Legislative programme 2001; Outcomes-based Education in Australia & New Zealand : Committee Report

Basic Education

12 February 2001
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Meeting report

Ethan Frome

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 February 2001
LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME 2001; REPORT ON STUDY TOUR TO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND: DISCUSSION

Chairperson: Professor SM Mayatula

Documents handed out:
Legislative Programme 2001 (See Appendix below)
Committee Report on Study Tour to Australia and New Zealand of 23 January 2001

SUMMARY
The Department hopes to process the following bills this year: General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Bill; Higher Education Amendment Bill, 2001 and Education Laws Amendment Bill, 2001 and the repeal of 17 private Acts of Universities.

The study tour delegation highlighted important aspects of their Committee Report on Outcomes Based Education in Australia and New Zealand. The committee discussed whether the experiences of a developed country such as Australia can be implemented in this country to make Outcomes Based Education successful.

The Committee adopted the Report. It was resolved that it would be used as a source reference. Further, a follow-up would be made with the provinces in monitoring how Outcomes Based Education operates.

MINUTES
Legislative Programme 2001
Adv F Boshoff, Director of Legal Services: Department of Education, went through the Department of Education's Legislative programme:

General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Bill, 2001
The purpose of this Bill is to deal with quality assurance in education. In Higher Education there is a Quality Assurance Committee that deals with assurance issues in Higher Education. At the moment, this function is dealt with by SAFCERT. This Bill will extend the scope and operation of the statutory body to deal with quality assurance in a proper manner. This Bill will repeal the SAFCERT Act of 1982 and will put in place a new body with new functions and a wider scope.

Higher Education Amendment Bill, 2001
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the provision on the composition of councils and to amend the SERTEC Act to exclude Technikons and to repeal the Private Acts of Universities.

The vice chancellors of universities as well as the Committee of Technical Principals have been requested to give their input on the composition of councils in order to make councils smaller but more effective in their composition. Further, the Bill will repeal all private Universities Acts. The Education Minister has already sought advice from the Council on Higher Education. However, the Council has reserved its opinion until there has been proper consultation with the affected bodies. The legal section within the Education department has also been approached for advice, which will be forthcoming on the 15 March 2001. Universities and technikons have been approached for comment on related matters such as the award of honorary degrees. This piece of legislation will be finalised once a full response has been obtained.

With regard to the SERTEC (Certification Council for Technikon Education) Act - which is the enabling legislation for the old certification council for technikon education and agricultural colleges, the Department intends to repeal not only to amend this piece of legislation.

Education Laws Amendment Bill, 2001
This Bill will amend various education laws applicable to General and Further Education. All provinces have been requested to indicate what key issues are necessary for amendment. The big issue that the Department has identified is that of the registration of private providers in private institutions in the Further Education and Training Act.

17 private Bills of Universities
It has been decided not to repeal all the private Acts of Universities.

Although the Department is under a lot of pressure, draft legislation must be completed by 30 March 2001 if the Bill is to be tabled in Parliament in the second term (see Appendix for the State Law Advisor's deadlines for submission of legislation in 2001). For Bills to be tabled in Parliament in the third term, the Bill must be ready for certification later than the 20 July. This will include consultation with key role players, as required by the 1996 National Education Policy Act.

Discussion
Prof S Ripinga (ANC) was concerned about time frames as the Bills will only be ready for tabling in Parliament in July. The committee will be expected to complete deliberations on the Bills by year-end in spite of having other matters on its programme. He asked if the Department could prioritise some of the Bills.

Adv Boshoff replied that the order in which the Bills have been place on the list from (a) to (d) represents the order of priority to the Department. Due to the need for consultation, the Department cannot move the dates earlier than indicated.

Adv A Gaum (NNP) firstly based his question in regard to the Higher Education Amendment Bill's object to amend the provision on the composition of the councils. He asked whether this would have anything to do with the size of the councils. Secondly, he inquired of the rationale behind the decision to amend SERTEC Act to exclude technikons, as well as the decision to repeal private University Acts.

Mr Montsisi (ANC) pointed out to Adv Gaum that it would be improper to ask substantive questions on the Bills, as this meeting was a discussion merely of the legislative programme. If that were to be allowed the whole Committee will be misled.

Adv Boshoff however did reply and said that when one deals with council composition, one has to look at all factors that impinge on the composition such as the various types of stakeholders. With regard to the rationale behind these Acts and the views of the universities to the proposed repeal of the private Acts, the department is currently engaged in a process of consultation with the affected bodies.

Professor Ripinga asked at what stage of the drafting of the legislation would regard be taken of the financial implications.

Adv Boshoff replied that the Department has always been mindful of the financial implications even in the initial planning of the legislation. This is an aspect of the Public Financial Management Act.

Committee Report on Study Tour to Australia and New Zealand
Mr S De Beer (UDM), Mr R van den Heever (ANC) and Mr S Montsitsi (ANC) of the delegation reported to the committee about the tour.

Mr De Beer indicated that the delegation's tour to Australia and New Zealand was a most enriching experience and exercise. It was also outstanding and important because of the relevance of the implementation of the Outcomes Based Education in our country. The following aspects of the Report were highlighted:
- Dr T Burke's report, Deputy Director General of Education: Sydney, about the current status quo of education system in New South Wales (page 2).
- All public school teachers are trained at universities, and they form one of the most highly qualified workforces in the world. That is the current level of excellence in Australia, which has been successful in implementing Outcomes Based Education.
- Close to one in three students now study vocational courses as part of their Higher School Certificate programme.
- Mention is made of the effective participation of parents in their children's schooling and the important role that this is playing in achieving excellence in that country (page 2)
- On the important point of student assessments, assessment is viewed as a broader concept than examinations. The committee should also note the paragraph on statewide testing (page 13) and the comments on Riverside Girls High School that the delegation visited (page 18).

He further said that even in a country as South Africa where education has recently reached a high level of excellence, there are major stumbling blocks facing the implementation of the system of the outcomes based education.

- Problems identified with outcomes based education are highlighted (page 19):
Parents often find it difficult to read reports and understand educational philosophy. He noted that South Africa must, however, also be aware of its own shortcomings as a country. Comparing between South Africa and Australia, for example, for example, he indicated that no public school in Australia is without the basic necessity of electricity. He thus said that the effective implementation of outcomes based education is not a process that can be achieved overnight.

In conclusion, Mr De Beer said that outcomes based education has certainly brought Australia and New Zealand the best education system in the world.

Mr R van den Heever (ANC) concurred with most of Mr De Beer's outline. However he said that the committee must be mindful that Australia is a first world economy. Thus it has sufficient financial resources to implement outcomes based education effectively, which, South Africa is not able to do. The decision by the government to embark on outcomes based education was a proper one but there are problems with implementation due to a lack of resources. He agreed with Me de Beer that assessment instead of examinations is an important component of outcomes based education.

Mr van den Heever highlighted the following issues in the Report:
"Literacy and Numeracy" which is significant to the success of OBE in Australia;
"Curriculum Support", page 4
"Student Assessment", page 13
"An outcomes approach to the Queensland Years 1 to 10 curriculum", page 39
"The Essential Skills", page 64
"The implementation of the Curriculum" page 65
He noted that there must be more textbooks so that there may be effective delivery. Finally, he said that Australia was a first world country and, it has obviously reached a pinnacle regarding the implementation of Outcomes Based Education.

Mr Montsitsi (ANC) referred to the following matters in the Report:
- The project "Science on the Move" - this project is impressive as it has a potential to move to deep rural areas.
- Setting the objectives on funding, page 53.
- The need for student/teacher exchange programmes between South Africa and Australia so that both countries may learn from their respective experiences. He believes that this is something to be strongly considered.
- All Australian schools have access to the Internet, page 7. The delegation's view is that the Internet should be made more readily available in schools.

The Chair made some few comments related to the Report. He noted that the Commonwealth Government is currently setting up a quality assurance process for their universities. The Canberra Institute of Technology is already in operation here in South Africa and the International Development Programme has an established branch in Johannesburg.

Discussion

Ms Njobe (ANC) referred to "Aboriginal Studies" (page 27) and said that it was sad to note that there are still people suffering and underrepresented in Parliament.

Mr Van Den Heever said that the delegation did not make a visit to the aboriginal communities. He conceded that the position of the Australian indigenous people is not a healthy one. However, urban aborigines are integrated into mainstream society.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) indicated that he agreed with Mr Van Den Heever's statement that Outcomes Based Education is very successful in Australia. He asked the delegation if they had any alternative views on Outcomes Based Education. Furthermore he asked what would be the delegation's recommendations to the Department regarding the hindrances to the successful implementation of Outcomes Based Education?

Mr Montsisi replied that there were no alternative views the delegation had regarding Outcomes Based Education. Furthermore, the Report only contained recommendations on the successful implementation of OBE in Australia.

Mr Ntuli (DP) praised and endorsed the Report. He asked if it was appropriate to hand the Report over to the provinces for them to see how they can implement the recommendations contained in it, or whether it should be sent only to the Minister.

Mr Montsisi replied only that the Report had still to be sent to the Department of Education.

Adv A. Gaum (DA) commented that the primary reason behind the success of OBE in Australia was due to high quality resources in that country. If South Africa wants to succeed with its implementation, it must ensure that the similar resources are available in this country.

Mr Van Den Heever (ANC) proposed that the Report be adopted and made a source document.

Mr Montsisi (ANC) noted that the student-teacher exchange programme is an issue that needs to be pursued further.

Mr Mpontshane (IFP) suggested that the appropriate manner in which the Report's recommendations could be implemented would be to go out to assess the provinces before the Report could be implemented.

The Committee adopted the Report. It was resolved that it would be used as a source reference. Further, a follow-up would be made with the provinces in monitoring how Outcomes Based Education operates.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix: Department of Education Legislative Programme 2001
PARLIAMENTARY PROGRAMME AND DEADLINES TO BE MET WJTH DRAFT LEGISLATION DURING THE 2001 PARLIAMENTARY SESSION

1. As was seen during the 2000 legislative programme in Parliament, deadlines by which legislation must be tabled in Parliament are strictly adhered to. Fast tracking of legislation will only be approved by the Office of the Leader of Government Business in exceptional cases.

2. The legislative programme for the Ministry of Education for 2001 is as follows:
a) The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Bill 2001 (This Bill will replace the SAFCERT Act)
b) Higher Education Amendment Bill, 2001
(To amend the provision on the composition of councils, amend SERTEC Act to exclude Technikons and to repeal the Private Acts of Universities)
a) Education Laws Amendment Bill, 2001
(To amend various education laws applicable to General and Further Education)
d) 17 Private Bills of Universities (It has been decided not to repeal all the private Acts of Universities as contemplated in (b).

3. In order to draft the legislation in time to meet the deadlines of Parliament to table legislation, Bills must be drafted and processed within the following estimated time frames:
a) Policy or clear instructions must be provided in writing to ensure that the issues on which the legislation is to be drafted have been accepted by the Minister and Senior Management. As there will not be enough time to write many drafts, a clear understanding of what is required is essential. This policy or written instructions must be provided not later than 15 February
b) Drafting of legislation must be completed by 30 March 2001 This is an extremely tight time frame, especially if it is accepted that 4 Bills have to be finalised for publication to obtain comments from role players within a month and a half.
c) The approval of the Minister and Senior Management must be obtained for publication of the Bills for comment by not later than 2 April 2001
d) Bills must be published for comment by not later than 6April 2001
e) Consultation with HEDCOM on the Bills by not later than 7 May 2001.
f) Consultation with CEM not later than 7 May 2001.
g) Conducting consultations with key role-players, as required by the National Education Policy Act, 1996, by not later than 7 May 2001.
h) Return date for comments on Bills not later than 7 May 200l
i) Evaluate and amend Bills on merits of comments not later than 17May 2001
j) Obtain the approval of the Minister not later than 31 May 2001.
k) Distribute Bills to Cabinet Committee not later than 1 June200l.
1) Obtain approval of Bills by Cabinet Committee's Social Sector by not later than 7 June 2001.
m) Obtain Cabinet approval by not later than 13 June 2001.
n) Send letters to Speaker and Chair of NCOP that Cabinet has approved the legislation by not later than l5 June 200l.
o) Send Bills to State Law Advisor for certification not later than 20 June 2001.
p) Publish explanatory summaries of the Bills as required in terms of Rule 241(c) of the Rules of the National Assembly.
q) Table Bills in Parliament not later than 20 July 2001.

4. Once the official deadlines have been made known, the schedule in paragraph 5 will be updated.

Addendum:
CHIEF STATE LAW ADVISER
l7 January 200l

Prof. Minister Kader Asmal
Minister of Education
Private Bag X603
PRETORlA
0001

Dear Minister Asmal

DEADLINES FOR SUBMISSION OF LEGISLATION IN 2001
We wish to advise that on information received from the Leader of the Government
Business, the Joint Programme Committee agreed on the following three terms of
Parliament: -

- First term: 15 January to 6 April 2001
- Second term: 7 May to 29 June 2001
- Third term: 28 August to 16 November 2001

It also set down deadlines for submission of certified Bills to Parliament as follows:

- For Bills to be passed in the first term: 19 January 2001
- For Bills to be passed in the second term: 20 April 2001
- For Bills to be passed in the third term: 17 August 2001

Please note that the above dates are for the submission of certified Bills to Parliament. In order for the State Law Advisers to certify the Bills by the said deadlines, the Department must submit the relevant Bills to the State Law Advisers on or before the following dates:

· For Bills to be tabled in the second term: 30 March 2001
· For Bills to be tabled in the third terms: 31 July 2001

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