Umalusi and SACE 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan

Basic Education

07 May 2021
Chairperson: Ms B Mbinqo-Gigaba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Annual Performance Plans

The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) and the South African Council for Educators (SACE) briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture in a virtual meeting. The meeting concerned the Annual Performance Plan and Budgets for Umalusi and SACE for the 2021/22 financial year.

Umalusi presented that the implementation of the first Annual Performance Plan and the current five-year Strategic Plan was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in Umalusi readjusting their initial targets in the 2021/22 period, as not all targets were achieved for 2020/21. Despite the challenges, Umalusi remains focused on the five-year Strategic Plan and its programs to drive and account for progress towards the new priorities. Umalusi noted incremental growth of the budget with fixed costs, resulting in constraints on resource availability.

Members asked how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the functioning of Umalusi to deliver services and whether they learnt lessons that could be used in the 2021/22 financial year. The Committee asked Umalusi how low- and middle-income schools could have fees reduced as to not place too many financial burdens on them. Members further enquired if universities were impacted by the revised targets under COVID-19 and whether there was room for a more flexible examination paper drafting process in the instance of another setback akin to the pandemic.

Umalusi said that the under-resourcing that it experienced this year had made the organisation more adaptive and innovative. It also sped up the process of addressing inequalities that were highlighted by the pandemic. The pandemic had placed capacity and travel constraints on the organisation, though Umalusi continues to strive to meet targets. Umalusi sympathised with the issue of regulating school fees and support for poor schools. Examination credibility was not impacted for the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC). With this in mind, universities were not affected by changes in the 2020 NSC academic year, nor will changes for exam drafting be required. Umalusi had shown great resilience in 2020.

SACE presented the approved 2021/2022 Annual Performance Plan with the 2021/2022 budget which was tabled in Parliament. The Council aligned its programs with the SACE mandate and the budget program structure. Thus, the Strategic Plan 2020-2025 was reviewed in order to adequately respond to its mandate and priorities. Currently, SACE would be implementing six programmes through the 2021/2022 Annual Performance Plan.

Members asked what the minimum qualifications were in order to become a teacher. The Committee also asked if SACE offices were available in all provinces. Members were concerned with whether SACE attempted to accommodate the move of Early Childhood Development (ECD) from the Department of Social Development (DSD) to DBE. Members also enquired how issues of misconduct and sexual assault were to be addressed.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture to the meeting.

The Chairperson invited the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) to address the Committee.

Umalusi Overview
Dr Mafu Rakometsi, Chief Executive of Umalusi, led the Committee in a presentation on the Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Medium-Term Budget for 2021/22.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Umalusi had completed a challenging 2020/21 financial year. Umalusi had to work within the confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Umalusi fortunately did not experience any staff casualties. A few staff members were infected and are currently in the process of recovery. Despite the challenges, Umalusi managed to reach their service delivery goals.

The APP contemplated the second phase of the implementation of the national five-year Strategic Plan. Umalusi intends to continue with delivery in their key focus areas and priorities as expressed in the APP. Lessons learnt from 2020 have inspired more thoughtful and innovative operations within Umalusi.

Dr Rakometsi explained that the plan was being implemented with severe budget constraints. Umalusi had not managed to maintain revenue received during lockdown. The government subvention to Umalusi was also reduced. Dr Rakometsi remained confident that Umalusi’s management can implement the APP as planned to achieve the intended outcomes.

Umalusi has a culture of hard work that is conducted ethically. The Umalusi Council has committed to holding management accountable through quarterly Council meetings.

Annual Performance Plan and Budget Presentation
Part A: Mandate
Umalusi serves the role of assuring quality for qualifications registered on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework (GFETQSF) and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The Council ensures that the providers of education and training have sufficient capacity to deliver and assess qualifications and learning programmes, in accordance with quality standards.

Umalusi reflected on the 2020/21 financial year, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the implementation of the first APP. This affected the initial targets of the 2020/21 APP. For this reason, the APP was revised and the Minister of Basic Education re-tabled it in Parliament in July 2020. Consequently not all Umalusi targets were achieved in 2020/21. Despite the challenges, Umalusi has remained focused on the five-year strategic priorities.

Strategic priorities included:
• Reviewing the quality assurance of assessment approach to accommodate new qualifications.
• Evaluating and appraising new qualifications such as the General Education Certificate (GEC).
• Amending the founding Acts to accommodate new qualifications and desired extensions in the mandate of quality assurance.
• Intensify research on educational developments to innovate and advise the Minister of Education accordingly.
• Intensify advocacy on qualifications within the sub-framework.
• Seeking an alternative funding model to increase revenue which has been affected by COVID-19. Alternative funding models are currently being discussed with the Department.

Part B: Strategic Focus
Mr Rakometsi presented the current external and internal environments within the scope of strategic focus (see presentation for details).

Part C: Measuring Performance
Performance is measured according to specific outputs. Curricula within schools must be evaluated with moderated standards. Qualifications must be verified according to international standards. Institutions are to be accredited so as to protect South Africans from people without qualifications attempting to teach and benefit from institutions. Results should be standardised and printed certificates should be issued where appropriate. This will lead to the outcome of enhanced educational standards which would result in relevant and certified qualifications.

Programme One: Administration
The purpose of programme one is to provide strategic leadership, management and administrative services to the organisation. Even in the context of COVID-19, Umalusi is expected to conduct several advocacy webinars to reach their annual target.

Umalusi must ensure that the ICT network health score remains healthy to avoid being compromised. Dr Rakometsi said that Umalusi is a poaching ground for other employers. He hinted that one of the culprits was within the DBE. Umalusi aims to pay suppliers within 30 days, which has been discussed with the CFO. The CFO expressed that this is a matter was urgent.

Programme Two: Qualifications and Research
The purpose of programme two is to develop and manage an efficient and effective GFETQSF within the NQF and to undertake strategic research in support of that goal. Programme two aims to inspect, manage and verify certificates.

Programme Three:
Programme three was designed to ensure that the providers of education and training have the capacity to deliver and assess qualifications registered on the GFETQSF and are doing so to the expected standards and quality.

Part D: Budget 2021/22-2023/24
Mr Hendrick van der Walt, Umalusi CFO, stated in a budget overview for 2021/22 that Umalusi had a budget of R175 million. This figure comprises:

• A DBE grant which is expected to decrease by 1% from the previous year.
• Umalusi generated income which had increased by 14%.

Mr van der Walt explained that the small increments were due to the impact of COVID-19 which put the organisation under financial strain. Umalusi must improve strategies to increase revenue.

Revenue projections
The main source of income for Umalusi is the DBE grant which is projected to increase from R137 million to R142 million by 2023/24.

Expenditure projections
Goods and services, and employee compensation expenditure projections for the 2021/22 financial year are nearly equal. This projection reflects an unhealthy position for the organisation. Goods and services projected downward trends which are expected to increase slightly from R87 million to R89 million this financial year. While compensation of employee trends are expected to remain stable at R86 million. This is due to Umalusi following the directive not to increase salaries issued from the Department of Public Service and Administration. 

Umalusi has prioritised a more sustainable ratio between employee compensation and goods and services. This would allow more resources to be availed outside paying salaries. Most of the expenditure was paid into core business activities and programs such as administration, quality assurance of assessment, and evaluation and accreditation.

Forty-six per cent of Umalusi expenditure was paid towards honorariums, which comprises external staff such as monitors and verifiers. Other cost drivers comprises curriculum reviews and evaluation as well as network and IT infrastructure. This was due to increased security and infrastructure needed to service the entire country.

The new mandates of the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) for adults and the National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) increased financial pressures on Umalusi. Umalusi also has to produce funding for the modernisation of ICT infrastructure which is hoping to move to an app to request certificates in the future, although this will require increased security measures and funding. Umalusi must also refurbish the Thuto Mfundo building for staff.

The management of Umalusi committed to maintain a clean audit report. The achievement of APP targets is essential for the Senior Management Services (SMS) performance agreement. Executive Management will monitor the implementation of the APP and the utilisation of the budget on a monthly basis.

Dr B Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, intends to bring the functions of the Matriculation Board to Umalusi. Undertaking the functions of the Matriculation Board fits aptly under the scope of Umalusi, although it presents its own challenges in terms of increased staff numbers, different systems and contrasting cultures of operations. All of these challenges will impact the budget. Umalusi and the Matriculant Board members need to be insulated to avoid retrenchments. There are two separate accounts from the same overall budget for the next three to five years. This will enable the Committee to see which leg of the Department is failing if instances of retrenchments were to happen. 

Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) appreciated the presentation as well as the honesty of Dr Rakometsi when speaking on current financial concerns. He commented that poachers are successful when baiting members with appealing offers.

The impact of COVID-19 has affected everyone. Umalusi has not used this as an excuse to avoid fulfilling their duties. Umalusi will be able to innovate and strengthen from these hard times when they apply progressive thinking. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the level of inequality in infrastructure and service delivery to the DBE. This taught the Committee the importance of accelerating measures to address inequality, especially in ICT accessibility.

Mr Moroatshehla asked Umalusi what lessons they learnt from the pandemic and what measures will be put in place to address the challenges presented.

Ms M Sukers (ACDP) emphasised that the responsiveness of organisations have been tested during the COVID-19 period. The culture of the organisation is what ensures that they are able to grow after a crisis.

She said that a school in her constituency, St Peters, has a reputation for producing excellent student results for mathematics and science. St Peters has the issue of high costs of regulatory compliance within a small institution catering to lower income families. In 2016, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) issued a report showing that the cost of learners in large schools was R391 per learner compared with R1 171 at small schools.

The cost of compliance for low-fee schools was R270 000, and R290 000 for high fee schools. She said that this difference was anti-poor and that it does not favour low-fee schools that bring quality education to poor learners in previously disadvantaged areas. This created a high cost impact for low fee schools. She asked what Umalusi plans to do to reduce the impact of the regulatory burden on schools that cater to low and middle income learners. She urged that Umalusi keep St Peters in mind.

COVID-19 has led to the retrenchment of many teachers. They have consequently opened up their own small schools that cannot afford to pay for regulation. She asked whether Umalusi could exempt these schools, low fee schools, and schools catering to learners with special needs from fee charges.

Ms Sukers was glad that NASCA had been prioritised. She asked how this qualification would work and what work remains to be done. When can the Committee receive a project plan about the timeframe in which qualifications will be available, as well as regular updates? She emphasised the importance of NASCA as it opens opportunities for a future for these individuals.

She asked how much funding is required to meet the increased mandate and how much has been allocated to NASCA project. Regarding projected income increasing by 14%, she asked what the sources of income were for this increase. The Committee must investigate what will happen regarding the professionalisation of independent religious institutions. Many of these schools yielded very admirable results and are of great community importance. She asked how Umalusi planned to aid in the recognition of qualifications at these independent institutions. The lack of regulation has resulted in the abuse of citizens, by their receiving education from unqualified individuals.

She said that it is estimated that there are 6 000 learners that have not been placed during the first quarter within the Western Cape.

On the external environment, Ms N Adoons (ANC) asked which targets were affected by COVID-19. What are the financial implications of these constraints? When considering the 140 staff posts, she asked whether these positions included disabled staff. She asked what the turnaround time was for verified qualifications. She asked Umalusi how they plan to communicate and inform communities. On the issue of the 2020 examinations, she asked what the impact had been on universities as things currently stand.

Mr E Siwela (ANC) commended Umalusi for producing the results without any problems in light of the leaked examination papers. He asked Umalusi if it was possible to consider a future where consideration is given to review the Act which states that question papers should be prepared before-hand. This would be favourable for examiners to review and research the questions with the benefit of the learners writing exams in mind.

Ms S Luthuli (EFF, KZN) asked how COVID-19 had affected Umalusis performance and how many vacancies are available within Umalusi.

Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) asked, regarding the ICT errors at technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, how far Umalusi was with dealing with the backlog, and what plans were in place for 2021/22 to ensure that the backlog will be attended to swiftly. She asked what had been done to work with colleges to reduce the ICT error rate. Has Umalusi been working on it and what is the progress rate?

In 2021, most classes are still being held on a rotational basis. Ms Christians asked Umalusi whether they are concerned about academic standards due to the syllabus being incomplete. Regarding paper leaks, what is Umalusis role in verifying the extent of the leaks and final certification where leaks have happened?

The Chairperson had an issue with the delivery of goods and services figures almost equalling the compensation of employees. She asked what Umalusi plans to do to deal with that. Regarding budget cuts, will this affect the daily activities of Umalusi? She stated that the Umalusi and the Committee have risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Umalusi Responses
Dr Rakometsi indicated that Umalusi has been under-resourced. COVID-19 has affected everything. Umalusi has had to be innovative through this unprecedented period. He explained that previously Umalusi would have Quality Assurance Meetings in major cities that required funding for travel and accommodation. The shift to online learning has allowed for resources and time to be preserved when conducting these meetings with many provinces. Umalusi has had to learn and adapt.

Regarding levels of inequality, Umalusi learned that the education system of South Africa is a resilient one. The 2020 results have proved the resilience of the country. The figures indicated that learners of all ages were working hard to ensure that by the time they reach Grade 12, issues such as the pandemic would not affect them. The curriculum was not watered down, nor were standards lowered, thereby ensuring quality performance during the pandemic.

Umalusi conducted the key qualifications of assessment differently in 2020. The state of readiness was examined predominantly online. COVID-19 indicated that the times for quality assurance of assessment are too compressed.

Responding to Ms Sukers, Dr Rakometsi said that Umalusi wants to be an organisation that is agile and responsive to any crisis. He indicated that the pilot for NASCA was supposed to be held this year and implementation the following year. COVID-19 has forced Umalusi to shift the goal posts. The new pilot will be conducted in 2023. Umalusi expressed concern over the readiness of this qualification for implementation.

On St Peter’s, Dr Rakometsi said he was humbled by this testimony. The issue of regulating fees for this school has been before Council for some time. Institutions unable to afford fees were given a concession. Umalusi supports pro-poor schools, though he noted that Everyone has the right to establish, at their own expense, independent organisations and institutions,” per the Constitution. 

He expressed concern about making bold pronouncements over the credibility of results for a small sample population. This involves risk. Umalusi is working with the DBE to create a model which allows schools to claim quality assurance for a certain quota of students. This has the knock-on effect of overworking the Umalusi staff.

Regarding programs offered by institutions where certificates do not have currency, Umalusi mentioned Helderberg College and Cornerstone College as credible alternative institutions.

Responding to Ms Adoons, he said Umalusi no longer conducts school visits as it previously did. Umalusi bought ICT equipment and PPC for the office with the revenue that would have gone towards travel. Certain departments are working at 50% capacity, even when an individual works from home, they still have targets to meet.

Umalusi does not have any disabled staff. It would be difficult at the moment to accommodate these individuals as the building does not practically cater to them. Umalusi has advertised positions available to everyone including disabled people, although they have not had any disabled applicants yet.

The verification of qualifications is to ensure their credibility. This process is done electronically via accredited institutions. Verification of qualifications under a sub-framework has a much longer process of approval.

Responding to Ms Luthuli, he said Umalusi has kept vacancies at less than 10%. In instances where vacancies arise, Umalusi will not automatically fill the post during the pandemic. The Senior Quality Assurance Manager must motivate why Umalusi cannot freeze the responsibility for a period of time. Currently two positions have been frozen. Umalusi is attempting to avoid retrenchments.

Operations during COVID-19, especially under levels three to five lockdown, the organisation operated completely remotely. Under lockdown level one staff operate at under a 50% capacity on a rotational basis. The office is currently operating under a hybrid model of direct and online contact.

It is difficult for Umalusi to identify unaccredited institutions with its limited capacity. Where these institutions are reported to Umalusi, the police are immediately informed. Advocacy programs are held at the beginning of each year for parents to check whether the institutions are accredited.

The examination paper leaks from 2020 did not impact the credibility of the National Senior Certificate (NSC). Umalusi conducted research to investigate and compare the results of learners over time and in the final exam. Universities are satisfied following the Umalusi announcement in February 2021.

Responding to the possibility of changing question papers, he discouraged the idea. He expressed that the class of 2020 may face a stigma from universities or against international standards. Umalusi feels that people should not be afforded anything less than quality education. It is highly important to protect the integrity and the quality of the qualification.

Regarding certification backlogs, the Deputy Minister has stated that no one would be left behind. The quality assurance board verifies the authenticity of the certification data. Protocols were issued and the Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is addressing this issue. Certificates will only be issued where the quality can be vouched for.

Umalusi is still in discussions with the DBE on the potential of a different funding model. Umalusi is awaiting DBE feedback. Umalusi would like a different funding model where everyone who writes is paid for, rather than only compensating the portion who pass.

Ms Christians asked whether exemption for smaller schools could be included in a written response to her.

Mr Rakometsi acceded.

The Chairperson asked about the progress of legal cases.

Umalusi has two legal cases which are being pursued in the Courts. One concerns the underpayment of quality assurance fees which were not paid on time by parents amounting to R5.7 million. Umalusi is also in arbitration with contractors doing work for the organisation. The matter will be concluded by July 2021. 

SACE: 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, and 2021/22 APP and Budget Review:
Ms Ella Mokgalane, SACE: CEO, lead the presentation. SACE approved the 2021/22 APP in the 2021/22 Budget which was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Basic Education. The Council aligned its programs with the SACE mandate and the budget program structure. Thus the strategic plan 2020-2025 was reviewed in order to adequately respond to its mandate and priorities. Currently SACE will be implementing six programmes through this 2021/2022 APP.

Part A: Background, Policy and Legislative Mandate
SACE aims to:
• Provide for the registration of educators
• Promote the professional development of educators
• Set, maintain and protect ethical and professional standards for educators through the Council

Part B: Strategic Plan 2020-2025
SACE aims to fulfill the vision of inspiring a credible teaching profession by 2025. SACE has the mission to protect the integrity of the teaching profession through the maintenance of professional and ethical standards through its various programmes.

Part C: Annual Performance Plan 2021/22
The 2021/22 APP consists of six programs with various sub-programmes to inspire public confidence in the credibility of the teaching profession.

Programme One: Administration
Programme one involves implementing and managing the policy directives and priorities of the Council to ensure the functional proficiency of SACE through appropriate support services. On 31 July 2021, the term of office for the current serving Council will end. In preparation for this lapse, on 1 April SACE developed and approved guidelines for the nomination, selection and appointment processes for 2021-2025 Council members. SACE constituencies engaged in a process to nominate prospective Council members from 1 to 31 April 2020. In the next Portfolio Committee meeting, the 2020/21 Annual Report will be presented by the new Council for 2021-2025.

Programme Two: Professional Registration
Programme two has prioritised that the Council registers college lecturers and teachers who are fit to practice. The Council must keep an up-to-date register of fit-to-practice educators and college lecturers. This programme was drafted in partnership with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

SACE faced challenges impacting the outcome of registration numbers due to COVID-19 in 2020/21. Despite the challenges, SACE worked collaboratively with employers in all provinces. Higher education institutions were worked with to ensure that all applicants were well assisted in the registration process. COVID-19 impacted registration trends with approximately 19 000 educators not registering last year.

Programme Three: Ethical Standards
Programme three has the purpose of promoting and maintaining ethical standards in the profession. Programme three has three sub-programmes covering investigations, disciplinary hearings and sanctions. The Council has prioritised the assault of learners, parents and colleagues, and sexual misconduct cases due to an increased number of cases in 2020/21. The previous financial year saw a dramatic increase in sexual misconduct cases even under the hard lockdown. Cases that were rolled over are currently being dealt with.

Sanctions and fines were issued to educators involved in cases of misconduct. Eleven educators were removed from their position and reported to the Department of Social Development in 2020/21 in instances where minors were involved.

Programme Four: Professional Development
Programme four aims to ensure that educators engage in life-long learning to improve their professional competence.

Programme Five: Professional Teaching Standards
Programme five is divided into three sub-programmes, including initial teacher education, newly qualified educators and practicing educators. These programmes develop criteria for newly registering student teachers, certification of newly appointed teachers and ensuring life-long learning for practicing teachers.

Programme Six: Research
This programme aims to promote research on professional matters and any other educational matter relevant to SACE and the educational landscape. Indicators for this programme include research reports, data management, research dissemination and a SACE virtual library.

Teacher Safety and Security Within Schools
SACE reported that the data obtained from this research project had been made accessible. The Teachers Safety and Security in Schools Handbook is available to support facilitators and will be included in a workshop under programme four. SACE is in the process of developing an online version of the Handbook.

Part D: Resource Consideration
Mr Mabutho Cele, SACE: CFO, said that SACE has remained concerned since November 2017 after the Council reviewed membership fees. Revenue has remained at a constant level, with the exception of certain budget line items due to rising fixed costs of service delivery.

Currently the Council is in the process of reviewing available funds for SACE to ensure the delivery of functions. Mr Cele indicated that there is a process to counter the pressures experienced by SACE, although this is occurring at a slower rate due to the current economic status.

The Council is also in the process of reprioritisation and implementing stringent cost control measures to improve and sustain the delivery of SACE functions. SACE has five provincial offices. The office in the Eastern Cape is operational and efforts are underway for SACE to return to the Western Cape office within this financial year.

Mr B Nodada (DA) asked how many cases are currently unresolved by SACE. He asked what the effectiveness was when dealing with such cases. Is there a tracing mechanism across provinces for previous educators found guilty of misconduct? Regarding professional development, he asked what the backlog figure is in terms of unregistered teachers. What is the minimum qualification required to be a teacher?

He highlighted that some schools in the Western Cape had experienced difficulty appointing teachers as some practicing teachers were not qualified. He asked what mechanisms are in place to assess registered teachers. On the accessibility of SACE, he asked if the Council was accessible across all nine provinces.

Mr Moroatshehla applauded the thoroughness of the report presented to the Committee. On the mandate of promoting and maintaining ethical standards, he asked how the Council was able to investigate and conduct disciplinary hearings under lockdown conditions. He asked the Council if they were able to conduct online registrations, and if so, how effective the process was.

Regarding challenges, he noted that all aspects of the programs and budgets were negatively impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic highlighted the magnitude of inequality in the country, especially concerning ICT access, human resources and the basic infrastructure available. He asked, based on the exposed challenges, how SACE has succeeded in converting these challenges into strengths.

Ms Sukers asked for clarity as to why the SACE sections were removed from the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill. She asked when the process of amending the BELA Bill was set to begin and whether its complete redrafting was required. What plans is SACE making to accommodate the move of Early Childhood Development (ECD) from the Department of Social Development (DSD) to DBE? She asked what accreditation is available for unqualified ECD practitioners with extensive experience.

Ms Adoons appreciated the hard work of SACE under the difficult conditions. Under programme three, it is evident that South Africa faces clear gender-based violence and sexual misconduct challenges, especially in schools. She asked how many cases were investigated each year and how many were rolled over. She enquired how many disciplinary hearings were conducted per year and how many were rolled over.

What can SACE do to address misconduct of assault and sexual harassment? She asked whether all schools have sexual harassment policies. Regarding the budget, she asked what the impact was of the low budget allocation on SACE. What is the role of SACE in the ECD migration process?

Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) asked if SACE plays any role in GETQA and NASCA. He asked whether there were standard criteria for who qualifies to teach and what are their related levels. What role is SACE playing in advising the Department and Umalusi in this?

He enquired whether there are repeated cases of misconduct amongst educators. He asked which cases qualified to be handled internally compared to cases which are referred to law enforcement.

Regarding the backlog of teacher registrations, Ms Christians expressed that teachers have sent her written letters concerning the backlog as they have not received communication from SACE. SACE has failed to communicate adequately to these educators to the extent that some have had to initially register multiple times. She asked if it would be possible for SACE to communicate the progress to each registration applicant to ensure that time periods do not lapse for them.

Ms Christians asked which provinces still do not have physical offices available. On the development of educators, she asked whether SACE could incentivise teachers to build on their qualifications.

SACE Response
Mr Cele responded that where questions involved technical and operational matters, the CEO and CFO will be requested to offer answers in another meeting.

On linking salary increments with teaching qualifications, Ms Mokgalane stated that currently SACE does not have a mechanism to incentivise this. There is an option for educators to receive a once-off incentive from their employer. SACE does not have a direct mandate over this area, although it can be further investigated.

The 2009 Teacher Development Summit recommended that performance appraisal should be separated from performance incentives. SACE will discuss these issues further at the upcoming Teacher Development Summit.

SACE has five provincial offices. They are in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free-State and KwaZulu-Natal. The Council will investigate what will happen in the remaining provinces under the five-year strategic plan. Regarding registration, COVID-19 impacted the quantity of applications, especially during the first two quarters of the year. This resulted in a backlog which is still in the process of being cleared.

In instances of provisional registration to be a qualified educator, applicants need to update their status from provisional to full registration. SACE is trying to deal with these concerns and will follow up on the specifics of the matter with Ms Christians personally.

SACE is mandated by section 5(b) of the SACE Act to play an advisory role to the Minister regarding professional and general education matters. The research programme was separated from the other SACE programs to ensure that there is sufficient data and evidence to advise the Minister. SACE plays an advisory role to the Minister of Basic Education and the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

Regarding recurring cases, Ms Mokgalane requested Mr Nchabeleng to repeat the question which was unclear.

On the role of SACE in ECD migration, SACE is currently registering ECD educators provisionally at NQF level 4 as they move to NQF level 5. As the entire education space becomes professionalised, SACE established an ad-hoc committee to work closely with the DBE regarding ECD migration issues. Ms Mokgalane will be working closely with Ms S Geyer, DBE Deputy Director General: Planning and Monitoring. While SACE is dealing with ECD migration issues at the government level. SACE must also work on issues of qualifications for which the DHET has established a framework. The framework is still in the process of finalisation.

SACE indicated that reports of sexual misconduct amount to roughly 100 cases. During the pandemic where physical interaction was limited, the Council still received 58 cases. Council prioritised cases of misconduct to prevent the roll-over of cases and to ensure the protection of children. SACE, DBE and the Education Labour Resource Council (ELRC) are formally working together to prevent the migration of charged offenders. Once a formal sanction has been issued, it will be sent to all nine provinces to ensure that the offenders are prevented from teaching.

The independent schooling system offers its own challenges regarding sexual misconduct. They do not have a communal human resource base to profile all offenders. SACE encourages independent schools to do background checks through SACE via its repository of educators’ histories and the DSD child protection register. SACE conducts follow-ups within all nine provinces to investigate the extent to which the lists given were implemented.

On the BELA Bill, when the fifth administration handed over to the sixth, the Minister of Higher Education and Training indicated to the DBE that the DHET should separate from it. SACE requested the deepening of separation from DHET. The intention was to separate the Council. SACE requested that the DBE put the process of separation on hold.

SACE has an online registration system for first time registrants. SACE is currently working on a second phase for newly qualified educators that have undergone the provisional registration process, moving on to full registration status. SACE is working to integrate the ICT systems before making this available to the public.

SACE began to approach large network companies forming part of the transversal tender to achieve zero-rated access to the SACE website for educators. Currently SACE is working on a method to have reverse billing where educators are not being charged for these fees. SACE is also investing in a toll-free number that allows educators to easily engage with the Council.

On unresolved cases, Ms Mokgalane said that the exact information would be sent to the Committee. Internal staff conduct investigations are bolstered by a peer-reviewed system. SACE faces issues of antagonistic behaviours and delayed cases from accused educators. During COVID-19, parents refused to let their children testify which also caused delays to the resolution of cases. These delays have not influenced the effectiveness of the process.

SACE does not permit unregistered educators to teach. This would be an illegal practice which is to be dealt with by the Ethics Committee. SACE, under the BELA Bill, is looking into how to criminalise this from an employer perspective. Educator minimum requirements are that they should have at least achieved their matric and another four years of further study for full registration status.

Where educators do not have professional qualifications, they are not qualified to teach within the professional sector. SACE supports the three stream model. Educators who are not qualified will be given special conditional registration for specific areas in which to teach. SACE is working closely with the DBE to ensure that employers develop mandatory induction processes. Induction processes will be for the period of one year after which full registration will be afforded. Once the quarterly developmental process is completed, SACE will award full registration on this basis. After induction you may choose to be a certified educator.

Mr Cele explained that SACE is mainly funded by its own members who are educators. Revenue consisting of membership fees are monitored and reviewed. Where the review takes long, the operation of the Council will add pressure in terms of resources. Rising costs will impact SACE leading to the prioritisation and reduction of delivery capabilities. Currently SACE is not experiencing major financial difficulties and is able to reprioritise the allocation of resources.

Ms Sukers commended SACE for analysing the information sent to DBE as it allowed for different directorates to access the report. On the migration of ECD from DSD to DBE, she said that an analysis was done which informed provinces where they stood regarding Grade R practitioners.

The data has been sent in for verification and validation from various Departments. This allowed the Committee to examine supply and demand data as well as best practices. A report detailing this will be released and may serve the ELRC.

The new SACE Council was inaugurated on 18 August, and councilors’ names will be available to the CEO of SACE.

The meeting was adjourned.


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