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EDUCATION AND RECREATION SELECT COMMITTEE
9 November 2005
EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL: ADOPTION; EDUCATION ANNUAL REPORT: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Final Mandate
Free State Legislature Final Mandate
Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Parliament Final Mandate
Western Cape Provincial Parliament Final Mandate
Limpopo Legislature Final Mandate
Gauteng Legislature Final Mandate
Mpumalanga Legislature Final Mandate
Northern Cape Legislature Final Mandate
Select Committee Proposed Amendments [see Appendix]
Department of Education Annual Report November 2005
Final Mandates were presented by provinces on the Education Laws Amendment Bill [B23B - 2005]. The Eastern Cape proposed alterations that, after 12 months, temporary teachers should be appointed to permanent posts, and that teachers be prohibited from having sex with learners from "any school". Mpumalanga proposed that Section 2(c) of the Bill stipulate the number of days in which the Members of the Executive Council (MECs) needed to respond to an appeal. The Bill was adopted unanimously with amendments.
The Department of Education then presented their Annual Report, highlighting their five areas of focus. Dealing with poverty had been their greatest challenge. The Department’s new priorities were teacher development, quality improvement, a reading strategy, FET recapitalisation, closer monitoring and evaluation, improved information management, and the promotion of mathematics, science and technology. The Committee asked a wide range of questions, and congratulated the Department on its unqualified Auditor-General’s report.
Final Provincial Mandates for Education Laws Amendment Bill
The Eastern Cape delegation stated that their Legislature had deliberated on the Bill after public hearings with stakeholders. They supported the Bill, but sought clarity on temporary educator appointments as clause 8 was open to different interpretations. They proposed a clause that after 12 months, temporary teachers should be appointed on a permanent basis. Chapter 5, clause 17(1c) should be amended to ‘any’ school, so that teachers could not have sex with learners from all schools.
The Free State supported the Bill without amendments.
Mpumalanga had conducted public hearings at the Kangala Region on 25 October 2005 and Gert Sibande Region on 1 November 2005. Following the deliberations, the Legislature had supported the Bill with the proposed amendment that Section 2(c) of the Bill stipulate the number of days in which the Member of the Executive Council should respond to an appeal.
The Western Cape supported the Bill without amendments.
Gauteng supported the Bill without amendments.
The Northern Cape supported the Bill without amendments.
KwaZulu-Natal moved for the adoption of the Bill.
Limpopo moved for the adoption of the Bill.
The North West mandate was not available. The Chairperson said representatives should be engaged on why mandates were frequently not forthcoming.
Mr Hindle, Department Director-General, clarified that teachers were not allowed to have sex with their own school’s students. However, as long as the law stipulated 16 as the age of consent, the Department had no powers to prohibit sexual contact between two consenting persons when not at the same school.
The State Law Advisor, Mr Boshoff, stated that as the respective clause did not form part of the current Amendment Bill, she could not comment on the matter.
Mr M Thetjeng (DA) questioned how a student from a different school could be identified. He felt that it was unfair that teachers should not be involved with learners from ‘any’ school.
Ms J Vilakazi (IFP) mentioned that the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) had been vocal on the issue. The proposal to change the clause to ‘any’ school was rejected.
Mr Boshoff then stated that converting temporary to permanent posts would have financial implications, for which they did not have full mandates. This could bring legal uncertainty.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC) felt that if a temporary teacher were appointed permanently where a teacher had gone on maternity leave, this could create problems. The Bill was not clear on this.
Mr Patel clarified that the Bill had been talking about ‘substantive posts’ only. The Eastern Cape was just suggesting a timeframe. Ms Vilakazi and Mr Thetjeng agreed that there should be no temporary teachers, and so timeframes were not necessary.
The proposal by Mpumalanga on MECs’ timeframes for appeal responses, was unanimously accepted.
Mr Boshoff highlighted the technical issue of consistency in Clause 6. Mr Hindle stated that "disposed of" should be removed.
The Bill was then unanimously adopted with amendments.
Department Annual Report briefing
Mr Hindle mentioned that Mr Bernadie (is this Mr Benade?) had left. The Department had five areas of focus and that dealing with poverty had been their biggest challenge. The participation of African children had increased, especially among girls. The problem of children ‘learning under trees’, or in suboptimal conditions, had however not been eradicated. This report covered their achievements and challenges, programme performances, human resources and finances.
The Department had not been satisfied with Grade 6 evaluation and needed to find new ways to deal with this. The Minister would also have a press briefing on this issue.
Mr Hindle also highlighted that ’Early Childhood Development’ (ECD) focussed on Grade R and Pre-Grade R classes. General Education and Training (GET) also dealt with inclusive training. Matriculation results per district would be released on 29 December 2005. All provinces had successfully held National Teaching Awards to recognise and celebrate excellence in teaching. President Mbeki always attended the awards and this should also be a motivation for teachers.
The Department had finalised a new curriculum for Grades 10 to 12, and a new certificate for Grade 12 in 2008. Detailed plans had been developed for implementation of the curriculum in 2006-2010, as well as plans for introduction of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into all schools had been completed.
The process of registering private FET institutions had been initiated and a new curriculum was being developed to meet the needs of the economy. The Department had established management and governance structures at all colleges and plans had been completed for college re-capitalisation. The merger of 150 technical colleges into 50 multi-site colleges would be undertaken. This would cost about R1.9 billion over three years.
Mr Hindle stated that the Higher Education division had been able to meet most of the strategic objectives identified in the Department’s Strategic Plan, in addition to carrying out the range of ongoing functions and responsibilities assigned to the branch. Their work also continued to be guided by the priorities articulated in the National Plan for Higher Education of 2001.
The 2003/04 Strategic Plan had identified six strategic objectives and respective performance measures. These were: (i) to produce quality graduates needed for social and economic development in South Africa, (ii) to achieve equity in the higher education system, (iii) to achieve diversity in higher education, (iv) to sustain and promote research (v) to provide institutional support to higher education institutions and (vi) to provide a quality Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS). Planning and monitoring included financial planning, budget analysis, development support, physical planning, labour relations, human resources, policy support, legal and legislative services, and HEMIS.
The Department’s new priorities were teacher development, quality improvement, a reading strategy, FET recapitalisation, closer monitoring and evaluation, improved information management, and the promotion of mathematics, science and technology. Mr Hindle then reported on the financial savings of the Department.
Ms H Lamoela (DA) and asked if teachers were selected from all provinces. She asked if textbooks covering the curriculum were available, and about the percentage of learners that moved from pre-school, to secondary school and tertiary education.
Mr Hindle responded that textbooks were critical as so many teachers were off sick due to AIDS-related illnesses. The Department had decided that next year; every learner would have one textbook for every subject. Teachers from all provinces were selected and there would be equitable distribution.
Mr Bernadie added that R2.8 billion would be spent on textbooks next year. He mentioned that the first round of monitoring had been on track. All provinces had ordered textbooks.
The Chairperson mentioned that Tanzania’s educational output was much greater than that of South Africa.
Ms Vilakazi mentioned that in KwaZulu-Natal, people would like to learn in their own language. She asked how this would be introduced to children already in school.
Mr Hindle said the children’s conversion of language was not a problem. Analytical skills were developed with conversion. He talked about language as a subject and not a medium of instruction.
Mr Patel mentioned the issues of salaries and draft conditions of service. In Tanzania after primary school, there were admission tests to get into secondary school. Their output had been great because only those students with merit were taken further.
Mr H Neville (UIF) asked if the mathematics and science teachers ‘discarded’ eight years ago could be brought back.
Mr Thetjeng mentioned that one instance where children had been given exam papers to complete at home, but some of the teachers could not even answer those questions themselves. Some school libraries were not stocked with new resources and there were no internet facilities available. There had been an outcry but no solutions. He urged that pilot improvement projects be embarked upon.
Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) asked what the Department had been doing to make transport more affordable for learners. There had also been outcry in the media that skills learned from FETs were not adequate.
Mr Sulliman requested the Department to make public awareness programmes on radio in all languages. He asked if the Annual Report covered all schools, textbooks per child per subject, and the timeframes.
The Chairperson asked why there had not been continuity in the Department Annual Report from the Strategic Plan.
Mr Hindle said that he would need time to respond to all these questions. The Grade 6 evaluation would be the first ever. There was a provision for teachers who took packages to be re-employed for a year. The issue of language-designated schools was very complex. Other provinces could learn from the Free State by establishing hostels, which would help sort out transport issue. A new curriculum was being developed for FET Colleges and for Pre-Grade R, but Treasury had not yet finalised finances. It was the view of the Department that farm schools should be abolished.
Mr Patel stated that each province had the capacity to deal with transport issue and that school hostels should be looked at extensively.
The Chairperson congratulated the Department on its unqualified Auditor-General’s report. The Annual Report was accepted.
The meeting was adjourned.
Appendix: Select Committee Proposed Amendments
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
SELECT COMMITTEE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS To EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [B23B-2005]
- On page 6, in line 7, to omit "dispose" and to substitute "alienate".
- On page 2, in the sixth line, to omit "disposal" and to substitute "alienation".
On page 2, in the sixth line, after the second "the" to omit "movable".
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