Integrated Quality Management System Implementation: Department briefing

Basic Education

20 June 2006
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


20 JUNE 2006

Prof S M Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Report on the implementation of the IQMS

The Department of Education informed the Committee on the implementation of the Integrated Quality Management System. It explained the challenges that the Department was facing in schools and how it was being dealt with. Members felt that the development and performance of teachers needed to be separated and dealt with by two different systems.

Presentation by Department of Education
Mr F Patel, Deputy Director-General: Systems and Planning, Department of Education, addressed the Committee as in the document attached.

The Chair thanked Mr Patel for the presentation. He asked for an explanation of the other documents that they had received.

Mr Patel explained that the documents were the tools that were used in the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS). He pointed out that performance standard 1 was the creation of a positive learning environment. He explained how the scoring would be done in this case. The observers would look at the effort that the teacher had made to create a positive learning environment in the class and rate the teacher against this. The other document was an audit tool that the provinces could use to check at which level IQMS was implemented.

Mr R S Ntuli (ANC) said that the documents were long and he was worried about the time factor involved in the implementation of the system. He asked if the system was piloted and if the system had been tested. He emphasised the involvement of the district office as they had to give guidance in the whole process. He wanted to know how teacher development was monitored and measured. Three teachers from each school were trained and were expected to pass down the information to the others. He felt that this was not sufficient as teachers’ workloads were great. The training of principals needed to be given more attention.

Mr Patel said that the documents were long, but that these were the agreements that had been reached between the various stakeholders. The actual instrument however was a checklist which was simpler to use. The system had been tested and had taken a long time to finalise. It had taken four to five years to get agreement. There was a process underway which would ensure that districts played a greater role in the process. The Minister had also indicated that she was keen for this to happen. Referring to teacher development he said that the school had to put a development plan in place once all assessments were done. Circuits and districts were then expected to put their own development plans in place based on the various school development needs. He added that training three teachers per school was sufficient. He did feel that more could have been done in the training of principals. 

Mr G Boinamo (DA) said that the assessment of teachers could not take place in isolation. It needed to take all the other stakeholders into account as well as district teams, provincial departments, the national department, parents and learners. He added that in most cases, learners concentrated on their rights and not on learning. This caused problems for educators. The involvement of parents was also important. It was also important to remember that one could not judge educators on their management of the classroom. In some cases, the ratio was 1:65. In this case, educators could not control the classes. It was therefore important not to hold educators responsible alone for the management of learners.

Mr Patel agreed that evaluations were the responsibility of all. Teachers however were 95% in charge of learning in the classroom. The contextual factors, such as infrastructure, the type of community, etc was taken into account when evaluations were done. He said that a ratio of 1:65 should not happen. If this was still happening, it should be reported. If it was the fault of the management of the school, it should be dealt with. If the problem was the fault of the province or district, this would need to be attended to.

Ms P Mashangoana (ANC) asked what the role of the unions was in the whole process of IQMS. She also wanted to know whether the teachers were given a chance to get feedback on their evaluations.

Mr Patel said that it was important to get the unions involved. The Department had engaged them all the way in the process. They were not involved in the implementation but were involved in the training however. They had provided valuable input in the system. Educators were given a chance to get feedback on their assessment. The challenge however was to get educators to agree on given scores. There was however a dispute process if educators were not happy with their assessment.   

Ms J Matsomela (ANC) pointed out that the document referred to critical success factors that had to be present for the system to work. She asked if these things were in place before the process began. She questioned the effectiveness of the moderation by the school management team and the circuit manager. She felt that the consequences of poor performance were very clearly spelt out. The benefits of an educator performing well however were not very clear. This needed to be emphasised more than the negatives.

Mr Patel said that they had the choice to wait for all the critical success factors to be in place before the system was implemented. Many of these efforts were school based and were out of the Department's control. The decision was therefore to start. There was sufficient documentation for the process to proceed and for schools to provide everything that was needed. The development needs of teachers created a big challenge for the system. Teachers did not want to show up their development needs. They felt that their rating would be low and that although they would be getting development, they would not get an increment in their salary. This was an issue that had to be taken up with the unions again as the objectives if IQMS was being lost. The rewards however were very clear. If the educators did not perform satisfactorily, they did not receive the 1% increment in their salary. If their rating was good three years in a row, they would get 1% each year plus 2% in the third year. It was now possible for teachers to move from one grade to another even though they might not be in a promotion post. It would therefore be possible for a teacher to be earning the salary of a deputy principal without being in that post.

Ms Matsomela (ANC) added that the rewards were clear. She felt though that the emphasis had to be on the rewards for teachers and not on what would happen to them if they did not perform.

Mr A Gaum (ANC) said that he saw that there was reward for good performance and consequences for bad performance. Teachers had been in the privileged position where there had been no consequences for poor performance. He wanted to know how the system actually worked in practice. Referring to the external moderators, he asked what their role was and how this could be done without being involved directly. He also questioned whether the evaluation indicators were scrutinised by lawyers as some of these could be difficult to evaluate objectively. He wanted to know whether there were any plans for the NEED unit to be implemented at provincial and district level. He also asked what the linkage was between IQMS and the Whole School Evaluation system.

Mr Patel thanked Members for their comments which he found helpful. The implementation was a learning process for the Department. He explained that the process involved a self-evaluation by the teacher. They then chose a peer that would observe them in the classroom and be part of their support group. They are given feedback and a personal growth plan is developed for the teacher. The school development team takes all the plans to draw up a development plan for the school. Once this baseline assessment is done, a summative assessment is done. He emphasised that this assessment only measured input and not learner performance. The summative assessments are submitted to the district office. If the teacher has achieved a satisfactory rating they will get a 1% increment in their salary. The various school development plans would be used by the district to develop a district development plan. This part of the process however was not happening yet. Mr Patel explained that the Whole School Evaluation was used to assess the system and targeted the worst 20% of schools. A thorough evaluation would be done including management, resources, performance etc. There was not much movement here however as the process was very resource intensive. These schools are then monitored to see if there is any improvement. In the case where a school was not doing well at all, closure of that school would be considered. This would involve transferring teachers to other schools and re-opening the school with new teachers.

Mr B Mthembu (ANC) said that he appreciated the effort made by the Department. Evaluations and teacher accountability was a difficult area to work in. He had a concern however that the Department was using one instrument for teacher accountability as well as teacher development and pay incentive. He was concerned that in the process of integration, teacher development may be comprised. The instrument used the minimum standards which were pre-determined in order to have uniformity. This meant that there was not enough focus on quality and it also promoted mediocrity. For quality education the move had to made from minimum standards to a higher level of education. The instrument would therefore not improve education. The instrument had to be uncoupled so that there would be one for accountability and one for teacher accountability. The system at present was good for accountability but not for development. At the operational level there were problems such as dishonesty and capacity. There were cases where people had moved notches without going through the whole process. Even principals were guilty of this.

Mr I Vadi (ANC) said that in the old regime, the Department had decided on the instrument to be used. Teachers had no say in what it would be. The inspector would decide on everything such as whether a teacher would be permanent or not and whether the teacher would get a merit notch. The same inspector could make things difficult if the teacher was involved in politics. The whole system therefore tended to be negative. He understood the new system to have a self-evaluation, a peer evaluation and then a classroom visit by the school management team to confirm scores given. This would then go to the district office. The primary concern in the process had to be development. When this was linked to remuneration or promotion, the same mistakes would be made as in the past. He suggested that an outside agency be used to assess teachers for promotion or remuneration. This should not be the responsibility of the district office.

Promotions at the moment were based on interviews. He suggested that the assessment tool be sent with the teacher's application from school to school, so that it could be used for promotion purposes. Merit notches were done on the basis of recommendations in the past. He felt that if a teacher felt they were worthy of a merit increase, they should be able to ask an outside agency to come and evaluate them for this. Schools however were not taking the present system serious and were just doing it as routine. It was therefore important to separate the function of development and accountability. The district should be focused on development while an outside agency dealt with promotions.

Mr Patel agreed with Members that there were problems in the system. He agreed that separation of the functions was required. The Minister had suggested that an outside structure be used to do assessments. This was still at a conceptual stage at the moment. This would be a national body while provinces would be responsible for development. The Department has been over ambitious and would need to open the debate once again with the unions. This would be a challenge for the Department to work on. Despite the problems, it was important to remember that for many years teachers were not assessed; yet they received their increments.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) said that evaluations were not a private matter. The community should also know what was happening. She suggested that a notice board be put up outside the school to show the teachers that were performing well.

Mr Ntuli (ANC) stressed once again that principals were crucial in the process and many times caused problems. It was important to make them more responsible.

Mr Patel said that the Department was dealing with the issues around principals. New standards around leadership and principalship were being investigated. The teaching time of principals was also being looked at. Circuit managers and district managers’ roles were also being examined. Announcements around this would be made soon. The Council of Education Ministers had already approved a draft document which spelt out criteria around leadership for school managers. This would be going out for public comment soon.

Mr Gaum (ANC) asked if IQMS was the system that was being used now as there had been quite a few systems that had been used.

Mr Patel explained that there had been about four or five systems that had developed separately. The Development Appraisal system was not linked to performance reward, but was more focused on development. The unions had indicated that the Department was neglecting this issue of reward. The Performance Management System was then introduced. The Whole School Evaluation process was then introduced to measure schools. This looked at all facets of school such as management, resources, context etc. A fourth system, Systemic Evaluation, was focused on learner performance. It was in this context that the IQMS came about which sought to link everything. It was focused on teacher development and performance.

The Chair said that he would like to know what percentage received the 1% increment. He also wanted to know what was being done in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, where there had been problems.

Mr Patel said that in Limpopo capacity had been a problem and that this was being dealt with. In the Eastern Cape there had been labour problems which had been difficult to sort out.
Ms Maloney (ANC) said that she was not happy that schools would be closed. The Department should rather look at getting good teachers into schools that were not performing.

Mr Patel said that the closure of schools was not a Department policy. It was only mentioned as a possible mechanism. The closure did not mean that the school as a physical structure would close. The staff would be redeployed and then re-opened the next day with a new staff and new vision and mission.

The Chair thanked the Department for the presentation. The meeting was adjourned


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