Workshop on Education Budget

Basic Education

10 March 2000
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


10 March 2000

Documents handed out:
Centre for Education Policy Development, Evaluation and Management input
SADTU input
SAOU submission
NAPTOSA presentation
CEPD submission

A Review of the 2000/01 Provincial Budgets: Education - IDASA
Education Budget: Vote 8
National Expenditure Survey: Education 1999

Chairperson: Professor SM Mayatula

The following organisations were invited to make inputs (see documents for their presentations) on the education budget for the financial year 2000/01:

Centre for Education Policy Development, Evaluation and Management (CEPD), presentation by Mr M Kgobe: Policy Analyst;
Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), presentation by Mr D Govender: General Secretary;
Institute for Democracy In South Africa (IDASA), presentation by Mr R Wildeman: Education Researcher;
National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa, presentation by Dr Musa Shezi: President;
South African Democratic Teacher's Union (SADTU), presentation by Mr Jon Lewis: Researcher; and
Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersuinie (SAOU), presentation by Mr Chris Klopper.

The Department of Education represented by Mr D Visser, Director: Education Funding, gave a brief overview of the education budget. He stated that the budget debate on Tuesday, 14 March 2000, concerns the national budget for the Department of Education which is about R7.4 billion. 1.5% of this goes to operational expenses and the balance goes to higher Institutions, with R272 million allocated for transfers. The education priorities that were identified in 1999 by the previous Minister of Education and senior members of the Department had led to this budget. When Minister Kader Asmal came into office the new priorities were based on Tirisano.

The allocation may not be sufficient. The question is can we do most with what we have? Statistics indicate that the poorest schools are some of the best performers, which shows that money is not the only role player. What sets the Department apart is the uniqueness of education. Unlike other departments where money is spent on projects that last for a longer period upon completion, in education a need will always be there to buy new textbooks, stationery, etc. There is also difference in capacity in provinces to spend funds. The Department is trying to divert special grants to needy provinces. Special efforts are being made to secure more funds for backlogs.

SADTU pointed out that certain gaps are apparent in the Schools Act and the Department made no reply. The Chairperson said the gaps should be noted down and submitted to him as it is the duty of the Committee to look into those.

Q. An indication was made that ABET be financed as a backlog in a fund outside the normal budget; a question was asked as to whether policy does not address ABET, why is there a need for new fund?

A. The problem with including ABET in the operational budget is that it would require more spending as ABET is a backlog. Additional funding is needed as ABET needs to be handled as redress and treated as an additional function.

Q. Ms MA Njobe (ANC) asked regarding the alleged decrease in real terms in education budget, whether NAPTOSA has any suggestions as to where the government should obtain extra money, since the highest spending of the government's budget was on education.

A. NAPTOSA has engaged with the Department on the matter and is still engaging on finding alternative sources of funding. One of the ways might be One of the ways might be SADTU's proposal [to slow down the shift to fully funded pensions, and then to use savings resulting from a reduction in the employers contribution to the Government Employees Pension Fund to restore funding to the social services (including education) and to increase capital spending on infrastructure]. As long as the government sees spending in education as expense, the saving now would have a negative effect generally on effectiveness of education in the future.

Q. Mr AM Mpontshane (IFP) quoted the SAOU's comment that "rationalisation and redeployment… has to be brought to a close as soon as possible" stating that he agrees with that. He wanted to know if SAOU could confirm allegations that teachers from certain racial groups refuse to go to certain schools.

A. Regarding the question that White teachers might refuse to go to Black schools, most SAOU members teach in Black and farm schools. SAOU advises its members to go to Black schools.

Q. Mr A Gaum (NNP) wanted to find out regarding the claims that primary teacher positions are not filled, what the consequences of that in the implementation of Early Childhood Education are.

A. Many vacant positions are not filled. SAOU regards this as a missed opportunity in the implementation of early childhood education.

Q. ELRC referred to pay progression within bands and performance notches as being mutually exclusive. Should workers be remunerated for long service even if not efficient?

A. The ELRC agrees that not everyone is to be rewarded irrespective of how they perform. In education especially there is no reward for those who perform.

Q. Ms Njobe stated that SADTU talks about lack of transparency while the SAOU refers to an improvement in stakeholders' participation. She asked for clarification on that.

A. There has been massive changes since 1994. The MTEF helps but it does not mean that SAOU must rest as "we still have a little way to go."

Q. Regarding school governing bodies, people do not seem sure of their task. What is the relationship between SADTU and school governing bodies? Is there a way in which SADTU helps these?

A. Teachers are represented in the school governing bodies. Also, parents in trade unions are encouraged to help school governing bodies. What is lacking with school governing bodies is that they have no national voice. This still remains to be done.

Q. Ms Njobe wanted to know if SADTU has any examples of countries where the state is largely or solely responsible for Early Childhood Education.

The Chairperson pointed out that there is a difference between ECD and pre-primary and that he would like members to be clear about such distinction.

A. Examples are Cuba, the United States, England. It is the commitment of government to provide education from 0 upwards. Before pointing fingers after grade 12 it is important that the government looks at ECD and ensures that the system is effective. It is a false economy to save on spending on education at an early level.

Appendix 1
Centre for Education Policy Development, Evaluation and Management
Submission to the Education Portfolio Committee on the Budget Vote

1. Introduction
The challenges facing education in this country are enormous and both the Provincial and National Departments have a huge task of transforming the system. Provinces have responsibility over a large part of provision - only higher education is responsibility of the national Department. The budget vote we are addressing here therefore in just a small portion of the overall education budget. We nevertheless believe that proper support to the provinces depends very much on the effective and efficient allocation of this small slice. The budget should reflect the main functions of the DoE which include policy development, evaluation and monitoring, as well as assisting in creating an enabling environment in the provinces.

We have not been able to engage with the processes that led to the drafting of this budget and are aware that a lot of background work has taken place in the preparation for these allocations. Yet, we would like to make a few comments regarding the education budget vote for the national Department and Ministry. The comments are based on the belief that the budget should reflect the priorities and programmes of the DoE.

2. Programme 3: General and Further Education and Training
Early Childhood Development (ECD): We note a cut of more than 50% (from R5128m in 1999/2000 to R2444 in 2000/2001 - for current and capital expenditure) for ECD. Clarity is needed on the reasons for such a huge cut.

We also note that the DoE has not unveiled its implementation plan for ECD. However, funds would be needed to prepare for full-scale implementation of ECD next year, especially given the implications of the new age of admission policy. This would suggest that a number of learners aged four, five and six would need to be provided for through the expansion of ECD. One would expect the monitoring, evaluation and support processes to increase significantly. Without these, ECD provision based on ability to pay would continue to shape access and those who need provision more would end up not getting it.

General and Further Education and Training (GET and FET): No reference is made in the documents to the National Education and Training Council, which the National Education Policy Act (1996 - section 11) requires the Minister to establish. This would be one forum available for stakeholders to engage with the Department and advise on policy and strategy for development of the education system. Does its non-existence in the document suggest that the Department is not going to give effect to the policy?

Curriculum 2005
is one of the biggest educational projects that the country has ever undertaken. In the GET band, its implementation has clearly demonstrated the need for substantial investment over the past three years, and such investment is likely to continue to be needed in this sector. Phasing in the implementation of C2005 into the FET band is likely to require large amounts of resources, especially the development of the 8 learning areas, materials development, educator development and the development of illustrative learning programmes. We note a substantial increase in the amount allocated current expenditure in general education and training development support (Page 10 - from about R2m to R71m). This is a good sign of the recognition of the demands of transformation, including in the area of curriculum.

However, it is difficult to comment on the adequacy or inadequacy of the allocations given the roles that the DoE and Provincial Departments have assumed in the initial preparatory stages for the phasing in of Curriculum 2005. The NCCRD report (1999) suggests that initial assumptions around detailed development of the curriculum were that this would happen at provincial level with, provinces designing specific outcomes and developing staff amongst other things. In practice, national Department has engaged in some of the activities foreseen as provincial responsibilities, including the following:

· translation of nationally agreed learning outcomes into relevant learning areas
· development of learning support materials
· procurement of services to support provincial departments in the training domain

The phase-in costs for 1998 were estimated at R1.1b for the national DoE and similar costs were estimated for 1999, while 2000 costs were estimated at R0,5b (HEDCOM Agenda Point: The National Curriculum Implementation Strategy, 1996/ NCCRD, 1999). These projections were based on the assumption that implementation would take place in more than one grade in 1998. The overall allocation for the programme (3) is R361m.

We would like to know the commitment of national in the phasing in processes.

We would also submit, however, that curriculum transformation is one of the single-most expensive items of the transformation agenda and needs huge investments.

Adult Basic Education and Training: Priority number two in Minister Asmal's list of priorities refers to breaking "the back of illiteracy among adults and youths in five years" (Asmal 1999 July). Breaking the back of illiteracy with reduced budgets may sound a bit optimistic but perhaps an analysis of what would be needed to achieve this goal should be undertaken. (Potential ABET learners are estimated at around 12 million (according to 1996 figures - South Africa Survey and actual learners constitute some 17% of this (learners aged 16 - 65)). A target of 500 000 adult learners by the year 2004 requires substantially higher levels of investment, especially in view of the fact that less than 1% of all provincial education spending went to ABET in 1998. The reduced allocation, from R2010 to R1877 million, sounds unrealistic if the needs are to be addressed. In addition, the new Age Admission Policy discourages older learners from being admitted to schools. Opportunities for these learners to access schooling is diminished by limited ABET facilities.

Education Departments Support Unit (EDSU): We notice that the money allocated to this unit has more than doubled from the previous year and believe that this is an indication of priority given by the Department to assisting provincial education Departments in the development of their management systems and management personnel. This, we believe, is money well targeted as most provincial administrations are very weak and it is the quality of our management which will largely determine the stability and quality of our education system.

HIV/AIDS is a major issue confronting the country. We are aware of the joint efforts of the Departments of Education, Health and Welfare to address the issue. We welcome this strategic approach but are concerned about the apparent lack of financial commitment from the Department. Maybe other budgetary processes have accommodated this issue, in which case clarity would be appreciated. If not, it would be important for the Department to make some allocations to HIV/AIDS campaign as meaningful participation in the joint efforts of the various Departments would rely heavily on financial resources. We hope that the issue is not assumed under different programmes as this may lead to it being glossed over, with everyone expecting somebody to do something about it.

3. Programme 4: Higher Education:
We welcome the increased contribution to the National Student Financial Aid scheme, which we believe would ensure improved access to higher education institutions to the majority of the population.

We note with concern the general downward pattern in the allocations to formerly black universities. While this may be due to declining enrolment patterns and poor research outputs in these institutions, it may have the effect of further damaging the place of these institutions as part of the higher education sector in the country. These institutions need programmes to assist them in the transformation process so that they can make a meaningful contribution as part of the higher education in the country. We also note that some of these institutions are heavily in debt.

4. Programme 5: Auxiliary and Associated Services
Culture of Learning and Teaching Services (COLTS): We welcome the shifting of COLTS from Systems and Planning into Auxiliary Services. We believe it is useful to deal with issues of COLTS alongside issues of professional development of teachers. It has been integrated into professional and management training.

5. Other
Anti-discrimination: We welcome the dedication of substantial amounts of money to address issues of gender discrimination. This represents an important step in the fight against gender discrimination. We also note, however, a number of disturbing aspects around racial incidences, especially in schools. A recent workshop organised by the Department (March - April 1999), and numerous media reports have graphically illustrated continuing racial incidents. Also, the report done by the Human Rights Commission in 1999 showed problematic racial issues and tensions at schools throughout the country. It is perhaps important for the Department to take a lead by way of developing policy guidelines which would provide general guidance on dealing with issues of race and other forms of discrimination. Such an initiative would require a dedicated budget

























* NER for junior secondary was 75% and for senior secondary 45%.

Source: Demographic Information Bureau, Pretoria 1997; Department of Education 1995

Net enrolment rate
: the number of appropriately aged learners who are in school as a proportion of the corresponding age group in the population, expressed as a percentage.

Gross enrolment rate
: the total number of learners enrolled as a proportion of the appropriate age group, expressed as a percentage.

There are suggestions that the nominations to the NETC were done in June 1999.
The implementation Plan for ECD is expected in March 2000




· Introducing the ELRC
· The draft remuneration policy
· Developing pay progression for educators
· Personnel costs in Education
· The implications of the budget allocation for wage negotiations

Bargaining council for educators
· Parties:
- national and provincial employer
- SADTU, Naptosa, SAOU
· Largest sector in the PSCBC
-360 000 educators
- a third of the entire public service
· Chambers in every province

Major functions:
· dispute settlement system
· joint research and policy development on matters of mutual interest
· negotiations
· resourcing:
- funded by a levy on employer and employees
- employs 11 people

The employer's draft remuneration policy
Covers the entire public service, including teachers
Career pathing
to replace rank and leg promotions
· educators have not had rank/leg promotion
- it has been substantial for police, health, administration
- costs R600 million to R1 billion a year
· career pathing means establishing realistic expectations and requirements for promotion
· Policy proposes notches based on performance
· This is likely to be a major debate
· The Parties argue for
- performance incentives through promotion and discipline/incapacity codes
- sees performance notches as inefficient and ineffective
- prefers seniority notches and assessment designed to help teachers improve their work

Medical aid and housing
Currently, medical aid and housing
- based on individual agreements with service providers
- employer then gives a subsidy up to a ceiling
· Cost: R800 to R1000 a month per recipient
- about 12 per cent of salary costs
· Less take-up from lower-level, rural and African employees
- due to poor information and cost
- also because home-owner allowance is on bonds, which less useful in townships


· Collective buying to get better deal for both employer and employees
- will limit choice of service provider
- but should save a lot of money
· Special schemes to reach rural, lower level and, for home-owners allowance, black employees

Implications for ELRC
Need to define career paths for educators
- currently, only way for qualified teachers to get a promotion is to become HOD or principle
- un/underqualified teachers get promoted if they get the qualifications - not assessed in terms of competencies
- 22 per cent of teachers above the entry level, which is R4200 a month for M+3, R5300 for M+4
· lack of clarity about grading
- do not use public service job evaluation
- only explicit grading based on qualifications and managerial responsibilities

Continuing inequalities by race and gender, 1999

Project on grading and career pathing
Work with consultants
· survey of educators and management
· have developed options on career pathing, essentially
- introducing a senior teacher position
- providing more lateral movement between teaching, curriculum development and management
· still need to refine and cost

Personnel costs in education
Since 1997, provincial education budgets
- grew 10,3 per cent in nominal terms
- means they declined 6 per cent in real terms,
- given population growth at 2,2 per cent, means spending per person dropped 13 per cent in the past three years
· Personnel spending rose rather less - 10 per cent in nominal terms, or a fall of 7 per cent in real terms
· fell from 88,8 to 88,6 per cent of education budget

Salaries and numbers
The DPSA's Personnel Expenditure Review says teachers are not overpaid, given their skills
· The average salary for all education employees, including non-educators, rose 0,8 per cent a year in real terms, using CPI to deflate
· While there are mismatches in terms of fields and regions, there is not an overall surplus of educators

· The less a province spends per learner, the greater the share of personnel expenditure
the lowest spenders are the poorest provinces that incorporated major homelands
they also have the least personnel, because of very low numbers of support personnel

Provincial differences
[Graph not included]
Provincial budgets


Personnel as % of education budget

% of non-educators in total personnel

Expenditure per learner

Education as % of total budget

Eastern Cape





KwaZulu Natal





Northern Province










North West





Free State





Western Cape










Northern Cape





The new budget and personnel
· Personnel rises 5,5 per cent, or R5,2 billion
· Includes rank and leg promotion, estimated at R600 million
· Net increase at 5 per cent - exactly equal to predicted inflation for 2000
· Does not include savings from downsizing, if any
- in 1999, attrition led to savings of R850 million overall
- but little attrition in Education

Risks for the negotiations
· The elimination of rank and leg and the rationalisation of benefits will cost employees
· The introduction of notches within bands will cost about 1 per cent of salaries
· Given a sliding scale, an average increase at inflation means teachers will get below inflation


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