Education Laws Amd Bill; General & Further Educ & Training Quality Assurance Bill: deliberations

Basic Education

22 October 2001
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Meeting report

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
23 October 2001
EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL AND THE GENERAL AND FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING QUALITY ASSURANCE BILL: FORMAL CONSIDERATIONS

Chairperson: Prof. Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out
General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Bill [B 57B-2001]

Education Laws Amendment Bill [B 55B-2001]
Education Laws Amendment Bill - Proposals by AEB (See Appendix 1)
Proposed Amendments: Education Laws Amendment Bill - NNP (See Appendix 2)

SUMMARY
The Committee had a formal consideration of both the Bills. The Committee could not consider the proposed amendments both by the NNP and the AEB because they had not been submitted timeously. It was decided that the proposed amendments would be referred to the Department of Education for further consideration. Minority parties who had submitted proposed amendments were outvoted by an overwhelming majority and the clauses were adopted as they appear on the Bill.

MINUTES
General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Bill [B 57B - 2001]
Prof. Mayatula firstly indicated that there were new amendments which had been proposed by the AEB on the Education Laws Amendment Bill.

Mr Van den Heever (ANC) raised a concern about the correspondence and amendments proposed that were received subsequent to the public hearings on both Bills. He proposed that these amendments should not be formally considered as the time for public hearings had already lapsed.

Prof. Mayatula noted that some of the proposed amendments, such as one proposed by Dr. Geldenhuys from the NNP and those that were suggested by the Hon. Mr Cassie Aucamp of the AEB, which were not filed timeously and were already late because both Bills had been considered by the Select Committee on Education and Recreation in the National Council of Provinces. He proposed that the Committee should not entertain these amendments as such would interfere with the Committees work or process.

Mr C Aucamp (AEB) conceded that the proposed amendments did not arrive timeously and that they could not be entertained at that stage. However, he suggested that those proposed amendments should be referred to the Education Department so that they may be considered for any education policy or any new policies that the Department would wish to implement in the future.

Mr L Green (ACDP) concurred with the remarks that were made by Mr Van den Heever that members need to follow the established process. He agreed with the fact that the concerns that were raised both by the NNP and the AEB were genuine concerns but could not be accommodated at this stage.

Dr Boshoff (NNP) indicated that most of the concerns that had been raised in the documents containing the proposed amendments related to Curriculum 2005.

Adv. Boshoff replied that the Education Department reviews all proposals both from individuals and from provinces yearly. This is done in order to get the sequence aligned so that one can make a proper amendment through the whole process. If there are any amendments coming from politicians or from the members of the public - they are always welcome to write to the Minister of Education where they make specific proposals on legislation. This is a common practice and it is normal for the Department to receive those letters and to evaluate them within subCommittees of the Heads of Education Committee (Edcom) and to later refer it to the Minister for his approval in order to set it on a motion to become an amendment.

Prof. Mayatula proposed that the amendments that the Committee has received would be passed on or referred to the Department of Education. He proceeded to read the Motion of Desirability of the Bill.

The Committee considered the Bill clause by clause. It was also noted that there were no proposed amendments to the Bill. All clauses, 1 - 30 were agreed to. The Bill was reported without amendments.

Education Laws Amendment Bill
Prof. Mayatula noted that both these Bills will be debated on Thursday 1 November 2001. He then proceeded to read the Motion of Desirability of the Bill, which was agreed to by all parties. The Committee thereafter proceeded to consider the Bill. The Chair indicated that he was aware of the proposed amendments from the NNP and the AEB on the Education Laws Amendment Bill.

Clause 1
Prof. Mayatula repeated that there were amendments both from the NNP and the AEB. He stated that there would be no formal discussions on these amendments but that the Committee would vote on the amendments.

Mr Green asked if there should not be any motivation behind the proposed amendments to the clause from the persons who submitted them.

Prof. Mayatula replied that the Committee had already had a full discussion of the reason for the proposed amendments during the informal stage of consideration of the Bills. He reiterated that the Committee needed to vote on the amendments whether to follow the Bill as it stands or to adopt the NNP or the AEB proposed amendments on clause 1.

Mr Aucamp apologized that he could not discuss the AEB's proposed amendments at the informal consideration because he was busy at another Committee where they were considering another Bill.

Prof. Mayatula replied that this was accepted.

Both the AEB and the NNP were outvoted on their proposed amendments for clause 1. This had the effect that they fell away and the Committee adopted the clause 1 as it stands on the Bill.

Clauses 2 - 4
All these clauses were agreed to without any contest.

Clause 5
The AEB was also outvoted on this clause and the Committee adopted the clause as it stands on the Bill and was agreed to.

Clause 6
Prof. Mayatula noted that there are proposed amendments both by the NNP and AEB to this clause. However, both parties were outvoted on their amendments and the Committee adopted the clause as appearing in the Bill.

Clause 7
The proposed amendment by the AEB was outvoted by an overwhelming majority and the Committee adopted the clause as it even appears on the Bill.

Clauses 8 - 15
All these clauses were unanimously agreed to.

The Chairperson proceeded to read the Report of the Portfolio Committee, and the Bill was reported without amendments. This was unanimously agreed to.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1
EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
Proposals by AEB (Cassie Aucamp)
23/10/2001

1. Section 1:
Page 2, line 10: Replace “recognised and legitimate� with "officially recognised�.

Motivation: There are and must be other representative learner bodies, e.g. in sports, culture etc., that are not officially recognised, but therefore not illegitimate.

2.    Section 5:
Page 3, line 30 to 38: Replace the whole clause with the following: "Should a governing body enter into any loan or overdraft agreement without the written approval of the Member of the Executive Council:
(1)   Neither the state nor the public school will be bound by the contract of lending money or an overdraft agreement;
(2)   The members of the governing body will be bound in person for any contractual liability entered into.

Motivation: The proposed subsection is impractical and unnecessary restrictive, and will cause substantial delays due to administrative requirements. The proposal of the AEB opens an easier way for smaller contracts and agreements, e.g. photo copiers etc. The option is still there for the SGB to get permission and avoid personal liability.

3.    Section 6(a):
Page 3, line 42. Replace subsection 3 with the following: The governing body of a public school must open and maintain at least one banking account, and will in addition be entitled to open such further banking or investment accounts for purposes of investing surplus funds as it may consider appropriate, provided that

(a)   all such accounts are opened in the name of the school and are fully controlled by the governing body; and
(b)   all payments into and withdrawals from such additional accounts are channelled through the main account.

Motivation: This proposal will achieve all the goals set out in the memorandum of the Bill, without the administrative red tape of the proposed amendment. The main goal is not one banking account, but one book keeping account.

4.    Section 6(b):
Page 4, line 1. Replace with the following:  "A governing body of a public school may not pay compulsory school fees into a trust or use such fees to establish or maintain a trust.

Motivation:                 The present proposal is ambiguous and may create the impression that no trusts may be established at all, contrary to what the law adviser said. The words “to circumvent or manipulate the payments of compulsory school fees� in the proposed amendment will create much difficulty, because it deals with the motives of the governing body in establishing a trust, which will be very difficult to prove in any legal case.

5.    Section 7:
Page 4, line 11 Replace "prescriptions� with "requirements".

Motivation:                 "Prescriptions� can be interpreted as a strict, rigid proforma, which in many cases may not be suitable for effective budgeting in specific circumstances. Thc crux of the matter and the intention of the amendment is that budgets must comply with certain requirements to be in line with legislation, policy end control measures by the Department. Furthermore “requirements� are compulsory and not arbitrary like "guidelines".

Appendix 2
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS:
EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS:
Clause 1 (b) to
be deleted and replaced by the following wording:

The substitution for subsection (2) of the following subsection:
"(2) A Member of the Executive Council [may] must, by notice in the Provincial Gazette, determine [guidelines] the functions and the procedures for the establishment [,] and election [and functions] of representative councils of learners�.

Clause 6 (b) and (c) be deleted and replaced by the following wording:
             1                 All trusts established from a school fund of the public school must be
administered in accordance with directions issued by the Head of
Department and which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this
Act (The South African Schools Act).

2     If the Member of the Executive Committee deems it necessary, he or She may request the Auditor-General to undertake an audit of the records and financial statements of a trust belonging to and administered by a public  school.

3     A governing body must submit to the Head of Department within six months after the end of each financial year, a copy of the audited annual financial statements of a trust belonging to and administered by a public school.

4     All monies generated by a trust which belongs to and is administered by a public school, must be used in terms of S37(6)

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