The South African Council of Educators (SACE) and Umalusi briefed the Select Committee on their annual performance plans for 2018/19, and highlighted the roles, key functions and mandates they fulfilled in the basic education system.
SACE stressed the importance of professionalism among teachers, and the programmes it had developed to promote this. It needed to have jurisdiction over teachers who were going to engage with students. It had to move towards registering student teachers from the first year, instead of waiting for the final year, because as they entered the teaching practice to engage with learners, some of them may fall into the trap of issues such as sexual harassment. During 2016/2017, SACE had declared a backlog of 248 cases involving complaints of improper conduct against educators. It had managed to put in place systems like additional financial resources to address the backlog, but in 2017/18 a further 510 new cases had been received, and the backlog had grown to 274. The factors and environment that facilitated sexual misdemeanours between teachers and learners included space. This referred to teachers who had access to laboratories or office space, and committed misdemeanours in those spaces. The sexual violence and harassment-related cases were of importance to SACE and as a result, the Council had taken a resolution to prioritise them.
Umalasi referred to the external influences and factors that affect the organisation’s strategic plan. One of the things it had reflected on was the demand for quality education, with the emphasis on quality. Umalusi was interested in ensuring that within the targets that were being achieved by different departments, quality was embedded. The focus was on maintaining quality rather than just chasing targets, and it was always seeking new ways to improve the quality of the qualifications through benchmarking.
More independent and private schools were getting accredited. Umalusi had observed that the numbers were doubling, and this was a good thing because it meant it was serving its purpose -- that institutions out there were registered with departments and they were also accredited as being able to deliver the curriculum. Umalusi was aware of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) being in the process of reviewing the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and it was paying attention so that the changes that would be approved were in line with Umalusi.
Members commented that back in the days when they were still at school, teachers did not behave the way the teachers nowadays behaved. They did not engage in sexual encounters with learners, and they were professional. Concern was expressed about registering teachers before they graduated. What if they decided to change professions? What role did SACE play in determining the suitability of teachers to handle children, because the effects were huge when children were mishandled by teachers?
Members asked about Umalusi’s role in events where some learners did not get certificates until the following year. How did it make sure that these learners were not affected? What was Umalusi’s role to ensure that there were no examination paper leaks?
South African Council of Educators (SACE): Annual Performance Plan
Ms Ella Mokgalane, Chief Executive Officer (CEO): South African Council for Educators (SACE), said that in line with its bigger vision, the newly-appointed Council had taken stock and indicated that SACE had to look at its priorities for the next term of office. This had involved its strategy, the delivery of the core mandates and the entire institutional capacity, with the ultimate goal of repositioning SACE to play its rightful role in the teaching profession and delivering on its mandate. For its term of office between 2017/18 and 2020/21, SACE’s core deliverables were the professionalisation of the teaching profession and as well as evidence-based and data-driven advisory services.
The Council had added the need for improved information communication technology (ICT), and for strengthened advocacy and communication. Its vision was to be present in all nine provinces, but currently they had offices only in Kwazulu-Natal and the Free State. It was in the process of opening offices three offices -- in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo -- and also intended moving to the rest of the country In the next financial year.
For the professionalisation of teachers, SACE was working closely with 25 higher education institutions to establish the criteria, attributes and outcomes of what type of a teacher it would want to see coming in. It needed to have jurisdiction over teachers who were going to engage with students. It had to move towards registering student teachers from the first year, instead of waiting for the final year, because as they entered the teaching practice to engage with learners, some of them may fall into the trap of issues such as sexual harassment. SACE was working closely with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to introduce a mandatory deduction, so that when teachers graduated they did not just come for registration, and also for the purposes of professional re-registration. She said teachers would be able to register once and then just retain and maintain that particular membership when they re-registered.
The current strategic plan encompassed SACE’s mission to ensure that the education system was enriched by providing properly registered and professionally developed educators, and the vision to promote professionalism amongst all educators in South Africa. Its values focused on quality, openness and transparency. The role SACE played in continuing professional development was not to provide professional development, but to manage and monitor the particular uptake of that professional development. The mandate to provide the development lay with the DBE and the nine provinces.
Ms Mokgalane said that SACE’s mandate was aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP), under which its role was to promote professional standards and the quality assurance of professional development programmes and providers, so as to ensure that the teachers earned professional development points from these programmes. SACE had the responsibility to approve providers as well as to endorse the participation. From the SACE Act, it had the mandate to register all educators in the country from both public and independent schools, and also promote ethical and professional standards.
As at 21 March 2018, the registered number of educators was 556 483, which included public and independent educators, and as well as those who were office based. 34 087 new educators had also been registered during the financial year. SACE was targeting 38 000 new educators for the 2017/2018 financial year, and was also updating professional registrations, with a target of 47 000 educators.
SACE was generally reviewing and re-conceptualising the whole registration process and systems by doing away with on-the-spot registrations because of the fraudulent qualifications coming in. SACE, as a professional board, conceptualised the fitness to practise. There were three different clearance focuses. One was the issue of a criminal record from the South African Police Service (SAPS), the second was determining the suitability to work with children which could be done by clearance through the National Child Protection Register from the Department of Social Development, and lastly clearance from the Department of justice and Constitutional Development and Sexual Offenders Register in line with Sexual Offences Act of 2009. These would be phased in for implementation.
For the verification of qualifications, because more newly qualified teachers than practising educators were being registered, SACE had started a pilot at five universities which sees all final year student teachers being registered in line with the fitness-to-practice criteria. Through the universities, SACE verified the student teacher qualification so that during the graduation, it issued professional certificates and welcomed the teachers to the profession. It was also heading towards an online registration system.
Ms Mokgalane said that during 2016/2017, SACE had declared a backlog of 248 cases involving complaints of improper conduct against educators. It had managed to put in place systems like additional financial resources to address the backlog, but in 2017/18 a further 510 new cases had been received, and the backlog had grown to 274. The target for the number of educators to be trained on the code of professional ethics in 2018/2019 was 10 000, while the target for the number of cases to be concluded was 550.
The sexual violence and harassment-related cases were of importance to SACE and as a result, the Council had taken a resolution to prioritise sexual harassment cases. Over the last five years there had been 514 reported cases. The three provinces that were reporting far the best were Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. SACE was trying to make sure that the other provinces followed suit.
Ms Mokgalane said KwaZulu-Natal was the province with the highest number of cases, but she was happy because the Premier had come up with a model to deal with them. According to the report released by SACE, the factors and environment that facilitated sexual misdemeanours between teachers and learners included space. This referred to teachers who had access to laboratories or office space, and committed misdemeanours in those spaces. Some of the arts and culture teachers, who had access to learners after hours, also perform these sexual misdemeanours. Some of the best teachers of science and maths had dual personalities, and the principals would argue that because these were their best teachers, they could not restrict them from teaching.
The Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system was SACE’s biggest programme, and teachers were required to participate in three types of CPTD activities -- the teacher-initiated, the school-initiated and the external-initiated. They were expected to have achieved targets at the end of the financial year. These programmes run over a cycle of three years, and the expected targets were to earn 150 points this period, and SACE tracked how the educator acquired the 150 points.
Ms Mokgalane said their fourth programme was the professional standards. One of the indicators was setting professional standards for teaching, and because this was more of a qualitative indicator than a quantitative indicator, SACE would want to see those standards approved by the end of the financial year. SACE wanted to develop and register the teacher professional designation with the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA), and was looking at achieving the first professional designation for teachers in 2018/2019. The process of re-registration and teacher professionalisation also fell under the professional standards.
Programme 5 covered policy and research, and SACE’s key function under this programme was to advise the Ministers of Basic and Higher Education, the Council and the board on professional matters and also to establish and manage the SACE resource centre and virtual library.
Mr Morris Mapindani, Chief Financial Officer, SACE, said the Council was funded mostly by its members through payment of membership subscription fees. In addition to that, the Department of Education applies for funding on behalf of SACE for the CPTD system. SACE was guaranteed of funding till 2021.
With regard to the performance of the Council, Mr Mapinda said the Council realised it was now scaling down and therefore last year it had increased its operating levies from R120 per educator per annum, to R180 per educator per annum, increasing the budget from R72 million to R103 million per annum. The aim being was to improve the delivery levels and to take the services closer to the educators which SACE served. In the three provinces where SACE had offices, it intended purchasing the buildings where there was office space, rather than renting, because it was more economical.
Mr Mapindani said that SACE had picked up on the backlog of misconduct cases, because towards the last quarter of 2018 it had been allocated an additional R2 million for the purpose of clearing those cases that were taking longer to be dealt with. That backlog would be cleared towards the first half of 2019.
He concluded by saying he hoped that the Council would fulfil its mandatory functions, and that the budget would be sufficient to do so.
Umalusi: Annual Performance Plan
Mr Mafu Rakometsi, CEO: Umalusi, said that Umalusi was the quality Council responsible for qualifications registered on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework (GFETQSF) of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The Council ensured that the providers of education and training had the capacity to deliver and assess qualifications and learning programmes, and were doing so to expected standards of quality. Umalusi developed and implemented the necessary quality assurance policies in respect of quality assurance of provision, and maintained a database of learner achievements and related matters
In order to advise Ministers on matters relating to the General and Further Education and Training (GFET) sub-framework of qualifications, Umalusi commissioned and published research related to the development and implementation of the sub-framework of qualifications. Umalusi also worked closely with other quality Councils in terms of the NQF. The NQF had made an arrangement so that there was synergy and collaboration between different organisations in the NQF space, by ensuring that the CEOs of different organisations sat and served on a particular council.
Ms Stella Mosimege, Senior Manager: Umalasi, referred to the external influences and factors that affect the organisation’s strategic plan. One of the things Umalusi had reflected on was the demand for quality education, with the emphasis on quality. Umalusi was interested in ensuring that within the targets that were being achieved by different departments, quality was embedded. Umalusi was responsible for advising on policy relating to the management of the GFETQSF. The focus was on maintaining quality rather than just chasing targets, and it was always seeking new ways to improve the quality of the qualifications through benchmarking.
Ms Mosimege said that in the organisational environment, Umalusi had needed to track what it had been doing since it started the current five-year term, from 2015 to date. It had reflected on its employment equity targets so that it could try and see whether it was employing males and females to the same degree, and whether it was meeting its disability-employment targets. When Umalusi looked at the performance at the moment, it found it had more females at the senior management levels, and at the middle level management it had more male counterparts, but when it went to the lower management levels, there were more females.
The vacancy rate had been at 24%, but at the moment Umalusi was at 6 %. Posts had been recently filled, and this had affected the vacancy rate.
Umalusi’s activities were very ICT-driven. Applications for accreditation, certification and verification processes were all ICT-driven, so if its ICT system was not working well, that could be a serious problem.
In the finance and supply chain, it had achieved 99.9% compliance in respect of payment for services within 30 days.
Umalusi had strengthened management capacity. It had employed its CFO and senior financial manager on a permanent, full-time basis. Umalusi was still struggling for office space at the moment. The office was a bit over-crowded, while a second building was being fixed.
Ms Mosimege said that there had been a gradual improvement in meeting targets, Umalusi had started off at 69%, and last year it was on 70%. It was targeting 83% and above in the current financial year.
More independent and private schools were getting accredited. Umalusi had observed that the numbers were doubling, and this was a good thing because it meant it was serving its purpose -- that institutions out there were registered with departments and they were also accredited as being able to deliver the curriculum. Umalusi was aware of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) being in the process of reviewing the NQF and it was paying attention so that the changes that would be approved were in line with Umalusi. The policies reviewed by Umalusi all had to be gazetted by the relevant Ministers.
Ms Mosimege said that in every APP, all departments and entities were expected to declare all cases that may affect the way they operated, and these had to be highlighted in cases where there was a court ruling. She said there was a case of Umalusi being listed as a respondent in a matter involving the School of Tomorrow versus the SA Qualification Authority (SAQA). The case had been settled.
Umalusi had three programmes. The administration programme dealt with leadership management and administrative support, and the objective was to improve the effectiveness of corporate governance. This affected finance, human resources (HR), ICT, strategic planning, communication and public relations.
Programme 2 dealt with qualifications and the curriculum, where Umalusi developed and managed the training sub-framework. The objective was to effectively manage the GFETQSF and to conduct research on an annual basis to inform strategy. Within programme 2 there were two sub-programmes. The first of these dealt with qualification, curriculum and certification, with the role being to ensure and enhance the status and quality of the sub-framework of qualifications which Umalusi developed and managed, to evaluate the curricula, the certification of learner records from the National Senior Certificate (NSC) and curricula vitae (CV), and verifying all qualifications including those done by Umalusi’s predecessor since 1992.
The second sub-programme covered statistical information and research. The mandate of this unit was to conduct research, keep reports on the indicators of quality and standards in the DHET, to maintain learner databases and to provide statistical support and information across Umalusi. The targets in this sub-programme included the number of reports produced on the management of qualifications in the sub-framework, and the number of curricula evaluated annually. The third indicator was the percentage of data sets processed and feedback provided within the turnaround time of 21 working days. The target was 100 %. She said that Umalusi had an intention to print all the certificates with the corrected data set, with the target at 100 %. The targeted percentage for verified requests within two days was 95 %.
The third programme was quality assurance of assessment, combined with evaluation and accreditation. The first objective under this programme was to ensure the credibility of examination results. This was where Umalusi quality assured the examination process, the writing, the marking and whether the provinces were ready for the examinations to be written, and Umalusi went out and monitored if all these things were happening accordingly. The second objective was quality assuring the private provisioning and assessment of the qualification. This was where they did the evaluation and accreditation.
Under quality assurance, there were two activities which Umalusi undertook. There were two units, one focusing on the quality assurance of assessment of school qualifications, and the other focusing on the quality assurance of assessment of post-school qualifications. The purpose was the same. They did external moderation of question papers, and the external moderation of continuous assessment which was done by the teachers at schools. The unit also did the verification of monitoring the conduct of examinations, the administration thereof and the marking processes.
Umalusi had to know what concessions were being requested and if there were any irregularities. It had to know how they managed them before they released the examination results. When marking was done, Umalusi had to moderate the process and even the moderation of the assessment of results.
Ms Mosimege said that what the unit did with the second sub-programme on accreditation, was provision for standards, and the unit determined, maintained and strengthened them. The quality assurance of provision was checked through the monitoring processes. This unit visited institutions and checked on what was happening out there, and evaluated the capacity of all institutions. They also monitored and evaluated the capacity of providers as well.
Mr Dumisani Maluleke, Senior Financial Manager: Umalusi, opened the budget presentation by saying that Umalusi’s role was to make sure that its strategies were sufficiently funded. A budget cut of 2.5 % had been implemented, as per instructions coming from the Presidential Fiscal Committee, and these reductions had been approved by the Cabinet. The budget cut amounted to R10.9 million, inclusive of the 1% VAT increase that was projected. Even after the budget cut, this did not affect its APP targets.
It was projecting a budget of R197 million, of which 71% came from the DBE while the balance came from the accreditation and verification fees, which was the small portion that Umalusi collected when it visits the independent schools. Umalusi was moving from R186 million to R197 million, which would amount to roughly a 6% to 7 % increase. On Umalusi’s revenue estimates, the administrative fees took the small portion of the entire revenue that it collected, and the other non-tax revenue consisted mainly of the interest that it received and some small rental income. The significant portion of its income still cames from the DBE.
Goods and services expenses took the largest portion of the budget (55%), while compensation of employees came second at 44%. The goods and services expenses went towards the moderation of question papers and the curriculum. Umalusi’s request to retain surpluses was approved for projects like renovation of purchased buildings, contingency expenditures and the enterprise content management system.
Giving details of expenditure per programme, he highlighted that 32 % of the funding went towards the quality assurance of assessment, to show that Umalusi was very serious about maintaining the quality of education. Another 32 % was allocated to administration which incorporated governance, so that Umalusi’s operation was strengthened. There would be a move in future years towards allocating more funds to research so that there was informed knowledge on how the education system was currently performing, and how it needed to be performing. The evaluation and accreditation programme had been allocated 20%. Umalusi had to accredit institutions on time to ensure that they operated with licences.
Under the controls for managing the APP and supply chain management (SCM), Mr Maluleke said that senior and executive managers made sure that they created awareness through the signing of a pledge to bring a culture of obtaining a clear audit, instead of it residing on the governance side. This taking of responsibility would mean that Umalusi would push into the right direction. Umalusi had appointed a specialist on performance information in the audit and risk committee in order to strengthen its capacity. The supply chain had also been updated to be aligned to the legislation so that they it operated correctly.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) commented that back in the time when she was still at school, teachers did not behave the way the teachers nowadays behaved. They did not engage in sexual encounters with learners, and they were professional. She could not understand why principals would beg and still want to keep a teacher who sexually abused a learner, just because that was the best teacher they had. She asked if there was a relation between maths and science teachers and their being sexual abusers. She asked how SACE was benchmarking misconduct cases, and said that it was not fair for SACE to use ordinary numbers to make a comparison of reported cases across the country, as this was misleading. She suggested that SACE should rather use percentages to make comparisons.
She referred to the issue of quality, and wanted to know what ‘professionalism’ meant. Did it result in the professionalism of teachers? She asked about the number of curricula evaluated annually. Why had it indicated that it could not do more than two evaluations? Was two enough? She also asked whether Umalusi was audited.
Ms P Samka-Mququ (ANC, Eastern Cape) sought clarity on what SACE intervention really entailed. How was a teacher’s skill translated to the learner, because there were cases were some learners would reach grade 12 without, for example, learning how to speak in English. What surety was there that a learner would benefit and be aided from the skills a teacher attained? She asked about Umalusi’s role in events where some learners did not get certificates until the following year. How did it make sure that these learners were not affected? What was Umalusi’s role to ensure that there were no examination paper leaks? She what sexual abuse exactly does it involved -- was it rape? She wanted clarity so that she knew which areas Members could visit to assist.
The Chairperson said SACE needed to break down the cases that were recorded so that the Members know which areas were rife. She asked what the professionalism of a teacher meant. She commented that a considerable number of teachers went to work drunk, or were constantly late. What was the role of SACE in that regard? Was there a report that the principal of a school could send to SACE so that a record was kept of teachers who behaved inappropriately? She said that this should not be only SACE’s responsibility, but maybe a collaborative effort with the Department of Education as well.
She was a bit worried about registering teachers before they graduated. What if they decided to change professions? She asked SACE what role it played in determining the suitability of teachers to handle children, because the effects were huge when children were mishandled by teachers. SACE had said there would be 750 developmental programmes, but had not said what they were and where they would be implemented. How big was South Africa’s teaching system? Were teachers being over-produced or under-produced? What was the status of teachers? What circumstances would lead a teacher to be blacklisted and restricted from practising as a teacher? She commented that it should not matter at all whether a teacher was the best one or not in the school, but once they engaged in sexual abuse, they should never be allowed to enter into a classroom.
She asked where someone who lost their matric certificate dating as far back as 1976 go to get a new one. How did Umalusi help with this?
When SACE registered educators, it was simply registering a document, and currently the issue of competence was not being considered. However, with the new model, one registered as a professional in the first year and graduate as a provisional teacher. One then enters the classroom and become inducted for a full year and once SACE had done an assessment, that was when one would qualify as a qualified teacher.
The issue of striking and restricting teachers, Each case of misconduct was treated differently, but if you were found guilty of a sexual offence, you were struck off the register immediately and this would mean that you would have to resign, because a teacher can not practise without accreditation from SACE.
SACE was having issues regarding professionalism, and that was why, when the new Council had come into office, it had raised the point that SACE had not been doing much about it. That was why it had introduced this whole new programme to take charge of trying to professionalise its teachers. SACE had started by looking who it would be taking in, and hoped that if it had defined what type of educators it would want to handle learners, so that inappropriate conduct could be avoided. The registering of teachers before they graduated was a good thing, because SACE would be able to understand why students in institutions were dropping out, and to which profession were they losing them.
If teachers were taking advantage of poor families, SACE needed to step in and see how they could assist the parents. Most of the them would lose a water tight case because they would be prepared to accept a certain amount of money as a bribe in return of turning against the case.
Ms Mokgalane said that the correlation of maths and science teachers linking them to sexual abuse cases, was related to their access to space, especially science teachers, who had laboratories where they had the opportunity to engage in sexual abuse activities.
Mr Rakometsi said that Umalusi was audited by both internal and external auditors and since its inception it had had unqualified audits, which was a positive sign. The pledge which the senior managers had signed with him was means of showing and promising that there would be no negative audit outcomes in areas for which they were responsible. The Umalusi Council also got audited -- the auditors also checked the minutes to establish whether the things the Council say must be achieved had been achieved.
Regarding leakages of exam papers, he said that in the event of there no being leakages, Umalusi did not take any credit, nor did it get any accolades. This would have been due to the work and efforts of the Department of Basic Education and the provinces. What Umalusi does, however, is to conduct a country-wide visit to examination venues to check and highlight areas of weakness, and bring these to the attention of the Department, and towards the commencement of examinations, Umalusi goes to the respective areas where they had recommended some intervention to see that everything has been done by the provinces.
Regarding the certification protocol, if the Department brings to Umalusi’s attention that there had been any irregularity, it would not release the results until the Department had investigated and was satisfied, and then it would report back to give Umalusi a feedback.
He said that the certification backlog was damaging and painful for Umalusi. In terms of the certification protocol, Umalusi was not able to issue a certificate until an assessment board gave it data that was quality assured first. In the event that there were any discrepancies with the data, Umalusi would not issue a certificate.
He said that the verification of qualifications obtained before 1992 could not be issued by Umalusi -- one would have to go to the Department. SAQA and Umalusi engaged in a project now, where both entities would computerise all the data and make it electronic.
Dr John Volmink, Council Chairperson: Umalusi commented that the generosity of adjustments was part of a process called standardisation, and he would be discussing it at a meeting tomorrow. The national curriculum had been designed so that learners were able to pass, not fail. This was the aspiration in all over the world. There were 57 to 59 subjects that had been standardised already, and the inclination was not to meddle.
It was very important that Umalusi had public confidence. It was important that the people trusted Umalusi as the arbiter and auditor, which was why it had been working hard on its communications.
Dr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director: DBE, commented on the issue of certificates. He said that the Department had records of matric qualifications dating back to 1914. A lot of them were in hard copy form and in an extreme stage of degradation. Accessing these records electronically was still a problem, and this was the programme which the Department, SAQA and Umalusi was currently working on.
Mr Limdumzi Komle, Committee Content Adviser, commented on the issue of induction. He said that the Department had a new programme of induction to ensure that new teachers and Heads of Departments (HODs) who were coming into the system were guided and inducted throughout the year.
The Chairperson thanked everyone, in particular Dr Volmink, who was leaving the Umalusi Council. She paid tribute to him for leading the Council, saying she appreciated his drive, dedication and hard work for the entity.
The meeting was adjourned.
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