The Department of Basic Education (DBE) met with the Committee to present the report on the preparation for 2019 school readiness, and disclosed that the majority of learners had already been placed. The final placement lists should be finalised by the end of November. Some challenges that affect the finalisation of the placement of learners include:
- Parents not responding on time when requested to accept placement;
- Duplications caused by parents applying to more than one school and not cancelling applications after learners have been placed in a school; and
- Parents refusing to accept second choices when preferred schools were declared full.
However the Department would be monitoring whether admissions had been finalised per district, circuit and school, and would assess the number of placed and unplaced learners for all grades to address these challenges.
The DBE gave details of how it was planning ro implement the various elements of its mandate, such as teacher provisioning, infrastructure development (including priority being given to the eradication of pit toilets at around 3 000 schools), the supply of furniture to needy schools, the delivery on time of text books and learner transport. It also highlighted its achievements in developing and distributing digital content, and said the DBE was getting to a point where connectivity was close to 70%, although the remaining 30% translated to about 8 000 schools which were primarily in the deep rural areas, where the children needed connectivity in order to bridge the digital divide.
Members asked for clarification of the DSB’s approach to the rationalisation and merging of schools; what it was doing about over-crowding in classrooms; what steps were being taken to address teachers’ sexual misconduct with learners, and to deal with bullying; what incentives were being implemented to get skilled educators to teach in the rural areas; what disciplinary measures were being taken against teachers with fraudulent qualifications; and how it was responding to the issue of children without identification documents being denied access to schools.
Sexual abuse at schools
The Chairperson referred to a case of a teacher sexually abusing learners at a school. She said that it was quite disturbing to see that in this day and age there were still teachers who engaged in this kind of conduct. She hoped that the Department had taken action against this teacher, and steps were being taken to prevent this type of behaviour.
Mr Enver Surty, Deputy Minister: Department of Basic Education (DBE), added that there was no place for these types of educators in the education environment. The Department was of the strong view that where educators indulge in this kind of behaviour the law should take its course, and the state should act decisively. The Department had raised this issue with the state. This was essentially rape and the perpetrators could be criminally charged and prosecuted immediately for having sexual relations with a minor or child that was under the consensual age. The DBE wanted to inform the parents, particularly in the rural areas, of this situation and the possibilities that were available to them without even going through the due processes – although he was not saying that due process should not be followed. The Department would certainly look at this incident closely, and but would also deal with the phenomenon country wide.
He referred to an incident that had occurred recently with regard to corporal punishment, where there had been a lot of hypocrisy. Awareness of this had resulted in a significant reduction in cases involving this type of abuse. The Department must do the same in terms of awareness among educators, particularly with regard to their behaviour with learners.
2019 school readiness: Deputy Minister’s overview
Mr Surty said with that regard to learner admission, the Department were aware of the migration from urban to rural areas and from one province to the other. Gauteng and the Western Cape had enormous challenges with regard to the placement of learners, particularly for Grades 1 and 8, which were entry grades for primary and high schools. Provinces had been advised and had developed a system that would make early registration possible. This came with the other reality that while the rural schools were becoming smaller in terms of learner population, urban schools were becoming overcrowded as a result of this unplanned migration.
This was a reality not only in South Africa, but rather a global reality, and it required the Department to be more agile in terms of its planning, and also to revisit the situation so that more learners could be accommodated in a way that was beneficial to the broader community, and not just a specific community.
He had attended a conference called “Save the Child,” which had addressed the challenge that countries faced, particularly in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in respect of foreign learners who come as refugees without study permits and were undocumented. This was another phenomenon -- in addition to the local migration realities, the Department had to deal with foreign migrant learners.
An important area of monitoring for the DBE was teacher provision. This was critical because it had to ensure that it provided support to the provinces in terms of post provisioning norms. All the provinces had, by and large, been able to do so. The Department was looking more closely at the deployment of its Funza Lushaka graduates.
With regard to the provision of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM), there were three realities that one could reflect on. The first was that workbook books costing between R55 million and R60 million had been delivered for all children between grade R and grade 12. These had been delivered on time almost universally, and certainly had enriched the education experience of the learners.
With regard to text books, the Department was aware that in terms of the policy and the legislation, schools that had the ability and had conferred the authority to acquire textbooks on their own, sometimes were less appreciative of the procurement of those textbooks and delays associated with it. In some instances, provinces were less organised, but the Department saw a trend towards centralised procurement being considered, either at a provincial or national level, for stationery and textbooks. This was translating into huge savings for the provinces, and the Department certainly welcomed that.
Another development was the introduction of Siyavula textbooks, which were high quality textbooks for grades four, five and six, covering maths, science and technology. It was a core textbook that was utilised universally. Linked to that was the fact that the Department was planning to digitise the textbooks, which would translate into millions, if not billions, of rands of saving for the country.
School furniture was always a challenge, and as a result of the movement from rural to urban areas, and from one province to the other, classrooms and schools were becoming overcrowded, which meant that additional textbooks and furniture had to be provided for. The Eastern Cape, which had the largest challenge with regard to furniture, was on track in terms of providing universal access to furniture for teachers and learners, which translated into more than 150 000 units of furniture.
Other important areas such as teacher training and development, were very critical. Information communication technology (ICT) was something that the Department could celebrate. There were challenges with regard to connectivity, but the DBE had readied itself in a very commendable way for the fourth industrial revolution.
He then commended the Director General, Mr Hubert Mweli, for being a dedicated, hard-working education specialist and for all his hard work, and also commended the entire Committee for its energy.
School Readiness Assessment for 2019
Ms Palesa Tyobeka, Deputy Director General (DDG): Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit, DBE, that learner admissions were one of the tests for the school readiness assessment. The 2019 admission preparations in all provinces had improved, because admissions had been conducted in line with the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) and Council of Education Ministers (CEM) approved business processes.
The majority of learners had already been placed. The provincial education departments (PEDs) had been cleaning their data to verify available spaces after eliminating duplications. The final placement lists should be finalised by the end of November in terms of the business process. The Northern Cape had introduced some elements of an electronic system to manage placement of learners in schools.
Some challenges that affect the finalisation of the placement of learners include:
- Parents not responding on time when requested to accept placement;
- Duplications caused by parents applying to more than one school and not cancelling applications after learners have been placed in a school; and
- Parents refusing to accept second choices when preferred schools were declared full.
With regard to the declaration of posts as it related to teacher provisioning, all provinces had achieved this. The Eastern Cape in particular, where some challenges were experienced in the past, had been the first to declare their post establishment.
All provinces had an LTSM plan available, and some areas of monitoring include:
- Delivery of workbooks as per March 2019 order;
- Delivery of stationery;
- Delivery of textbooks;
- The availability of an LTSM inventory; and
- The availability and implementation of the retrieval policy.
On the state of readiness to implement the Incremental Implementation of African Languages (IIAL) in grade two in 2019, she said that the curriculum team within the Department had identified areas that required specific focus, despite most areas being monitored. Provinces that were being monitored because of their poor progress in this regard were the Eastern Cape, where implementation was only at 45%, North West Province at 39%, the Northern Cape at 43% and the Western Cape at 29%. These were provinces that the Department continued to work with.
The state of DBE readiness for implementation in the phase targeted, was:
- Curriculum – included in the IIAL toolkit was the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) for Second Additional Language (SAL).
- LTSM – the delivery to provinces would be by 30 November.
- Teacher provisioning – Different modalities were used in each province. The Department was monitoring whether they had teachers to implement as well as whether the teachers had been trained to implement.
- Assessment – exemplar informal assessment activities had been included in the toolkit. This was being delivered and should be in all provinces by 30 November.
Areas of monitoring within the state of readiness to implement IIAL were the progress in the implementation of IIAL, the availability of toolkits and teacher orientation.
Regarding schools’ ICT resources, and as it related to the development and distribution of digital content, 409 pdf digital resources had been converted into electronic publications (ePubs) for use on mobile devices. A total of 112 digital textbooks and teacher guide titles were currently available to schools in both pdf and ePubs.
The Department had provided 888 schools with broadcasting equipment to access the DBE channel for live lessons and revision programmes.
152 schools had been provided with e-Library solutions to access offline digital content resources and support grade 12 revision. 4 019 schools had been provided with ICT hardware loaded with DBE content through the Universal Service and Access Obligation (USAO) project to support e-Learning. Currently 64.9% schools had connectivity -- 56.9% consisted of non-broadband and 8% consisted of broadband.
Issues that the Department were concerned with regard to the rationalisation of schools, which had become the focus of monitoring efforts, were related to:
- Communities that continue to resist mergers, despite educational imperatives presented to them;
- Schools that were merged but still operated (and report) as separate entities; and
- Issues characterized as “low-hanging fruit” that could be dealt with immediately, such as delays in provisional administrative processes to finalise mergers.
The provision of teachers for each class and each subject remained a challenge for the Department, with their main area of focus being to provide qualified teachers for each subject, particularly critical skills subjects, and especially at a further education and training (FET) level. The Department believed that these were related to management issues.
Another area of challenge was that of learner transport, mainly due to budgetary constraints, inflation of learner numbers in schools, and poor provincial management relating to late payment of service providers. If learner transport was not managed properly, it presented additional problems to be dealt with.
The issue of learners without identity documents (IDs) was not only characterised by learners who came from outside the country, but included South African learners, so the DBE had been working very closely with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The challenge was that currently the law did not allow the schools to have children without IDs in schools for longer than three months. The DBE, DHA and the Department of Social Development (DSD) had been asked to look at the alignment of policy and legislation so that assistance may be provided to those children who do not have proper documentation, so that they may be afforded the right to a basic education.
The last area of challenge was around the condition of hostels in boarding schools. What had been consistently identified as an issue in the monitoring of this area was the physical condition of these hostels, the safety in the hostels and the lack of norms and standards for the staffing.
The Department’s approach to school readiness for 2019 was to target districts with a large number of under-performing schools, and a circuit approach would be used in these districts.
Mr Ramasedi Mafoko, Acting Chief Director: DBE presented the summary of school readiness as it related to infrastructure.
He said plans for the opening of schools and for infrastructure implementation were in place and were at different stages of implementation.
- Mobile classrooms to be provided to respond to demographic shifts and population movements;
- Plans to respond to storm damage and related incidents that occur during the schools’ December holidays to ensure that learning and teaching was not affected when schools reopen;
- Campaigns related to the cleaning of schools prior to the reopening of schools;
- Piloting social franchising for operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities in schools, which was started in the Eastern Cape and was being piloted to the other provinces; and
- Extending the pilot project with the Water Research Commission on the cleanliness of toilets to 3 000 schools, from 1 000 schools achieved in the current year.
The number of practically completed sanitation projects for the 2018/19 year were 653 out of a target of 1 557 projects. With the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), 632 projects had reached practical completion out of 942 being implemented.
With regard to school furniture, the DBE had been found to be underperforming, with 6 567 schools with a shortage of furniture in the 2018/19 financial year. To overcome this under-performance, the Department had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Departments of Environmental Affairs, Labour and Correctional Services for the provision of new and the rehabilitation of old and damaged school furniture. Subsequent to this, provinces had been given permission to participate in this project. What had been identified was that the Department of Environmental Affairs had a large amount of furniture sitting in their warehouses, ready to be delivered to provinces. The challenges reported by provinces in terms of school furniture included insufficient funding, the repair and rehabilitation of furniture and the monitoring of school furniture.
Regarding learner transport, 13% of the learners were still not being transported, and the major issue that was being reported by the provinces was funding. An assessment of this shortfall showed that the major challenge existed in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The DBE, together with the Department of Transport, had been working closely together to see how they could address this issue. The review of the learner transport programme was expected to be completed by 30 November, and received by the Department shortly after.
The achievement of transporting learners with disabilities for the 2018/19 financial year had been 9 974 from the targeted 10 106 in total, which represents 98.7% of the target, and 65 schools currently had arrangements for learners with disabilities to be transported.
The Chairperson said that there were low hanging fruits that were consistently present for the DBE to have resolved, but this was not done. She asked for clarity with regard to the rationalisation and merging of schools. Another major issue that the Committee had identified was that the DBE did not play their role where they were supposed to.
If the officials from the Department were not doing their work, then who was to blame? The matter of teacher placement was presenting itself in the Department repeatedly, and that was a management issue. It was evident where the challenges were, but what was the Department doing to ensure that these were resolved swiftly?
She referred to the Department of Environmental Affairs’ assistance to the DBE, and asked if there were other departments willing to work with the Department and why this was not being capitalised on. How far had the DEA gone with regard to their arrangement of helping the DBE?
Mr A Botes (ANC) said that the Committee must be taken into confidence about what was planned and what the challenges were. Before speaking about school readiness, they had to be taken into confidence by the DBE that there were approximately 3 000 open toilets in existence, which were parallel and cohabiting next to adequate sanitation. When the schools reopened in January, were those 3 000 or so pit toilets going to be demolished by then?
He said there were ongoing issues about the broad admissions policy, and in Gauteng there were a number of non-profit organisations (NPOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that were engaging consistently on the issue of proximity to schools, where students were only accepted if they stayed close to the schools, and got first option.
He asked for clarity and supporting evidence in the form of actual figures to support the claims made in the presentation that admissions were being, or had been, finalised by the end of August and that the placement of learners had been completed by the end of September. He was concerned about the placement of grade 1s, as well as the migration from primary to secondary education, and wanted to know if this had also been finalised. What was the anecdotal evidence supporting the statements made in the presentation? What was the learner to school ratio as a result of the migration issue? More importantly, there was a question regarding the educator ratio. He asked for clarity regarding these issues.
Ms H Boshoff (DA) said that the issue of the overcrowding of classes also needed to be addressed. According to a report by Equal Education, in the Eastern Cape alone there were about 98 learners in a class on average. This was unfair to the learners and to the educators that have to do the marking and the preparations for the class.
She asked the Department and the Deputy Minister to take up the matter that occurred at Malabar Primary School in the Eastern Cape, where a learner was bullied viciously and violently. Parents had been complaining that their children were trying to commit suicide because of the environment at that school. This needed to be investigated.
She pointed out that some Afrikaans schools did not have enough exam papers for their exams. This matter had to be addressed and should not be happen next year.
She asked for clarity and a report on the amount of spaces that were open, especially in the urban areas, because schools must keep a certain percentage of space open for parents who migrate due to various reasons.
What had been done to address the fact that the Department did not have educators in critical positions?
The issue regarding infrastructure was of great concern. In the online report that the Committee had been sent, it was indicated that 42% of schools would not have furniture due to lack of finances. She asked what was going be done about this. Which schools had been identified for the Memorandum of Agreement initiative? What was the budget for to the delivery of the furniture, and who was going to transport it?
The Committee needed to be taken into confidence as to where the mobile classrooms were, who was going to pay for them to be delivered to the respective schools, whose responsibility it was to procure them, by when the Department would determine which schools were in need them, and when they would be delivered?
With regard to the furniture, every school should have a stock control register. Why were the provincial departments and the districts not communicating with each other so that the DBE could have the correct figures?
She was glad to see that the Department’s ICT roll-out plan was on track, but she disagreed with its progress, as it was imperative that schools had connectivity. She asked to be provided with a report with regard to how many schools were not on track with regard to connectivity, the resources and the correct number of teachers. One could not have a class where just ICT was presented, so something like blended learning must be included as well for cases where there were power shortages, to ensure minimal disruptions to learning. What measures were in place to address the issues of continuity when disasters such as power shortages occurred, as they related to ICT?
With regard to the rationalisation of schools, how were the officials who were not performing their roles going to be held to account? With the merged schools, how many educators had been deployed to the new schools and how many were classified as redundant? Was the Department able to place any of them that could not go to the merged schools?
With regard to the rural incentive involving the Funza Lushaka educators, she asked whether it had been identified if these educators/ bursary holders were qualified for the subjects that were necessary at the rural schools, and if there was accommodation and any form of transport for them, as this would make the rural incentive more accommodating. May a Funza Lusaka bursary holder refuse the deployment?
Regarding the ID issue, she asked the DBE to pay a visit to the Nkomazi area, as thousands of learners there were being denied access to schools because they did not have a valid birth certificate or ID document. This was not their fault as they had been brought across the border with their parents.
Why was there no separate reporting with regarding to the various issues related to school readiness for learners with disabilities?
Mr X Ngwezi (IFP) commented on how teachers were recruited, as he noticed that priority was given to Funza Lushaka bursary holders. He contended that just because they were bursary holders, this did not render them automatically able to teach. To that extent it was disadvantaging self-funded students and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students from gaining employment.
He asked why due process for job recruitment was not being followed. He thought it undermined school managers and principals, and suggested that they could not recruit. An equal chance was not being given to people who were studying towards teaching education, and he would like the Department to reassess this going forward. Had all the management posts for 2018/19 been filled, because this was part of school readiness?
He encouraged the Department to continue their work on the provision of infrastructure which resulted in improving the sanitation/toilet structures. Was the Department comfortable with the budget to run scholar transport? Why was learner transport not given to the Department of Transport to deal with, as it was not the DBE’s area of expertise?
Ms J Basson (ANC) asked how sure the Department was that the school readiness programme would run smoothly in 2019, given the various issues, including the lack of budget. The DBE had once presented to the Committee a programme regarding digitisation, but there had been no mention in the current presentation of the progress of this plan. With regard to the increase in rural incentives by 10% to attract teachers to the rural areas, did this mean that the initiative, if approved, would be implemented in 2019? What was the teacher allocation per learner per quarter who were based in hostels?
In Gauteng, the perimeter for admissions had been extended, so how was the Department going to address the transport challenges, such as transport not being ready and poor roads? What were its plans to deal with the unqualified teachers who were in their posts with fraudulent certificates?
The Chairperson, adding to Ms Basson’s question, asked how many foreign educators were in the education sector.
Ms Basson asked how ready the Department was with regard to the second chance programme centres. How did the DBE communicate information to parents and communities, as it seemed as though certain issues were not being communicated properly? How would it make sure all the affected schools benefited from its ICT plans?
What was happening with focus schools? How ready was the Department when it came to school readiness for these schools? Pilot periods had been discussed extensively, but where was the Department currently on this? Was it ready to roll out?
She asked for a clearer report as to what was happening with LTSM delivery plans to non-section 21 and section 21 schools.
What was the electronic system to manage the placement of learners in the Northern Cape? Were they moving towards what Gauteng was doing? How were they managing this? She was also interested in what the Northern Cape had introduced, and what was being learnt from them.
Referring to Mr Ngwezi’s point about norms and standards, she asked how the Department was making sure that schools were getting what was due to them and that they could manage whatever they had. She used the example of how in the prior years some KZN schools had gone on strike because they were not receiving the funds promised to them. She asked whether the Department had an idea of whether the schools had received their funds for the 2019 year, so that they could be expected to perform well when reopened.
Mr Surty said the topic of ICT needed to be understood in the context of where the DBE was from both an administrative lens, as well as from a teaching and learning lens. With regard to the administration, some six years ago, the Eastern Cape had been at a level of 35% connectivity to schools for administrative purposes, and in the current year they were very close to 100%, which meant that one could contact schools utilising ICT for information and data, which did not exist not very long ago.
The difficulty that was being faced by the Department was that the responsibility for connectivity did not lie within their hands, as it lay with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).
The Department encouraged the DTPS and they were getting to a point where they were close to 70%, which in his view was not adequate given the reality that the 30% of outstanding schools translated to about 8 000 schools which were primarily in the deep rural areas, where the children needed connectivity in order to bridge the digital divide. The DBE had raised the issue of importance of connectivity within schools with the Presidency and in Cabinet as well.
The value of this connectivity for administration, governance and with regard to e-admissions, was that the Department had developed an application called the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS), which enables them to precisely track the learner numbers. Currently more than 95% of learners whose identities had been verified with the DHA were on the database throughout the country, so there was reliable and credible data on the learners. To the extent that National Treasury utilizes their data on LURITS in order to allocate resources to the provinces on the basis of learner numbers, this was a wonderful stride.
The Department also uses a system called SA SAMS (School Administration and Management System) in order to procure the data. If they go live, the Department would be able to do curriculum coverage, monitor the absenteeism of teachers and learners, monitor at any point in time the impact of the absence of the teachers on the performance of the learners, and disseminate and diffuse their data bank of assessments.
He thought they had done quite well with digitization, as 92% of all subjects across all grades had been digitized. This was a wonderful achievement, and the Department was working hard to achieve 100% coverage of digitised textbooks which were intellectually owned by the Department by the end of 2018. This meant that even if a school did not have enough textbooks to support a class of learners, the teacher would be able to just download and print the lesson. This also meant that at all schools the textbook would be the same, and this allowed for uniformity due to there being core textbooks.
The most important feature was that billions of rands could be saved annually by the provinces which could be used to address other areas of importance. All this could become a lively reality if indeed there was connectivity.
A major announcement would be made soon with regard to the education cloud, and this would be unique to the country in respect of how their implementing agents would be willing to host the cloud and allow anybody who accessed it to be zero-rated. This meant that education would be taken from being a public good to a public service. It was important to give this insight, because all these advancements had cost the tax payer nothing, and had all been achieved through partnerships with willing sponsors.
He agreed with Ms Boshoff that the Department should speak specifically about what had been done in terms of their inclusive education. The Department was not at an optimal level, but some extraordinary strides have been achieved. For example, in the current year for the first time deaf learners were being tested in matric through sign language. Sign language had been recognised as a language for academic achievement.
The Department had made a commitment that all ELSEN (learners with special education needs) schools must have ICT capacity, and had prioritised this.
With regard to the merging of schools, the Department had developed guidelines to enable all the provinces to understand the requirements and the process for the execution of a merger, and they were all following these guidelines. The difficulty had become less about the procedure, but more about the contestation that took place within communities. The Department was try to overcome this by embarking on methods such as sending dedicated teams to the provinces to assist with the success of the mergers.
When assessing mergers, the process of merging schools had to be very detailed and due process must be followed, because it affects the reality of the lives of people within that community.
He agreed with the Committee in that where there was a lack of will to do what was necessary, there had to be consequence management. This had been raised with the district directors, the heads of departments, and the Director General had also raised this as well.
With regard to teacher placement, the Department had begun, and almost completed, a profiling of the educators so that when teachers were deployed it was on the basis of his/her ability and capacity. The first recipient of comprehensive profiling had been the Eastern Cape. It had been so successful in that it had now become part of their system of deployment. The difficulty arose when professionals were reluctant to go to deep rural and remote areas, especially where the skills were required the most -- mathematics, science and languages -- despite the rural incentives.
He said foreigners in educator positions were found in many of the rural areas, because South Africans were not willing to teach in these hard to reach areas.
With regard to school furniture, the agreement with the Department of Environmental Affairs had been used in the various provinces – the Eastern Cape, Free State, North-West and Limpopo. The partnership was a long-standing one and had resulted in the delivery of about 300 000 units of furniture in the current year.
The eradication of pit latrines and the implementation of better sanitation had to be done properly to ensure that people were not harmed in the process. This was a safety hazard, and he agreed with the Committee that the eradication should be prioritised and that it could not take two years to be completed. This urgency was recognised by the Department.
With regard to the admission policy and the legal basis for an approach on admission, the policy was very complex due to the various factors to be considered, such as language, the needs of the broader community etc. In terms of the principles that were adopted by Gauteng, it had been determined that the broader needs of the community must be considered, and not just their narrow needs. The admissions policy should consider certain realities, such as the proximity to schools, subjects being taught, demographics and the broader communities. Gauteng had created a guideline/mission in which it took into account various important factors when developing admissions policies.
One would find “hotspots” in areas where the schools were becoming overcrowded because of migration from densely populated areas to less populated areas, so more schools had to be built and this affected the learner-teacher ratio and the deployment of educators. The Department was able to utilise the LURITS, however, to identify at any point in time what the learner population was and enable them to create a balance for the deployment of educators.
In response to the questions posed by Ms Boshoff about the bullying in schools, the Department had developed a guide for teachers and parents on how to deal with and cope with bullying. It had also developed programmes in order to assist teachers in managing these kinds of situations.
What the Department had embarked on and continues to work very hard on was the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) initiative, which was Southern African Development Community (SADC) driven.
He apologised for there being insufficient examination papers in Afrikaans, explaining that where there were slight deviations in the amount of papers printed out, it was as a result of the volume and the size of papers being printed out nationally. However, this did not excuse these occurrences and the Department would bring this to the attention of the examination unit.
With regard to the migration, the Department needed to think differently about how schools were planned in order to address this issue.
The mobile classrooms were an internal issue, and had to be addressed by the provincial head, district directors and circuit managers. There also had to be some kind of management as to how furniture was stored, where it was stored and how it was transported. He agreed with Ms Boshoff that there should be stock registers for furniture at all schools.
He acknowledged the importance of blended learning, especially in the short to medium term.
He said the rural incentive was a uniform incentive that aimed to encourage educators to go to the rural and remote areas to teach. The deployment of the educators who received these incentives was not done against their will, as the bursary requirements included that the educators would be deployed to somewhere in South Africa where there was a need for educators.
Ms Boshoff (DA) asked whether a teaching contract was part and parcel of the bursary agreement.
Mr Surty said that the teaching requirement was a contractual part of the bursary.
With regard to transport, a task team had been set up by the Department to establish whether the issue of transport should be located with the DBE or with the Department of Transport, because schools understood the needs of the learners better. They would be able to manage and control the system better, know what routes were better, and so forth. The task team had almost completed its work and the Department hoped to make an assessment after this. Currently, six of the provinces had transport established with the Department of Transport, and three with the Department of Education. It might require a blended solution, with an official permanently located within the Department of Transport.
With regard to Funza Lushaka bursaries, some considerations of the Department were that it should take into account the recommendations of the rural communities for the nomination of people for bursaries; the demands of the education sector; foundation phase learning; the key subject needs, such as mathematics science and languages; and allocate bursaries accordingly across all racial lines and language groups.
Once these bursary recipients were deployed after completing their studies, they would still undergo the same employment processes at the schools with government bodies. However, where there was a vacancy to be filled, the Funza Lushaka graduates would be deployed to these areas.
With regards to indigenous languages and the poor performance of provinces, this depended on the willingness of the provinces. These inequities needed to be addressed.
The policy of the Department was that foreign educators should be allowed to teach in areas of scarce skills where there were not sufficient educators, and that was the basis on which the Department allowed the exemption to take place.
With regard to the Second Chance multiple programmes, the Department had created a progression policy in order to provide learners with teacher support so that they were not held back in grades. The pass rate of this policy was about 50%, and more than 1 000 distinctions had been produced by participants. Next year the supplementary exams for these learners would be moved to June, and those who were writing modularised courses and supplementary examinations would be given adequate time for preparation, and the examination would be once in June.
Mr Mafoko said that in future, what the Committee had requested to be included in the presentation, would be included. He agreed with the Chairperson that there were low hanging fruits in the rationalidation process, but some of these had become very difficult to deal with.
Mr Ngwezi provided clarity on the recruitment of educators at schools. What he had observed was that the bursary recipients come with letters from the DBE and schools were then forced to place them within their schools. Due process was not always followed, and these educators were prioritised.
The meeting was adjourned.