2021 School Readiness; 2nd Chance Matric Programme, Basic Education Employment Initiative; with Deputy Minister

Basic Education

24 November 2020
Chairperson: Ms N Adoons (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

Video: JM : PC on Basic Education and SC on Education and Technology, Sport, Arts and Culture

The Portfolio Committee and Select Committee on Education held a joint virtual meeting for a briefing by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on school readiness monitoring for 2021, Second Chance Matric Programme (SCMP) and the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI).

The Deputy Minister reported that the 2020 academic year has been completed successfully, although three examination paper leakages have occurred among matriculants. The matter is under Hawks investigation.

The DBE stated 2021 school readiness preparations had 11 focus areas: Health and Safety; School admissions; Learner dropout; Provisioning for teachers; Provision of Learner and Teaching Support Material (LTSM); Curriculum Management and Assessment; Roll out of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT); National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP); Provision of infrastructure with emphasis on water, sanitation and learner transport; School Safety; Psychosocial Support.

The Department was generally satisfied with its preparations but had to deal with a number of challenges especially the fear of a COVID-19 resurgence. These included water and sanitation infrastructure still unavailable in some provinces, while schools are still expected to maintain health and safety protocols. DBE also noted many unplaced learners or other who dropped out due to the COVID-19 circumstances. Various support programmes have been put in place to assist learners and teachers with these challenges.
DBE noted improvement in the SCMP, due to increased learner enrolment, provisioning LTSM and partnerships to extend assistance and accessibility to learners. DBE reported that in the future it plans to hire 5000 unemployed youth and work with higher education institutes to create public and private sector opportunities for learners.

Government had allocated R7 billion budget to the Basic Education Employment Initiative as part of the COVID-19 stimulus package. This will run for four months from 1 December to 31 March 2021. DBE hopes the initiative will work well in order for budget to be allocated for its continuation. The programme aims to provide Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) with teaching assistants, cleaning and COVID-19 screening job opportunities. DBE reported schools applied for relief and the application process for saving posts had come to an end. Most provinces are running smoothly and where there have been delays such as Gauteng, progress is still being made. Posts were being selected and will be reported on.

Members asked how DBE was dealing with the water and sanitation problems at schools where circumstances were dire before the onset of COVID-19; if Second Chance Matric Programme has been successful in meeting targets as the 2019 results were poor; accessibility to ICT and the need for Department to issue printed materials; provisioning of boreholes; and the departmental responsibilities for providing water and access to employability. Members appreciated the BEEI for assisting to educate learners and contribute towards maintaining infrastructure.

Meeting report

Due to the absence of the Chairperson, Members elected Ms Adoons an Acting Chairperson.

The Acting Chairperson welcomed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education, Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to a joint virtual meeting. The Members were briefed by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on School Readiness for 2021, the Second Chance Matric Programme (SCMP) and the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI).

Deputy Minister’s overview
Deputy Minister of Education, Reginah Mhaule, said that she represented the Ministry in the meeting, accompanied by Deputy Directors General (DDG) and senior officials. She said the Department has had the challenge of leakages of matric examination papers as the matric mathematics paper as well as two other exam papers were leaked. Investigations are under way. The Hawks advised DBE to limit all communication on the leakages as not to hinder the investigation. The Department will be informed about further information from the Hawks.

Overall, examinations have been running smoothly. These incidents by corrupt individuals are discouraging for learners who worked through many challenges to complete the academic year. Learner attitudes have remained positive and the Department thanked learners for reporting incidents of leakages to officials and the police. The leakage had to happen from within the system for learners to obtain the paper.

School Readiness Monitoring for 2021
Ms Simone Geyer, DBE DDG: Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit, explained that due to the 2020 matric exam postponement, monitoring was not done through physical inspections. DBE engaged in many one-on-one meetings with provinces to draft a report on school readiness. The report focused on areas such as:
Health and Safety; School admissions; Learner dropout; Provisioning for teachers; Provision of Learner and Teaching Support Material (LTSM); Curriculum Management and Assessment; Roll out of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT); National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP); Provision of infrastructure with emphasis on water, sanitation and learner transport; School Safety; Psychosocial Support.

Health and safety
DBE assessed the provinces for systems in place for teaching learners and staff on orientating them on regulations. In 2020, COVID protocols required orientation of learners and staff on health and safety after hard lockdown. These protocols will remain in effect in 2021 to ensure that new learners and staff are familiar with the regulations. Orientation includes highlighting COVID protocols indicated in the standard operating procedures (SOP) document which has been revised based on advice from The Department of Health (DoH). Social distancing measures have been relaxed, while other protocols have been heightened. Information is readily available to learners concerning screening, temperatures and the compulsory wearing of masks. Social distancing measure must be clearly identifiable and monitored in schools in 2021.

School admissions
DBE has been monitoring the unplaced Grade 1 and 8 learners in schools. Learners may be unplaced due to parent choices, late applications, migration patterns, falsifying of admission documents, infrastructure constraints and overcrowding. DBE plans to ensure adequate space in instances of overcrowding and identify schools where there are still places for learners. This will be done through the provisioning of mobile classrooms and identifying unused classrooms in provinces.

Learner dropout
After hard lockdown, DBE noted many instances where learners did not return to the school system. It has a back to school campaign at national and provincial levels to promote learners reapply and return to schools in 2021. Figures and findings from an audit were presented in one-on-one meetings with provinces on distribution and reasoning for unplaced students.

Provision of teachers
DBE has the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) model that was declared in September. The MECs in each province declared the post establishment for schools. Currently, Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) are planning for the advertising of promotion posts. PEDs finalising management plans for identification and placement of additional teaching staff to schools.

Provision of LTSM
DBE has ordered the restock of learning and teaching support materials (LTSM). It has made a status report available on the procurement of LTSM in 2021. The restock of LTSM has been delayed due to printing closures during hard lockdown. The second lockdown prevented DBE from establishing contingency measures to order the books. Delivery of books has been postponed to November 2020 or January 2021 in some instances. DBE aims to monitor the status of delivery through reports and sending out teams to provinces. Schools have a strict retrieval and retention policy to ensure that students have books for 2020/21. There is a universal coverage policy to ensure books are tracked and available to every learner.

Curriculum management and assessment
The implementation of rotation plans to maintain social distancing in schools affected the curriculum coverage in 2020. There are provincial plans to cover the content that could not be covered in 2020 to be completed within 2021.This plan is important for incoming matriculants who will have to catch up the curriculum from the onset of the year, though it applies to all grades.

DBE has established interventions in the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) units. Extra support measures have been made available for all the grades to offer support through the same extracurricular programmes and continuation of ICT support measures. It plans to provide support through extra classes, revision camps, additional learning materials, online materials and through partnerships that can assist schools.

All provinces have to follow a universal framework for moderation, assessment, data management and capturing, district and provincial monitoring and PEDs establishing the scope per subject and grade for examinations to allow successful assessments in schools.

ICT devices and connectivity were made available to learners and teachers. Where network was not available, hard copy information packs were distributed. DBE plans to speed up the distribution of ICTS materials in provinces, focusing on providing for matriculants first. Some provinces are more advanced than others depending on arrangements with ICTS roll out. PEDs that have not started with arrangements are working with National Treasury to ensure devices are in schools.

National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP)
DBE will continue to provide the NSNP to schools in 2021. Due to COVID-19, schools have followed extra precautions for delivery and distribution of food. PEDs reported to DBE on adherence to guidelines in food supply. Schools must ensure that kitchens are cleaned as per the COVID-19 protocols.

Accessibility to water has been a key challenge in provisioning of infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. DBE tried to improve circumstances in schools through providing municipal, piped, tank and borehole water to schools. Limpopo has been severely constricted with water supply, especially during COVID-19.

DBE has a plan to eradicate where learners do not have any access to toilets or pit latrines.

School Safety
School Management Teams (SMT) and School Governing Bodies (SGBs) have put plans in place to monitor safety arrangements in schools as well as conducting a safety audit for 2021.

Psychosocial support
DBE has made psychosocial support in 2020/21 available to learners and teachers after experiencing death or trauma from illness during the pandemic.

School readiness monitoring (SRM) for 2021
DBE will conduct physical monitoring assessments in provinces from 27 January to 12 February 2021. Follow-up visits will be conducted between the 1 - 12 March 2021 by District officials.

Second Chance Matric Programme (SCMP)
Dr Mantlhake Maboya, DDG: Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring, DBE, said that the SCMP was implemented as a pilot to offer limited support to learners who did not meet National Senior Certificate (NSC) qualifications in 2016.

A 2020 SCMP progress report was presented by Dr Sandy Malapile, DBE Director: SCMP, who stressed the importance of a  NSC qualification for every South African citizen. DBE has the responsibility of creating programmes to support students to ensure they graduate with this qualification. However, these programmes have not been implemented universally. DBE feels confident that they can assist students to write supplementary exams in a few subjects to achieve this qualification.

Secondary schools are not in a position to support students who failed completely. The NSC qualification is very important as it allows for entry into skills programmes and the South African labour force. The programme aims to provide young learners who have failed to meet the requirements of the NSC and individuals who want to improve their NSC marks.

The programme launched 50 face-to-face centres across the provinces in 2016 to provide support in eight subjects. Since 2017, the programme was extended to include 11 high-enrolment subjects. DBE plans to cater for learners with special educational needs in the future. The project is managed at national level by an interprovincial national level task team from multidisciplinary teams.

The programme was implemented through face-to-face centres, broadcasting, digital content and provisioning printed LTSM to learners. Face-to face lessons occur after school or on weekends by top performing teachers to improve their grades. Radio and television broadcasting channels have been made available through donations of DSTV decoders and various partnerships. DBE provided printed LTSM in the form of textbooks, Mind the Gap study guides, revision books and previous examination papers and memoranda.

DBE provided online platforms for e-learning which has been zero-rated through Vodacom. There are also various apps available to SCMP students. For offline resources, DBE has provisioned  85 Content Access Points (CAPs) that will digitally store, manage and distribute content in areas with low connectivity.

DBE has established partnerships with different entities to extend accessibility of programmes and resources. Partnerships have included collaborations with Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Department of Correctional Services, Mzansi Public Libraries, UNISA centres and broadcasting platforms.

DBE has advocated the SCMP to communities through road shows, broadcasts, pamphlets and social media posters. Road shows collaborate with the public and private sector to present opportunities to learners across the provinces.

Monitoring and performance
SCMP officials and provincial coordinators conduct monitoring oversight in the provinces to ensure plans run smoothly. DBE Internal Audit conducts monitoring in selected sites. In 2021, a service provider will conduct an overall evaluation of the impact of the programme.

DBE has increased the number of study guides available, including material for learners with special educational needs. DBE reported increased enrolment in face-to-face learning centres. Since inception of the programme, the number of subject passes has increased exponentially, with the exception of 2019 due to a decrease in the number of learners enrolled for the programme.

Due to the cancellation of May/June exams this year, the overall class size of SCMP increased. In 2020, DBE provided 133 face-to-face across the provinces. Face-to-face teaching was supplemented with broadcasting, printed and on/offline materials available to learners. More teachers and centre manages were appointed to the provinces accordingly. 121031 adult learners registered for the SCMP in the past year.

DBE provided COVID-19 essentials and employed more screeners and cleaners to implement COVID-19 standard operating protocols (SOPs).  399 of the appointed staff were unemployed youth.

Repurposed SCMP and future plans
The SCMP has been extended to include three pillars:
• Support adult learners to complete matric
• Short skills programme for employability
• Career outreach programme to expose youth to public and private sector opportunities .

DBE plans to employ 5000 unemployed youth, establish a virtual school and provision Content Access Points (CAPs) to all centres by 2022. DBE also plans to extend the programme to learners with special educational needs and inmates. DBE plans to focus on collaborating with higher education institutions and non-governmental organisations to extend accessibility to resources, opportunities and career guidance.

Basic Education Employment Initiative
Mr Paddy Padayachee, DBE DDG: Planning, Information and Assessment, reported that National Treasury committed a R7 billion allocation for the BEEI. Initially, the money was considered a Conditional Grant. Though, after advice from the sector, it was allocated to provinces as an add-on to the Equitable Share, with R1.2 million allocated to DBE for monitoring and oversight. The funding is for the remainder of 2020/21 with no roll over after 31 March 2021. Over 300 000 job opportunities will be created for young South Africans, SGB funded posts and posts at government subsidised independent schools. The Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng provinces received the bulk of the funding.

The BEEI positions the sector to address systematic challenges and to begin to make strides towards a post-COVID-19 future. DBE established a framework that each school requires a minimum of two Education Assistants (EAs) in public and special needs schools which constituted R4.47 billion from the budget. Quintile 1-3 schools have been prioritised, however a few Quintile 4-5 schools are thoroughly provided for as well as special needs schools. DBE aims to allocate 319 060 EAs and General School Assistants (GSA). As part of the stimulus package, the funds are subject to being audited.

Saving of SGB funded posts and posts at government subsidized independent schools
DBE recommended that PEDs should constitute a task team to examine the criteria to be utilised. Schools were requested to apply for relief which was adjudicated and distributed. Payments either occurred as once off or in monthly instalments. First priority for subsidies was given to low fee charging schools. Upon application, schools will be assessed and must indicate all relevant financial information.

All provinces will be making tranche payments at the end of December 2020. Currently, not all provinces have applied for relief from the Presidential Relief Fund. PEDs have provided roughly R800 million so far and plans to continue once incoming applications are evaluated.

PEDs experienced several risks such as incorrect or incomplete data sent from schools, misappropriation of funds, schools failing to apply for relief, and non-compliance to laws and regulations.

Implementation framework
EAs and GSAs will be placed in public and special needs schools as janitors, library assistants, reading coaches, hostel and laboratory assistants. These assistants should come from the communities they wish to work in. The term ‘youth’ was redefined to include 18 to 35 year olds. Applicants will be required to provide their curriculum vitae, identity document, qualifications, testimonials and police clearance. Woman and people with disabilities should constitute at least 50% of the allocated positions. School Management Teams (SMTs) will be responsible for placing and orienting EA and GSAs. 

Training Inventory
During December, youth will be targeted, as advised by the Minister, to skill these individuals in some tasks if the programme does not continue after the four months. EAs and GAs will be trained as teaching assistants for certain subjects, child care workers and janitors.

Stakeholder involvement
Stakeholder involvement and partnerships allow DBE to advocate the programme to the target group and within communities that will directly benefit from the initiative. DBE prioritised developing systems that are open and transparent to ensure accountability and fairness.

Emerging risks
Among the risks DBE highlighted was onboarding existing employees above the 18-35 year age bracket as cleaners and screeners during the pandemic; as well as not meeting the 1 December orientation deadline.

State of readiness in PEDs
Free State and Western Cape have not received their allocation letter, though National Treasury has guaranteed that the funds are available. Gauteng district project teams are still under progress and will be reported on. Gauteng had communicated the Saving of Posts at a later date than other provinces and so is still in a state of preparation. Provinces are currently evaluating the saving of school posts. DBE received 859 208 applications for job opportunities. The Harambee toll free line was critical in allowing all candidates an opportunity to apply, plus receiving background data on candidates and mitigating COVID-19 risks.
Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) said, on school readiness, that it was likely to encounter challenges. The Committee must rise above potential impending lockdown levels come 2021 school reopening. DBE must prepare for the worst case scenario, as fear looms of a resurgence of the pandemic in the future.

He felt assured in DBE's preparedness, except water and sanitation. It is a big challenge – whose primary task is it to provide water and sanitation to schools? Some municipalities are failing to provide water to communities, which will have a knock-on effect on schools. He proposed a programme be initiated to drill boreholes at each school in need. Boreholes will be under the control of the school to avert this dependency on municipalities.

On SCMP advocacy, Mr Moroatshehla said that not all learners have television access to watch the broadcasts. He felt more could be done to provide learners in rural areas with printed resources. DBE should conduct an audit to assess how many learners benefit from online platforms. Not all PEDs have the budget or accessibility to implement these interventions. Learners in extremely rural areas will not be able to benefit from online resources. DBE should ensure that each learner is able to benefit from these platforms.

Mr Moroatshehla said that politicians often make false promises on road shows. He asked DBE to manage this in anticipation for schools reopening.

Dr S Thembekwayo (EFF) asked how schools with teacher shortages before COVID-19, are being accommodated by DBE.

Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) was concerned about the budget allocated to the SCMP that has been reduced gradually. The SCMP is not meeting desired outcomes, learners have failed or been absent for their exam. She advised that DBE come up with other initiatives to meet these outcomes. Learners benefit the most from face-to-face teaching. The support available to SCMP is insufficient, especially where learners had to learn on their own. It is unreasonable that 30 000 learners receive face-to-face teaching, while 90 000 have to work by themselves.

These learners should receive the same opportunities in order to perform successfully. She felt that the programme is failing learners. Department has reduced the budget of the programme that was already struggling. SCMP learners are unsupported in terms of access to educators and online resources.

Ms Marchesi felt that the BEEI is good for employability, assisting learners in schools and for maintaining infrastructure. She did not understand why the programme will terminate in March 2021. These measures were required in schools before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. It did not make sense for this programme to start in December while children are on school holiday. BEEI should start on 11 January 2021 when students and staff return to schools. Four months is insufficient time to make a proper assessment of the programme’s success, it should be extended to at least a year.

She applauded the Ministry for all the work that has been done with the Committee to ensure that learners return to school. DBE has successfully provided schools with the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) speedily. She commended the work of DBE and Committee.

Ms C King (DA) reported that upon investigating special needs schools, it was discovered that most schools requested mobile classrooms. She questioned how many schools were provided with mobile classrooms. PEDs have not conducted the proper investigation to determine how many learners need to be placed in special needs schools. On Post Provisioning Norms (PPN), she asked how these measures have been put into effect in schools given the pandemic conditions going forward.

She commended DBE on the BEEI which has been necessary to alleviate some of the stress teachers experience. What is qualification level is required to work with special educational needs learners? Learners with physical disabilities, especially, require special applied skills from educators. SGBs responsible for recruitment of educators pose a risk for DBE as corruption may occur. Is there a process of appeal?

Ms King said that DBE is over-extending its reach into Higher Education, in providing skills post-matriculation. It was unfair to students who have already matriculated before the SCMP introduction. These learners will fall through these gaps in the system. She thanked DBE for all the progress throughout the year.  

Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) reported that 83 boreholes in the Northern Cape were functioning while 500 had collapsed. Boreholes collapsed due to insufficient machinery to support the drying up boreholes. She asked if DBE could investigate provinces, specifically the Northern Cape, to ensure that boreholes can be provisioned effectively and with the required machinery.

She asked how school days will be extended due to COVID-19 and staggered learning models. Have schools been notified and the additional infrastructure and resources been provided? On the 300 000 BEEI teaching assistants, she asked what the timeframe for employment was and if certain schools were earmarked. She asked how the grant was distributed for SGB teacher posts. She requested an update on schools where teaching assistants and SGB teacher posts were provisioned going into 2021.

She appreciated the work done by DBE on behalf of the Select Committee. She felt concern over how funding would be monitored, consequence management, and if mechanisms in schools have improved overall. Ms Christians thanked the Ministry, Department and Committee on behalf of the Select Committee, DA and Northern Cape for their hard work.

Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) asked if school readiness visits were conducted by DBE to determine whether there is readiness for 2021 and the preparations thereof. Some schools were damaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked if there was an attempt to cover the gaps in required school infrastructure. On water and sanitation, he asked whether plans were made for schools without any infrastructure to be provisioned by the start of 2021. He appreciated that DBE has put in great efforts to achieve all of the targets to allow learners to access education to the best of their ability.

Ms N Ndongeni (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked if DBE could quantify the number of learners who dropped out of the SCMP before writing exams. She asked which gender is most affected by drop outs. What is DBE planning to do to mitigate shortages in learner transport?

Ms King asked if measures were put in place to ensure most Grade 1 - 8 learners are afforded places at schools in provinces.

Ms N Adoons (ANC) asked how DBE is dealing with racism during the school admissions process. DBE must put in place extra interventions to mitigate lack of accessibility to infrastructure in schools. She asked what measures were in place to prevent overcrowding in schools during this time.

Ms Adoons asked for an update on what the SCMP learners are currently doing. She felt that DBE was doing a great job in providing opportunities to these learners. BEEI teaching assistants should assist in the SCMP to ensure its longevity and successful performance.

Director-General response
Mr Mathanzima Mweli, DBE Director-General, thanked the Members and Ministry for their contributions towards the presentations, oversight responsibilities and contributions made. He responded to Mr Moroatshehla that DBE has exhausted all meetings for the year and has planned a workshop with the Committee to focus on achieving 2021 goals. DBE will conduct a thorough investigation to ensure preparation for schools reopening.

The DG noted that learners in rural areas would need measures in place to access ICT resources. The strength of PEDs lies in the classroom. DBE does not have funding to roll out universal connectivity to ICTs.

During the planned workshop DBE will report on meeting with provinces, provisioning of teachers and the moratorium in light of impending budget cuts. The Minister will report on the tests in which Members can assess improvement in DBE. DBE will ensure that schools are not compromised by these circumstances.

On SCMP, DBE has been in constant communication with DHET and National Treasury to work together to address these problems. This will help to ensure these problems are solved and timeously. The pass rate of SCMP candidates cannot be compared to that of full-time learners. The SCMP is still too young to indicate progress and has not received the adequate support yet. He advised that the project not be terminated in haste due to unavailable results yet. The high enrolment numbers are indicative of learner confidence in their work, even though the 2019 results have not reflected that.

Mr Mweli felt assured in the progress that the BEEI will provide even though it only runs over a four month period. A team, established under Mr Padayachee and the Minister, went to provinces to start up the programme. The programme starts in December to allow EAs and GAs to prepare themselves before learners return to schools. DBE hopes the initiative will work well in order for budget to be allocated for its continuation.

The DG asked Ms King to provide details of the specific special needs schools that require mobile classrooms and on learner assessment for entering special needs schools. COVID-19 circumstances have been considered when implementing PPN. Learners with special needs did not experience challenges with following COVID protocols. Generally, teachers are supplied with the required support staff for learners with special educational needs. SGBs recruiting educators are monitored and are subject to clear guidelines that must be followed. Interventions will take place where recruitment is not in line with these procedures.

DBE will work to ensure that all unplaced learners have a school willing to enrol them, irrespective of their preferred school. DBE anticipates pressure regarding this in the Gauteng and Western Cape provinces. Mr Mweli acknowledged the problems in access to water and sanitation and appreciated the scarcity of this resource. Water must be used sparingly within provinces, which affects provisioning in schools.

DBE is working on a plan or differentiated timetable to allow for extended school days. He reassured the Committee that the safety and security of learners will not be sacrificed during this. Schools are monitored for reopening through a dipstick test of a sample of schools, which is used to create the programme for reopening schools.

On infrastructure, DBE has prioritised the provisioning of sanitation and water. Written information on beneficiaries of learner transport will be provided to the Committee. DBE will investigate matters of unfairness in school admissions based on racial grounds. Provinces have been provisioned mobile classrooms to cater to overcrowding in schools.
Deputy Directors General response
Mr Padayachee asked Ms Thembekwayo to provide a list of the schools affected by a shortage of teachers. Vacancies could be due to provinces failing to fill the post in the PPN or where they were provided, educators have left. Education assistants will provide temporary relief, though permanent educators must be placed. Responding to Ms Christians, he indicated that all schools are eligible for EAs and GSAs although well-resourced schools have often opted out of receiving this benefit. A team has been established to see if there was miscommunication or lack of understanding which caused SGBs not to apply.

Dr Maboya replied that DBE will provide the Committee with data on the number of SCMP dropouts, as well as their gender. DBE has noted that these numbers should be monitored going forward.
Ms Geyer replied that a monitoring tool was developed for assessments and readiness checks. It covers many themes including COVID-19 protocols, learner admissions, teacher provisioning, LTSM, curriculum management and infrastructure. Districts are sampled by the team and reported to stakeholders. Follow-up visits will be conducted.

Deputy Minister response
Deputy Minister Mhaule said the Department notes the many concerns about water and sanitation. Sanitation is being addressed with provinces to receive funding through the Education Infrastructure Grant. The Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) programme is addressing sanitation to improve conditions in the future. Schools in provinces with access to water bear the responsibility to provide water to learners. She noted schools in impoverished, water-stricken communities and said it is unsafe for communities without access to water to drill boreholes on an unstable water table. Provisioning of water is the responsibility of municipalities in conjunction with the Department of Water and Sanitation. DBE has adopted this into their minimum norms and standards to ensure that this resource is provided to learners.

On BEEI, the programme plans to run until 31 March 2021. DBE hopes that budget will become available in the next financial year to support the continuation of this project. Some provinces will begin the start of the four month programme on the 4 December. DBE has been working tirelessly with provinces to create these opportunities within schools.

She thanked all Members for their contributions and the collaborative effort between the Portfolio and Select Committees. The support offered by these Committees have helped to ensure the reopening and success of schools. She thanked Members for highlighting oversight matters within DBE.

Closing remarks
Mr Moroatshehla thanked the Ministry, Portfolio and Select Committees and Department for all of their support through a difficult year. He commended the team for holding the executive accountable for providing the delivery of education to communities and children. On behalf of the ANC, Mr Moroatshehla thanked DBE for their contributions.

The Acting Chairperson thanked the Ministry and Members for their powerful remarks and the good work performed. She thanked all DDGs, managers and officials who ensured that the academic year was completed, in spite of COVID-19 hardships. The Committee must work hard to assist teachers and learners to fulfil the mandate of education. To those who lost their lives, the Committee’s heartfelt condolences. May their souls rest in peace. She thanked all parents for their support and wished all learners best of luck.

Basic Education Budget Review and Recommendation Report
The Acting Chairperson presented the Budget Review and Recommendation Report.

After consideration, the Committee adopted the report.

Committee Report on DBE  2020/21 Quarter 1 Report
The Committee adopted the report.

The Committee adopted the minutes of the 13 and 17 November 2020 meetings.

The meeting was adjourned.


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