Basic Education Sector Analysis; Legacy Report

Basic Education

03 July 2019
Chairperson: Ms B Mbinqo-Gigaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Legacy Reports: Fifth Parliament (2014-2019)

The Committee received an analysis on the basic education sector and a briefing on the Legacy report. The presentations were made by the committee staff and were in preparation for the Committee’s engagement the following week with the Department of Basic Education on its Annual Performance Plan.

Members were informed that the Department consisted of the following 5 programmes: Administration; Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring; Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development; Planning, Information and Assessment and; Educational Enrichment Services.

They heard that the budget of the Department has consistently been just over R20 billion rands, with the exception of the 2014/15 financial year wherein the budget was approximately R19,6 billion. The Department budget increased in almost all the years except in the 2018/19, where it dropped by R686, 2 Million.

The audit outcome of the Department regressed from unqualified to qualified in 2017/18. Most of the targets on the Department Indicators are annual targets. The Department should be advised to reflect milestones on quarterly basis for annual targets. The situation was improved in the 2018/19 during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter reports.

In its Legacy Report, the previous committee recommended that the 6th Parliament will need to monitor the implementation of the 2018 BRRR key recommendations to the Department in order to improve the audit outcomes. The recommendations included:

  • Continue to intensify the implementation of inclusive education to reach all learners with special education needs, including ensuring that all schools for special needs education are well resourced and adequately adapted for learners with special needs and that educators are adequately trained and developed.
  • Address deficiencies in respect of curriculum coverage and textbook retention and retrieval system, as noted by the Auditor-General.  
  • Provide the necessary support to the relevant Provincial Education Departments to ensure effective and efficient utilization of conditional grants. The Department should consider developing clear performance evaluation frameworks for the grants under its control, with well-defined performance indicators that can be tracked consistently across project cycle stages for all provinces and performance indicators should be based on quality, cost and time factors. A process should be put in place to hold to account those Provincial Education Departments that do not comply.
  • Implement the planned headcount reduction strategies to ensure that the Department remain within the compensation of employees ceiling
  • Strengthen the monitoring of the roll-out of ICT in schools, particularly in rural areas, to ensure that access to ICT resources reaches 100 percent by 2019, as required by the Medium Term Strategic Framework.
  • Fast track the effective implementation of competency assessments for principals in all the Provincial Education Departments since this indicator is linked to the imperatives of the NDP.
  • Put more effective/stringent penalties against Implementing Agents who perform poorly in relation to the ASIDI programme.
  • Take the necessary steps to ensure that the budget follows learners, including those who migrate to other provinces.
  • Address the deficiencies identified by the Auditor-General regarding Grade R, including infrastructure, teacher learner ratio and qualifications.
  • Improve performance in respect of the indicators relating to the ASIDI programme, namely, completed schools to replace inappropriate structures, provision of water and decent sanitation.   
  • Together with relevant authorities, fast track the implementation of plans to allocate ring-fenced funds for learner transport.

Members welcomed the comprehensive presentations and noted that the presenters had laid out the map for the road ahead in a very good way. Members asked about the budget deficit, the number of full-service schools in the Western Cape, the status of the BELA Bill, the appointment of principals, ICT schools, the curriculum change involving History and its introduction as a compulsory subject, sanitation backlogs and underperforming schools.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Committee and stated that the first order of the day was to say a prayer.

The Chairperson asked Ms N Shabalala (ANC) to conduct the morning prayer.

Ms Shabalala conducted the morning prayer.

The Chairperson stated that the agenda consisted of the consideration of outstanding minutes – which to her knowledge they did not have; a legacy report and an orientation document. The Chairperson reaffirmed that everyone agreed to the agenda. The Orientation document served as a guideline for members’ usage.

Analysis on Basic Education Sector Analysis

Mr Madimetja Kekana, Senior Researcher, Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, said the objective of the presentation was to provide an overview analysis of the Department of Basic Education, as well as outline the legacy report and further identify key issues to be tackled by the 6th Parliament.

Sector Analysis:

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) was comprised of Early Childhood Development (for children age 0 to 4) and school education (starting from Grade R at age 5 up to Grade 12). It was established as a distinct Department in 2009 when the former Department of Education was divided into two Departments, i.e. Basic Education and Higher Education. 

Departmental Programmes:

The Department of Basic Education consists of the following 5 programmes:

  • Programme 1: Administration
  • Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring
  • Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development
  • Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment
  • Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services

Policy Directives Guiding SRSA:

The Constitutional mandate comes from The Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996). The policy requires education to be transformed and democratised in accordance with the values of human dignity, equality, human rights and freedom, non-racism and non-sexism. It guarantees basic education for all, with the provision that everyone has the right to basic education, including adult basic education.

Legislative Mandate – (NEPA – National Education Policy Act):

The NEPA inscribes into law the policies, the legislative and monitoring responsibilities of the Minister of Basic Education, as well as the formal relations between national and provincial authorities. It lays the foundation for the establishment of the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), as well as the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM), as inter-governmental forums that would collaborate in the development of a new education system. The NEPA therefore provides for the formulation of a national policy in both the general and Further Education and Training (FET) bands policies for, inter alia, curriculum, assessment, language, and quality assurance. The NEPA embodies the principle of cooperative governance, elaborated upon in Schedule 3 of the Constitution.

The South African Schools Act (SASA), 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), as amended:

The South African Schools Act, 1996, as amended, served to provide a uniform system for the organisation, governance and funding of schools. It ensures that all learners have the right of access to quality education without discrimination, and makes schooling compulsory for children aged 7 to 14 years.

Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act 1 of 1999):

The purpose of the Act is to regulate financial management in the national and provincial governments, as well as to ensure that government resources are managed efficiently and effectively.

The Division of Revenue Act, 2013 (Act 2 of 2013):

The aim of the Act is to provide for equitable division of revenue raised nationally and provincially.

Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998):

The Act serves to provide for the employment of educators by the state and for regulation of the conditions of service, discipline, retirement and discharge of educators. The Employment of Educators Act and the resultant professional council, the South African Council of Educators (SACE), now regulate the historically divided teaching corps.

Public Service Act, 1994, as amended Act 103 of 1994):

The aim of the Act is to provide for the organisation and administration of the public service as well as the regulation of the conditions of employment, terms of office, discipline, retirement and discharge of members of the public service.

South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995 (Act 58 of 1995):

The South African Qualifications Authority Act provides for the establishment of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which forms the scaffolding for a national learning system that integrates education and training at all levels. The launch of the Human Resources Development Strategy by the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Education on 23 April 2001 reinforced the resolve to establish an integrated education, training and development strategy that will harness the potential of adult learners. The design of the NQF was refined with the publication of Higher Education Qualifications Framework in Government Gazette No. 928, 5 October 2007, to provide ten levels of the NQF. The school and college level qualifications occupy levels 1 to 4 as in the original formulation, with plans to accommodate some of the college level qualifications at level 5. Higher education qualifications in the new formulation of the NQF occupy six levels, levels 5 to 10. Levels 5 to 7 are undergraduate and levels 8 to 10 are postgraduate.

Policy Mandates: Education White Paper 1:
The fundamental policy framework of the Ministry of Basic Education is stated in the Ministry’s first white paper, Education and Training in a Democratic South Africa: First Steps to Develop a New System (February 1995). This document adopted as its point of departure the 1994 education policy framework of the ruling party. After extensive consultation, negotiations and revision, it was approved by Cabinet and has served as a fundamental reference for subsequent policy and legislative development.

Education White Paper 5:

The Education White Paper on Early Childhood Development (2000) provides for the expansion and full participation of 5-year-olds in pre-school reception grade education by 2010, as well as for an improvement in the quality of programmes, curricula and teacher development for 0- to 4-year-olds and 6- to 9-year-olds.

Education White Paper 6:

Education White Paper 6 on Inclusive Education (2001) described the intention of the Department of Education to implement inclusive education at all levels of the system by 2020.

Such an inclusive system will facilitate the inclusion of vulnerable learners and reduce barriers to learning through targeted support structures and mechanisms that will improve the retention of learners in the education system, particularly learners who are prone to dropping out.

Education White Paper 7:

Education White Paper 7 is about e-education and revolves around the use of ICT to accelerate the achievement of national education goals. It is about connecting learners and teachers to each other and to professional support services, and providing platforms for learning. It seeks to connect learners and teachers to better information, ideas and one another via effective combinations of pedagogy; and technology in support of educational reform.

The National Curriculum Statement Grades R to 12:

The National Curriculum Statement Grades R to 12, a policy statement for learning and teaching in schools, replaced the policy document, A Resume of industrial Programmes in Schools, Report 550 (89/03). It embodies the vision for general education to move away from a racist, apartheid, rote model of learning and teaching, to a liberating, nation-building and learner-centred, outcomes-based initiative. In line with training strategies, the reformulation is intended to allow greater mobility between different levels and between institutional sites, as well as to promote the integration of knowledge and skills through learning pathways. Its assessment, qualifications, competency and skills based framework encourages the development of curriculum models that are aligned to the NQF in theory and practice.

Entities:

The South African Council for Educators (SACE) is responsible for the regulation, oversight and promotion of the teaching profession. The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Council (UMALUSI) is tasked to monitor, report on the adequacy including sustainability of qualifications and standards in general and further education and training, and is further tasked to accredit private providers of education, train and assess, promote quality amongst providers, and ensure that providers adopt quality management systems. The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) was at some stage an entity of Basic Education, however, it was de-listed in 2015.  

Budget and Expenditure

The budget of the Department has consistently been just over R20 billion rands, with the exception of the 2014/15 financial year wherein the budget was approximately R19,6 billion. The Department budget increased in almost all the years except in the 2018/19, where it dropped by R686, 2 Million. The drop in allocation could be attributed to Programme 4 ASIDI; in 2016/17 and 2018/19, the voted allocations did not keep track with inflation; below inflation increases of -2,6 percent and 0,8 percent respectively. On budget expenditure, the Department has been doing well, spending in mid to upper 90 percentage, with the exception of 2018/19 where it is likely to overspent by 4,3 percent. This could be attributed to multiyear infrastructure projects.

Annual Reports

The audit outcome of the Department regressed from unqualified to qualified in 2017/18. Most of the targets on the Department Indicators are annual targets. The Department should be advised to reflect milestones on quarterly basis for annual targets. The situation was improved in the 2018/19 during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter reports.

Committee Legacy Report

Mr Samkelo Mahlobo, Acting Content Advisor, Portfolio Committee on Basic Education explained that over the 5-year period under review, the Portfolio Committee, on a weekly basis, received various briefings from the Department, its entities and other relevant stakeholders on key priorities of the basic education sector. The Committee resolved to receive regular progress reports on the achievement of critical priorities that posed the most challenge to the sector or had tight targets. These included:

  • School connectivity and access to ICT resources;
  • Expansion of quality ECD;
  • Inclusive Education;
  • Teacher development,
  • Supply and utilisation; and
  • Provision of adequate infrastructure

Briefings and/or Public Hearings Progress

Inclusive Education:

Recent progress on support to Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) include the adaptation of several textbooks into Braille and provision of Braille workbooks and Toolkits in all 11 languages to schools for the visually impaired. The NSC examination is also now available in sign language. Despite this progress, challenges still exist. At the Committee’s roundtable meeting with stakeholders on deaf education, DeafSA expressed concern about the lack of focus on Early Childhood Development for deaf children, implementation of sign language as an official academic language without the necessary learner/teacher support material, and the fact that the majority of educators who taught deaf learners did not understand South African Sign Language (SASL). It was also requested that teaching assistants who understood SASL should be given bursaries to become qualified teachers. The Committee saw the need for further meetings of this nature to occur in future.

Provision of Adequate Infrastructure:

The Committee’s regular engagement on provision of infrastructure pointed to underachievement in respect of ASIDI targets related to inappropriate structures, provision of water and decent sanitation. The Committee also noted underachievement with regard to expenditure patterns on the ASIDI programme.

The Sanitation Audit conducted in 2018 showed there was still a challenge with unsafe pit toilets, including the need to build new facilities and to destroy old unsafe facilities.

The Department has set new timeframes to address the sanitation backlogs.

The 6th Parliament should closely monitor the implementation of the Department’s plan to address these backlogs, including effective and efficient use of the budget received from Treasury for this purpose.

Jobs for Cash Report Briefing:

The Committee received a briefing from the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on the Jobs-for-Cash report and subsequently engaged organised unions, the ELRC and SGB formations on the findings of the report. The report revealed amongst others that there were many forms of improper and unfair influence affecting the outcomes of the appointment of educators. Numerous claims of money being paid to influence the outcome were found to be in minority cases. It was also found that officials of a particular union exerted improper influence. In some cases, there appeared to be collusion between union officials and district/provincial officials leading to a system of patronage. The report also raised issues about the appointment processes in the educator sector. Key recommendations made impacting on existing legislation relate to the selection and appointment of educators, including the powers of SGBs to make recommendations for the appointment of certain post level positions. The Department has been taking steps to address some of the findings and recommendations of the report. The 6th Parliament should consider following up on the effective implementation of all the recommendations of the report. From a legislative perspective, the recommendations pertaining to the selection and appointment of educators should be considered during the processing of the BELA Bill, once it is referred to Parliament.

Alignment of APPs with the MTSF and NDP:

The Committee also received briefings from the DBE, AGSA and the nine Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) to enable discussions and to establish progress made in the alignment of APPs of departments with the 2014-2019 MTSF. Follow up engagements on this matter revealed greater alignment on the sector indicators and targets to the MTSF and NDP. The Sixth Parliament should consider monitoring progress towards the inclusion of key performance indicators in the MTSF and NDP that are not yet covered in the APPs of the sector. These include the use of competency assessments in the appointment of principals.

Challenges Emerging:

The following challenges emerged during the oversight visit:

Technical/operational challenges:

Accommodation Challenges: Accommodation recommended by travel agents is not always up to standard with Members complaining about accommodation arrangements/standards. Agents book an amount for dinner (with no limitations), but many hotels insist that we utilise the “government Rate/Government package” which only allows for restricted dinner – Members are also then not allowed to have in-room dining. This “special rate/package is much less than what we have approval for in terms of dinner.

Ground Transport: Should ensure that the drivers have copies of the committee programme/itinerary for the duration of the oversight visit to familiarise themselves with the routings and distances to avoid getting lost or not arriving on time.

Obligations conferred on Committee by Legislation:

In terms of Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009, the National Assembly, through its Committees, must annually compile Budgetary Review and Recommendation reports (BRRR) that assess service delivery and financial performance of departments and may make recommendations on forward use of resources. The BRRR is also a source document for the Committees on Appropriations when considering and making recommendations on the Medium Term.

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, for the last five years, completed its BRRRs as prescribed. Among other relevant authorities, the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa was called to brief the Committee on Audit Outcomes of the Department and its Entities. This was held prior to the Portfolio Committee considering the Annual Reports of the Department and Entities. This process culminated in the production of the Portfolio Committee Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).

Recommendations for the Sixth Parliament PC Committee:

The 6th Parliament will need to monitor the implementation of the 2018 BRRR key recommendations to the Department.  These are as follows:

Improve the audit outcomes by Addressing the following recurring challenges:

  • Irregular expenditure, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure;
  • The reliability of the reported information in the LURITS database in Programme 4;
  • Material misstatements in the reported performance information and financial statements;
  • Non-compliance issues around annual financial statements;
  • Internal control deficiencies, including leadership oversight; and,
  • Inadequate consequence management
  • Continue to intensify the implementation of inclusive education to reach all learners with special education needs, including ensuring that all schools for special needs education are well resourced and adequately adapted for learners with special needs and that educators are adequately trained and developed.
  • Address deficiencies in respect of curriculum coverage and textbook retention and retrieval system, as noted by the Auditor-General.  
  • Provide the necessary support to the relevant Provincial Education Departments to ensure effective and efficient utilization of conditional grants. The Department should consider developing clear performance evaluation frameworks for the grants under its control, with well-defined performance indicators that can be tracked consistently across project cycle stages for all provinces and performance indicators should be based on quality, cost and time factors. A process should be put in place to hold to account those Provincial Education Departments that do not comply.
  • Implement the planned headcount reduction strategies to ensure that the Department remain within the compensation of employees ceiling
  • Strengthen the monitoring of the roll-out of ICT in schools, particularly in rural areas, to ensure that access to ICT resources reaches 100 percent by 2019, as required by the Medium Term Strategic Framework.
  • Fast track the effective implementation of competency assessments for principals in all the Provincial Education Departments since this indicator is linked to the imperatives of the NDP.
  • Put more effective/stringent penalties against Implementing Agents who perform poorly in relation to the ASIDI programme.
  • Take the necessary steps to ensure that the budget follows learners, including those who migrate to other provinces.
  • Address the deficiencies identified by the Auditor-General regarding Grade R, including infrastructure, teacher learner ratio and qualifications.
  • Strengthen the monitoring and implementation of curriculum coverage as well as textbook retention and retrieval.
  • Strengthen district monitoring and support to schools. There should be consequence management for district officials who consistently underperform.
  • Ensure that all training on inclusive education and special education needs is adequate, including for deaf teacher assistants to teach content.
  • Ensure that the Second Chance Matric Programme is inclusive of learners with special education needs with effect from 2019.
  • Improve performance in relation to the indicators on teacher participation in self-diagnostic assessments.
  • Improve performance in respect of the indicators relating to the ASIDI programme, namely, completed schools to replace inappropriate structures, provision of water and decent sanitation.   
  • Together with relevant authorities, fast track the implementation of plans to allocate ring-fenced funds for learner transport.
  • Consideration should be made for additional funding for the ASIDI programme, given that expenditure on ASIDI projects increased at the end of 2017/18 and further that the First Quarter 2018/19 report showed that the programme had 83 schools under construction and another five schools had reached partial completion. Based on the current acceleration on the projects, it would appear that the budget allocation will not be enough to complete projects that are currently running.  
  • Consideration should be made to increase the budget of Umalusi due to its expanded mandate. 

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked Mr Kekana and Mr Mahlobo for the presentations. She opened the floor for questions but noted that it would be best to hold certain questions until officials from the Department of Basic Education were present.

Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) welcomed the presentations and stated that it was indeed very factual and informative. The reports highlighted the challenges and the recommendations that needed to be considered by the Committee; however, no line was drawn as to the work done by the previous Committee and the work that was being introduced for the first time – everything was interlinked. He stated that Mr Kekana and Mr Mahlobo had laid out the map for the road ahead in a very good way. He noted that there were 5 Recommendation pages and the task appeared to be a huge one.

On funding, he noted the presentation said: “Based on the current acceleration on the projects, it would appear that the budget allocation will not be enough to complete projects that are currently running.” He asked if the budget allocation took into account external funding and donations. 

Mr T Malatji (ANC) informed the Committee that many schools collapsed due to inadequate management and leadership. There was a difference in being a teacher and being a manger: many teachers were promoted to the position of principal only to find out that they were not able to handle the task of being a manager, and therefore it was an issue that needed to be looked at when doing assessments and oversights. The performance of students was directly linked to the management of schools.

On ICTs schools, experience had shown that there needed to be proper infrastructure. Special classes and improved levels of security need to be achieved for an ICTs school to function properly. There were various external factors besides the internal aspect of the classrooms which needed to be considered when considering the budget, such as the service provider for data and heightened security to avoid cable theft especially – which had become a trend.

Lastly, the Minister had made two important pronouncements, one of which was the re-writing of history, she wanted to know how far the process of re-writing history was and when would it be ready to implement, to make sure that history is compulsory until tertiary level.

Ms N Shabalala (ANC) welcomed the presentation. Whilst the Department had set a new time frame to address the backlog in sanitation, in terms of collaboration with local government, it was not one of the key areas.  She emphasised the importance of collaboration between all three spheres of government – national, provincial and local

Ms Shabalala further emphasised that water, electricity and sanitation continued to be a few of the critical areas that needed to be addressed – especially in schools. She also sought clarity on whether it was the duty of the Basic Education Committee to seek collaboration in addressing those issues or not. Infrastructure belonged to the Department of Public Works (DPW) and therefore collaboration needed to be sought from them. The Basic Education budget needed to be looked at and where infrastructure was needed, DPW budget needed to be tapped into as it fell within their domain.

Lastly, with regard to the deficit of 4.3% in the budget, Ms Shabalala sought clarity as to whether it would affect the current financial year and if so, what measures were being put in place to correct the situation of overspending.

Mr E Siwela (ANC) noted that the previous administration had set certain targets each year. He wanted to know why the targets were set and increased every year despite not being met year after year.

Ms M Sukers (ACDP) wanted to know if there would be another meeting to discuss the recommendations.

The Chairperson stated that due to time constraints and various factors it would be better to discuss it in the current meeting.

Ms Sukers, sought clarity as to the amount of full-service schools that were located in the Western Cape, as mentioned by Mr Kekana’s presentation. In terms of the discussion around comprehensive sexual education, she wanted to know where the Department was with that and whether there was a revision in the Life Orientation curriculum by the Department.

Ms N Adoons (ANC) stated that the legacy report should be looked at as a working progress report that would guide the Committee in taking over from the 5th Parliament and what needed to be looked at as they went along. It should be treated as a document that would be used to help Members prepare themselves for their mandate.

The Chairperson stated that while the 6th Parliament took a resolution to focus on underperforming schools, no issues relating to them were mentioned in the presentation, nor what constituted an underperforming school. 

The Chairperson stated that when doing oversight, visits needed to be made to both underperforming and performing schools to differentiate and evaluate where improvements could be made to underperforming schools.

The Chairperson indicated that she was aware that there was a bill draft that received high volumes of public submissions that contributed to the delay in the processing of the Bill, she wanted to know what happened after that and where the Bill was currently.

On accommodation and oversight visits, the Chairperson highlighted that there needed to be agreement that no oversight would be done where Members did not know where they would be sleeping and what conditions or dangers were present. She stated that oversights and visits should be done with little inconvenience as possible and that drivers should be well known to the areas where oversights occur to avoid getting lost. Members and various delegates who went on oversights had family members and children to take care of and whilst their job was to conduct oversight, their first priority was to their family and therefore they could not be put in danger.

Mr Mahlobo asked if Members could reserve their questions for when the Department of Basic Education presented, as many of the questions were very specific and therefore warranted specific answers which only the Department of could answer. He stated that the current Committee would have a chance to draft its own strategy for the 6th Parliament and therefore it would be important to remember the recommendations mentioned as it could be included into the draft. The Recommendations of the 5th Parliament would assist the Committee in going forward.

Currently, due to administration and various factors, Parliament was basically still in the 5th Parliament and only around March 2020, could it be said that a new dawn of the 6th Parliament was fully in action.  

Mr Kekana responded that judging from the engagement by Members of the Committee regarding the report, it was clear to him that the Committee was going to be an efficient one. It was clear that Parliament had chosen the right people to hold the Department to account. The contrast of the current Committee was not that much different to the attitudes of the previous Committee.

He agreed with Mr Mahlobo that some of the questions raised could only be answered by the Department, and that there would be an opportunity to engage with them when they presented their Annual Performance Plan (APP) to the Committee in the next week. He emphasised that the APPs generally addressed issues that the Department faced throughout the entire period of five years.

Members needed to go through the legacy report, as he merely just did a brief presentation. The legacy report was a detailed compilation of every that was needed to be known, including but not limited to, what was covered by the previous Committee and what was to be covered by or initiated by the 6th Parliament. The legacy report mentioned everything – new and old.

Treasury allocated a budget per department; the budget was comprehensively based on the allocation from Treasury and did not include external donors and funding. Donor funds and external funding was dealt with by the Department itself. He emphasised that budget deficits were largely a result of inflation, and the economic status of the country.

On the appointment of principals, he was glad to see that the Committee was in alignment with the Department’s view that “screws needed to be tightened”. This was not to take away from the power of the School Governing Body (SGB) but rather that they understand that there needed to be a guarantee that wherever an appointment was made, it was made with regard to qualifications, skills and capacity to do the job. There was a difference between teachers and managers: not everyone was a teacher, just as not everyone was a manager.

On the paperless school experience, vandalism was a challenge that needed to be addressed, coupled with that of theft. The Committee would need to advise accordingly as to how a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Basic Education and the South African Police Service (SAPS) could be a reinforcement to ensure that schools and school property were safe and well taken care of. There would be a chance for SAPS to appear before the Committee to discuss how safety measures could be implemented.  In his experience, a good principal created a relationship with the community which led to respect for the school and ultimately reduced vandalism and safety issues, it was therefore important that collaboration be established between the community and the schools.

The Department would be able to give a report regarding the re-writing of History; however, as far as he knew progress had been made.

He informed the Committee that sanitation issues had not started in 1994, it was there way before that. As long as there was engagement on the issue, progress was being made; however, the Department would be able to engage more vigorously on the matter. There were issues regarding service providers overcharging government and highlighted that it was the duty of the Committee to ensure that service providers be held accountable for the ridiculous and charges that were unwarranted.

The Department of Basic Education was in collaboration with many partners, one amongst those, DPW, as all infrastructure belonged to them.  He suggested that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) be drafted to establish who was responsible for what and at what level, with regards to maintenance of school buildings. It was important to have an MOU, so as to ensure that when budget allocation was being done in terms of maintenance, then DPW would know that it has a responsibility in ensuring the upkeep of school property. The SGB needed to set aside a portion of their budget allocation for minor maintenance of schools as well.

On the regress in budget and financial aspect, he stated that the Department would be a better position to answer that, however, he elaborated that it could very well be a result of pricing, inflation and the economic status of the country.

Recommendations would have to be aligned with that of the current government. He emphasised that whatever was decided on by the Committee, they needed to stick to the plan of the Department as it would be unfair to hold them accountable for things that did not appear on their APPs. Furthermore, the Committee needed to align their strategy to that of the Department, so that if they fell short of their indicators, targets and goals, the Committee would be correct in holding them to account for their non-performance.

In trying to explain why targets were being increased despite not reaching them, he stated that many projects and processes within the Department took time before being implemented or started. Sometimes not achieving targets were due to external factors rather than internal ones. He stated that sometimes it could be to show the initiative and determination of the Department, that 1,2,3 was not enough but that they wanted to reach for 4,5 and 6.

The issue of full-service schools and the amount within the Western Cape and various provinces were available at provincial level. There had been a lot of progress with regard to the full-service schools.

He explained that the life orientation question could not be answered by him, and it would be best to keep that for the Department.

He stated that MPs should make use of writing Parliamentary Questions to the Department on matters that they needed answered, especially if they felt that engagement sessions were not productive. The Department would respond diligently with answers.

Many underperforming schools were as a result of socio-economic conditions.  The Department presented a report to the Committee regarding working schools, which was shared to underperforming schools. This was done to allow underperforming schools to evaluate and change their methods to align with working schools who faced the same conditions and unfavorable circumstances.

Mr Kekana explained that infrastructure remained a challenge and upkeep was constantly needed from time to time. He explained that ASIDI was a programme run at national level and saw the establishment of a branch within the DBE that employed engineers and dealt with infrastructure matters.  

Regarding the Bill mentioned by the Chairperson, it had received huge volumes of public submissions and the Department was trying to be fair in incorporating all feedback. He was confident that the Bill would pass within this Committee’s term of office.

Oversight was a key component to accountability, however, he agreed that logistics should be well planned, and safety and security should be guaranteed. He explained that oversight visits were planned by the Committee Secretary. He praised the Committee Secretary for always being efficient, whilst assuring the Committee that they were in good hands. 

Mr Mahlobo informed the Committee that they needed to start thinking of international study tours, which could be included in their strategy report, in order to be submitted to the House Chairperson for approval.  Visits to countries like Canada or to both Australia and New Zealand would be a good choice. Australia and New Zealand would be optimal as the Committee could visit both due to their proximity to each other. Australia and New Zealand worked together and were massive in not only basic education but school sports as well.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Kekana and Mr Mahlobo for their responses.

The Chairperson stated that were a lot of issues raised. She was confident that as the Committee moved forward, it could put those issues where they belong, prioritise them and tackle them. It was agreed that for now attention should be focused on the APPs for the following week.

The Chairperson stated that the Department had 5 programmes along with an allocation of R24 billion and that was a lot of money. Out of the R24 billion, R20 billion went to provinces and the Department was left with R4 billion which was still a lot of money.

The Chairperson thanked the Members for prioritising the meeting and stated that they would meet next week Tuesday and then venue would be v119

The meeting was adjourned.

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