The Committee considered and adopted the Third Quarterly Report on the Performance of the Department of Basic Education and the 19th National Teaching Awards Report.
The Committee also discussed its Legacy Report before adopting it. Some Members expressed displeasure that the Committee had not passed any legislation during its tenure, in particular the Basic Education Law Amendment (BELA) Bill and enquired about its status.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson indicated that it was an election year and the tabling of the Department’s budget would be done later unlike before when it was the practice to engage with the Department of Education (DBE) with respect to its budgets. In view of that, the budget of the Department would not be considered by the current Committee but be taken up by the sixth Parliament.
The Chairperson informed Members that it was no longer possible to have tours, trips or any oversight functions since such arrangements would not be processed because of the forthcoming election.
The Committee would however be visiting the Western Cape Department of Education’s (WCEDs) centres for Intellectual Disabilities next Wednesday. This visit was initially scheduled for the previous year but was not feasible.
She acknowledged the huge financial contribution of the government and the Department in the area of Intellectual Disabilities and emphasised the importance of engaging with the centres in order to address issues pertaining to them.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would consider three sets of minutes as well as several reports. The amended legacy report would also be considered. The Committee would rise on 20 March except if there were pending issues which were of necessity, otherwise justice would not be done to the work of the Committee.
Adoption of minutes and reports
The minutes of the 4 of December 2018 were adopted. Ms H Basson (ANC) moved for the adoption and was seconded Ms L Meso (ANC).
The minutes of 12 of February 2019 were adopted. Ms C King (DA) moved for the adoption and it was seconded by Ms Tarabella-Marchesi (DA).
The minutes of 19 of February 2019 were adopted. Ms L Meso (ANC) moved for the adoption and it was seconded by Mr H Khosa (ANC).
The Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education for the Third Quarterly Report on the Performance of the Department of Basic Education in Meeting its Strategic Objectives for 2018/19 was considered page by page. Members made no comment on the report.
Mr Khosa moved for the adoption of the report and it was seconded by Ms Meso.
The Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Results for 2018 was considered page by page.
Ms Basson moved for the adoption of the report and seconded by Mr Khosa.
The Draft Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on attending the 19th National Teaching Awards was considered page by page.
Mr Khosa moved for the adoption of the report and was seconded by Ms Tarabella-Marchesi.
The Legacy Report of the fifth Parliament was also considered together with its annexure.
The Chairperson said the annexure contained the areas members visited, the observations raised and how far the Department had moved. It would assist the next Committee to see the various shortcomings and challenges of the Department.
She asked Members if they noticed any gaps or omissions in the report which needed to be filled.
Ms King referred Members to page 11, 5.6, the third paragraph from the bottom and said it should be corrected to reflect 6th Parliament rather than 5th Parliament.
Ms H Boshoff (DA) referred to page 16, asked what the position of the present Parliament is in regards the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill was and how the sixth Parliament was going to take it forward. Who would address the issues the Department faced on the BELA Bill, and the various objections raised?
The Chairperson explained that this Committee was instituted under the fifth Parliament and no legislation was referred to it. The BELA Bill had not reached the stage where it was ready to be sent to the Committee for consideration.
Ms Boshoff expressed displeasure that the Committee - all through its tenure - could not pass any form of Bill or attend to any pending bill. She asked if the Bill process would have to start from the beginning when the sixth Parliament began.
The Chairperson explained that the process of addressing any bill including the BELA Bill had not started and would only be a matter of Parliament if it was referred to Parliament by the Minister. There was no Bill before the Committee and it would only be before the Committee once the necessary processes were completed. After this, the BELA Bill would come to the sixth Parliament and then be referred to the Portfolio Committee to attend to.
Ms Tarabella-Marchesi enquired about the public participation process on the bill.
The Chairperson explained that there are processes for addressing bills within the DBE which it follows. Parliament had not started any public participation. There would be no lapsing of processes as the Department would continue with its own processes on the Bill. Once any bill got to the Committee then it could start its own public participation process. It would be left to the Sixth Parliament to consider the bill.
Ms King moved for the adoption of the Legacy Report together with its annexure and was seconded by Mr Khosa.
The meeting was adjourned.
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