF aligned PPMs may hinder the development of effective standard operating procedures.
On systems and policy implications, system integrity or accurate and reliable reporting takes two to three years to establish. As such the data integrity of the new PPMs in year one and year two are at risk of a negative audit opinion. GDE current systems are not sufficiently robust for the capture, storage and retrieval of data for some of the MTSF indicators. This runs the risk of generating a weak evidential base. The absence of a policy framework for some of the MTSF aligned PPMs will hinder the development of effective standard operating procedures. Pre-existing systems, processes and procedures related to introduction of the MTSF indicators were not sufficiently robust for the capture, storage, retrieval, and analysis of data - this raises some concern about the reliability of both the target setting and reporting against the new indicators.
GDE is likely to experience reporting challenges on the following indicators:
• PPM 205: Learner absenteeism rate. It is difficult to manage standard operating procedures at school level to confirm accuracy, validity and completeness of the reported learner absenteeism rates at schools.
• PPM 211: Number of teachers who have written the Self-Diagnostic Assessments. The implementation of the self-diagnostic process was postponed by DBE. No policy appears to underpin the process - teachers (unions) may argue that it is not compulsory to write the test.
• PPM 212: Percentage of teachers meeting required content knowledge level after support. One needs to verify if the reporting standard of teachers obtaining 80% content knowledge scores is grounded in any normative framework.
• PPM 214: Number and percentage of Funza Lushaka bursary holders placed in schools within six months upon completion of studies or upon confirmation that the bursar has completed studies. The reporting period is not definitive - the placement could straddle two financial periods and this may generate some confusion.
• PPM 219: Number and percentage of learners who complete the whole curriculum each year. The completion of the entire curriculum would require robust in-school and departmental monitoring systems. This deliverable has multiple dependencies on availability of suitable, reliable resources at all levels.
The Chairperson said that based on the presentation it is important for the Committee to hold a meeting with AGSA as the GDE presentation has opened the eyes of the Committee to some of the constraints and perhaps it would have been helpful if AGSA had been present at the roundtable discussion.
Mr Ollis spoke on teacher and principal attendance in GDE schools. Since Gauteng is an urban province, you find photos being put on social media of learners walking home during school hours because teachers or principals have maybe gone to a trade union meeting or funeral. He asked what indicator GDE uses to determine whether the teachers are in the classroom. If GDE does not monitor it, no one can.
Mr Ngwezi asked if the requirement for permanent appointment of an educator is that the teacher must have spent at least six months at the Department. Does the requirement not cause a problem when it comes to the placement of Funza Lushaka graduates given that teachers employed by government need to be prioritized as well.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi asked about progress in eradication of asbestos school. How will the problem of placing learners be dealt with when it comes to infrastructure to accommodate all learners? What form of indicators does GDE use to inform DBE of its over-supply of teachers which could assist in supporting provinces such as Mpumalanga that is currently in short supply of teachers?
Ms Basson asked that since GDE reports that it is difficult to manage standard operating procedures at school level to confirm the accuracy and completeness of learner absenteeism rates, does that mean that systems such as SA-SAMS are not providing accurate information? How effective is the IQMS in Gauteng? She was impressed with the comment that the Gauteng Department has adopted all of the PPMs.
Mr Mnguni said he is impressed with GDE invited DBE to be part of the MTSF planning and said he hopes that other provinces will learn from GDE.
Mr Khosa asked how relevant the internships are for the teachers. He asked what happens to graduates who are not beneficiaries of the Funza Lushaka programme. When the Committee visited Gauteng, they noticed the gap in scholar transport and overloading. Has the matter been addressed as well as security at schools?
Ms Mokoto asked for clarity on the recommendations by GDE where they said the PPMs have been adopted and will be implemented however the final audit outcomes of all newly adopted PPMs should be postponed until all PEDs reach some level of confidence and comfort in becoming audit ready. How is DBE currently dealing with the Systems and Policy implications?
The Chairperson noted that with the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) audit of provinces, the Committee had an argument with the Office of the Auditor General about what is being audited, is it the number of schools getting fed or is it the number of learners and quantity of the food. How has that indicator been resolved by provinces?
She asked for clarity on the GDE statement that they have an oversupply of educators in Gauteng. How does DBE play around with the numbers of educators to assist other provinces where there is a shortage of educators especially when it comes to Funza Lushaka graduates because government has invested a lot into the programme.
Mr Chanee addressed the concerns raised by the Committee. Starting with attendance, he said one of the things that DBE has done to control attendance and ensure that the attendance figures on the GDE system are current is that the Department introduced 150 clerks whose only job is to go to the 20 schools that they are responsible for and reconcile the payslip or payroll, the attendance register and the reforms. In that way the Department can get current data. What has been found across the last two years of monitoring data is that teacher absenteeism is sitting around the 5% mark which is still a problem. The issue that then emerges is what is happening in schools that are dysfunctional where the principal does not have authority, is there a level of no reporting or underreporting and how does the Department deal with it. That is essentially where the district officials come in. Even when you look at the role of district officials, it is clear that monitoring needs to take place at that level. The introduction of circuits and clusters was to introduce the number of schools to the officials as a ratio in order to improve oversight and the impact of the introduction needs to be looked into. GDE has also given school principals tablets and it is now working on developing the right tools on the tablets.
Mr Ollis interjected that the problem in Gauteng is that a trade union would call a meeting during school hours and it is not being reported to the province and people end up seeing learners in the streets during school hours. Trade unions have to apply in writing either to the District Director or to the Department when they are going to hold a meeting and then teachers are given formal time off. When it is sporadic, in some cases you find that school management is also part of the union and fall part of the collective decision to be absent and attend the meeting. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with.
Mr Chanee replied that the oversupply of teachers means GDE does not have excess. When GDE advertises a 1 000 vacancies, they receive close to 7 000 application which tells one that there are unemployed people in Gauteng. The issue is that they would rather be unemployed in Gauteng than go to a rural area where there is insufficient housing and support. How does one incentivise that because it goes beyond a rural fund?
GDE placed 94% of Funza Lushaka graduates last year. The problem with the province is that the indicator says graduates must be placed “permanently” and that is not the period that is required and it is unfair for graduates who are not under the Funza programme. The posts are not permanent.
GDE currently bus 100 schools a day. It is rather difficult given the backlog in infrastructure of where people live in the province and that learners need to be transported to the nearest school to their homes.
Last year, about 100 000 learners migrated to Gauteng and these learners had to be placed. In January 2018 to date, the province had 15 000 new learners that turned up on day one of schooling for the first time in Gauteng. That backlog has been reduced to 1000 learners that need to be placed. The real pressure around placement is in township schools. GDE is able to get teachers, budget for furniture and materials. GDE put in an order for new schools called Alternative Construction Technology (ACT) Classrooms which can be assembled very quickly and are better than mobiles. Last year GDE placed an order of almost 400 mobile classrooms. The problem is that GDE is taking capital money and building a large infrastructure that is not bricks and mortar simply to meet the demand. The classrooms do not have the same life span as the bricks and mortar classrooms. The cost of bussing learners from a whole school from another area is equivalent to building a new school after three and a half years.
On SA-SAMS accuracy, your system is only as good as the transactional informational behind it. SA-SAMS does not allow you to go from marking in the class into data. The register is still the source so one has to ensure that the register is marked properly to ensure what has been captured in SA-SAMS is accurate.
IQMS has kind of stabilized in the last few years. In some schools there is a relationship between the supervisors and teachers that needs to be restored for the system to become more effective and in other schools it works perfectly.
On internships, as much as youth development is national mandate, the country needs to deal with the consequences. While the department cannot then deal with economic development activities, they are looking at how to support the learners with employment. In Gauteng that is a Province Specific Mandate as an additional mandate to grade R to grade 12 responsibilities. Together with the Office of the Premier, the department also has set a target of 100 000 for youth employment and has created work for 350 000 as a province. GDE has an internal agency called the Gauteng City Region Academy and its job is to deal with in-school support and proper career counselling and dealing with youth employability with education.
GDE has tried to address overcrowding in buses by introducing a way to allocate a bus to a learner because in most cases overcrowding happens where learners usually avoid the early bus that picks up learners (in cases of multiple buses on the same route) and chooses to get on the bus that arrives later, resulting in overcrowding. With the introduction of the new contracts and buses, learners will be allocated to a bus and the time of pick up so as to avoid overcrowding.
On security, the Department does not have adequate funding to hire a tender for a special security system for schools but instead they have looked into community employment projects over the last few years and people are employed as patrollers at schools.
One of the other reasons for the oversupply of teachers could be because Gauteng is the home of four big universities and some graduates do not see the need to go back to their provinces once they have graduated.
Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDOE) presentation
Ms Penny Vinjevold, DBE Deputy Director General: Evaluation Planning and Monitoring, took the Committee through the presentation. PEDs received a directive from DBE to include the MTSF Indicators in the 2017/18 APP in March 2017. The ECDOE took a decision to revise its Five-year Strategic Plan (2015/16 to 2019/2020) during the Budget Adjustment period to include the MTSF Outcomes and linked these to the Strategic Goals of the Department. The 2017/18 APP was revised to include the MTSF outcomes and indicators and this was tabled and published in September 2017. In November, individual meeting were held with all programme managers and their support staff to decide on sources of data and means of verification for MTSF indicators for the 2018/19 APP.
In January 2018 individual meetings were held with all programme managers to review and finalise standardised and non-standardised MTSF indicators, Technical Indicator Descriptions, sources of data and means of verification. Programme managers signed off on MTSF indicators for their programmes. The Department met with AGSA to present MTSF indicators, sources of data and means of verification. In February 2018, ECDOE finalised the 2018/2019 APP with all MTSF indicators.
Challenges in inclusion of MTSF Indicators:
• MTSF Indicators relating to numbers of school types and learner numbers that can be measured and verified through SA-SAMS - 99% school participation.
• Challenges in some MTSF Indicators as a result of changes in the size and shape of the system:
- PPM 107: Percentage of school principals rating the support services of districts as satisfactory
- PPM 204: Number of schools provided with multi-media resources
- PPM 217: Percentage of schools where allocated teaching posts are all filled.
- PPM 218: Percentage of learners provided with textbooks in all grades and in all subjects per annum.
• Challenges also experienced with ‘hard to measure and verify’ indicators.
-PPM 210: The average hours per year spent by teachers on professional development activities
-PPM 212: Percentage of teacher meeting required content knowledge levels after support
-PPM219: Number and percentage of learners who complete the whole curriculum each year.
-PPM 220: Percentage of schools producing a minimum set of management documents at a required standard.
Strategies to address the challenges include ensuring enough detail in the description is available to give a clear understanding of the indicator. Another is to determine where the information comes from and how it is collected and describe clearly and specifically how the indicators are calculated especially dates used.
Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) presentation
Ms Warda Conrad, WCED Director of Business Strategy and Stakeholder Management, said WCED has received a clean audit outcome for three consecutive years and strives towards full inclusion of the MTSF indicators. There are certain binding constraints such as financial pressures; system development to support data collection; unavailability of national measurement tools; reportability; measurability; human resources; external human/union/ policy factors not yet finalized; audit risk; full clarity on TIDS-short definitions, source documents, verification, calculation method; reliance on external provider denominators (source reliability).
As the Gauteng and Eastern Cape have highlighted, there had not been finality around whether the MTSF indicators had to be included in the provincial department APPs. A subsequent DG letter dated 04 May 2017 instructed PEDs to include MTSF indicators. An addition DG letter dated 27 October 2017 listed “negative audit findings” as a consequence of non-inclusion. The new APP 32018/19 will contain the MTSF indicators as they have been redefined into PPMs. The HEDCOM sub-committee formulated PPMs to incorporate MTSF indicators and TIDs were mostly agreed on. There are a number of issues that remain unresolved and these have been raised at HEDCOM for further discussion at the final HEDCOM workshop for 2017. These unresolved issues will impact on: targets set; ability to accurately measure; ability to reliably report; ability to reliably verify; auditability of process; funding and nature of business makes control extremely hard regarding whole curriculum coverage.
Currently all PPMs in the final DBE PPM and TID 2018/19 document dated 6 October 2018 have been included. TID issues raised in some instances remain unresolved and the final sign-off will be concluded once all these are fully resolved.
The Western Cape is happy to contribute towards the finalization of the worries about the PPMs which will be taken up with the HEDCOM sub-committee. WCED is bringing up problematic and worrisome PPMs and WCED is happy to be one of the provinces that has not yet signed off on everything. This is because WCED believes that raising concerns strengthens the sector and does not in any way weaken the sector. When talking about provincial focus areas, particularly in the Western Cape, it is important to bring up the impact that the drought will have on WCED targets
The Chairperson welcomed the Limpopo and North West MECs and thanked them for joining the meeting.
Mpumalanga Department of Education (MDOE) presentation
Ms Lucy Moyane, MDOE Acting HOD and DDG: Curriculum and Planning, apologised for the mishap that took place the previous week. The province has incorporated all the MTSF indicators. She is surprised that provincial departments could choose not to incorporate all MTSF indicators as she was under the impression that full incorporation was mandatory. The draft 2018/19 APP includes all 55 indicators and also has indicators drawn from the provincial plan, Mpumalanga Vision 2030.
The province has not experienced any problem placing Funza Lushaka graduates. The report on the number of graduates placed will be made available in March. There are provincial bursary holders that are also placed in the same basket as the Funza Lushaka graduates and those were also able to be placed. The only indicator that the province found challenge was the one that speaks to the number of learners that complete the curriculum but the challenge has since been resolved through finding verification methods that will be performed by the province
On ECD and Grade R practitioners with NQF Level Six, MDOE can report that the province has taken a conscious decision to employ qualified Grade R practitioners with 2 065 current practitioners that are constantly being trained with 829 practitioners following the National Diploma and as they qualify they then get absorbed into the system and continue teaching in Grade R. Similar to Gauteng, Mpumalanga also has young people working in schools to collect data for MDOE which helps it to address issues on the ground.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education presentation
Ms Jabu Khoza, KZN DOE Director: Planning, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation said the KZN DOE is concluding the final draft APP 2018/19. This plan will be tabled to the legislature in March 2018. The plan has incorporated inputs from DBE, Office of the Premier, Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Auditor General, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to ensure full alignment with the National Development Plan, Sustainable Development Goals, Action Plan, Treasury regulations and all policy injunctions.
At a sector level, all PED planners guided by DPME, Auditor General and National Treasury met and include MTSF indicators that were excluded in the previous APPs. This was in response to the AGSA findings and recommendations. It also enforces alignment of the MTSF to APPs to achieve most MTSF targets and goals. Most of the indicators are targeted for. In the initial proposal, KZN had incorporated a number of MTSF indicators but on 1 February, it received final PPMs with TIDs, which excluded some of the indicators and these were received without the rationale for the exclusion. KZN hopes to update these in due course; however, the province has retained these indicators as Province Specific Indicators (non-customised indicators).
In previous years, certain MTSF indicators were excluded because there were no Technical Indicator Descriptors developed to clarify the description and processes to track performance. Further, the non-inclusion of some MTSF indicators was a result of the cleaning processes that were to be conducted by DBE and PEDs to ensure that they deal with ambiguity and vagueness.
Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) presentation
Ms Ndiambani Mutheiwana, LDoE HOD, noted that there are certain challenges that the province is facing when it comes to priorities and the HOD outlined its progress report on the Non-Negotiables:
- Curriculum Implementation and ICT: 60% of the School-Based Support Teams (SBST) across the province are not fully functional. Mitigation of this challenge involves ensuring resources of districts and circuit to support and monitor SBSTs.
- Teacher Placement, Deployment and Development: There has been a delay in finalising the post establishment. The province intervention plan is to improve on stakeholder management.
- LTSM: Limpopo has experienced a challenge in the retrieval of textbooks from learners and intends to tighten policy and training of schools on textbook retrieval.
- Rural focus: Limpopo is experiencing challenges such as merger resistance by some communities and capacity challenges to monitor scholar transport providers. LDoE intends to continue engagement with affected communities and to also link up with the provincial department of transport to ensure that roadworthy vehicles are used for transporting learners.
- Infrastructure has challenges that involve inadequate funding given the huge backlog faced by Limpopo as well as recruitment and retention of requisite skills to manage the programme. There are ongoing engagements with both Provincial Treasury and DBE for allocation of addition funds to tackle the backlog. Mitigation around recruitment includes collaboration with DBE for recruiting and appointing candidates with requisite skills and competencies to manage and monitor the programme.
- Districts: There is lack of connectivity in some districts (mainly new districts) which hampers the efficiency of service delivery. Limpopo DoE’s intervention is to ensure connectivity for all districts to improve efficiency.
The MTSF indicators that are not included in the 2018/19 APP include:
• Percentage of schools with adequate infrastructure in line with agreed norms and standards. This particular indicator will be included in the 2019/20 APP because there was a challenge of non-standardisation
• Percentage of learners having access to required workbooks per grade. The reason for non-inclusion is that the indicator does not fall under the responsibility of Limpopo DoE.
• Proportion of principals appointed based on competency assessment processes per year. Reason for non-inclusion is that the Policy (Collective Agreement) is not yet finalised. DBE will provide intervention measures.
• Percentage of district managers whose competency has been assessed against criteria. The reason for non-inclusion is that the responsibility lies with DBE.
Northern Cape Department of Education presentation
Mr Tshepo Pharasi, HOD in the Northern Cape Department of Education, apologised for the lack of a presentation and said it will be submitted to the Committee before the end of the week. Most of the issues that provinces have been discussing about indicators are cross-cutting. He wished he were in Gauteng where there are no problems when it comes to teachers whereas it is an entirely different case in the Northern Cape. There is a dire shortage of Afrikaans as a language of learning and teaching. There has been a recent partnership with the province, Old Mutual, and the University of Stellenbosch to retain up to 50 qualified students yearly that are prepared to teach in Afrikaans. There are some indicators that have not been included in the 2018/19 plan due to lack of funding, shortage of educators and lack of infrastructure.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee is expecting the report. She went on to ask whose competence is broadband because she has not heard anything on that from any of the provinces that have presented.
Mr Khosa asked Mpumalanga how it is possible for the province to obtain 100% retrieval of textbooks and asked for the validity of the percentage to be checked. The province indicated that the schools that obtained below 70% in performance are prioritised for assistance but this is also a challenge because focus on learners who underperform might lead to a drop in performance of the learners who are doing well. He suggested that all learners be supported.
He asked KZN what qualification do the educators in Special and Full Service schools have for dealing with learners with profound disabilities as he did not understand what the presenter was saying.
He said Limpopo is another province that provides good results. What could the challenge be where there is a huge gap in performance results when it comes to the regions? When the schools in Limpopo perform well, the results are evident; but where some perform poorly, the results are dismal.
Mr Ollis asked how Limpopo, KZN and Eastern Cape monitor teacher and principal attendance. He had visited a school in the rural Eastern Cape and found the school principal who is also the only maths teacher at the school was absent for four days. The principal had been called to a department meeting and no one else at the school could teach maths. How is a matter like this monitored by the province?
He noted that the KZN presenter had said that KZN is going to implement SA-SAMS to monitor teacher attendance and asked what monitoring system the province has been currently using.
How is Scholar Transport monitored in the Eastern Cape? There is a school in the Eastern Cape that transports half of the learners on one day and the other half the next day because of lack of payment to service providers.
How does Mpumalanga monitor principals? How is the province coping with the AG’s dissatisfaction with provinces using SA-SAMS as the only monitoring tool for attendance? What about the documentation that the AG wants?
Mr Ngwezi asked Northern Cape about lack of funding to deal with the increased learner enrolment and pressure for more posts. He asked if the roundtable discussion is the only platform where Northern Cape has raised the matter or has the matter also been raised with the powers that be?
Mr Ngwezi said KZN seems to report that it is able place 100% of the Funza Lushaka graduates. The province needs to verify its facts because it is not true. There are a number graduates who qualified in 2016 who are currently unemployed that Mr Ngwezi has met and he can provide a list to prove that the information provided is not true. He reminded the Portfolio Committee about the matter he had raised last year about the corrupt practices in the placement of Funza Lushaka graduates in KZN. The Portfolio Committee had done justice to the matter because it had sent that information to the province. However, the problem is that whoever sent people to investigate the matter was sending the very same people who are involved in the corruption. One informant told Mr Ngwezi that he phoned the number of the caller requesting R10 000 in order to be employed, and the phone rang among the officals who had come to investigate. This now poses a threat to the investigators who are not implicated in the matter. He can provide evidence on the matter. Graduates who were self-funded at university or funded by NSFAS are being phoned and told to pay a certain fee so they can receive a letter that says they are Funza Lushaka beneficiaries in areas such as uMkhanyakude.
Mr Ngwezi said KZN reported that there are 10 new schools built and completed. He would love to know where these schools are because he resides in KZN and has not seen any new schools. The focus on building new schools leads to negligence of the already existing schools. He gave examples of Buhlebemvelo Primary School in Mtubatuba with over 1 200 learners that uses Jojo tanks as a school septic system as the pit toilets are full. In a neighbouring school called Sileth’ukukhanya, there is no clerk at the school as the clerk is said to be at another school. Can the KZN Department assure the Committee that there will be no disturbance in the rolling out of the new nutrition programme in schools?
Ms H Boshoff (DA) said the Eastern Cape Department speaks of considerable migration into and out of the province. She has a list of schools with up to 100 learners in one class. These schools are Elliotdale Junior Secondary School (JSS) with 127 learners in a class; Kuyga with 83 Grade 1 learners; St Alban’s Primary with 75 Grade 2 learners; Qumbu JSS has a multigrade class with 65 to 70 learners; Riebeek East combined school with 64 foundation phase learners, Luzipho School with 65 Grade R learners and Mdantsane with 65 learners in Grade 2 and 61 in Grade 3. This is of great concern because it is crowd control and not teaching.
Ms Boshoff said that KZN and Limpopo are the only provinces that spoke to Inclusive Education. What is worrisome is the percentage of learners at schools with at least one educator with specialised training on inclusion. It cannot work when there is only one teacher. KZN reported that it has 198 therapists or specialists in public special schools. Where are these specialists placed? What was the impact on the budget?
She has a number of questions for Mpumalanga since the Committee had just visited the province. The security issue needs to be looked at seriously because most of the rural schools have no security. Has an agreement been reached between the Public Works, Roads and Transport Department and the PED on the payment to Public Works and Transport? Many of the learners are not transported in Mpumalanga because the PED has failed to transfer payment to Public Works.
• Many of the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) schools in Mpumalanga do not have textbooks for Maths and Science and the reason for this is because of budget cuts. The budget cuts are not only going to have a negative impact on textbooks but the impact will also be evident on the whole curriculum.
• On broadband, the Committee found that schools were complaining about their routers that do not function and schools do not have the capacity to buy Wifi because it is expensive.
• Where have the teachers trained at the Maths and Science Teacher Academy been placed since the province complains that they do not have enough teachers?
• What is going to be done about overcrowding in schools?
• There is a no-fee paying school in Mpumalanga that has to spend R600 a week because there is no running water and the principal and staff have improvised by putting out buckets to allow the children to be able to wash their hands and so forth.
• Which radio stations are being used by Mpumalanga to broadcast lessons to MTS schools and can the province verify the number of teachers that tune in to determine if it is a viable exercise?
• Every single school the Committee visited during its oversight visit reported a problem with textbooks and the Committee cannot accept the report by Mpumalanga that there has been 100% textbook delivery.
Mr Mnguni said all the province presentations did not speak to the readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and this means that department is losing track. Mpumalanga is the only province that has given actual numbers in the presentation instead of percentages what most provinces did. One of the problems that Mpumalanga is faced with in the retrieval of textbooks is that learners who are doing modularization do not return the books to school because they want to still use them to prepare for examinations and this matter needs to be looked into. A primary school in Mpumalanga called Khanyisile Primary has about 94 learners in one class. Mpumalanga needs to look into infrastructure such as provisioning of toilets and admin blocks.
Ms Basson commended Eastern Cape and Western Cape for the clear structure of the presentation which has provided a clear picture of the PPMs. What is being done about the fact that there are schools that accept learners to Grade 1 even when learners have not attended ECD schooling? She asked the Western Cape what the difference is between SA-SAMS and the monitoring tool that the province is using. How many registered independent schools does WCED have? How do the registered independent schools cause confusion for the province? Is the province aware of the number of learners at registered independent schools? She commended Limpopo for having effectively used SA-SAMS even when other provinces were struggling with it. She asked KZN where the specialists for children with special needs are placed by the province. Are there any specialists such as therapists permanently placed at schools or in the districts? Limpopo mentioned that the districts in the province have been increased and KZN reported they have halved the number of its districts. How is the need to either increase or decrease the number of districts per province defined?
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi said the Committee visited Nkuna Secondary School in Mpumalanga where there was terrible performance and the principal openly said that he was hardly at the school. Mpumalanga says that it monitors school principals and yet there is a principal that openly said that he is hardly at the school. What other measures will Mpumalanga put in place because the current monitoring system seems not to be effective? The majority of the schools visited by the Committee in Mpumalanga had a lot of redundant teachers. Some of them were originally business studies teachers who now have to teach maths which leads to poor performance by the learners. What measures will the Department take to ensure that the teachers are placed in the appropriate subjects and to provide the schools with qualified maths and science teachers? The majority of the schools in Mpumalanga reported that they do not have enough textbooks.
KZN mentioned that there is gatekeeping in the province. What interventions is the Department bringing in?
There is a school called Itaba lower and higher primary school where learners walk 30 km to school. Is the province aware that there are schools where children walk for over 30km to school because this challenge was not mentioned in the presentation? The Isisua Secondary School does not have flushing toilets and yet the school has running water. What tender did the Department get that failed to connect the water to the toilets. Is the use of SIIMs not going to affect the audit report of the Western Cape for the year as well as have an impact on learner performance?
Ms Mokoto said she has noted the under targeting of indicators across the KZN presentation. Why is KZN building two hostels instead of one in the area which was the initial plan at the time of the oversight visit? The issue of coordination, communication and sharing of information between DBE and the provinces still arises, particularly after seeing the report by the Western Cape department where they said some of the indicators brought confusion and the issue needs to be prioritised. On the self-diagnostic assessment, Western Cape has reported that the tool has not been fully developed. The Portfolio Committee never received a report of that nature except to say that there was no compliance from the side of the provinces. She asked DBE why the tool was not fully developed
She asked what priorities the Western Cape has when it comes to resourcing ordinary schools in the province. The reason for the question is that DBE often reports in meetings with the Committee that Western Cape tends to deviate and want to take their own route and is uncontrollable. Why is WCED not following the directives where it is necessary to do so? She is more concerned because the schools are previously disadvantaged schools with little resources in comparison to schools in urban areas.
How does Mpumalanga ensure that learners get taught and teachers get to do their job given the power struggles when it comes to monitoring of management that was reported during the oversight visit?
She noted that annual as opposed to quarterly targets do not make it easy for the Committee to track performance.
The Chairperson invited the provinces to give responses to the questions raised and asked the provinces to try to scale the responses to focus on the mandate of the meeting.
The KZN PED is aware that there are still a number of learners walking long distances and when the needs of the area were audited it was discovered that there are more than 80 000 learners in the region requiring learner transport. The department’s budget due to the fiscus constraints could not provide transport for all learners. The Department was taken to court at the end of last year by Equal Education demanding that they provide learner transport for the learners in Nquthu. The Department does not have funding to provide redress in the area.
There are interdependencies when it comes to water, DBE depends on other bodies in order to deliver and it is the same case with the PED. The province depends on district municipalities because delivery of water is not the Department’s competence. Also with electricity, the Department is dependent on Eskom to provide and install the electricity grid.
On the learner transport service providers, there has been a termination of the service providers as per court ruling. However, the department has tried to avoid a vacuum so after the termination, there are some service providers that have been granted the opportunity to provide the service on a month to month basis up to the time the new tender is finalised because the priority is to transport learners.
The department can provide a report proving that they have indeed built 10 schools by the end of 2017. On maintenance, DBE has made it compulsory for all provinces to set 20% aside for the maintenance of schools and KZN is complying with that directive. The department will visit Buhlebemvelo School to assess it.
Perhaps the Funza Lushaka statistics need to be confirmed with Human Resources. The KZN Department has had a number of incidents in the past where Funza Lushaka graduates were chased away by school governing bodies under the pretext that the teachers were not appropriately qualified. The department will provide the relevant data to the Committee.
On special schools, the KZN Department does have specialists such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, not all of the schools have psychologists. The specialists are also available at the level of full-service schools with learner support centres that are appropriately resourced. The department is not at the level envisaged because of budget constraints but it has also been assisted by the National Department by means of the Profound Intellectual Disability Grant where R5 million was allocated last year. KZN is getting R27 million which will be used to employ social workers and specialist services that will be servicing districts and will be posted to schools where their services are required.
The identified challenges include learner drop-out with a high rate of substance abuse, child-headed families as a result of HIV/AIDS. Strategies to mitigate the challenges include the introduction of the ‘My Life, My Future’ campaign in the province and it is paying stipends to learner support services that provide counselling to learners and training of teachers on interventions. The KZN Department also transfers funds to schools for the purchase of school uniform for orphaned learners
The KZN Department has inherited Grade R in-community sites and has ensured that the sites are provided with LTSM as well as subsidise stipends to Grade R practitioners that are in those schools. Some of the sites have been attached to primary schools that are offering Grade R. Due to the rurality of the province, you find that it is impossible to have Grade R learners travelling long distances and it is difficult to bus all learners that are in need. That is why the learners are found in the cities.
The KZN Department is using Persal data to monitor teacher and principal absenteeism. The Department is experiencing a challenge in the reporting of teacher absenteeism and this has also been noted by the AG.
Eastern Cape response
Mr Themba Kojana replied that the key fundamental issue was more about alignment and the province was struggling with competencies. There needs to be proper standardised tools for effective monitoring. If the tools are not uniform and standardised, provinces will respond indifferently and that is the point that the department wanted to drive home at this discussion. The issues that have been raised by Committee members should be included in the next indicators, such as the content knowledge gap versus the self-diagnostic assessment as well as recording skills. On performance agreements, he is sure that the tools are available but the reality of the matter is about the firmness of the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to implement resolutions.
The Eastern Cape Department could not really come with quarterly reports that provide data because of the reluctance to report on matters that the Departments are not even sure of. The Departments followed the mandate of the meeting which was to talk on indicators and the alignment thereof so that there could be an agreement around their uniformity. If tools such as SA-SAMS are available, is there a need for biometrics in schools or a need to improve differently? What is it that the departments are saying?
Western Cape response
Ms Conrad noted the derogatory comments and said it is important to remember that the presentation had specifically followed the instructions of the letter issued by the Committee.
The understanding that needs to be had around SIMS (School Improvement Monitoring System) and SA-SAMS in the Western Cape is the principle of the matter. The principle of the matter is that WCED is being directed to a specific school administrative system in the form of SA-SAMS, prior to this it had been a general school administration system. The Western Cape developed SIMS, which is a completely automated online and live tool and that is how it is different from SA-SAMS which is a manual system. On the question of getting into trouble with the Auditor General for using SIMS, Ms Conrad explained that SA-SAMS is being forced into the system and into PED APPs. Western Cape believes that SA-SAMS as it currently is will take the province backwards in terms of its reporting capability because it is an offline product and the moving of data from school site up to district office is done manually.
The Chairperson said she would like the National Department to get involved in the conversation.
Ms Conrad said that the Western Cape is aware that DBE is moving toward an automated SA-SAMS and that it contributes financially to the development of an automated SA-SAMS and the Western Cape province is looking forward to the automated tool. Until that time, the province will continue to use SIMs because data is able to be extrapolated very quickly as opposed to having to go down from layer to layer to get the information. WCED will continue to report on SIMs to the AG and will include the data as a provincial specific indicator.
On the question of the Grade R practitioners, Ms Conrad said that the distinction lies within the detail of the PPM and the technical indicator information. Grade R practitioner are not employed by the Department but by the SGB. WCED knows exactly where the Grade R teachers are because they have a way of tracking them.
The Chairperson agreed that provinces will never perform in exactly the same way. For example, not all provinces relegate the job of hiring Grade R practitioners to the SGB. She asked DBE what the general practice is when it comes to ECD practitioners in the country.
Ms Conrad said that a standardised self-assessment tool had been developed by DBE and had been piloted by the Free State. There must have been some issues that came up because the tool was not deployed. Western Cape attempted to put a similar product into the system but the product itself was problematic with compatibility issues and that is why the province was unable to use the product. WCED has a tool in place which was internally developed by the provincial department where they measure ICT pedagogy competences. WCED has suggested that the tool might be something that National Department could take a look at because the principle that sits within that system can be expanded to include pedagogy and content knowledge itself.
The Western Cape has been 100% on target for water, sanitation and electricity and all schools are 100% covered for the last few years which is why WCED has not included it in the APP because the target had been achieved.
Ms Conrad replied that she cannot speak to the perception that the Western Cape Department of Education is uncontrollable other than to say it is very difficult to blindly follow when there are areas that they know will bring the sector into trouble. If raising these concerns increases the level of the sector as a whole, then the department is quite happy to be those people.
The Chairperson said she would like to go back to the comment made where it was said that the Western Cape department is uncontrollable and the response from the Department saying that they are quite happy with being uncontrollable because it is a matter that needs to be cleaned up.
Ms Warda clarified that she was not implying that she is happy to be uncontrollable but it is a perception that she cannot speak to because she does not know what is specifically being referred to.
The HOD of the Department addressed the question raised on learner performance. The gap between the performance in districts has been picked up and in 2017 the Department has cleaned the Vhembe and Skhukhule Districts and took five circuits from each of the two districts and the results have been positive.
On the retrieval of the LTSM, the Department is implementing a policy and has also set a target in their APP which they communicate to all schools and also issue a template that schools need to report back on at a certain date.
It may seem as if increasing the number of districts from five to ten may cost the Limpopo Department more in terms of the cost of employment (COE) but having five districts becomes problematic because there are certain costs such as travelling time and travel related costs from a central point to the furthest school and the impact on the officials. These costs have been reduced.
When it comes to the monitoring of educators and principals, the Department uses SA-SAMS and has also adopted the Data Driven District (Triple D) which is a reporting system from SA-SAMS and data is collected on a weekly basis. Surprise visits also assist the Department when it comes to monitoring.
The provision of workbooks is a function of DBE but the monitoring of whether all schools in the province have received workbooks is done by the province.
Limpopo DoE is pushing to have all its primary schools to have Grade R. Currently over 2 000 primary schools in the province already have Grade R. The ECD practitioners appointed number about 3 000. About 235 are trained at NQF level 4, over 200 on NQF Level 6 and we will be training an additional 100 on NQF Level 6 in 2018. The Department will engage with Northern Cape to learn how they became successful in appointing the practitioners.
The province is taking note of the concerns raised by the Committee such as overcrowding and the provision of adequate infrastructure and basic facilities in schools.
On retrieval of textbooks, the data is correct and the province is using the same system as Limpopo. Starting this year, there has been an agreement in the sector for the province to utilise the model on LTSM management from the Free State province and the Mpumalanga Department is looking forward to it. Last year Mpumalanga spent R21 million to provide textbooks to MST schools which number 101 in total. Textbooks were ordered for grade 11 and 12 since Maths and Science is provided as a compulsory subject for the first time in grade 12. Mpumalanga Department has provided textbooks, but it will follow up on the schools that say they have not received books. MDoE has not been able to provide a full top-up of textbooks to schools but there are selected schools that have introduced new subjects and textbooks have been provided. MDoE has noted the point raised by Mr Mnguni on learners keeping textbooks because they are modularizing. MDoE was not aware of this but will follow up and work on finding a way to provide textbooks to the learners who are modularizing.
On the MST Academy, the ECD in Mahashane is in a terrible state because it was affected by the storm that took place in on New Year’s Eve and there are plans in place to fix the facilities so that it can start operating well again. The MST hub in Witbank has a fully-fledged broadcast studio established in the institution where the Department itself is broadcasting lessons to 101 schools. The MST Academy is an in-service centre where teachers who are already in the system go to the centre for about four days to train.
The schools that are being closed in the province are non-viable schools
Northern Cape response
The HOD replied that the increase in the number of learners and lack of funding is a matter that the province has been raising at every opportunity for a number of years. He is not sure whether Treasury does not believe the province. Nama has been introduced as a pilot in two schools that are bordering Namibia and PANSAB has been assisting the school in terms of provision of materials.
The HOD added that what is happening in the Western Cape should also happen in the Eastern Cape as South Africa is not a federal state and DBE should work on its coordination role to ensure uniformity.
The training of ECD practitioners is worrisome because at some point the practitioners will be expected to be appointed with the same conditions of employment as any other educator in the system. The only reason the Department is paying them anything equivalent to the educators in the system is because of the qualification.
The Chairperson said the education sector is faced with the task of ensuring uniformity in the system and to achieve the broader NDP goals.
Ms Tyobeka acknowledged that the meeting was extremely helpful. The question on whether the country is a federal state was insightful because there are challenges in every province. The indicators and targets are meant to be for the sector. The sector is expected to comply with the National Development Plan. She noted the gap between the strategic level of leadership in the provinces and DBE and the technical experts who sit at HEDCOM. On what happened with the North West presentation, the disjuncture was clearly highlighted because the presenter knew what she was talking about but the HOD was able to come in and provide the context and actually correct as well as sharpen the presentation and sometimes that does not always happen. The leadership was very clear when the HOD stepped in. Based on the presentations, there is probably a lot of refinement that is necessary to clear up the indicators and targets and this something that can be done at a technical level. There is a need to take time out to look at the indicators and targets and clarify each one because DBE and PEDs cannot keep holding meetings of this nature to discuss target indicators that are not aligned. When looking at competencies at districts, it is true that the district competencies are too broad and maybe this was decided upon based on what is seen on the ground. Some of the provinces recognize the importance of competencies does not lie only with district directors, but also with competent circuit managers and strategic advisors but, yes, competencies do need to be clarified. She added that it is a pity that the DBE Director General could not be present at the meeting due to other pressing engagements as the meeting had been very insightful.
The Chairperson thanked all the PEDs present and said the meeting was an eye opener and the Committee will continue to engage with PEDs and DBE in the hopes that coordination within the sector improves.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Department of Education (DBE) Co-ordination of Sector Indicators
- North West Department of Education & Sport Development presentation
- Limpopo Department of Education presentation
- Gauteng Department of Education presentation
- Western Cape Education Department presentation
- KwaZulu Natal Department of Education presentation
- DBE 2018/19 Programme Performance Measures and Technical Indicator Descriptions
- Mpumalanga Department of Education presentation