Quarter 1 & 2 Performance Reports 2021/22: Briefing by Department of Basic Education; with Deputy Minister

Basic Education

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

In a virtual meeting, the Department of Basic Education briefed the Committee on its 2021/22 first and second quarterly reports.

The Department achieved 80% of annual targets for quarter 1 of 2021/22 and 82% for quarter 2.

Members asked if the Department will require vaccine passports for the marking of examinations and for teachers returning to school in 2022. They asked about the placement of Funza Lushaka graduates and whether they had priority over other graduates who had funded themselves. There should be a balance between graduates who have already been assisted (Funza Lushaka) and those who paid for their own studies trying to make ends meet. Members asked about the dropout rate of learners. What measures or strategies were used to track learners who have dropped out? Was a report available on the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative?

Meeting report

Department of Basic Education: First and second quarter performance
Ms Nosipho Mbonambi, Strategic Planning, Department of Basic Education (DBE) said the presentation consisted of two parts, namely; performance indicators and targets, and the financial report that included the first and second quarter expenditure. She reported on the progress of the Department’s annual performance plan (APP). The activities of the DBE are structured into five programmes:

- Programme one: Administration
- Programme two: Curriculum policy, support, and monitoring
- Programme three: Teachers, education human resources and institutional development
- Programme four: Planning, information, and assessment
- Programme five: Educational enrichment services

The DBE achieved 80% of annual targets for quarter 1 of 2021/22 and 82% of annual targets for quarter 2. The comparable achievements for the previous year were 55% and 90% respectively.

Programme performance
Programme one: Administration
The purpose of this programme was to manage the Department and provide strategic administrative support services. The programme included staffing services, training, and social responsibility; the inclusion of labour relations, legal services, financial management services, security and assets management, supply chain management and others. This was all discussed in the presentation.

Programme two: Curriculum policy, support, and monitoring
The purpose of this programme was to develop curriculum and assessment policies and monitor and support their implementation. This programme includes early childhood development (ECD); mathematics, science, and technology (MST); and the framework of rural education (RE).This programme monitored schools and reading assessments under the General Education and Training (GET) programme. Six schools were monitored for implementation of curriculum and assessment policy statements (CAPS).

Edulution is a catch-up programme that utilises technology to improve numeracy performance in poorer rural schools. Learners are provided with tablets that are preloaded with lessons for learners involved in the project. The printing of Grades R-9 volume one workbooks has been completed. Picking and packaging for preparation of delivery is in progress . The sign off for volume 2 workbooks was also completed. A total of 1 711 teachers in the Foundation Phase have been trained. A total of 1 363 Intermediate Phase teachers have been trained in all nine provinces.

Programme three: Teachers, education human resources and institutional development
Programme three aims to promote quality teaching and institutional performance through effective supply, development, and utilisation of human resources. 2 738 young and qualified educators were appointed in posts in the provincial education departments (PEDs) of which 1 036 were permanent, 1 161 were temporary, and 541 were substitute/ relief appointments between April-September 2021 (aged 30 and below). 65% of Funza Lushaka graduates had been placed in PEDs by September 2021 (slide 81). A report on the filling of posts in schools was compiled, and at the end of September 2021, 73% of schools had all their allocated posts filled.

Programme Four: Planning, Information and Assessment
The purpose of this programme was to promote quality and effective service delivery in the basic education system through planning, implementation, and assessment. This included the oversight of public examinations and national assessments. A total of 53 marking centres were used to mark across all PEDs. The Early Learning National Assessment (ELNA) was administered in 642 schools. The pre-tests for the Mental Starters Assessment Project has been completed in selected schools across all districts in the nine provinces.

Programme Five: Educational Enrichment Services
The purpose of the programme was to develop policies and programmes to improve the quality of learning in schools. This programme promoted psychological and care support in schools, as well as the promotion of health. There was the inclusion of gender equity and social cohesion. 32 338 Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) have been reached with the core package of services. The draft Learner Pregnancy Policy has been approved for presentation to Cabinet.

[Please see the presentation slides for details]

DBE First and Second Quarter Performance 2021/22
Quarter 1 appropriation for the 2021/22 financial year

The total budget of the Department for the 2021/22 financial year amounts to R27.018 billion. 82% of the budget amounting to R22.304 billion is allocated to transfer payments as follows:

-Conditional Grants: R20.701 billion
-Transfers to Public Entities: R155.8 million
- Other Transfers R1.447 billion

The remainder of the budget (R4.714 billion) was allocated to the following:

-Compensation of Employees: R469.4 million
-Examiners and Moderators: R22.7 million
-Earmarked Funds: R1.285 billion
-Office Accommodation: R225.0 million
-Specifically and Exclusively Appropriated: R2.284 billion
-Departmental Operations: R197.2 million
-Departmental Projects: R231.1 million

The total actual expenditure of the Department for the 2021/22 financial year first quarter amounted to R8.186 billion.

Expenditure amounting to R7.757 billion was made up of transfer payments as follows:

-Conditional Grants R6.363 billion
-Transfers to Public Entities R43.8 million
-Other Transfers R1.350 billion

The remainder of the expenditure R4.30 million was made up as follows:

-Compensation of Employees: R110.4 million
-Examiners and Moderators: R1.2 million
-Earmarked Funds: R65.6 million
-Office Accommodation: R53.8 million
-Specifically and Exclusively Appropriated: R140.1 million
-Departmental Operations: R39.9 million
-Departmental Projects: R19.0 million

Quarter 2 appropriation for 2021/22 financial year
The total actual expenditure of the Department for the 2021/22 financial year second quarter [error corrected on slide 142] amounted to R15.140 billion. Expenditure amounting to R13.658 billion was made up of transfer payments as follows:

-Conditional Grants R12.191 billion
-Transfers to Public Entities: R78.2 million
-Other Transfers: R1.389 billion

The remainder of the expenditure (R1.482 billion) was made up as follows:

-Compensation of Employees: R230.4 million
-Examiners and Moderators: R9.3 million
-Earmarked Funds: R98.0 million
-Office Accommodation: R116.8 million
-Specifically and Exclusively Appropriated: R901.4 million
-Departmental Operations: R77.5 million
-Departmental Projects: R49.0 million

The Chairperson thanked the DBE for their presentation.

Mr B Nodada (DA) thanked the DBE for their presentation. He commended the Department for the minimal challenges with examinations compared to the previous year. He asked whether the DBE will require vaccine passports for the marking of examinations and for teachers returning to school in 2022 as recommended. The report requested for the progress of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme was not submitted.

He asked what the total costs were for legal services as this was not mentioned. And how did it compare to the previous year? It is stated that 3 727 learners were the target for the number of children/learners with Profound Intellectual Disability (C/LPID) using the Learning Programme for C/LPID. He wanted to know the total amount of learners with profound intellectual disability and how many do not have access to these learning programmes.

What measures or strategies were used to track learners who have dropped out? He requested a report. Was a report readily available regarding the outcomes of the pilots that were identified through monitoring schools? Several schools have no network, and a breakdown was requested to see how these learners can be helped. The number of Funza Lushaka graduates in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was very low. He wanted to know what the DBE had done in terms of placing these graduates. There is a current backlog of schools that still need to be built; he wanted to know what the shortfall was for 2021. There was a target of 0% for school principals to rate district support services as satisfactory. A reason for this was requested.

Mr S Ngcobo (IFP) asked about the incapacity leave of teachers being denied. In most cases, these teachers are really incapacitated and cannot work. They are only allowed to see the doctors that the DBE has hired. He wanted to know the reason for this.

He disagreed with Mr Nodada that Funza Lushaka graduates should get priority. He stated that these graduates are already being prioritised. There should be a balance between graduates that have already been assisted (Funza Lushaka) and those who paid for their own studies trying to make ends meet. It has come to his attention that many teachers are doing odd jobs simply because they cannot be placed. Is it because there are more teachers produced than what the DBE wants and needs?

Ms N Adoons (ANC) said that there was ongoing concern of students attending university and studying teaching and then not finding placement. She asked if it is Funza Lushaka graduates that have been prioritised to be placed, because no criteria is made available. She asked how placements are made. She asked how things are done in terms of virements when there is no budget, or the budget is in progress. For instance, does Umalusi apply for an increase in the budget or funds or does the Department look at what entities need more funding where necessary. In terms of the roll-over budget that is being approved by National Treasury, she asked how the DBE in going to face challenges in the future.

Mr T Letsie (ANC) asked what the improvements of South African School Administration and Management System (SA SAMS) for reporting amounted to and if it would assist with the placement of learners.

Mr P Moroatshehla (ANC) commended the DBE for not coming up with any excuses when their budget is cut.

The Chairperson thanked the DBE for their presentation and all the members who participated. She asked about the adolescents programme for young girls, whether it is effective in the provinces in which it was implemented. She mentioned that a pregnancy policy will be implemented next year.

DBE’s response
Mr Pat Khunou, Chief Financial Officer, DBE, responded to the questions that related to finance. He stated that the records show that the ASIDI report was submitted but that he would follow up on it. The legal costs for the previous financial years were R12.8 million for 2019/20, R3.1 million for 2020/21, and for the current year R3.1 million. He said that when it comes to virements, DBE requests the National Treasury for approval, and upon receiving approval, the virements are passed on. DBE does not receive new money because of financial constraints. The Department looks at the budget to see which areas are underspending and then moves those funds to areas that are in need. This is what happened to Umalusi. National Treasury approved and Umalusi will be receiving R20 million for the next few years.

As concerned the roll-over budget, he said that there was R210 million for infrastructure projects, including the ASIDI programme which had not been spent in the previous financial year.

Dr Granville Whittle, Deputy Director General: Educational Enrichment Services, DBE, covered the responses regarding the dropout of learners and the adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) programme. The main reason for dropouts is a weak learning foundation. However, the DBE has made key investments on how teachers, schools, districts, and provinces work to ensure that learning foundations are improved. More boys than girls drop out because they find that education is boring. In terms of a long-term strategy, DBE is specifically working with an NGO called Zero Drop Out and Triple Data Dashboard. DBE will implement instruments and toolkits suggested by Zero Drop Out. Triple Data Dashboard has developed an interesting online programme where they track learner attendance and when the learner has missed school for ten consecutive days, the learner is flagged. The learner is then tracked to find out where he or she is. This programme has not been made available nationally yet, but this is something that the DBE is looking into.

The AGYW programme looks at teen pregnancy to determine the success of this particular programme. Work is being done with global funds and government-to-government agreements. Learner pregnancy is being tracked and was successful up until COVID-19 happened. There is a problem with children under the age of consent getting pregnant. The DBE has been working the police, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the justice department to explore how to deal with these issues going forward. The Cabinet has approved a policy called the learning management and [pregnancy?] prevention policy. The policy is being finalised and will hopefully be rolled out in the new year.

Mr Salie Faker, Director: Employee Relations, DBE, provided clarity on the placement of graduates. He mentioned that Funza Lushaka is a very good scheme. It was noted that in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) it has taken the position that there is no distinction between a Funza Lushaka graduate and a graduate who paid for his or her own studies. KZN treats everyone has an equal. Some provinces has slowly been following in the footsteps of KZN. The DBE is of the view that Funza Lushaka graduates be placed first but based on the needs of the provincial education department. These graduates are placed on a needs basis, and therefore sometimes they do not meet the requirements and cannot be placed in a particular school.

Mr David van der Westhuijzen, DDG: Infrastructure, DBE, reported that 341 ASIDI projects were earmarked for replacement, while 282 were completed. In the 2021/22 financial year, 21 schools were being done and 7 had already been completed. He encouraged Members to inform the DBE if they know of any other schools [with infrastructure needs]. All water programmes will be completed at the end of the financial year. In terms of sanitation, over 400 had been achieved although the process is slow. He said that weekly reports are prepared for the ASIDI programme, and this will be shared with the Members.

Mr Faker addressed the issue of incapacity leave. He mentioned that there are different processes, and he was unable to provide a distinct response. However, a teacher approaches a health risk manager, and that manager makes a recommendation to the provincial education department, and the leave is then granted.

Ms Carol Nuga-Deliwe, Chief Director: Strategic Planning and Research, DBE said that the Department is in contact with provincial education departments to see who has network connectivity and who does not. A report will be provided.

Dr Reginah Mhaule, Deputy Minister, Basic Education, said that no teacher will be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The DBE acknowledges that people have their own reasons for not taking it. Therefore, when marking the examination papers, the usual COVID-19 protocols will be followed. Temperatures will be taken and if teachers do not feel well they need to speak up and get tested. In the event of positive COVID-19 results, the Department has recruited more teachers to mark so that there will be no shortages.

She said that there is a criteria when it comes to Funza Lushaka graduates and placements. Recruitments are made at the district level based on the subjects that are needed. There are instances where these graduates were funded based on an area of mathematics but when they enter university they find it too difficult and change to a subject that is easier. It is usually a subject that a district does not need, and therefore it is not easy for that person to be placed.

The placement rate was high. She said that there are instances, for example in the Western Cape where the system is not letting elderly teachers leave because of their experience. The young ones find when they graduate that spaces are now occupied by these elderly teachers. It is noted that these graduates are doing extremely well and that learners want to learn from them and be like them, but the system just cannot let go of the elderly teachers.

She mentioned that when it comes to infrastructure it is a moving target because you think you won the battle and the next thing there is a backlog. However, the ASIDI programme was implemented to work on this backlog especially mud schools. There are unsafe schools that were not included and are not in the budget. A written report will be provided on the number of learners with profound intellectual disabilities.

Mr Ngcobo wanted clarity on the response of the Funza Lushaka graduates by Mr Faker. He said that it is not just about the Department. It is about everybody. There are qualified teachers to teach scarce subjects that are not being absorbed.

Deputy Minister Mhaule emphasised that any teacher or student who has done subjects that are a priority, and there is a need, are appointed whether it is a Funza Lushaka graduate, or if someone’s parents paid the fees. She repeated what she had said earlier on students changing subjects and the system not letting go of the elderly teachers.

The Chairperson thanked the DBE for responding to the issues so well. She commended the smooth relations that the Committee had with the DBE. She acknowledged that the DBE has improved a lot. She thanked everyone for being tolerant and understanding of each other. She wished everyone well for the upcoming season. She also wished the markers well and said she is expecting good results.

The meeting was adjourned.


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