Committee Programme 2001

Basic Education

05 March 2001
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Meeting report

COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2001

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
6 March 2001
COMMITTEE PROGRAMME 2001


Chairperson: Prof. S M Mayatula

Documents handed out
Subcommittee on Programming: minutes

SUMMARY
The Committee met to discuss the Committee programme for 2001 as proposed by the Sub-Committee on 28 February. The NNP voiced concerns over the proposed visits to either Cuba or India, saying that a focus had to be found before deciding which countries were relevant to visit. It also proposed that the Committee's oversight function should be examined and reviewed as part of the programme. Both proposals were rejected.

The ANC proposed that interaction with other Committees should feature as part of the programme. This proposal was agreed upon by all parties.

It was decided by all parties to omit a paragraph contained in the Committee's report on Outcomes Based Education in Australia and New Zealand. The paragraph, which referred to the status of Aboriginal people in Australia was deemed unfounded and potentially damaging to diplomatic ties between South Africa and Australia.

MINUTES
Committee Programme
Mr L Kgwele (ANC) presented the sub-committee's proposal for this year's programme and noted the following recommendations:
· Briefing by the Minister of Education, Prof. K Asmal, on National Plan for higher education.
· Training on Public Finance Managemant Act by the Department of Finance.
· Briefing by the Department on student debts.
· International visits either to Cuba or India as they have a similar level development as South Africa.
· Provincial visits to universities around the country.
· Visits to schools - review on Outcomes Based Education (OBE) as a follow up to the Australia -New Zealand report
· Briefing by Prof. L Chisolm on Curriculum 2001

Discussion

Adv. A H Gaum (NNP) asserted that the proposed visit to either Cuba or India was problematic in that the Committee had not yet decided exactly what they want to investigate and it was therefore premature to have already decided which countries to visit.

Mr Kgwele replied that the focus of the international visit is still being decided and that what has been outlined is only a broad programme.

Mr S B Ntuli (ANC) added that it is obvious that the objectives of the visits would have to be spelt out before finalisation of the destination is decided and it was needless of Adv Gaum to raise this.

Adv. Gaum said that an omission from the programme was the lack of reference to the oversight role of parliament and particularly whether this Committee was fulfilling that role. He stressed the importance of reviewing the Committee's oversight role and the effectiveness of that role.

On the role of the Committee in Executive oversight, Mr Kgwele said that it is an ongoing process and that had already been discussed and there was therefore no need to include it as a separate issue. He accused Adv. Gaum of raising this issue in an attempt to speak to the media through the Committee.

Prof. S S Ripinga (ANC) said that the oversight role of the parliamentary committees was quite clear to all MP's. There is therefore no reason to introduce this issue specifically into the programme.

Mr A M Mpontshane (IFP) said that in raising this issue, Adv Gaum was accusing the Committee of being ineffective in its oversight role and if that was the case, then Adv Gaum must state what the Committee was not doing effectively.

Adv Gaum insisted that he was not saying that the Committee had not been effective, only that its role should be reviewed so that it can be made more effective.

After calling order, the Chair reminded those present that the meeting concerned proposals of a procedural nature rather than debating such issues.

Prof. Ripinga said that considering the release of the National Plan for Higher Education by the Department of Education last month, the Committee must be briefed on the funding formula of the plan in order to undertake any consideration of the document.

The Chair replied that the Department had been invited to table their budget for the Committee on 27 March 2001

Ms P K Mothoagae (ANC) stressed the need for interaction with other Committees in order to enhance the effectiveness of deliberations taking place in this Committee and proposed that this be placed in the programme. All agreed.

Following the Briefing by the Pan South African language Board (PANSALB) on mother-tongue education on 20 February, it was suggested by Adv Gaum to explore the issue further and discuss the plans of the Department in this area.

The Chair said that the impending briefing by Prof L Chisolm on Curriculum 2001 would adequately deal with this issue.

Committee Report on Outcomes Based Education in Australia and New Zealand
The Chair noted that the Report contains a paragraph that refers to the Aboriginal people of Australia as suffering and underrepresented in Parliament.

Adv. Gaum said that the paragraph was not only untruthful, but embarrassing and a potential diplomatic fiasco.

Ms Mothoagae said that it should be left as it is because there are shortcomings in the Australian system. She said she is aware of the issue of diplomacy, but that honesty is called for. (She later withdrew this position)

Mr Kgwele reminded the Committee that the Chair had been given a mandate by the Committee to remove the paragraph at the previous meeting.

The Chair said that a suggestion in that meeting had been to replace the paragraph with a statement from the Australian High Commissioner. He believed this was unfavourable as the Commissioner's input was not received by the delegation while on the tour. Therefore he proposed that it would be best to simply take out the offending paragraph and not replace it with anything. All agreed.

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