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EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTTEE
17 March 1998
FUNDING NORMS AND STANDARDS
The Finance Department’s scheduled briefing on the Education budget did not take place due to miscommunication.
Also the Education Department’s briefing on funding norms and standards was shorter than planned - only a 40 minutes presentation by Dr. Trevor Coombe. No question time as he had to attend another urgent meeting.
Until Mr. Coomb’s arrival the Portfolio Committee’s programme for the coming time was discussed (here incomplete as a copy of the programme was not available to me):
4 May 11.00 - 13.00 special briefing on the Education Budget by the Finance Dep. (Education
Department will be invited)
5 May normal committee meeting (Higher Education)
11 May debate in the House
26 May IEB brief
The Green Paper on Further Education and Training (FEDT) should come out soon (latest after the Easter break). The question was raised if public hearings on this paper should be held.
Summaries on the FEDT report should be made available for committee members.
Tasks of Portfolio Committee’s researcher were discussed.
- - 12.30 Education Department’s progress report on Funding Norms and Standards was presented by Trevor Coomb from the Educ Dep.:
work is still in progress;
sequence of past events:
3 Oct 97 draft norms have been gazetted;
17 Nov 97 return date for comments; has been extended until 17 Jan 98
400 written responses to document have been received;
written submissions have been summarised and analysed by Educ. Dep.
February 98 meeting of Educ. Dep with teaching professions, governing bodies and
In the 1996 legislation the Educ. Dep. was excluded from allocating budget to the provinces. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) broke this legislation. The Educ. Dep. has been since then involved as fellow participant with Dep. of Finance and the Povincial Educ. Departments. Despite of the Educ. Dep. advisory function it did not make any allocations to the provinces. The decisions are still made in the provincial governments.
The report of the National Committee on Further Education and Training has been received by the Educ. Dep.. This committee concentrated more on the college component (senior secondary school). A draft Green Paper (as a response to this report) is going to be prepared by the Educ. Dep.
The Draft Norms and Standards Document is rather concentrating on distributional principles rather on quantities of money.
The information data base is going to be improved (problem: capacity of district offices and schools).
The draft norms can’t be applied all at once; some provinces are slower than others.
Summary of responses to the Draft Norms and Standards Document:
- document doesn’t take into account all that what has happened since Oct.97 (when draft norms have been gazetted)
- the original intentions of the document (like redress, equity…) are not convincingly addressed ; there is not enough clarity in the document;
- preoccupation of the document is more with redress and equality and far less with equality issues; criticism on ground of complexity;
- new funding norms are not available in manageable form to the schools;
- serious concern about the capacity of school governing bodies of managing their responsibilities.
But there was also positive feedback. The main principles of the South African Schools Act have been endorsed.
The Education Department’s conclusion
- the new funding system must be clear and simple enough to be grasped by people on all levels;
- the Draft Norms and Standards Document must indicate how the system is moving towards the goal of ten years free and compulsory education. If general education is compulsory this must have consequences on the distribution of funds.
This report has also been given to the Council of Education ministers. A document of reconsideration is expected in 4 weeks. Consultations with the Dep. of Finance are necessary.
A final document will be submitted to the Educ. Portfolio Committee.
No further discussion in the committee due to lack of time.
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