National Funding Framework for ECD’s Conditional Grant Criteria; Western Cape 2023 Admissions process and Rapid Build School Programme

Education (WCPP)

22 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms D Baartman (DA)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


The Standing Committee on Education was briefed on the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Conditional Grant Framework 2022/23, and the Western Cape Rapid School Build Programme & Learner Admissions for 2023. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) presentation detailed the ECD Conditional Grant Framework and its components, including the amendments to the Framework. The Western Cape Education Department presented its 2023 admissions progress and Rapid Build School Programme, highlighting progress made. 

Members welcomed both presentations and concern was shown toward the provision for funding of the Aftercare function following the transfer of the function to the Department of Social Development (DSD). The criteria used to identify wards for universal targeting of subsidies and how many wards in the province have been identified were in question. Mechanisms to support Early Childhood Development centres' access to the Grant were questioned. Members requested clarity on the subsidy allocation of R17 per child for 264 days utilised. With 18981 children targeted, only 9652 children benefited from the Grant. Members requested clarity from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on the R80 billion projected to fully fund the ECD.

On school applications, Members expressed fustration for the outright rejection, and reasoning for rejections was requested. Population growth, learners remaining unplaced per district, and inconsistencies in the feedback on learners not accepted into a school were discussed.

Members of the public asked the WCED questions on forced assimilation, financial implications experienced by parents, inconsistencies were highlighted in what was reported in the presentation and what was experienced in the real world, developments around aboriginal people, special schools, an increase in gangsterism due to the non-placement of learners and as well as schools in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha being in temporary structures.

Meeting report

Chairperson's Opening remarks:

The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the agenda of the meeting, stemming from previous resolutions by the Committee.

Ms Janeli Kotze, Deputy Director: Research Coordination, Monitoring, and Evaluation, Department of Basic Education (DBE), was asked to begin the presentation, with Ms Ruth Leukes, Director: Early Childhood Development, Western Cape Education Department (WCED), to present after.

Presentation on Conditional Grant Framework 2022/23

Ms Kotze outlined the purpose, strategic goal, and components of the Grant (subsidy and infrastructural maintenance components).

The criteria for subsidy eligibility:
Targeted for children from birth until the year before children enter formal school.
Children with developmental difficulties: until the year before the calendar year they turn seven (marks the age of compulsory schooling/special education)
2x methods of targeting

How subsidy grant is spent:
R17 per child per day for 264 days
Spending of subsidy in centre-based programs: (40-40-20 split)
R6 per child per session (non-centre-based programme only used for nutrition)

All children receiving Social Assistance Grant from Social Development will qualify for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) subsidy. Total allocation across provinces has been almost R1.2 billion (Western Cape allocation R95 million)

Has been good in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal
Lagging provinces: Limpopo, North West, Western Cape

Number of targeted children for receiving:
220 000 children targeted to benefit from Grant, 170 000 benefited from Grant
Delays experienced, Western Cape targeted 18 981, benefited 9600 children

Administration Expenditure:
R4 million can be spent on the administration of the Grant.
Eastern Cape tapped into administration funding after 6 months.

New areas provided in the new Conditional Grant Framework:

Support Provided to Provinces:
ECD unit has quarterly inter-provincial meetings held, oversight visits and meetings with provinces were held; national assists provinces in completing the business plan to be in line with the Framework and submit on time in line with Division of Revenue Act (DORA) requirements.

New Centre Construction:
The R3 million threshold for the construction of new ECD centre is too low, additional line included to allow for deviation, prior approval for amounts exceeding R3 million to be obtained from HOD or COO.

General Conditions:
ECD centres must sign SLAs with the Department before maintenance or construction of new centres
ECDs to be trained on the importance of maintenance
ECD centres that benefited from the maintenance allocation must make provision for continued maintenance of ECD centres

New areas of responsibility were presented. The National Department was to facilitate approval of the payment schedule and approval of in-year adjustments to the payment schedule. Provincial Department had to ensure that claims were submitted to DBE to allow for the transfer of funds by the National DBE in line with the payment schedule approved by the National Treasury.

Recommendations were that Members take note of content and amendments to the Conditional Grant Framework.

See presentation for further details

WCED Presentation on ECD Conditional Grant

Ms Leukes presented on the ECD Conditional Grant.

DSD/WCED Collaboration:
ECD budget transferred to the WCED was inclusive of the Aftercare budget for 2022/23; WCED will continue to pay the eligible sites for the current financial year.
As of 1 April 2023, the Department of Social Development (DSD) will take full responsibility for the After School Care programme. Registration Certification for Aftercare is to be done by the DSD.

ECD Conditional Grant Subsidy:
Provincial Education Department (PED) uses a business plan issued by the DBE; ECD subsidisation comprises of Equitable Share and ECD Conditional Grant.
PED and ECD programs enter into Transfer Payment Agreements (TPAs) which stipulate the purpose of the subsidy.

Subsidy Payments:
Western Cape: Conditional Grant 50%, Equitable share funding to date is spent at 66%

ECD Conditional Grant Infrastructure:
PED uses the business plan issued by the DBE; allocation may be used for minor infrastructure maintenance works to improve registration status.
An assessed list of 39 sites was handed over to WCED for the 2022/23 financial year for maintenance
Current Development:
Assessment of all ECD centres in collaboration with ECD directorate
Look at safety matters of ECD centres and provide equipment at unregistered and conditionally registered sites
Challenges: funding in Conditional Grant needs to be more consistent, list of items identified in the original business plan (maintenance and non-infrastructure equipment), specifications were not up to standard, resulting in delays in procuring and executing the business plan.
Spent 39% of infrastructure funding: used the funding toward Pre-Primary school with five ECD classes.

Western Cape: Stimulus Package Update:
National DSD received funding from National Treasury in 2020; the intention was to relieve facilities of the salary burden due to COVID, application process was managed centrally at National DSD, all applicants completed documentation via a link, national and provincial verification was done before payments were authorised
Challenges/Reasons for Rejection of Claims: cell phone numbers were invalid, bank details incorrect and invalid accounts were closed before payments could be made and lack of proof of employment

See presentation for further details


The Chairperson invited the Committee to engage with the presentation.

Mr K Sayed (ANC) thanked the Chairperson and expressed appreciation for the presentations made by the National and Provincial Departments. He was grateful toward the ECD practitioners that were present in the event that they also wanted to make an input.

On slide 7 of the DBE's presentation, he asked if the National Department had made provision for funding the Aftercare function and when the decision was taken to transfer the function to the DSD. Bureaucracy was created when members of the public approached Members on Aftercare concerns, which should have been directed to the DSD. 

On slide 4, he asked what criteria were used to identify wards for universal targeting of subsidies and how many wards in the province have been identified. On slide 10 of the DBE's presentation, which challenges had been experienced by the Western Cape, Limpopo, and the North West which resulted in non-optimal spending?

It was appreciated that conditions were put on ECD practitioners. It was found that ECDs have found it easier to not register, as a consequence of not receiving financial assistance due to the criteria. What mechanisms were put in place to practically take ECDs by hand to ensure that criteria are fulfilled to get assistance and benefit from these grants?

On slide 12 of the WCED's presentation, what mechanisms were put in place to avoid underspending of the Grant, with four months to spend the allocation fully? Could more consideration be given to working with NGOs on the ground?

Mr M Kama (ANC) thanked the Chairperson and showed appreciation for the presentations made by the DBE and WCED. The funding of R17 per child for 264 days was shown frustration, even when the function was held by DSD where the same amount was used. Was the amount of R17 used based on the amount given by DSD? How does the amount of R17 align with objectives? The move of ECD from Education to the DSD, was actioned with the intent of having outcomes. Why was the allocation of R17 per child for 264 days still being used?

On slide 12 from the DBE's presentation on the subsidy for Conditional Grants for children, he asked why 9 652 of the 18 981 children targeted had benefited from the Grant. How were targets set and why had no staff members in the Western Cape benefited?

On the challenges experienced with allocating funds to provinces, slide nine on the DBE's presentation indicated R95 million allocated for this financial year, R87 million for 2023/2024, and R91 million for 2024/2025. Why was there fluctuation in these allocated values and what informed the decrease in allocation for the next financial year?

R5.2 million/39% of the Infrastructural Conditional Grant was indicated to have been spent on pre-primary schools. Which pre-primary schools was the funding spent on or was it only one? What province is the pre-primary school/s located in? How were the school/s identified and prioritised?

Mr F Christians (ACDP) thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to speak. Are there plans to spend the money that was not yet spent by the end of the financial year? He asked how the R17 per child allocation was determined and whether it was sufficient to assist a child. Are certain children more deserving than other children?

Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo have spent their money, whereas other provinces, such as Western Cape, struggled. What were the best practices taken away from provinces that optimally spent? There was reason to spend the budget as more children needed the money. Some ECDs were being discouraged from complying due to criteria, and it was encouraged that there be assistance.

The Chairperson invited the ECD and WCED to respond to the questions asked, thanked the Members for their questions, and commended them for their engagement with the presentation.

DBE’s response

Ms Kotze said that according to legislation regulated in the Children's Act (Chapters 5 & 6), previously, it was stated that the Minister of Social Development was responsible for the function, whereas currently, it is stated that the Minister of Education is now responsible for the function. The Aftercare function was not transferred and legislatively remained within the DSD. Ms Leukes was asked to explain how the Western Cape had dealt with the matter specifically and stated that, nationally, Basic Education was only responsible for ECD programs, not the Aftercare function.

The Conditional Framework currently allows for mechanisms for identifying children eligible for the subsidy. The ward identification mechanisms aimed to alleviate the administrative burden on social workers who assessed each child. The ward-based approach was not implemented. Results from the 2021 National Census South Africa statistics would reveal which wards to identify as poverty-stricken.

Misunderstanding leads to provinces having challenges registering ECD programmes on the Supply Data Base (e.g., North West). It was confirmed that it is not a requirement for ECD programs to register on the Supply Data Base, and since clarification has taken place, more progress has been seen over the last few months.

Another big constraint in some provinces was identified as gaps in human resources due to the function shift. Social workers were transferred to provinces that were not part of delivering the ECD function previously. Due to the lack of institutional knowledge regarding subsidies, there was a delay in business processes to be followed. Provinces were working with ECD to have the gap bridged.

The DSD started the Vangasali ECD campaign to help ECDs register. The Campaign was said to be a two-pronged approach where jamborees were organised between governed departments and ECD programs in the local area and provided coaching through the registration process. Registration packs were provided at jamborees to ECD programmes that contained templates needed to register. Social workers and Basic Education staff assisted in taking ECDs through registration.

She said that NGOs helped with the ECD registration process and Ms Leukes was asked to elaborate on the Western Cape's innovation around this.

The R17 subsidy allocation per child per day was inherited from Social Development. Previously the subsidy was R15. It was agreed that the allocation per child was too low and attention was drawn to ECD practitioners not being paid minimum wage. Parents were also to contribute fees towards the operation of ECD programs.

It was realised that to increase access to the subsidy and allow for all children from poor backgrounds in South Africa to have access and adequate allocation, to cover entire costs of the programme, it was stated that R80 billion would be the cost to the department, which could not be expected to have the budget expanded in one financial cycle. A financial model has been developed to see how systemic improvement could be made over the next 20-25 years, emphasised that increasing the amount of R17 would not occur in the short run.

Ms Leukes was asked to answer the question on the number of children targeted in the Western Cape versus the number of children that received and benefited from the Grant.

On the distinction between children receiving the subsidy, she said that a means test determined the children that did not receive the subsidy. No distinction was made between children qualifying for the subsidy. There was a binary split between children from poor and wealthier backgrounds.

One of the best practices from provinces that have spent money was the understanding from these provinces that the ECD programs do not need to register on the Central Supply Data Base. The second best practice related to Human Resources. The Eastern Cape had worked closely to ensure their staff was trained on all business processes to collaborate to ensure they had completed business processes to administer the subsidies. The third best practice was that the Eastern Cape used an additional R4 million for administration, where clerks were appointed to help with the processing of payments.

WCED’s response

Ms Leukes thanked the Chairperson and proceeded to answer the questions asked. It was explained that WCED is still making the Western Cape Aftercare payments, because they took over the TPA's which was ECD inclusive with the Aftercare that was part of ECD. Only the payments were taken over, and not the function which was with DSD. There was a collaboration between the two departments.

School Services Officers (SSO) were used to walk alongside ECD centres to assist with registration and help with the arduous process.

The Vangasali process was used and resulted in 105 new registrations from April to September 2022. The budget was confirmed to be spent as many conditional registrations would enable to use of the funding in the next four months to support newly registered centres.

The 18 981 targeted children in the Western Cape are based on the number of sites. The WCED was aware of the differences in targeted and actual children that benefited from the Grant and assured that the numbers were derived from the children registered for Conditional Grant funding.

Responding to Mr Kama's question on the fluctuations in infrastructure, the R95 million is broken up (R82 million for subsidies, R13 million for infrastructure). It was explained that there was under expenditure in infrastructure because there was a need to find their feet in terms of the Infrastructure Grant and that they were well on their way, despite no movement until 30 September 2022, as presented by DBE.

The school that funds were spent on was“Intuku”(spelling not confirmed) Primary School in Khayelitsha, Western Cape, where an assessment process decided that Grade R and ECD classrooms would be added. The assessment used was the infrastructure assessment and it was available.

It was noted that there was a fluctuation in the Conditional Grant due to multi-year contracts and that the ECD was established within the WCED. It was agreed that more sites should be registered where a process exists that included advocacy, jamborees and SSOs, which assisted in the registration of ECDs. There was bigger advocacy and people had the right to decide if they wanted to register or not. The Western Cape did not use the number of staff members that could be employed using the Conditional Grant and the entire Grant was being used for subsidisation.

In conclusion, it was noted that the DBE's presentation used statistics that were valid until 30 September 2022, whereas the WCED presentation uses the most recent statistics in terms of data and money spent.

Further questions

The Chairperson allowed more questions.

Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-Ah) thanked the Chairperson and appreciated the presentations made by ECD and WCED. How many years had the WCED not spent the money allocated to them? In the remaining three to four months left of the financial year, what is the strategic plan put in place to spend the remaining money allocated that was not spent?

The Chairperson clarified Mr Brinkhuis' question and asked if he was asking why the WCED, who received ECD as a function in April this year, had not spent the ECD conditional grant for the previous financial years that had been given to provinces. The matter was also dealt with as part of the Negotiating Mandate of the Division of Revenue Adjustment Bill in the Budget Committee, which Mr Brinkhuis is a permanent Member of.

Mr Brinkhuis confirmed that the Chairperson had interpreted his question correctly.

Mr Kama had a follow-up around the Aftercare question raised by Mr Sayed earlier. The first response from the National Department was that they took the ECD function only and not the Aftercare function, collaborated by Ms Leukes in her response. It was seen in the WCED presentation that the WCED was making the payment, because the ECD budget that was transferred to the provincial department for the current financial year, was inclusive of the Aftercare budget. It was questioned why this transfer was done without a function. Why was the transfer made to WCED for Aftercare when that particular function was not in that particular department?

The Chairperson requested clarification on slide 12 of the DBE presentation where it was indicated that input was received from provinces on the Conditional Grant Criteria and Framework.

On slide 12 of the WCED presentation, clarification was requested on whether the money was intended for the pre-primary school and if the school in Khayelitsha would be receiving the additional five ECD classes reflected.

Clarity was requested from Ms Kotze on the R80 billion projected to fund the ECD fully. Is the R80 billion projected for the whole country, province or subsidy inclusive of infrastructure? Were the 105 new registrations created between April to September 2022, over and above the 1 613 registered ECDs, or was the number inclusive of the new indicated amount? How much funding will be qualified for individually or on average, if 105 registrations are for new ECD programs?

DBEs response

Ms Kotze answered the question on input from provinces. The main input on infrastructure component where provinces had indicated that the threshold amounts (in the Conditional Grant Framework for maintenance and construction of new ECD centres), were too low. It was a challenge to find service providers that would be able to conduct the required work within these thresholds. The reason that the new line in the infrastructure component was included was to allow for deviations to take place.

The DBE had listened to the pleas from provinces and appointed quantity surveyors to carry out an independent evaluation of the accuracy of the pleas of amounts being too low or needing to revise the amounts. Ongoing work was being carried out to ensure that the amounts should be increased as warranted in future rounds. That the outcomes of the subsidy component should not only look at access matters was the second input received from provinces. Matters of quality and learning outcomes should be considered.

The R80 billion projection was costed to allow children from poor backgrounds to have fully funded ECD programs, not only for the allocation of R17 per child per day. ECD programs that would be fully funded by government would mean an increase in access and an increase in the amount allocated. This was noted to be infeasible in the short run, but an objective in the long run.

WCEDs response

Ms Leukes, on the strategic planning for the remaining time, said that the WCED was well aware of the four months left to spend the remaining funds, in which the 105 new registrations would be included as well as the lapsed registration. It was comfortably agreed that the money would be spent in the financial year.

In terms of the payment for Aftercare, when the function was taken over, it was agreed between the two heads of department that the TPA would be used. The TPA for the Aftercare section was already calculated in the monies that would be going out to various sites, which was explained as the reason why the money is being sat with for the Aftercare.

On slide 12, it was confirmed that the“Intuku” Pre-Primary school in Khayelitsha was part of the 18 981 target. The 105 new sites were over and above the 1 613 registered, but not all of them received or wanted funding.

The Chairperson remarked that she was unsure any institution would say no to funding and permitted Mr Sayed to ask questions.

On slide 10 of WCED presentation, reference was made to the claim the Provincial Department was unable to execute the Grant as stipulated in the business plan. Why did DSD use a social sector organisation to execute the Grant which resulted in an audit finding?

Mr Christians’ question on criteria and assistance provided to ECDs regarding registration had to be answered more clearly with detail to be provided. Were there concrete cases the WCED could cite where they had assisted an ECD to register in light of the criteria?

The Chairperson asked if both Mr Sayed's questions were directed towards the WCED to which he confirmed they were.

Ms Leukes, on the criteria and how 105 sites were assisted with registration, said that if the site was registered under Vangasali, many of the criteria would have been relaxed. An example was made where a letter from Environmental Health Practitioner was permitted instead of a certificate. Many tools were being used to encourage ECDs to register, namely the Vangasali project.

SSOs were also helping institutions use the modernisation tool developed by the City of Cape Town and walked alongside institutions to get them registered. The SSOs that the WCED contacted to do the function went to health institutions to assist with navigation of the system and the compliance aspect of registration with different municipalities.

On the business plan and hindered spending of finances and respective criteria, the business plan received from DSD was executed in a particular way. It was given to an NGO that had executed maintenance at the time. There was a transfer payment to an SSO, where the Auditor-General found that it needed to be goods and services and go through procurement. It was stated that for the next financial year, this process could be put through for procurement. It was noted to be difficult to find a way to execute and expend the money according to grant criteria.

The Chairperson clarified around the 20% allocated in terms of the administration component which was said to be used fully for the subsidy. Considering the 40-40-20 split, are we not spending on administration?

Ms Leukes informed the Chairperson that the split she was referring to, relates to the R17 (40-40-20 split). It was questioned why the money is not being used for staffing and administration staffing in the grant section, which was R2.8 million that formed part of the subsidy so that more centres could be subsidised. 

Mr Sayed asked if the operational individuals who were part of ECD's also attended the same school budget meetings.  

Ms Leukes answered that ECDs were not attached to schools. Grade R was attached to ordinary public schools and they normally attended the same budget meeting.

The Chairperson acknowledged the presence of ECD practitioners in attendance at the meeting and encouraged attendees to submit questions in writing.

Questions from the public

Mr A Jakoet, Anwaar Jakoet Foundation, stated that he had been listening attentively to what had been raised in the meeting. He referenced the questions surrounding how the ECDs benefit, especially those in the townships that were not registered. He agreed that the process is not only arduous but the facilities as well. He gave the example of the townships where qualified ECD teachers, educators, level four and five, operated out of a 9 x 6 makeshift unit with one chemical toilet and 34 learners.

When asked by ECDs if it was correct to register with the Department and try to get registered, he would answer against registration. He continued that ECDs would be shut down due to non-compliance with the regulations required. What would happen to the learners? Children attending those ECD centres would receive a meal as there probably would not be food in their houses, as well as qualified ECD practitioners that were there to assist them.

What assistance was provided to ECDs to get registered? Politicians seated in board rooms and offices were encouraged to go into the rural areas to observe the reality of ECD facilities. Money should have been spent on upgrading facilities instead of building new facilities from scratch. Religious institutions were encouraged to assist in the upgrading of the ECD Educare facilities. Out-of-the-box thinking was encouraged and he emphasised that basic education should be for everyone.

Ms Leukes thanked the Chairperson and responded that the ECD had been with the WCED as of 1 April 2022. The WCED had been out in the field, having looked at various types of institutions. A plan would need to be formulated to assist unregistered sites with registration. It was stated that understanding was needed around the norms and standards as defined in the Children's Act. It was explained that before the process of any plan had taken place, the safety of the children would have needed to be taken into consideration first as a priority. Attention was drawn to some facilities that had not been upgraded for five to ten years.

Roadshows were suggested in terms of thinking out of the box regarding finding ways to help ECDs register and Ms Leukes agreed with Mr Jakoet on the re-thinking being needed.

The Chairperson asked Mr Jakoet if he had any follow-up questions, to which he responded that he could spend the entire afternoon arguing his point across.

Mr Jakoet said that it would be encouraging for roadshows to take place and that he had not usually attended meetings because the Committee meetings felt like a talk show where enquiries were prolonged. He advised that he had worked on a ground level and had experience in having taught at Model C schools in the 80s.

Over the last two years, two ex-principals, together with Mr Jakoet, had gone out to rural areas, townships and gang-infested areas. It was mentioned that what was seen was atrocious and agreement toward the safety of the children was the priority. What would happen to the children in these areas should the ECDs be shut down? Did the WCED want the children to be roaming the streets in townships? Would the children be safer in an ECD with qualified ECD teachers or roaming the streets?

It was expressed that priorities had to be aligned and that the law and regulations had to stop being in the path of people that wanted to effect change. He stated that sometimes those rules and regulations should have been bent as there were exceptions to the rule. It was encouraged that something more concrete to assist ECDs be done, putting bureaucracy last and the children first. Mr Jakoet thanked the Chairperson.

The Chairperson requested that it be noted that the Code of Conduct in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament did not encourage illegality. Ms Leukes was asked to address the question of what happens to an ECD centre that is shut down due to the safety and what happened to those children. Mr Sayed was permitted to speak.

Further Committee questions
Mr Sayed mentioned that he had not intended to take from the public's time. He argued that the member of the public, Mr Jakoet, was not necessarily encouraging illegality. It was stated that Mr Jakoet encouraged a sense of nuance and flexibility with his statements regarding desired outcomes; this was how he interpreted the question.

The Chairperson stated that she aimed to ensure that the Committee was always protected should somebody on YouTube say they were encouraging illegality. Mr Kama was permitted to speak.

Mr Kama thanked the Chairperson and assured that the meeting was not a talk show. It was stated that follow-ups on the issues raised in the meetings, do occur and encouraged members of the public to continue to attend sessions.

He requested that the question on what was done to assist ECDS, be answered again by Ms Leukes. Were there instances where ECDs were closed in the process of attempting registration? Were there ECD centres that are being closed or that have been identified for closure?

Concern was expressed regarding Mr Jakoet's answer to ECDs when asked if they were required to register or not and him responding no. An understanding of what the Department was trying to achieve with ECD registrations, was needed. It was stated that the interests of the child be kept at the forefront. Mr Kama thanked the Chairperson.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Kama and informed him that she would be addressing Committee procedure. It was stated that it would be unknown whether oversight visits are done, as it was unannounced to ensure ECDs do not make the centres look pretty with prior warning. Members of the public were encouraged to attend meetings as the money of the people was being spent. Ms Leukes was asked to respond.

WCED’s response

Ms Leukes thanked the Chairperson and commented on the closure of schools. If the school was recommended for closure, it formed part of the WCED's duty to ensure learners are placed in that same area, where the interest of the child is prioritised. It was stated that if the school was the only ECD in the area, they would be assisted to ensure the school remained open, which was a negotiation and collaboration happening within the Department. If the school was identified for closure for various reasons, there was an investigation that happened first, and the accommodation of all learners was strived for.

The Chairperson asked if she could put Ms Leukes on the spot by indicating her email address for schools that are struggling with the registration process, where safety was a concern, or in terms of assisting the school to not experience closure and that the children are assisted in placing the children. An email address or phone number was requested to assist ECDs. The Chairperson permitted Ms Leukes to respond.

Ms Leukes responded that the person whom the ECDs could contact was Ms Kim Hendricks on 021 833 8478.

The Chairperson confirmed the number 021 833 4847 and asked for it to be noted in the minutes. She asked that the next presenters present 30 minutes earlier and informed Members that a 30-minute break would be taken. The national departments were thanked for their presentations and assistance provided for ECDs which was a new topic in the Committee, having come from the DSD. She said methods were being found to improve the challenges faced.

The National and Provincial Treasury was thanked for its attendance at the meeting. It was explained that when conditional grants within perspective departmental votes for service delivery were spoken about, there was a struggle in communication between those who work in finances and those doing work on the ground. Going forward, a desire was expressed to see more people in finances in meetings where conditional grant funding or equitable share matters were dealt with.

The meeting was suspended until 3 o'clock.

Opening Remarks by Western Cape Minister of Education

Mr David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Education, thanked the Chairperson and Committee for the opportunity to brief on the Rapid School Build Programme & Learners Admissions for 2023. He stated that he was joined by Mr Walters and the team from the Department of Education who would brief the Committee first on the progress of admissions for 2023, inclusive of the fact that 89.1% of Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners had already been placed.

He stated that the team would also be briefing the Committee on their response to admissions 2023, including an ambitious infrastructure programme that included 842 classrooms to be delivered, noting that this number far exceeded the number of classrooms delivered in previous years. It also included the Rapid School Build programme which aimed to build seven new schools in six months, creating 3 200 additional places. The Committee would also be briefed on expanding the basket of posts which included 1 143 additional posts for teachers in the Western Cape.

The Infrastructure Delivery Programme was said to be ambitious and faced significant risks which would be elaborated on. It was ensured that the rate at which classrooms were delivered was not compromised and that there was a place for every learner in the Western Cape.

The presentation and report were submitted and apologies were noted for the late submission due to verification of data, pending litigation and that during the past 3-4 days, the focus was placed on mitigating the impact of the taxi strike in the Western Cape. The Chairperson was thanked and Mr Walters was asked to begin the presentation.

WCED Presentation on Rapid School Build Programme & Learner Admissions for 2023

Mr Brent Walters, WCED Head of Department, presented. On the enrolment growth, the WCED system has increased by 17 901 learners on average per year over the period 2018 – 2022. The 2023 Admission Process was outlined from January 2022- April 2022. On 27 May 2022, parents were informed of the outcome of their applications. On the system, ten schools could be chosen in order of preference. The system would choose the first, second, or third school in cases where parents had not accepted.

The schools reviewed the admission list from July to August 2022 and continued calling parents on the waiting list. The closing date for parents to decide on school acceptance school was 17 June 2022. Schools were closed between 24 June- 19 July 2022. WCED admission teams placed and resolved outstanding cases between 1 September-15 December 2022.

Admissions for Grade 1 and Grade 8 amounted to 117 000 applications in total (93.9% of Grade 1 learners placed, 87.4% of Grade 8 learners placed).

There was a considerable increase in the infrastructure budget.

System Expansion Plans for 2023:
Three Brick and mortar and replacement schools (46 additional classrooms)
Five new mobile schools (50 additional classrooms)
new classroom builds (645 additional classrooms)
Seven rapid school build projects (101 additional classrooms)
842 classrooms in total, providing 26 000 additional seats in schools.

Summary position on new and replacement schools:
New classroom builds (645 additional classrooms)
Brick and mortar expansion (52 additional classrooms)
Moladi classrooms (238 additional classrooms)
Mobile classrooms (81 additional classrooms)
School Governing Body (SGB) builds (274 additional classrooms)
Three brick-and-mortar new and replacement schools to open in the 2023 school year
Delivers the equivalent of an additional 46 new classrooms
Mooreesburg - High School (West Coast district)
Chatsworth Primary School (West Coast district)
Perivale Primary School (Metro South district)

Five mobile schools for the 2023 school year (50 additional classrooms):
Klapmuts - Primary and High School
Lwandle - High School
Tafelsig - High School
Mitchells Plain - High School

Summary position on the Rapid Build Programme
Five New School Builds:
Two new High Schools in Metro North (Delft, Atlantis – Moladi)
One new Primary School in Metro North (Rivergate – brick and mortar)
Two new Primary Schools in Metro East (Lwandle & Wallacedene – brick and mortar)

Two Building Developments
One new High School in Metro Central (Hout Bay),
One new High School in Metro North (Century City - brick and mortar)

WCED increased the basket of posts by 1143, bringing the teacher co-op total to 36417 in the more than 1500 schools inside system, costing R503 million.

Risks included late applications, social unrest, extortion demands and strikes which lead to delays in building completion, availability and delivery of building materials, parents who insist on the school of choice only, and applications with incorrect contact details.

He concluded that WCED was building 842 additional classrooms for 2023 across the province.

Closing remarks:

Mr Walters had drawn the Committee's attention to the pressures in admissions for 2023 and the infrastructure response mentioned in the opening remarks to be ambitious. This was illustrated in the rapid school build programme which aimed to build seven new schools in six months considering, on average, in previous years, where it had taken more than four years to build.

Expanding the number of classrooms to 842 classrooms this year was also considered ambitious in the previous year, when 212 classrooms were expanded. The aim was to deliver at almost a rate four times greater than was delivered in 2021. The Head of Department emphasised and mentioned significant risks, which could compromise the rate at which the 842 classrooms would be delivered. It was concluded that a personal approach was to persist in attempting, even in the event of failure.

See presentation for full detail


The Chairperson opened the presentation for engagement.

Mr C Fry (DA) appreciated the presentation. It was requested to have a breakdown of what division of schools (high, primary, foundation, FET, intermediate phase, etc) regarding the 1 143 increase of teacher posts to a total of 36 417 be provided.

Mr Fry said he was a parent of a grade 8 learner who went through the application process. His child was placed in 2022. There was a difference between the numbers and the actual lived experience. Mr Fry's daughter was rejected three times by three different schools. Frustration was expressed for the outright rejection and reasoning for rejection was requested.

On slide 9, what was the average rand amount per class for new builds? The WCED was commended for the new builds strategy but time would tell whether it would be accurate. The late application point made in the presentation was understood.

Mr Sayed noted Minister Maynier's explanation for the late submission. The Minister stated that the late submission was due to the sign-off process but was explained to be due to the embargo mentioned by Ms Hassen-Moosa (Committee coordinator). It was noted that the difference in reasoning disempowered Members.

He remarked on the importance of receiving the presentation within a reasonable time and suggested an addendum/correction be sent at a later stage for the figures that awaited sign-off.

What plans are in place to mitigate the impact of the average growth per year of 17 901? Were there mechanisms in place to do the forecasting? The issue of planning was noted to be constantly raised. Would the province be in a position to estimate learner growth over the next few years?

Of the unplaced learners in grade 1 and grade 8, the percentages were given for November 2022, how many of those learners remained unplaced? How many learners of the referenced percentage provided applied timeously? How many learners of the referenced percentage provided were late applications?

The issue around incorrect cell numbers was understood and confirmed to be raised with the Committee. The figures for the number of unplaced learners in the first, second and third terms of 2022 were requested.

How much of the average learner growth shown on slide three resulted from population growth? He explained that the learners in population growth contained children that reached the compulsory schooling age. How many of those who have migrated from other areas to the province, apply in schools in other districts? This information was requested to be submitted in writing at a later stage. The breakdown was requested.

On slide 4, the issue of pop-up banners being implemented was raised. Given its success, why was this approach not adopted as a full programme of the WCEd and extended to various malls and public spaces within districts? Of the learners who applied on 15 April 2022, as per slide 4, how many have been placed and how many learners remain unplaced?

Could the Department provide the details in writing on the waiting lists, excluding individual names for all districts to date? This would be to find out how many learners remain unplaced per district. Were contingency plans implemented to avoid a crisis of unplaced learners in January?

The Chairperson interjected and stated that Mr Sayed had already asked 11 questions and to be mindful of other Members and guests who needed to ask questions.

Mr Sayed apologised and asked his remaining questions promptly. Around inconsistencies in the feedback on the un-acceptance of a learner into a school, how was this issue dealt with in the context of the school of choice? It was mentioned that many times the school of choice is not full, and there are inconsistencies in terms of application by schools of their admission criteria.

WCED’s Response

Minister Maynier thanked the Chairperson and explained that he wanted to deal with the issue raised by Mr Sayed regarding the late submission of the report and presentation. Provided the Committee agreed, he envisioned regularly briefing the Committee on the admissions process at any cycle.

The point about submitting presentations on time so Members could be well prepared was well taken.

Mr Walters explained that the questions asked on statistical data would be provided in writing and that the question on the figures relating to the breakdown of teacher posts would be provided for all phases in terms of the demand.

On the admissions process and policy, whether a child gets admitted to a school or not, is the decision made by the school and is not the Department's decision. It was explained that principals have to predict how many children are going to fail. All places could not be given up immediately as the Promotion and Progression process needed to be carried out first. The final results of the Promotion and Progression process would be released on 15 December 2022. After the result was received, it was decided which learners would stay behind and which would progress to the next grade.

Principals reserving places for learners that could fail potentially explained why some learners received a rejection from a school that they had applied for. Each parent would need to be given an answer, which was generally the case for oversubscribed schools.

It was advised that parents have a right to appeal and ask what the actual reasons in writing are that their child had not been accepted into a school, which could be escalated to ensure a reason is provided. It was emphasised that the reason provided was oversubscription.

Regarding acceptance into a school of choice, a free choice system was provided. More schools of choice are desired to be created to grow the bank of schools while providing quality education.

Mr Walters apologised in cases where parents had experienced an outright rejection from the system. It was explained that the system sends an automatic response, where processes could be engaged to determine exactly why they were not accepted into a school.

Mr Abrahams was asked to speak on the R946 000 raised but noted that maintenance and land acquisition were also considered in addition to buildings.

On the forecasting, it was stated that this was contained in the presentation. The growth that would get the same outcomes year on year was thought about. The General Household Survey of Statistics South Africa was released in June 2022 which predicted how many learners there would be.

It was stated that the problem faced was not the number of learners but rather where they would be placed as a school is a finite object and cannot be moved. If brick and mortar are decided on, then a school would be built. If no learners attended the school, the state's resources would be wasted.

While the forecast is made of where schools should be placed, the question of vacant land available to build on was asked. It was mentioned that certain areas were overcrowded not because of education. Education is the first government service to field this concern.

The new build process was emphasised where land use planning issues occur, complicating permission granted to begin building new schools. It was also stated that environmental and sometimes heritage issues also added to these challenges around sourcing land to build on.

It was stated that response and acknowledgement around being a growing population in the province, expecting a certain number of learners. The 842 classrooms were noted as the highest number provided to date, along with the highest number of teachers given into the system.

On how many applications were due to population growth, the two components noted were learners from the province and learners that had immigrated to the province from other provinces yearly.

The breakdown of learners per district would be provided in writing.

Agreement with Mr Sayed on the pop-up initiative was indicated, acknowledging a cost factor associated with the initiative. The sentiment of the question was well received, where parents would be given greater opportunities.

Mr Meyer and Mr Abrahams were asked to add to answers provided or submit new information.

Mr Alan Meyer, Chief Director: Districts, informed that 8 889 learners still needed to be placed of the number of learners who had applied on time for 2023. 3 782 learners that had applied from March 2022 until the current date, were still in the process of needing to be placed.

The figures at the end of the first, second, and third terms would be provided in writing. In terms of population growth within a particular district as well as migration, would also be provided in writing.

An example of an influx experienced at a school had a knock-on effect on schools in the area, which the details would also be provided.

The pop-up initiative was received well and would be expanding to rural areas next year at roughly 120 sites. Malls within the communities are to be provided to parents to give them the opportunity to apply online with assistance from Department staff. Mr Sayed was thanked for visiting pop-up banner events held earlier in the year, which the staff appreciated as acknowledgement of their work.

A list of the districts and learners still unplaced as at 15 December 2022 would be provided in writing.

The question of schools not being full but turning away learners had been covered by Mr Walters. As the school functions, there would have been a point of promotion and progression which would occur toward the end of November 2022. Decisions would be made at the start of December but schools would still need to budget for learners that would not be progressing, hence schools might appear to have places on paper.

As soon as the statistics show learners have progressed, schools take learners in immediately and inform the parents fairly quickly thereafter. It was noted that a school that loses more than 40 learners in a year, had a risk of losing a teaching post hence principals were said to be keen on maintaining their numbers.

Mr Abrahams was asked to add information to the questions asked.

Mr Salie Abrahams. Deputy Director-General: Curriculum and Assessment, stated that the requested statistics would be confirmed in writing and that he would be speaking to some queries on which the additional funding would have been spent

Statistical inputs on population from several sources (e.g., Statistics South Africa) were consulted regarding the forecasting mechanism. It was advised to consider population increases in the context of age bands (ages 0-4, 5-14, and 14-above). It was widely acknowledged that the population or growth spurt of 2004 contributed to service delivery pressure experienced for Grade 8 in 2019. This was also seen in its extremity in 2020/2021 during the COVID pandemic. The pattern observed was an extraordinary increase in learner intake at Grade R and Grade 1 levels in the 2011/2012 cycle.

Another context for growth was offered. Growth was defined as the net increase in the number of learners seeking access to the education system for which seats need to be provided. The environment for planning was described to be dynamic. In the net increase observed, patterns of 2.5 % growth year on year and 2.25% acknowledged by DBE were noted. The Western Cape was pointed out to be the fastest-growing province measured over the last five years. The impact of COVID was mentioned. Population increases were defined as net growth or environmental growth with a fairly stable intake at Grade 1. The migratory and settlement patterns of communities and people were highlighted, where there was a bigger increase in the intake at Grade 1, but a bigger net increase of learners was noted to accommodate at high schools in Grade 8.

Another dynamic to be considered was the higher levels of retention in the system. The passing rate of learners progressing to Grades 10-12 was shown prior but it noted that higher retention meant more schools in the province were under pressure for Grade 8 intake.

Notably, fairly sophisticated forecasting mechanisms were used where projection is made in increments of 3, 5 and 10 years. The free choice environment for schools demonstrated that numbers that metro-east and north, in an urban context, had 60% of 1.1 million learners under-served. It was elaborated that underserved in this regard meant the number of learners versus the number of schools in a particular district. The focus was emphasised on where new facilities would be invested, primarily in metro-east and north districts in the urban context.

Assumptions were made that the balance between 60-40 between urban and rural is taken into account and there was consultation with local government and other department counterparts on forecasts of population projections.

Regarding what money is being spent, 40% uplift was graciously received regarding infrastructure programmes. Budget dealt with two particular contexts. The first context dealt with is the reality that many schools are overcrowded and in a state that raises functionality and safety concerns. A portion of the R748 additional million went into ensuring that facilities were protected and upgraded, whilst prioritising the expansion of classrooms and schools.

It was explained that classrooms were used as a unit of analysis, demonstrating what the additional funding would buy. Classrooms were used as a unit of analysis as it is difficult in the South African context to specify what a classroom costs, as seen in the comparison of baseline costs. It was stated that per classroom, it would cost between R750 000 to R1.2 million based on choices of technology, cement, prefabrication, conditions under which the classroom is built, etc.

Where civil works were required, aggregation within R750 000 also dealt with preparing unserviced land with electricity and water provisions due to being served to a greater extent with bulk services. Education was said to take this on as the Department typically leads on extra service or service provision.

The baseline of the costs was assessed by making comparison to other provinces on the R1-R3 million spent. There was work done at a national level to try to improve or optimise obtaining additional funds. The point was that the 842 additional classrooms were not a function of money.

Acceleration based on understanding risks would be possible. This was said to be possible because not short-cutting the process would have taken 4.7 years, as mentioned by the Minister.

Consideration was considered for stronger connectivity and connectedness with communities so that the public participation process was not bypassed. It was recognised in areas that there is pressure to accelerate, but emphasis is placed on accuracy regarding with whom and how engagement took place. In areas where the accelerated approach is applied, positive responses had been noted in the areas where the rapid build would occur (e.g., Lwandle).

A stronger inter-collaboration with governmental partners (local governments, municipalities, urban centres and the City of Cape Town) assisted in helping prioritise service provision (e.g., water).

The conditions allowed the Department to move faster with the additional funding; however, commitments were possible and increasingly made commitments were made for rapid build as well. Due to the conditions believed to be in place to accelerate infrastructure build. This was noted as not doing something different than counterparts in other provinces. It was explained that work was carried out in a system in context where many risks will prevail. It was stated that WCED was doing its best to place schools in the correct places, communicate with communities about the intent and work together to ensure the processes are streamlined.

It was stated that a portion of the money addressed history, such as overcrowded classrooms and maintenance. The additional funding split would be presented in writing.

The Western Cape was stated to have a big rural footprint in the urban context, where it is understood that there were challenges. Work would be done with governmental agency partners to address municipalities, however, pockets of high demand in peri-urban context (e.g., Malmesbury, Hermanus, Grabouw). A short-term tactical plan was implemented and hard work is being done to right-set the plan, acknowledging that with 17000-19000 children coming in, it would be about having ensured that, as a starter, capacity is expanded more rapidly.

Further questions

The Chairperson asked for clarification on the infrastructure items Mr Abrahams had indicated would be sent. She asked that the new information be sent and the documents already received in March 2022 not be resent.

Mr Kama welcomed the presentation made by the Department. New dates were requested for the new information that would be sent by the Department relating to the clarification made by the Chairperson, as dates regarding infrastructure projects do change.

The Chairperson agreed and emphasised that new dates be submitted with the new information by the Department as requested. She stated that the Department should not send books of information already received in March 2022.

Mr Kama asked if there was a priority in admitting learners based on those who applied on time and those who applied late in terms of acceptance into the school of choice. On incomplete applications, what exactly constitutes an incomplete application according to the system? It was assumed that the same problem would be received in January. What was improved on regarding issues around incorrect numbers and data being provided by parents? Would more than one contact number be requested from parents? Other systems were referenced where some fields would be marked as compulsory to fill out, preventing the submission of incomplete applications and suggesting that the Department use the same system. What is the update on the 842 additional classrooms that would be provided? Would the classrooms be built by the next financial year? Understanding around challenges with the building of classrooms was expressed.

It was noted that more effort has occurred in terms of planning and it was appreciated that the Department was providing exact figures and specific data.

Regarding Mr Sayed's question on slide seven of the presentation, what is their priority of admitting learners based on those who applied on time and those who submitted late applications?

The Chairperson stated that she enjoyed it when Members asked specific questions.

Mr Brinkhuis thanked the Department for their presentation. Slide eight showed an increased infrastructure budget but noted that the area of Darling in the Swartland was not included in the budget for 2023. When would the Darling High School be built?

The Chairperson shared that the Darling High School infrastructure budget could be found on page 151, as tabled in March 2022, which Mr Brinkhuis confirmed that the Darling High School mentioned on page 151 of the budget was the same school he was referring to. The Chairperson confirmed that budgets for 2022, 2023, and 2024 were present but that she was sure the Department could provide more information.

Mr Christians agreed that he could see progress in placement of learners and planning from the Department. The motto of the WCED of “quality education” was brought up. How could a child be forced to take certain subjects and attend a certain school in a particular area that would limit the field a learner could go into for their career choice due to the system? It was stated that the system is choking children to stay in school, which limits opportunities.

Mr Meyer, Mr Walters, Mr Abrahams and Mr Titus were acknowledged for the good work that they had done and for being responsive.

WCEDs response

Mr Walters answered the question of whether young people were disadvantaged if they submitted a late application. It was mentioned that there was no priority system when it was said that you would have a preference if you apply by this date. It was said that university discipline is being strived for where you would not be accepted if you do not submit your application before a certain date. It was noted that more people were applying on time and public representatives were asked for assistance to make sure people apply on time.

The point around having an aspect on the system that does not allow submission of an application, should there have been outstanding information, was taken well as a suggestion.

On the question on data for planning, it was reminded that the Department was getting better and could make a prediction.

Individuals are free to have chosen which school to attend. There is evidence that rapid response was carried out. COVID-19 was mentioned and has resulted in a lot of land invasions. Individuals had settled in zones that were marked off for schools and the Department could not use the land to build schools on.

On the question of quality education, a free choice system was carried out where applications for up to 10 schools can be made. Should the results of the learner comply with the school's admission requirements, then the school would accept the learner. The strategy of the Department was to look at how the culture is being studied in poor areas where excellent results are being seen due to the correct people being in leadership positions.

Mr Abrahams answered the question of priority in terms of applying on the system. He said that the system did not operate the same way as the system of Gauteng, where early applications are prioritised. The HOD indicated he was open for the school to evaluate.

The reason learners got an incomplete application response was because part of the application process, parents are requested to provide relevant documents to the school and failed to do so which the school would mark as incomplete on the system. The issue around the incorrect contact details of parents being provided, and two contact numbers were said to be requested going forward. The quality of education was highlighted across areas.

Mr Abrahams informed that Darling High School was part of the priority list and considered for movement to the Rapid Build Programme. The Swartland community was shown appreciation for their support and mentioned that the environmental challenges were a big consideration in whether Darling would move onto the rapid build program or not.

Minister Maynier responded that 164 classrooms were already delivered, 674 classrooms would be delivered by January 2023, and 168 classrooms by March 2023.

The Chairperson mentioned her experience with applying for Laingsburg High School to become a no-fee school during COVID-19. Internet was provided for the primary school. From a rural perspective, the Chairperson thanked the Department.

Public participation

Mr Paul Cornelius (sp), Western Cape Aboriginal Governance Group, introduced the organisation he represented which was fighting for self-determination. What is the perspective on forced assimilation? How many of the schools in the community were foreign learners that did not have documentation?

Mr Frederick Jeneke (sp), Aboriginal Organisation in Heideveld, congratulated the Department on their presentation and stated that the communities had challenges. It was explained that most of the challenges faced had financial implications. He raised that parents of learners were not technologically savvy.

A survey was conducted in a high school in“Coloured communities”. 88.8% resulted in children attending that particular high school, having come from different areas. Reference was made to Mr Jeneke's grandson who was not permitted to attend a school in his area and is currently sent to a school outside of his area, at the expense of his grandparents' experience in travelling fare.

It was informed that some children stated they are taking a gap year, should they not find placement within a desired school. Inconsistencies were highlighted in what was reported on in the presentation and what is experienced in the real world.

Assistance was requested for the public to apply where they do not have access to resources.
What was the WCED doing with developments around aboriginal people? What is planned for having aboriginal schools for communities? Cultural issues and dropouts were mentioned. What are the statistics on dropout numbers in schools? Children that went through the schooling system with learning disabilities, who cannot read at Grade 8, what would be done about assisting children with learning disabilities?

Ms Terri Stevens, Autism Matters South Africa, asked if the schools and SGBs regulated what the requirements were. It was noted that there was no mention of special schools. What is the application process for special schools?

The Chairperson said no special needs educational officer was present at the meeting, but that there were two to three presentations on the inclusive education unit including the criteria.

Ms Aporina Lonsi (sp), Aboriginal Activist for Aboriginal Authentic People, stipulated an article that stated indigenous people have the collective right to live in freedom, peace, and security and distinct peoples shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence including forcibly removing children from one group to another group.

Article 8 mentioned aboriginal people and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. It was mentioned that forceful assimilation from all cultures excluding aboriginal cultures, took place. It was emphasised that aboriginal people are forced not to communicate in their mother tongue and are refused entry into their home areas.

Mr Walters was referenced for stating that education was in the hands of the parents. Concerns were expressed around the COVID vaccine which the Chairperson said would be submitted to the Department of Health.

The Chairperson reminded that members of the public are not forced to take the COVID vaccines against their will and that the provincial department would assist where ever possible to get perspective answers.

Ms Kirsten Boking (sp), Bailey Family Foundation, on rejections and reasons, asked what the process was for repealing a rejection. It was suggested that it would be simpler if, in the process of rejecting students’ applications, there was an input method where schools had to provide a reason.

Retroactively schools were noted to inform parents that the school was full at the moment of application, was this true? Statistically, you would be able to see if that school was full at that time or not. This suggestion was explained to leave no room for indiscretion. Was there a correlation between children who were not admitted to schools by April, and if there was an increase in gangsterism because of non-admission in the neighbourhoods that the learners came from?

Could home schooling address the problem of non-admission into a school? A creative method was suggested between housing and land where learning in the form of homeschooling could be found in a particular housing district.

What percentage of educators that was mentioned to have increased, were for special needs schools? How many of these educators possessed the adequate skills or methods, and in the future to attain those skills?

Ms Nomvuyiso Vaneshe (sp), guest, asked the Minister to elaborate on the plan to build seven new schools? It was informed that many schools with temporary structures, namely Mfuleni. What was the plan for developing schools, in temporary structures, in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha?

The Committee was urged to have more mobile offices or help desks designated in communities or malls during application periods. A toll-free call centre was requested for people calling for application questions that communicate in Xhosa, English and Afrikaans languages.

Ms Desiree Jeneke (sp), Community Leader in Heideveld, commented on the rejection of learners, having experience with applying for ten schools. It was noted that children are forced to attend school. More primary than high schools was an issue identified as a contributor to gangsterism. Financial constraints were raised, echoing Mr Jeneke. The assistance from teachers in overcrowded circumstances was appreciated. The need for social assistance was expressed. More schools of skills or technical schools were requested.

It was stated that to combat land usage challenges, government should prioritise erecting on land available for education. Mr Meyer and Mr Titus were thanked for their assistance. It was suggested that parents leave their details at schools they are awaiting a response from, similar to a waiting list.

Mr B Ndamane and Ms Jenneke both raised concerns around inconsistencies in school admissions.

Ms Nobuhle Mbombo (sp), Crisis Community, asked what the possibility of implementing a school in the area of Vincent was. What was the provision for the learners who were not accommodated? What is going to happen to children's provision for slow learners? Is there provision for land in 2025-2027, as the school was not on permanent land? What is the budget for schools in Atlantis? What is the budget for vandalised property, and broken ceilings? The safety of learners was mentioned as important. The ratio of more primary schools to high schools was emphasised. What is the plan regarding safety in schools where some children get stabbed? Could a neighbourhood watch be implemented? What is the budget to assist mothers who take their children to school walking at 6am?

The Chairperson explained that based on the questions asked, some questions would not be able to be answered. The unanswered questions would be directed to the respective ministry and/or committee as far as possible.

WCED’s response

Mr Walters informed that regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder, 18 schools catered for learners across eight districts in six departments. Planning was advised to start as soon as accommodation was finished for these schools.

Regarding Ms Mbombo's question on land, a general comment was made that over 300 years ago, primary schools started in churches, leaving a large number of primary schools that were formed at the beginning that moved on to become high schools.

3.75:1 was the ratio of primary schools to high schools. Retention rates were reported to improve, allowing children to finish their schooling until Grade 12. A balance needed to be found between primary and high school and other options considered. School of Skills was informed to require workshops, which ramped up the cost to budget.

The responsibility as a Department was outlined to provide basic human right access for 7 to 15-year-old learners under the Constitution when they present themselves. The truth was reported as the system growing on a large and unforgiving scale.

The land was identified as a precious commodity and certain land is zoned for use purposes. It was noted that leaving parent details similar to a waiting list was not agreed with, but rather a referral system where the parent is captured on a database. It was reminded that the district office and schools could assist any time a parent struggles with an application.

It was emphasised that Grades 1 and 8 are the two entry points of learners into the system, that the department is obligated to offer a place at schools and that the education system should not be expected to move toward preference. Transfers between other grades were at the school's discretion, should there be a place available.

Safety issues were acknowledged and Safe School Programmes were mentioned to be in place. It was said that the school was a reflection of society. Fencing for schools was answered as possible.

Other issues were not raised for the Education Department, but should be addressed by the Heritage Commission, and other committees. It was confirmed that it should be reported if any child is forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Homeschooling was encouraged, and a division dealt with this form of schooling. Special schools and special needs schools were identified as available.

The dropout rate was estimated at 2.3%, which is a fairly good statistic. The growth of the system that would be stabilised, necessitated planning for growth.

Mr Meyer elaborated that school holiday clubs are provided for the learners during the festive period. The governing body would be provided with a budget to provide security at schools during the festive period. The process was detailed as an application had to be made to the cluster to apply for procurement.

Parents were advised to ensure that schools capture the details of their visit, which could be captured on the system.

The call centre number mentioned by Ms Mbombo was confirmed to be toll-free, and it was encouraged that vandalism be reported during the festive season. The admissions system was confirmed as zero-rated.

An increase in targeted malls in rural districts would be implemented to assist more parents in applying for their children. On the issue of parents not being technologically savvy to successfully complete and submit applications for their children, teaching assistants were provided at schools to assist parents in capturing the applications.

Parents were informed to request a paper receipt after speaking with a school regarding admission issues for their child and would automatically receive an SMS as proof.

Regarding special schools for Autism Spectrum Disorder learners, 64 service schools were provided with a ratio of one social worker and one psychologist, for every 20 learners. Home schooling of learners was encouraged, where parents can teach their children.

Ms Jeneke was encouraged to speak to a Department of Education official after the meeting regarding the placement of her grandson.

Parents were encouraged to join governing bodies of schools and report on inconsistencies in school admissions. Regarding learners being placed at schools at a considerable distance from their residence, it was advised that there was a learner transport route which Ms Mbombo was asked to remain behind to speak with the Department of Education about. Neighbourhood Watches were encouraged and advised that they were already being used to protect the learners.

Mr Abrahams answered that in the current portfolio, nine classrooms were provided for Autism Spectrum Disorder Schools at Oasis and two classrooms were to be built in the pipeline. Infrastructure rollouts were encouraged. On the temporary school structure, safety was ensured not to be compromised and there was no strategic plan to expand temporary school structures.

On the issue of available land used to build schools, some schools had relinquished land due to the cost of rates, among other reasons. It was agreed that the ratio of primary to high schools was not a positive statistic but work was being done to change this.

Closing Remarks

Minister Maynier expressed gratitude toward the Committee for the opportunity to present on Rapid Build School Programme and the Admissions for 2023. He remarked that future briefings would be anticipated positively.

The Chairperson thanked all attendees for their presence in the meeting and for being patient with the meeting having run over time. It was acknowledged that Members be more considerate towards members of the public's questions. Unanswered questions were requested to be submitted in writing and advised that they would be directed to the relevant department should the question not fall within the Department of Education's mandate. Resolutions would be received via email.

The meeting was adjourned.


No related

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: