Hansard: EPC :Debate on Vote No 14 - Basic Education
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 06 May 2015
No summary available.
EPC - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Wednesday, 6 May 2015 Take: 60
WEDNESDAY, 6 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the National Assembly Chamber at 15:00.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 14 - Basic Education:
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Chair, Minister Pandor, hon members and colleagues, MECs present from Gauteng and Limpopo, distinguished guests, who are mainly my district directors from the various provinces, as we have invited the best performing district directors here, and ladies and gentlemen, we are thankful for this debate on Budget Vote 14 – Basic Education.
We know how important basic education is to a nation’s current and future prosperity, development and growth. We owe our children a better life and a better world, and we have the opportunity to contribute to this through a quality, efficient and accountable basic education system.
In this budget speech I will lay out the plans that we have for committing the resources of our country to this important priority of the ANC-led government.
We have made progress in securing the access of our children to schools, and their participation there. We have also, through our own assessments and international assessments, shown that our schooling system is indeed making a difference in the lives of our young people. Completion rates are edging up; performance rates of our learners are increasing, especially for learners from poorer households; and retention rates have improved, especially in the earlier grades.
We have committed, in our Basic Education Service Delivery Agreement, signed jointly with the sector and our national sector plan, to making these improvements more sustainable and more visible in all aspects of our basic education system.
The sector plan encapsulates our response to the priorities, targets and programmes articulated in the National Development Plan, 2030, and it provides a detailed five-year plan and fifteen-year targets and programmes for the whole Basic Education sector. The new sector plan replaces the 2014 Basic Education sector plan which detailed programmes that we had initiated in the previous cycle, and on which we consulted widely in the basic education sector.
In the next few years we will build on our successes in attaining the Millennium Developmental Goals for access, participation, and gender equity.
In the post-2015 period the emphasis will be on the quality of schooling outcomes and on better preparation of our young people for life and work opportunities after they leave school. To this end we have developed three streams of curricula - academic, vocational and technical. These address the diverse needs of young people for learning and development in our schools.
We are working with the Department of Higher Education and Training to better influence the quality and preparation of our teachers, and ultimately our learners, in critical subjects. These include mathematics, science and technology, and the African languages.
We are proud that around 99% of our children have universal access to primary education, gender equity, and universal access to schooling. We have gone out of our way to solicit development programmes.
The General Household Survey 2013 indicates that the percentage of Grade 10 to Grade 12 learners’ having access to textbooks ranged from 79% to 82% in the provinces. That almost doubles the report of the 2007 survey which was carried out by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality, Sacmeq.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, TIMSS, show improvements in the quality of education, surpassed by few in the developing world, but unfortunately moving from a very low base. Our own internal assessments and international benchmarking assessments confirm that while progress has been made on access, equity and redress, the emphasis for this administration should be on attaining quality, efficiency and accountability in the system.
So, we will endeavour to increase the number of Grade 12 learners who can gain entrance to university, moving incrementally from 172 000 candidates in 2013 to 250 000 candidates in 2019. We will work harder to improve the quality and the number of passes.
Our focus is to reposition the sector to deliver on the mandate for quality and efficient schooling in the 2015-16 financial year. We remain resolute in our quest to improve quality and efficiency throughout the schooling sector, with a renewed emphasis on curriculum coverage, improving assessment and strengthening quality, efficiency and accountability in our schools, districts and provinces, as well as in our administrative departments and sectoral partnerships.
This Budget Vote acknowledges the gains we have made, the current constrained fiscal context, and the need for us to do more with less. We need to focus more and build on the bold steps that have been taken by our country in: modernising the curriculum; improving access to materials, books and reading materials for millions more learners than ever before; and focusing on improving the quality of schooling, the quality of learning, and the quality of teaching in our sector.
I want to separate these because they require careful attention.
Our schools are now better resourced and more diverse, and they have much more understanding of what is expected of them.
Our brave – and sometimes vilified – introduction of a means of measuring learning is yielding results that we can now leverage as we have achieved a level of curriculum stability in our system. Our focus in the first decade of freedom was on improving equity in resourcing and in funding, as well as eradicating backlogs in the basic education system. We now have the means to diagnose weaknesses in learners’ competences in different areas of our curriculum so as to improve, adjust and enhance the effectiveness of teaching in our schools.
Through the introduction of the annual national assessments, Ana, which test all learners in all our schools in Grade 1 to 9 in the system, we have successfully managed to focus all officials, schools, teachers, school governing bodies and communities on learning and teaching achievements.
We can now diagnose weaknesses, and act on these. We will strengthen the diagnostic use of the Ana, as the Ana have proven to be useful. We now have to work on the systemic assessment function of these annual learning assessments to more carefully refine them, so as to accurately work out the trends and progress in the sector.
We are also fortunate to have existing entities, like the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit, Needu, which support the work that we are doing in the sector. Umalusi, the quality assurance body, also continues to help us in respect of the diagnostic tools that we are using, and Needu will be embarking on a programme of work to strengthen the assessment of learning trends in our sector in the coming years.
We also have a challenge around social cohesion. It is imperative for us to support our schools as institutions of effective and quality learning. Reports and information from our schools, the community and the media point to the fact that we cannot continue to have a fragmented approach to learner wellbeing, as schools are a microcosm of society. We have developed a set of programmes addressing learner wellbeing as part of learning and teaching improvement. This includes tracking our learners, especially the repeating learners, and providing them with special support in order to make sure that they do not stay too long in the system.
Learning and education extends well beyond acquiring skills, into acquiring and internalising the values, attitudes and behaviours that contribute to nation-building, social cohesion and reconciliation. We have to learn from the shameful experiences and behaviour of the last few weeks, of the xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals and the defacing of historical statues, and set an example for our young people in regard to living in a world that is diverse, different and forward looking.
We also have the responsibility as a sector to ensure that the young people in our schools make a positive difference in their own lives and the lives of all that they live, work and learn with. The revival of history in and through the curriculum, as well as a diverse set of social cohesion programmes, including values in education, will have different emphases, depending on whether we are addressing the needs of the Foundation Phase learners or the needs of older children in regard to their civic and social responsibilities. We believe that our schools are diverse and we have to address issues like xenophobia, bullying and all the other negative social behaviours that our children are displaying in their everyday lives.
We will also give you the figures for the National School Nutrition Programme, NSNP, which has proven over the years to be a key lever, especially for learners coming from poor households, to address hunger and contribute to quality education and improved health programmes.
On the other hand, research indicates that bullying, violence, drugs and other social challenges remain scourges of our communities. A minimum wellbeing package for our children includes the strengthened implementation of the Integrated School Health Programme. Again, we will give the committee more details around this programme. The learner wellbeing programme for our learners must also continue to provide recreational activities, including school sports, and arts and culture programmes to ensure that our learners continue to receive a well-rounded basic education.
Because our human resources strategy for the sector has to be comprehensive and informed by emerging research on what teaching and non-teaching support staff we need, we need to reposition our sector. Hence, the theme for this debate is repositioning the sector.
We will work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, to develop a survey of teachers’ perceptions and the necessary conditions for ensuring quality teaching, efficiency and accountability in our basic education system. Support without accountability breeds a dependency syndrome and we are working with our people at all levels to increase teaching time, which is time on the task; effectiveness; and quality of teaching and learning in our schools.
We believe in reading and writing catch-up programmes because all our studies indicate that we have ongoing challenges around reading in our schools. Reading and writing catch-up programmes for early grade learners are critical, and we will be working with our partners who are involved in making South Africa a reading society.
International, regional and national research identifies the fact that support for reading activities and stimulation for the practice of reading and writing in all aspects of society, and in our schools in particular, is crucial for deepening literacy and numeracy in developing countries.
Getting young people to read and write for school, for leisure, and even in the world of work, is a critical aspect of the development of the social fabric of our country, and it must occupy all our minds. We must begin to be a reading nation – as a nation – to make sure that we as adults and our children read. This is so that all of us read as a nation.
In order to encourage reading, I have decided in this year, 2015, I will be launching the roll-out of the 1 000 School Libraries Per Year programme in those schools that have existing spaces that may be converted into school libraries.
We are encouraged by the wonderful work done by many NGOs, communities and individuals who have volunteered to establish or refurbish school libraries and classroom library corners. An outstanding example of volunteerism is this one. In their efforts to provide a reading space for young people in their community, the Mohlakeng Youth Movement, led by Neo Mathetsa, has started a library in a one-roomed house to assist young people in their efforts to read. We are grateful for that, and very appreciative. [Applause.]
We are encouraging all communities, and the youth in particular, to donate time, books, and even space. Indeed, we believe that a reading nation is a winning nation. If we want to be a winning nation, we have to be a reading nation!
In response to the National Development Plan 2030, sectoral partnerships have resulted in the establishment of the National Education Collaboration Trust, NECT. It is working in eight districts and has annual targets related to generating improvement for sustainable work. Mr Sizwe Nxasana, the CEO of FirstRand and Chairperson of the NECT Board, has indicated that in the future he will dedicate a substantial portion of his valuable time to supporting sustainable education partnerships.
My provincial colleagues and I, in partnership with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, the National Treasury, and the Auditor-General of South Africa, will work on deepening our work on operational efficiency and the alignment of the departments and administrative structures dedicated to the public provision of basic education, so as to improve our performance.
We will use existing interprovincial and intergovernmental structures to link policies more closely. All programmes will generate sector plans, incorporating monthly activities and actions. All provinces have unanimously agreed to improve the quality and integrity of mandatory quarterly reports with more emphasis on coherence and impact.
On budget allocations, our overall budget for 2015-16 is R21,5 billion. The arithmetic is gone, is it not? Na-na-na-na-na-na! [Laughter.] Last year the budget allocation was R19,6 billion. This is an increase of R1,821 billion, which is equivalent to 9,24%.
This once again confirms the ANC-led government’s commitment to placing education as its apex priority. Some of these people should still come back to my classes; I will teach you a thing or two. Do not forget that this is a teacher reading here.
There is a new conditional grant, namely the mathematics, science and technology grant, the MST grant, which is intended to promote the teaching and learning of mathematics, science and technology in our schools. This grant, an amalgamation of the technical secondary schools recapitalisation grant and the Dinaledi schools grant, has been allocated a total of R1,1 billion over the 2015-16 to 2017-18 MTEF period. The allocation for 2015-16 is R347,185 million, which will increase to R367,670 million in 2016-17 and R385,145 million in the 2017-18 financial year, respectively.
The Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign receives a reduced allocation of R439,584 million, which indicates that we are reaching as many people as possible. The budget keeps on decreasing because the number of learners that we have to reach is also decreasing. The Kha Ri Gude Campaign has impacted the lives of more than 3,5 million of our people. Our Expanded Public Works Programme - Kha Ri Gude - has been allocated R65,099 million. This allocation will contribute significantly to job creation by recruiting and training Kha Ri Gude volunteers, who will be young, unemployed people.
The importance of public-private partnerships is a prevalent theme in the National Development Plan. To this end, we have budgeted R200 million. This allocation is meant to leverage the partnership contributions from the private sector.
Allow me to just highlight the following in relation to the Budget Vote for Basic Education. For infrastructure delivery, funded through the education infrastructure grant, EIG, and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, Asidi, we are receiving R29,622 billion and R7,042 billion respectively. I am excited to say that this week we are opening the 100th Asidi School, Dorrington Matsepe Primary School, to a jubilant community in the Free State. [Applause.]
We are finalising a dedicated Infrastructure Delivery, Management and Oversight Unit to enhance school maintenance, development and provisioning in our system. This unit will comprise built environment experts and specialists with the requisite skills, so that we can, on a named school basis, improve and monitor infrastructure, equipment and furniture provisioning for quality education.
This unit must finally get to grips with the crippling and unacceptable sanitation situation that continues to plague too many of our schools. So, regular maintenance is at the heart of many of our infrastructure problems, in addition to our emerging needs as a result of demographic shifts and pressures, and variable unit costs in our country.
We have also been allocated R3,094 billion for Funza Lushaka bursaries to make sure we can continue to train and develop young people.
We have also been allocated R3,025 billion over the MTEF period for workbooks. Workbooks have proven to be essential learning and teaching resources for our schools, and the department will continue making these resources available. These workbooks have been translated into Braille to benefit visually impaired learners. We have been given an allocation in excess of R3,025 billion.
We have introduced a policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support, Sias, to make sure that we can screen our learners at an early age if there are problems.
We have been allocated R528,632 million for the Ana.
Lastly, the HIV/Aids and the National School Nutrition Programmes, which are essential components of the learner wellbeing package, have been allocated R697,187 million and R18,016 billion over the MTEF period, respectively.
Due to time constraints, I will just quickly run through the challenges in the sector and I do hope that we will get an opportunity to brief you on the following: an update on group copying; an update on the progress that we have made regarding the jobs for cash investigation; and an update on the supplementary National Senior Certificate results. I think I should read the latter.
A total of 90 389 candidates enrolled for the 2015 NSC supplementary examinations. I am glad to announce that the national pass rate, with the inclusion of the results of the 2015 supplementary examinations, has now improved to 77,1% - an increase of 1,3% from the 75,8% achieved in the 2014 NSC examination. [Applause.] This means that the number of candidates that obtained admission to Bachelor studies has increased from 150 752 to 152 018 - an additional 1 266 more candidates.
In conclusion, let me recognise and thank the department very much, especially my colleague, Deputy Minister Enver Surty.
I also thank the chairperson of the ANC Subcommittee on Education and Health, who leads and guides us and gives us assistance. Thank you very much, Minister Pandor. I also thank the chairperson of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation and members of the committee in general - not the crowd you have rented in order to gain from other people! To the members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education I say thank you very much for the ongoing guidance and support that you give us at all times.
The same goes for the HODs, our Acting Director-General of Basic Education and his team of senior managers, as well as officials in my office. Thank you for your support.
We continue to be immensely grateful to all the teachers that we have invited here. They are our principals, parents, learners, school governing bodies and the district directors that I have invited here. Thank you very much for coming. As I have said, these are the best district directors in the country, ... [Applause.] ... who work daily to make quality education a reality in the various parts of the country. [Interjections.]
I also thank my colleagues from the provinces that are here. [Interjections.] Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms N GINA
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Ms N GINA: Chairperson, Minister of Basic Education hon Motshekga, Minister Pandor, Deputy Minister Surty, all MECs present, acting director-general and senior officials of the department, hon members of the portfolio committee, and hon members, I greet you all.
It is always an honour when one gets an opportunity to debate one of the Votes in the priority areas of the government. In the past administration education was made a high priority in the programme implementation of government. Similarly, in the 2014 election manifesto of the ANC we committed to the fact that in the next five years, 2015 to 2019, we would build on the progress made throughout the implementation stages of the 2009 manifesto. This is because the commitment in that manifesto, in which education was elevated as a key priority, remained coherent, realistic, and achievable. This reflects the commitment to building the future of this country.
Hon Minister, through the 2015-16 Budget Vote debate we would like to recognise the achievements resulting from your influence and the leadership you have constantly rendered. The system of education has for the first time experienced positive outcomes, and it has continued to build on the base that you have founded. This is evident in the consistent improvement in the matric results, to which you have just alluded.
We would furthermore like to state that your openness allowed the administration to help us understand the education system as a whole, understand the progress made, and understand the challenges in the system. You also provided the interventions that remain necessary to address challenges.
It is very clear that your term of office has been groundbreaking. In it you boldly introduced the annual national assessments, which are a pointer to and a yardstick measuring where our system is.
It was a term in which you took the bold decision to profile all mud schools so that everyone knew about them, and thereafter you put a bold plan in place to deal with them. That was groundbreaking, Minister. [Applause.] We finally know the number of schools we have to build. [Interjections.]
It was a term where clear, structured goals, indicators and targets were set. Through Schooling 2025 we were able to understand the desired educational outputs and the desired grade attainment outputs in the education system. That was indeed groundbreaking.
For the first time the education system has a long-term plan which, we believe, also features prominently in the development of the National Development Plan.
Minister, we congratulate you on the great foundation you have laid, providing a good base for achieving quality education. Not only were challenges made clear for everyone to understand, but it was a term where powerful intervention strategies were sought in order to address challenges of performance.
Lastly, the bold step that the Minister took in continuing with the streamlining of the curriculum through the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, CAPS, is commendable. We now have one curriculum that guarantees the same level of what is to be taught and assessed across the country. That was groundbreaking, Minister. [Applause.]
We are here today debating on the basis that our journey toward achieving quality education continues in the next five years. Let me quote Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” We believe that during the past term, Minister, you planted seeds in fertile ground, and we further believe that in the next five years the seeds will germinate and grow. [Applause.] We as a portfolio committee will exercise our responsibility of oversight in order to watch the seeds you planted grow, and so that they don’t choke or dry out.
Ms N R MASHABELA: Madam Chair, the people in the gallery are participating. [Interjections.] Please will you call them to order? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. I did not recognise that. I will give the speaker a chance to ... [Interjections.] Hon members, order! Continue, chairperson of the committee.
Ms N GINA: Thank you so much, Chairperson. Chairperson, we have taken time to look at the plans of the department and the entities for the 2015-16 financial year. As a committee we have noted how delicate the process of planning is.
In our engagement with the department we noted that a very definite attempt was made to cover all key mandates, as covered in our Constitution, in the 2014 ANC manifesto, in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, and in the National Development Plan, which is the 2030 vision of the government.
We were further apprised of the consolidation that the department had made in the plans, by introducing non-negotiables to focus on other areas that were not covered in the MTSF.
We were further enlightened that the department would embark on Operation Phakisa – Big Fast Results – with the main focus on ICT.
All these plans culminated in the strategic plan that we as a committee will continue to watch closely.
The strategic goals are the following: effective and efficient governance and management support; effective curriculum implementation and support; improved teacher supply and capacity; effective systems for planning, information, assessment and district support; and expanded implementation of social cohesion and learner wellness programmes. Minister, the fact that your plans are clear to the committee makes us believe that we will be able to exercise our oversight accordingly.
As a committee ...
Mr P G ATKINSON: Are you looking for a promotion or what?
Ms N GINA: If ever that happened, I would appreciate it. [Interjections.]
As a committee we are satisfied that the targets set by the department are realistic. We say that with an understanding of how complicated the responsibility of operating within the scope of concurrent functions can be.
We as a committee have noted that as a department you cannot set targets for almost everything, and we will have to allow the provinces to set their targets as well, in order to fulfil their particular mandates. It is therefore the view of the committee that, while provinces have their mandates to fulfil, our plea is that in this term we need to strengthen monitoring and support to the provinces. We believe this will increase the accountability of the provinces and the districts, and thereby improve the education system in our country.
We appreciate the effort that our entities, Umalusi and the Education Labour Relations Council, ELRC, have put into their plans. Their plans continue to bolster the work of the department.
We also want to submit, Minister, that within the SA Council for Educators, Sace, we have noted that there is a need for serious improvement. It took the committee three meetings to eventually approve the Sace plan. This was done with the recommendation that the department should further assist the entity to produce a quality plan. We have taken a decision to make a concerted effort to watch the planning processes and the performance of the entity in this financial year in order to assist the entity to function well.
The ANC’s 2014 election manifesto states that education must be available to all. This means that we must get more and more children into schools. Over and above getting more children into schools, the ANC committed itself to achieving quality basic education. Indeed, “the doors of learning and of culture shall be opened!” [Applause.]
It remains a fact that quality education cannot be achieved if not all of us participate in our respective ways. We acknowledge the contribution that has been made by the National Education Collaboration Trust, NECT, in making sure that the goals of quality education are being achieved.
Although we are happy that the NECT has been established, we as a committee are not totally convinced about the issue of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, QLTC. This has been launched in various provinces and districts, but we don’t see it working effectively. We therefore encourage the department to look at the programme again and revise it where necessary so that the call of education as a societal issue can be enhanced further.
Again, as a committee we wish to thank all the teacher unions for their participation and the contributions they have made to ensuring that quality education is achieved in the country. [Applause.] We have seen so many contributions from the teacher unions, and we wish to commend the contributions they have made and encourage them to do more.
I would not be doing the matter justice, if I didn’t thank South Africans for the good support they gave the 2015 school governing body elections, which were the successful. This was well done. The turnout for these elections was about 94% throughout the country. We further request that the parents make themselves available for this, because it is a critical component in driving the education system, and particularly in assisting the department to improve governance in our schools.
Let me touch on effective curriculum implementation and improved capacity of our teachers. The portfolio committee will be closely monitoring the implementation of plans by the department, noting that the curriculum delivery budget of R1,8 billion is expected to increase to R1,9 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period.
Since the introduction of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, CAPS, we have realised that the curriculum implementation is stabilising. What we are looking forward to in our oversight work is how the implementation of CAPS is supported and monitored.
On the issue of curriculum delivery, we are particularly thrilled that an amount of R1,3 billion is allocated to the programmes that enhance curriculum outcomes. In particular, the focus will be on improving learner completion rates, improving curriculum implementation in multigrade schools, and offering support for inclusive education.
We welcome the allocation of R347 million made to the mathematics, science and technology grant. We hope this will go a long way in promoting mathematics, physical science, technology and all other technical subjects. However, the challenge is that this is still for a select few schools.
Much work still needs to be done in this area, particularly with the provision of therapists and in increasing the number of full-service and special schools. This will assist in reducing the waiting lists in some provinces, where such schools are low in numbers. We therefore welcome the allocation of R67 million for the Occupation Specific Dispensation for education sector therapists. We hope this will at least entice therapists to take jobs in the education sector.
As a committee we started 2015 with a focus of seeking to understand the maths improvement plan of the department. We appreciate the fact that the department is seeking to address the continuous decline of learner performance in mathematics from Grade 1 to Grade 9, with a particular focus on improving competency in the teaching of maths.
A brief on the 1+4 model was given to the portfolio committee by the department. The model raised many questions, particularly regarding its implementation, whether schools should use the money or the buy-in and so forth. We as a committee are, however, happy to hear that some of the provinces have started rolling out the programme and that teachers are excited to be part of the programme. We have made the department aware that we will keep our oversight rigorous in monitoring this plan, on the basis that we support any call to improve mathematics performance.
At the beginning of the year the committee conducted oversight to monitor school readiness for the academic year on the part of schools, districts, and provinces. Our focus area was the provision of learning and teaching support material, LTSM, to schools. We believe that the provision of LTSM assists in improving the quality of teaching and learning.
We noted great progress made by the department. It is heartening that millions of workbooks will continue to be printed and distributed to schools. We welcome the commitment made by the Minister of Finance that 174 million books for 23 562 schools will be distributed over the MTEF period. An amount of R3 billion is budgeted for this in the next three years.
We therefore congratulate those involved on their continued efforts to ensure that each learner in Grade R to Grade 9 will receive two books per subject in the critical subjects, which are numeracy, mathematics, literacy, languages, and life orientation. [Applause.]
However, during our oversight visits we noted challenges in the provision of textbooks. We hope and believe that the provinces will take care of this and make sure that textbooks, and moreover their retrieval policies, are in place, so that we reap the rewards of our investment.
The committee will further monitor the Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development programme, for which the budget of R1,1 billion will increase to R1,2 billion in the MTEF period.
To address the teacher supply challenge, we welcome the R3,1 billion that is allocated to the Funza Lushaka bursaries, and we hope that we are going to reap the fruit of this.
Minister, we call for the effective utilisation of teachers, where we will see a teacher who has been trained for a subject teaching that subject, so that we are assured of the quality education that we always advocate for.
In conclusion, let me quote Benjamin Franklin who said that “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Indeed, we are proud to stand here today and say that the R21,5 billion budgeted for the Department of Basic Education, which will grow to R23,8 billion over the MTEF period, is going to bear the fruit that the country is waiting for.
Let me thank the committee members for participating constructively in the committee debates on the plans of the department and its entities. I also want to thank the committee support team for diligently putting together our report.
Minister and Deputy Minister, we thank you for the continued, united leadership that you always give us.
The acting director-general, deputy directors-general and the Department of Basic Education team have provided valuable co-operation and have scrutinised the departmental plan. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms A T LOVEMORE
Ms N GINA
Ms A T LOVEMORE: Thank you, Chairperson. Minister, you know that of the three National Education Evaluation and Development Unit, Needu, reports that have been compiled, you released only the first one. You have now, I note, uploaded the second one.
That first report focused on literacy in the Foundation Phase, and it was damning. Helen Zille labelled it the report of the decade. The report found that South African children’s reading skills are falling behind those of their international counterparts by the end of Grade 1.
The second damning Needu report focuses on Grade 5 literacy across the country, and I quote: “The reading fluency of learners is generally very disappointing.” The average score for fluency was just over 46 words correct per minute. Grade 5 learners should be reading at 110 words correct per minute. More than 10% of Grade 5 learners could not read a single word. [Interjections.] A total of 75% of Grade 5 learners tested scored less than 5% on a simple comprehension test that was based on their reading.
Your own annual national assessments show that by the end of Grade 3 only half of Grade 3 learners are effectively literate. The last report of the Progress in International Literacy Study, PIRLS, shows that South African children spend half the time on reading that their international counterparts do, and that half of our children could not even achieve the international bench mark for low literacy.
Is it any wonder, Minister, that only half of the children that start school with bright eyes and eager minds ever make it through to matric, and that a full half of them drop out somewhere along the line. Your announcements today unfortunately lack credibility. You have not shown any sense of urgency about the most basic of skills, reading. Children have to learn to read before they can read to learn.
You referred in your press conference this morning to the international Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, PIRLS, report. That report is dated 2011, and then you announced with pride that you had hosted a reading round table. That round table took place in March 2015. Four years’ delay equates to approximately 2 million Grade 1 learners, half of the total, who were allowed to fall behind their counterparts internationally while you dallied.
Minister, the DA has referred your annual performance plan and your five-year strategic plan ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please recognise Rule 58, and address the Chairperson. [Interjections.]
Ms A T LOVEMORE: Through you, Madam Chairperson, the DA has referred the Minister’s annual performance plan and five-year strategic plan to the Minister of Finance. We have asked him to review them and to reject them. You do not include any of what you have announced today in your official plans. Why not, Minister? We want numbers. We want clear, precise targets that show commitment and courage.
Your plans, as they stand in writing, do not address every child’s constitutional right to a basic education. You have one single target that reflects learner outcomes in your plans and that is the matric pass rate, which is lower than it was last year.
We have some suggestions. Every child – every child – must be able to read independently and with understanding by the age of 8 or by the end of Grade 3. Make that your number one priority. [Applause.] Make that mandatory. Make reading out loud at the right rate of words correct per minute, with understanding, part of the promotion requirements – and, Minister, not just for 1 000 schools, but for all 14 000 odd primary schools in this country.
Every single Foundation Phase teacher must be able to teach children to read. Make that a target. The latest research tells us that new teachers are leaving university unable to teach children to read. Test teachers before they are employed, and hold them accountable on how well they read. But please work with your counterpart, Minister Blade Nzimande, urgently.
Provide young children with reading books. Needu has told you that Foundation Phase learners should be reading at least one title a week, approximately 30 in a year. Provide them. Make that a written target. Chairperson and Minister, a child who cannot read will fail. You, Minister, need to act fast to avoid that being the prognosis for half of our learner population. Thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, before I call on the next speaker, let me say this. Let us try to use all means available to uphold the decorum of this House. That means that we should observe the Rules given to us. Having said that, the first one is Rule 70. Please wait to be recognised before you speak.
I just want to say to members of the public in the gallery that we really appreciate your presence here. However, I want to inform you that you cannot participate in any way in this debate in the House. That includes the clapping of hands. Thank you very much. Hon Mashabela, continue with the debate.
Ms N R MASHABELA
Ms A T LOVEMORE
Ms N R MASHABELA: Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Minister of Basic Education and all members of Parliament, the President came here last year and gave us a gross misrepresentation of the truth, claiming that the government built one school per week in the Eastern Cape, a claim that was later re-emphasised here by the Minister and Deputy Minister. [Interjections.] Were this true, it would mean that the government had built 52 schools in the Eastern Cape over the past year. This has been proven to be incorrect and exposes the ANC for using lies to score cheap political points. [Interjections.] This also means that the ANC uses lies to secure budgets from this Parliament to continue delivering substandard services to our people.
The Department of Basic Education is in a permanent state of crisis as a result of their fixation on matric pass rates, ignoring the fundamentals of basic education like proper classrooms, knowledgeable teachers, good nutrition, sanitation and scholar transport.
This is evidenced by such sad cases as the death of a school child in Limpopo, who fell into a pit latrine at his school and died, something that had never happened before, not even during apartheid. [Interjections.]
In the same province, at Kgapane High School, ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Order! Order, hon members!
Ms N R MASHABELA: In the same province, at Kgapane High School, learners and teachers are struggling to learn and teach, because they still do not have textbooks. [Interjections.]
The National School Nutrition Programme is also beset with problems, as our children have been admitted to hospital after eating the food supplied through this programme.
Hon Minister, all is not well with this department. The department has made it look like the Grade 12 results are the most important aspect of basic education. They have been singing the praises of the improving matric pass rates over the past few years. However, that is all hollow, as they have said very little about the quality of the matric itself, and how it is preparing young South Africans for the roles that society is expecting them to play. [Interjections.]
Using the 2014 matric pass rate ... [Interjections.] Listen! Stop howling! [Interjections.] Using the 2014 matric pass rate as an example, if you take into account the number of learners who registered for Grade 1 in 2003, then the real matric pass rate for 2014 is a mere 41,7%. In 2003, 1 252 000 learners entered Grade 1, and that is the number that was meant to have constituted the class of 2014. In 2014 only 688 660 learners sat for their matric examination. That means that only 55% ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order!
Ms N R MASHABELA: Order, hon Minister! Listen! [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! [Laughter.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: Only 55% of the learners who started school in 2003 made it to Grade 12 in 2014. The rest were lost along the way. The Minister ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mashabela, look at the screen on your left. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Ms N R MASHABELA: The EFF rejects this budget.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon Mashabela.
Ms N R MASHABELA: It proposes nothing as a solution ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Your time has expired.
Ms N R MASHABELA: ... to the problems we have highlighted. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you. Thank you, hon Mashabela.
Ms E N LOUW: I have a point of order, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Louw?
Ms E N LOUW: Chairperson, you made a ruling earlier on about gestures and the decorum of the House. Now I see a member of the ANC continuously pointing at hon Mashabela to indicate that she is ... [Interjections.] You know, that means “crazy”. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, I hear you.
Ms E N LOUW: I don’t know why they are screaming like kids that ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members.
Ms E N LOUW ... are throwing their toys out of the cot. Just behave like ladies!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, hon member! Talk to me.
Ms E N LOUW: Hon Chairperson, please. Earlier on you made a ruling, and I have seen several times that when you make rulings, the ANC disregards ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, I heard you.
Ms E N LOUW: The ANC is disregarding your rulings.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): You are talking about gestures. Don’t ... [Interjections.] Can you please not bring in the ANC?
Ms E N LOUW: But they are doing that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, I mean to me.
Ms E N LOUW: They are doing that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I heard your point. Hon member, sit down and let me address this.
Ms E N LOUW: [Inaudible.] If they are not going to respect your rulings ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay. Sit down.
Ms E N LOUW: ... we will also not do that and then there will be no House here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Hon member. Hon member, sit down. Hon members, ... [Interjections.] Hon members, I have seen gestures from both sides and please let us refrain from doing ... [Interjections.]
Mr A M MATLHOKO: Chairperson! Chairperson!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I’m talking. You can’t talk when I’m talking. Please sit down.
Mr A M MATLHOKO: Recognise me.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Please sit down. I am not going to ... [Interjections.] I just want to assure you that the Rules will be applied accordingly, so please stop. Refrain from gestures, offensive language and all that. Hon member?
Mr A M MATLHOKO: House Chairperson, please do not not generalise when you say you saw ... [Inaudible.] Please. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please sit down. That is not a point of order. Sit down. Sit down. [Interjections.] I now continue. Do you now see what is happening? You see! [Laughter.] [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: I cannot tolerate ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Ms N R MASHABELA: ... this lady. This one.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, sit down. You are not recognised.
Ms N R MASHABELA: This ugly lady ... [Inaudible.] [Interjections.] She is ugly, man! [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please sit down. Hon members, ... [Interjections.] Hon members, order! Hon members, these mikes cannot just be switched on at any time a person wants to. Allow me to recognise you. I will never stop you from raising a point of order. Hon Mashabela, you are doing this for the second time. You just stand and go to the mike and start talking. I want to hear a point of order, not that. Hon member, you are recognised.
Mr K Z MORAPELA: Thank you very much, House Chairperson. After you have just made a ruling, generalising and saying that both members of the House were making gestures, the very same gestures, the hon member there next to the one who is wearing a white hat is doing the very same thing. You have just spoken about this. Please call her to order. I am told that she is hon Manana. Thank you, House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Manana, would you please refrain from making gestures that are offensive? That is in the Rules. Allow this debate to flow. I now call on hon Singh to take the debate forward.
Mr N SINGH
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
Mr N SINGH: Hon Chairperson, some of what happens in this House reminds me of my kindergarten days. [Laughter.]
Hon Chairperson, as I come before you here to represent hon Mpontshane, who serves on this committee, I do so quite reluctantly, and I think my fears are well founded, because it seems the ground is breaking up under us in this portfolio. Hon Gina mentioned the word “groundbreaking” so many times that I don’t know if education is breaking up.
But, having said that, I will attempt to indicate what hon Mpontshane would have said in this particular debate.
Despite the fact that the department continues to enjoy the biggest slice of our national budget, it remains of great concern that many issues that plague it have not as yet been resolved.
One of the biggest concerns is the department’s failure to implement policies that speak to the needs of the country and also the reality of how learners and teachers function in the classroom.
The failure of outcomes-based education is an example of a policy for which there were good intentions, but it was mostly overburdened by the administrative requirements that followed it. Teachers did not have the time to truly engage with the subject matter they taught, because most of their time was taken up with the continuous administrative responsibilities they were required to handle.
An entire generation of learners suffered due to the OBE system, and many teachers left the profession as a result of the cumbersome nature of the system. The consequences of that system are still being felt to this day, because political imperatives were placed above the needs of our learners.
One of the many issues that plagued the department was that of infrastructure. For a long time the Minister avoided taking any form of action on the call for the establishment of binding norms and standards for school infrastructure. Unfortunately, she had to be taken to court to accelerate the publication of these norms and standards, and it still took years for this to happen.
Despite the progress achieved to date in building new schools – and well done for that – there are still schools where they are using pit toilets, they have no access to water, and there is a chronic lack of classrooms and proper access to modern education. It is hard to say that the lives of all pupils are in a relatively better position.
In 2012 the mismanagement of textbook distribution in Limpopo was highlighted. We then received assurances from the department that this had been resolved, even across the country, and that only a few cases remained. Despite all the money that’s being put towards learning and teaching support material, LTSM, it seems that very little has truly changed with regard to this issue. Through you, Chairperson, I request that the Minister should clarify whether those tasked with delivering textbooks are at fault, or is her department the culprit in this matter? Nobody can be absolved of their responsibility.
The quality of the education of our learners has also come into question, as it seems that the main focus is on getting enrolment numbers up. The dismal performance in maths and science in our schools is alarming, especially because we are ranked so low among countries around the world, some of whom have unstable economies to deal with.
Quality education is also seemingly a luxury item for poorer communities and the lack of proper qualifications of some teachers does not help matters. There is really a need to ensure that practical teaching experience is given to all our teachers. I understand that many of them learnt through correspondence and they do not have the ability to do practical work in schools.
Some teacher unions must also bear a large element of responsibility for undermining our education potential, and for endangering the education of our learners by protecting inept teachers and trying to continually influence the appointment of teachers. We believe that those who qualify should be chosen, not those who carry certain membership cards. These issues need to be addressed urgently. [Time expired.] Thank you.
Mr M S MABIKA
Mr N SINGH
Mr M S MABIKA: Hon Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister and hon members, let me say upfront that the NFP supports the budget as presented by the Minister. [Applause.] We appreciate the fact that education continues to get the bigger slice of the cake.
However, there are more questions than answers in this department, Minister. For example, what has happened to the rural allowance that was meant to retain professionally qualified educators in rural areas?
Why are Grade R educators not paid like all other educators, because they are doing everything that other educators do and even more – they actually accompany their learners to the toilets, which others do not do.
Why are schools treated unequally? Some have cleaners and clerks; some do not have those services. Who is cleaning those schools that are without cleaners? Who is responsible for clerical work like typing, etc, where there are no clerks? Why do school principals have to teach, when they are charged with the responsibility ... [Interjections.]
Mr A M MATLHOKO: Madam Chair! Madam Chair!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mabika. Hon Mabika, please sit down. What point are you rising on, hon member?
Mr A M MATLHOKO: I just want to ask if the hon member is prepared to take a question.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Mabika, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr M S MABIKA: Outside the time allocated, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you.
Mr M S MABIKA: Why is the department not clear about the learner-educator ratio? Why does this department still keep newly appointed educators unpaid for about four months, like what happened recently in the Eastern Cape? Why are retiring educators not paid from when they started working off their pension? Why do some schools still have no toilets, water and electricity? Why are the teacher colleges not opened to meet the increasing demand for educators, as educators are leaving the department in great numbers? Why is the department quiet about the KwaZulu-Natal provincial department of education, which is collapsing? [Interjections.]
KwaZulu-Natali phela kubonwa ngokusa, Ngqongqoshe, ngenxa yalezi zizathu ezilandelayo: Okokuqala, kunezikole ezakhiwa zingapheli kuze kudlule iminyaka emihlanu, isibonelo nje izikole zamabanga aphansi iMafa kanye neHlazane eMkhanyakude. Okwesibili, kwalona uhlelo lokwakhiwa kwezikole KwaZulu-Natali alucacile; ezinye ziyakhiwa, ezinye ziyeqiwa kodwa zibe zisesimweni esifanayo. Okwesithathu, KwaZulu-Natali abahlinzeki ngosizo lokudla abakhokhelwa ngesikhathi kodwa kube kuyindlela yabo yokuziphilisa. Okwesine, ezinye zike zingasitholi isabelo sokuthenga izincwadi, njengasesikoleni samabanga aphansi i-Makabongwe, eManguzi, esize sayithola kulo nyaka imali yokuthenga izincwadi.
No wonder matric results in the province dropped!
Inhloko yoMnyango Wezemfundo esifundazweni saKwaZulu-Natali izwa ngeSadtu ukuthi yenzeni, uma ithi i-Sadtu, ”Msuse lo mhloli asimfuni.” Ivele isuse ngaphandle kokumbeka amacala lowo muntu! Uma ngenza nje isibonelo ngomhloli omkhulu wasObonjeni eMkhanyakude, umhloli uMahlangu. Njengamanje akekho ehhovisi emva kokuba i-Sadtu ivele yaya ehhovisi yayothi ayisamfuni lo mhloli akasuswe!
Kunothishanhloko okuvele kuthiwe suka la, uye le ngaphandle kokulandela umthetho. Ngikhuluma nje esikoleni samabanga aphezulu eMshanguzana, eMkhanyakude, uthishanhloko wakhona akekho futhi, ngoba kuvele kuthiwe, “Suka wena izingane aziphasi yiya le!” Manje uma esefuna ukubuya lo engasafuni ukuhlala kulesiya sikole, sekuba yinkinga izikole azisenabo othishanhloko. Ngakho-ke kuyabhujwa KwaZulu-Natali, Ngqongqoshe.
KwaZulu-Natali zivinjiwe izikole ukuba zikhule. Ngikhuluma nje kusebenza i-PPN yangowezi-2011. Kuyamangaza lokhu ngoba uma inani lezingane lincipha ezikoleni, zisatshizwa izikole ngokuthi lezo zikole ezingenazo izingane zizovalwa. Kunjalo nje uma lincipha inani lezingane ezikoleni, othisha bayahanjiswa bayiswe kwenye indawo, kodwa uma kukhula izingane, umnyango uyaqhubeka uthi azikho izikhala zomsebenzi zothisha. Noma kunjalo-ke siyaseseka isabiwomali, kodwa ziningi izinkinga. Ngiyabonga. [Kwaphela isikhathi.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Mr M S MABIKA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers present, hon members, stakeholders in education and leaders of our unions, hon President Jacob Zuma once said:
Education is an important nation building tool. It is a powerful instrument of inculcating in the young minds of our children, the norms, culture, traditions and values of the new democratic society as we build a new nation.
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People – and I mean the authentic Congress of the People – on 26 June 1955. The Charter eloquently stated that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white ...” It also elaborated on the aim of education, and it states:
The aim of education (is) to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace;
It states in another section that “all national groups (should) be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride”.
It is in this context that we certainly abhor what has occurred in our country, given the importance of the values that are imbedded in the Freedom Charter, which inspired the Constitution that we proudly celebrate as amongst the best in the world.
The hon Ismail Vadi addressed the Joint Sitting of Parliament yesterday and he spoke at length about xenophobia and Afrophobia. He identified the fact that there are various factors that contribute to it - unemployment, persistent and pervasive income inequality, degradation of townships, expansion of informal settlements, competition for scarce resources, criminality, misery and unhappiness. He also indicated, and we endorse this fully, that nothing – nothing at all – should condone this kind of brutality or this kind of criminality, or allow it to pervade our society.
He also referred to some research that had been carried out. What was most astounding about the research was that it had become clear from the 2008 incidents that the vast majority of participants or perpetrators of this violence were youth; that 25% of the perpetrators, in terms of the analysis, were between 10 and 19 years of age; and that almost 50% of them were between 20 and 29 years of age.
This means that we as the Department of Basic Education have a critical responsibility to ensure that this pillar of values and attitudes, the third pillar of our education system, is emboldened, strengthened and well embedded in our system of education.
If we fought for a community and a society that is nonracial, that is humane, that is caring, and that is committed to ubuntu, then we have a particular responsibility to ensure that life orientation is strengthened, and that our history, our identity and our past become significant.
For this very reason it is the intention for the Department of Basic Education to make sure that history is compulsory in all our schools, so that we can understand where we come from, understand our diversity, understand our democracy, and understand that our history did not begin with the arrival of the Drommedaris, the Goede Hoop and the Reijger, but it started long before that. [Interjections.]
This month is an important month for us, because we celebrate Africa Month. Africa Day is on 25 May. What we are going to do, and what the Department of Basic Education is doing, is to ensure that all provinces are sensitive to the importance of this particular event. We can share with you that Gauteng, for example, is going to dedicate the week to assemblies that are going to be held, and life orientation programmes that will draw the attention of our learners to the important parts that our sister countries played in the creation of the society that we now enjoy. This is a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic, united society. [Interjections.]
I would like to quote from The Awakening Age by the well-known African poet, Ben Okri. I am just quoting some sections. He says:
May eyes that have lived with poverty’s rage,
See through to the glory of the awakening age.
For we are all richly linked in hope,
Woven in history, like a mountain rope.
Together we can ascend to a new height,
Guided by our heart’s clearest light.
When perceptions are changed there’s much to gain,
A flowering of truth instead of pain.
There’s more to a people than their poverty;
There’s their work, wisdom, and creativity.
It is this “richly linked ... hope” that he refers to, “woven in history, like a mountain rope”, that I want to elaborate on.
The hon member from the EFF spoke, and there was a clear indication of what a half-truth is. She said that we had promised a school per week, and we had delivered 51. The fact of the matter is that we have delivered 108 – 108 – state-of-the-art schools. [Applause.]
If you go to the Eastern Cape, just in the Libode district – just in the Libode district – 41 state-of-the-art schools were delivered and 19 are under construction. As we speak now, another more than 108 schools are being built all across the country. [Applause.] In the Western Cape alone we have delivered 12 state-of-the-art schools and another 13 are under construction. That is the reality of our infrastructure. That is the hope that will weave us together so that we can say that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.
I would ask the hon Lovemore to read more. If she had read the national strategy of the department – the reading strategy, which was adopted by all provinces, including the Western Cape – she would have seen that it states clearly what the targets are. It states what they are and how important it is to read, and to read with understanding. [Interjections.]
The hon Naledi Pandor, who is the Minister of Science and Technology, had laid the foundations for early learning already. It was implemented and the evidence is there. Let’s speak objectively and empirically. [Interjections.] Please, give me an opportunity. I did not disturb you. [Applause.] Please be enlightened and educated when you are being taught.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Minister, please.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Chairperson, I’m sorry. My apologies. Hon Chair, I will speak through you. It’s just that people try to distract me when I’m trying to speak the truth. They say that there is more to poverty. It is their word, their wisdom and their creativity. The reality is that if we speak, we must speak full truths, not half-truths. We should not be selective about what we say.
If you analyse the annual national assessments, you will discover that in the past three years there has been consistent improvement in the literacy and numeracy results of our learners. The report she referred to is dated; it is more than four years old. What have we done since then?
This is what the nation should know in regard to Grade R children. Firstly, for your information, in 2002 there were only 84 000 children in Grade R. Today they are more than 830 000 children in Grade R. [Applause.]
Then, today we can celebrate the fact that more than 92% of the children that go into formal schooling - that is Grade 1 - have received at least one year of Grade R learning. That is the reality that has changed the architecture and landscape of what is happening in our schools.
That is why, if you look at the annual national assessments, which are a diagnostic assessment tool, which are a comparative tool, and which will tell us whether we are progressing as a nation or regressing, you will see unequivocally that there’s progress in Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5. Yet, there are challenges in Grade 9. The reality is that as we are building the foundations for learning, we have to pay particular attention to those areas. Let me not be distracted by this.
I ask what it is that we are doing for a child, the Ayanda from Libode in the Eastern Cape, who has seen only a mud school and has not seen a school built with with brick and mortar. She travels from a village to Mthatha and sees on all the hills 40 schools that are new. That is what links us to the rope of hope. That is what tells us there is a better future.
She discovers that in every school that she visits there is a library, there is a laboratory, there are Grade R facilities, and there are sporting amenities, and every single school is furnished. This is in Libode, the poorest and the most economically depressed area in the Eastern Cape.
This is the hope that we should be talking about. This is the celebration that we should be committing ourselves to, instead of using dated reports, because you cannot then talk about what is current.
The hon Narend Singh talked about outcomes-based education. Outcomes-based education was buried more than five years ago. It doesn’t mean that for the past five years you won’t have been able to find any fault in the department, but you can reflect on the choice that we made some time ago, which we ourselves admitted was wrong. That is why we are emphasising literacy and numeracy.
The reality is that today – please listen – every Grade R child, black or white, quintile 1 or quintile 5, receives 8 books per year, free of charge, and delivered to his or her school on time. [Applause.] The reality is that more than 54 million books – more than 54 million – in all languages, from Grade 1 to Grade 9, are delivered to all the children, black or white, whether it is a quintile 1 or quintile 5 school, free of charge.
The result of that intervention has been an improvement in the quality of teaching and learning. It takes a generation at least to change a particular outcome. [Applause.] Please, recognise that.
We have ensured that we provide connectivity to our schools and it is the intention of this department to ensure ... [Interjections.] I beg your pardon.
HON MEMBERS: Cheers!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: What have we done in regard to ICT in the 21st century? So, Ayanda, who comes from Libode district, will say, “My God! I see computers and I hear about them, but I don’t have one.” She will now have one soon enough.
The intention is to have a special consultative process in terms of which the various departments - Science and Technology, Communications, and Education - will sit together in a rapid results endeavour to ensure that by the end of this administration every school is connected.
We have made promises, like the school per week, and we have not only fulfilled them, but gone beyond that. So, if your calculation is 51 schools, let me say that we have gone up to 108. So, my dear, if you wish to inform the House and the nation, please make sure of your facts. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
At the heart of a successful programme of teaching ... [Interjections.] Hon member, I’m busy speaking. Please, if you listen, you will learn. Our entire curriculum content has been digitised. Our mathematics and science textbooks for Grades 10 to 12 have been digitised. There are 94 publications for maths, science and technology from Grades 7 to 9 that have been digitised. Grades 4, 5 and 6 in all provinces receive a uniform textbook. What we are saying to you is that we are ready for the 21st century. We have more than 200 e-readers available to every learner.
What is most interesting is the result of a partnership we have undertaken. Whether using a smartphone or an ordinary phone, 600 devices can access the entire curriculum content. All exemplars, all past papers, all readers and all science textbooks can be accessed on the cell phone, mahala. Mahala! [Free of charge!] [Applause.] This is the 21st century, and this is what we are delivering. Please do not say that we are falling short in regard to our promises.
Yet we recognise that, as there are mountains of hope, there are mountains of challenges. We cannot ignore the reality of a divided and difficult past with its gross neglect of the future and the quality of education provided to our blacks. We are trying to change this by creating environments that are conducive to learning by introducing technology and ensuring that we update the skills of our educators.
And, indeed, we are doing that. We have set up 145 teacher resource centres across the country so that teachers can basically form professional learning communities and begin to share and exchange ideas. This is where they can be taught – and they are indeed being taught - how to utilise ICT in the curriculum and where they are being taught how to utilise English across the curriculum.
There are self-assessment tools that are being established, where teachers can determine what their skills are in every subject across every grade in a nonintrusive manner, and can say, “Well, now we know where our difficulties are. This is how we can improve it.” We haven’t got there yet, but we are moving towards it. However, we are very busy and we are not busy alone. [Applause.]
If the society that we want to create is a nonracial society, we should not use language as a barrier for admission to our schools. We should not be so insular in what we do. If we go around the country, we will find there some schools that are exclusively white and continue to be, and they are not full. They have all the resources and the amenities, and there is a refusal to share them. It is my view that if we want to build together, and ascend together into this destiny that we are shaping ourselves, we’ve got to do it together. We do not expect resistance, neither from the left nor from the right. Together we will create a better future for our people. Indeed, we have to do so. [Applause.]
There is the hon member who spoke about early childhood development and Grade R practitioners, and the fact that there are more questions than answers. Thank you for supporting the budget. However, I would like you to know that not very long ago Grade R did not have a curriculum; it now has curriculum. If you knew, Grade R learners did not have any resources; now they have resources. If you knew, practitioners were paid as little as R500 in schools; now it’s a minimum of R5 000. If you knew, there were unqualified practitioners in our schools; now the minimum level is level 4 and we are aspiring to level 6. These are changes that are occurring incrementally, significantly, substantially and positively. This brings about and should foster in our hearts, hope and a better belief for the future.
Education is critical; it is at the centre of our endeavours. If we want to ensure that we celebrate our Constitution as we should celebrate it, and if we want to open the doors of learning, as the Freedom Charter says we should do in the 21st century, it will mean recognising with us the challenges that we have, both in literacy and in numeracy. We have got to do better in mathematics and science, but we must not ignore the fact that five years ago we had only 28 000 learners passing mathematics. Currently, we have more than doubled this number, and we have more than trebled the pass rate in mathematics. The future augurs well. Thank you, Minister, acting director-general, senior management and hon members. Thank you very much. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
Ms C N MAJEKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Ms C N MAJEKE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister of Basic Education, hon Ministers and hon members, the UDM supports the budget. [Applause.] However, we want to drive home the following important issues, in order for the department to pay the necessary attention to them.
As part of consolidating the transformation of the Basic Education sector and improving the quality of the product thereof, the department should seriously consider taking over early childhood development from the Department of Social Development and integrating this phase of education into the mainstream. As a country we need an education system that is integrated and seamless, with areas of the curriculum that talk to one other. This approach takes into consideration the fact that the cognitive development of a child takes place during the years of early childhood development.
The capturing of accurate and reliable data on teachers across the country needs to be improved by the SA Council for Educators, Sace. In order to assist Sace in this regard, the department must attend to the continued outcry from Sace regarding the timing of funds received from the department.
While Sace receives complaints with regard to relationships between learners and teachers resulting in pregnancy and the possibility of young girls dropping out of the school system, Sace does not have the authority to request a DNA test to verify such allegations. In this regard, we are of the view that the relevant regulatory framework that does not give this security to Sace should be investigated for possible amendments.
The Department of Basic Education reported in School Realities 2011 that almost 50% of pupils who enrolled for Grade 10 in 2011 did not reach Grade 12 in 2013. This is surely a cause for great concern, in particular given that there have been no subsequent reports about their whereabouts with respect to the continued human capital development plan for the country. It is our firm view that both the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training should look at this situation and find concrete solutions to the problem. It may be that some of them would be eligible to exit to technical and vocational education and training and, if this is not the case, something needs to be done urgently.
The Council on Higher Education proposed that there be undergraduate curriculum reform in 2013. This was based on the fact that many of the students who enter higher education for a three year degree do not complete their studies. Once again the two departments should co-operate in dealing with these critical challenges confronting our education system and the human capital development programme.
Hon Minister, I have been sent by the primary and high school teachers from Mhlontlo Local Municipality in the Ward 17 area at Mahlungulu. The high school teachers request a laboratory. If a laboratory cannot be installed there, at least let there be the apparatus, so that they are able to teach science students in order to improve the quality of their education and the matric results for this year.
Once again, hon Minister, through you Chair, the UDM supports the budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D H KHOSA
Ms C N MAJEKE
Mr D H KHOSA: House Chair, hon Minister of Basic Education, hon Minister of Higher Education and Training, all your colleagues, hon members and our guests, ndza mi pfuxela na ku mi perisa. [I greet you, and good evening].
In the fifth democratic government the ANC has noted that skills and education are important to every member of society in order for them to realise their potential and for them to participate in social and economic life. This observation acknowledges that education plays a crucial role in freeing our people socially and economically.
However, the reality is that there are social and economic burdens that remain obstacles to the attainment of a better life by our people. It is therefore difficult for our people, particularly children from poor communities, to get the required opportunities and preparation in order for them to participate meaningfully, both socially and economically, due to socioeconomic burdens. We have noted this, and it is imperative for our government to address socioeconomic burdens for our children in order for them to access quality education so that they can meaningfully participate in the economy of our country.
The high prevalent socioeconomic challenges confronting the majority of our schools have to do with poverty, wellness, health and nutrition. These include barriers to learning inclusivity and to safety, and the lack of care and support for these learners. These issues have the strong potential to hamper access to education and further compromise the quality of our education. The most worrying factor is that these challenges have a strong potential to erode the gains in learner retention, and they pose the threat of being huge drivers of high dropout rates. We therefore cannot have a better vehicle to address poverty alleviation and improve the health of our children than through ensuring that children in schools are better assisted.
That is why dealing with poverty has always been a priority for the ANC-led government, with its believing that this will go a long way in addressing the right to education and the realisation of quality education. The caring ANC-led government has waged war on poverty and the gains are visible since our attainment of democracy in 1994. The commitment by the Department of Basic Education to taking the war on poverty further is clearly spelt out in the Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030.
The department has given a huge injection of resources allocations for the Educational Enrichment Services programme in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. In the 2015-16 financial year the programme has received R5,97 billion, which is an increase of R0,24 billion on the R5,73 of the previous financial year.
We are proud to mention the huge impact these programmes are having on our children and the deprived communities the children come from. It must be noted that it is not only that learners benefit, but good economic spin-offs have also been created for the families and communities where these programmes are being rolled out.
These children are being fed, they are able to actively participate in the learning processes, they are screened for basic health problems, they are receiving workbooks, they are freely transported to schools and they are not paying fees.
Their parents and the communities benefit either through the supply of food and other needs, or by being food handlers. The fact that parents and communities are taking part in some of these projects meaningfully, thus making them economically active, is giving poor people renewed hope. The Basic Education projects are contributing in a small but profound way to the stimulation of economic growth.
A growth progress is being realised in the expansion of school nutrition to secondary schools. The National School Nutrition Programme has been allocated a budget of R5,7 billion and the budget is expected to increase to R6,3 billion in the MTEF period. The total allocation for the MTEF period will be reflected as R18 billion. The department should be commended for making a bold commitment in the MTEF to feed 19 000 schools in quintiles 1 to 3, given the limited budget that is available.
The provincial allocation is such that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo received a budget allocation high above the rest of other provinces. However, during the oversight visits the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education noted a number of challenges in one of these provinces. These challenges, amongst others, were reported as service providers not being paid on time, lack of proper monitoring and support for school feeding, unavailability of cooking facilities, and food storage not meeting the expected standards. The Department of Basic Education was tasked with dealing with these problems and identifying all the challenges as a matter of urgency.
This budget allocation is also geared to addressing some of the gaps that might have contributed to the challenges identified by the portfolio committee. It is expected that 0,5% of the allocated budget will be used for deworming. We would also like to acknowledge the commitment of the department in ensuring that milk is introduced into the menu for the National School Nutrition Programme.
We would like to express our appreciation of the cordial relationship between the Department of Transport and the Department of Basic Education in the provision of ... [Time expired.]
Oh! Chairperson, although my time has expired, I want to say that we support this budget. Thank you very much.
Adv A D ALBERTS
Mr D H KHOSA
Adv A D ALBERTS: Thank you, Chair. Minister, this department’s purpose to develop, maintain and support a South African school education system for the 21st century is the correct one. However, we need to bring to your attention the following problems for urgent intervention.
As the Minister is aware, our curriculum and learning outcomes in mathematics and science are severely lacking. Unfortunately, South Africa regularly finds itself in the bottom percentile of countries when our standards are measured against the rest of the world.
Another dimension of this problem is that quality teaching is lacking due to the unhealthy influence of Sadtu on teacher morale and productivity. It is our position that the Minister should discuss this matter with the Minister of Labour to ascertain how union activity in schooling can be curtailed.
Of course, there is still the problem of text books. We have learnt that there are text books that have still not been delivered in Phalaborwa, so that also needs attention.
Ons het ook kennis geneem van die Minister se aanstelling van ’n taakspan om ondersoek in te stel na die instelling van geskiedenis as ’n verpligte vak vir Graad 10 tot 12 leerlinge. Ons ondersteun in beginsel hierdie skuif, maar onderhewig aan die daarstelling van ’n kurrikulum wat al die volke en mense se geskiedenis uitbeeld, wat behoorlike konteks gee van besluite en gebeure in die geskiedenis, en wat demonisering van mense verhoed. Ons wil graag daarom van die Minister weet hoe die taakspan saamgestel is en wie daarop dien. Ons wil ook graag weet of die volke en mense van die land insae sal kan lewer oor die inhoud van die kurrikulum, veral daar waar dit hulle raak.
Many of the ills plaguing the basic education system are to be found in the lack of infrastructure. This challenge is often in conflict with the principle of mother tongue instruction, as single medium schools are as a result forced to accommodate other learners that have to be instructed in English. Once that happens, those single medium schools transform into English medium schools in a relatively short space of time.
Now we know that the Minister is a proponent of mother tongue instruction, and therefore we wish to impress on the Minister that she should ensure that much needed schooling infrastructure is created to establish more single medium schools in South Africa.
We also wish to bring the following great problem to the attention of the Minister. It has to do with Gauteng Province. The current MEC for education seems to have embarked on an ideologically driven programme to force single medium schools to accommodate learners in English. This process is driven on the premise that not enough schools are available in the province. However, the rationale for this process is flawed due to the following factors.
The leaked provincial report that sets out the rationale and lists the schools targeted, does not indicate if a provincewide audit was performed on all infrastructure. This is evidenced by the fact that there are unused school buildings in the province, but they are not mentioned in the report as part of the solution to finding schooling space.
About 95% plus of the schools listed are Afrikaans schools. English-medium schools are virtually absent from the list. So, why target only Afrikaans schools? This reinforces the perception that Afrikaans as a language of instruction is under attack, this time by the provincial government of Gauteng. We know, Minister, that you have indicated before that you have no intention to harm Afrikaans, and we believe you, and that is why we are bringing this matter to you.
A further problem is that none of the schools on the list have been consulted or inspected at all. In fact, most of these schools are already filled to the brim. Yet this report lists these Afrikaans schools as those that will be forced to give up their single medium status. Surely there must be a sinister motive on the part of the MEC.
Ons wil graag hê die Minister moet kennis neem van die betrokke LUR se duiwelswerk, en in te tree. Sy departement het die grootste deel van die Gautengse begroting ontvang, vir infrastruktuur en uitbreiding. Hy moet beveel word om hom by die Suid-Afrikaanse Skolewet te hou, en sy begroting oordeelkundig aan te wend om meer enkelmediumskole te hou. Dit is die oplossing.
Alhoewel pak slae in skole nou onwettig is, gaan die LUR pak slae in die hof kry as hy nie onmiddellik sy ongrondwetlike optrede staak nie. Dankie.
Ms D CARTER
Adv A D ALBERTS
Ms D CARTER: Hon Chairperson, the overall objective of Basic Education is to ensure the all-round development of children and to enhance their prospects of gainful employment. Quite frankly, our education system is not achieving these objectives. Like in the novel Hard Times by Charles Dickens, education is more about statistics and much less about achievement.
Children in our country know very little about history and anthropology. They know very little about our Constitution, or their civic responsibilities, for an example, exercising their vote. A country that wishes to go forward encourages reading and thinking. They need to read stories of the evolution of our society, so that they have a vision for themselves and our country.
Ancient civilisations passed on their store of knowledge through folklore. We need to do the same through exposing our children to valuable literature. If children do not read, they will not understand their roles and responsibilities. Cope urges the Minister to promote literature in our schools extensively. This is where real education begins.
Our schools are also very deficient in teaching languages and mathematics. The educational route is from the known to the unknown, from technology to science, and from problem to mathematical solutions. Is this happening in our schools? What happened to knowing your tables? It has been replaced by calculators.
We have also known for a long time that there are different ways to stimulate the brain. The left brain is important for convergent thinking, mathematics and analysis. The right brain, on the other hand, is important for divergent thinking and creativity. Is this happening in our schools? Music actually assists. My question is: Should music not be compulsory again, like it used to be years ago?
Also, are we keeping up with methodology? In language teaching the emphasis is shifting to vocabulary, and the teaching of grammar through vocabulary. We have consistently raised the immense problems created by a deficit in vocabulary. Millions of learners who have left school with a vocabulary deficit are suffering severe handicaps in institutions of higher learning, as well as in the workplace.
Finally, Cope wishes to make a firm proposal. The government must implement a new policy that will allow private education providers to add a private school segment to our public schools. The hybrid schools will better serve the interests of society. The present system, running on different tracks, does not serve the transformation agenda. Also, parents pay prohibitive fees to get a better education for their children, and this is a reality. The government must find a way for public and private education to intersect. This will provide a win-win situation. That is what our country needs.
When private schools operate co-operatively with public schools, innovative thinking and technological uptake will find quicker passage to our public schools. When we have nothing to lose and everything to gain, let us seize the opportunity. Our children deserve that much. I thank you.
Ms D VAN DER WALT
Ms D CARTER
Ms D VAN DER WALT: Hon Chairperson, Minister, ...
... Adjunkminister, kollegas, en al ons goeie hoofde, onderwysers en amptenare, ...
... debating the budget today is about much more than just the figures in it. It is all about delivering quality education to our children and preparing them for their life after school.
Promises of the delivery of desks, textbooks, proper classrooms and decent ablution facilities have characterised past state of the nation addresses. However, the fulfilment of these promises has been elusive. Last year in his state of the nation address President Zuma stood here and promised that all schools in the Eastern Cape would have desks by August 2014. Were these ever delivered? No, these learners are still waiting.
In his state of the nation address this year the President boasted about the “successes” of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative programme, which is set to get a budget of R7 billion over the medium term. Yet the department is dragging its feet. Yes, some state-of-the-art schools have been built, and we applaud that, but this programme was supposed to eradicate around 500 inappropriate schools by end of the 2013-14 financial year.
A year after its deadline, the ANC government has missed its own targets in regard to eradicating mud schools by a massive 80%, as 404 mud schools remain. At this pace it will take another 16 years to eradicate all the targeted mud schools. It means that an entire generation of children, predominantly in the Eastern Cape, will have to complete their schooling in an environment that is unsafe and an infringement of their dignity.
This celebrated programme has also missed its own targets in regard to water access, by 70%; sanitation, by 62%; and electricity, by 69% – not something to brag about, I would say.
Sedibeng School in Lephalale is an Asidi example, completed some months ago. However, it cannot open because, amongst other problems, there is no furniture.
Honoka School in Tubatse, which is truly a state-of-the-art school, is built on top of a mountain. It takes 40 minutes to travel the 7 km with a 4x4 vehicle to get to the school, as there is no other access route.
I would like to say that in Limpopo most of the newly built school projects have been abandoned, whilst learners in places such as Musina and Bochum in Blouberg are still being taught under trees – today.
The children of Lebaka B Primary School in Vohlabaneng Village pass a new but empty school every day on their way to a crowded, neighbouring school.
Never should our children suffer because of the actions of politicians and officials who appoint people and sign dodgy, inflated contracts with contractors incapable of doing the work, who cannot deliver.
As the Minister mentioned, the toilet facilities at many schools in our country are even worse. At the Protea South Primary School a basin has been blocked since schools opened in January. They have to use a garden fork to open the facilities.
Minister, we cannot pass the buck to the provinces. You are the custodian of Basic Education and we expect you to get the provincial departments to ensure that the dignity of the children in South Africa is upheld. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr T Z M KHOZA
Ms D VAN DER WALT
Umnu T Z M KHOZA: Sihlalo lohlon, Indvuna lehlon Yelitiko Letemfundvo-Sisekelo, Make Angie, Lisekela Lendvuna Yelitiko Letemfundvo-Sisekelo, bahlon Bendlu Yesishayamtsetfo, tivakashi Tendlu Yesishayamtsetfo, ngiyanibingelela.
Kuyetfusa kakhulu kulandzela sikhulumi lesingati kutsi asizange sitiyele kuyawuhlala etintsabeni, kodvwa safucwa ngenkhani.
I feel honoured to have been granted the opportunity to deliberate in today’s Budget Vote for the Department of Basic Education.
The ANC-led government has been consistent, working through the people and doing its best to address the needs of fellow South Africans. The ANC works with the people, without classifying them according to their social and economic status, in order to collect information about the real needs of the citizens.
I would like to state that the introduction of Bantu Education was a tragedy for our country and it has needed years of consistent interventions to address. [Interjections.]
We are fortunate that the government has been led by the ANC, which was at the forefront of the development of the Freedom Charter. This tool served as a directive used by the ANC-led government to ensure a better life for the people of South Africa. Throughout the years the Freedom Charter has remained an effective tool to counter the legacy of apartheid, with its declaration that “the doors of learning and of culture shall be opened (to all)!” This has been realisable in an open and inclusive society based on equality and a common nationhood.
Section 29(1) of Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa declares:
Everyone has the right—
- to a basic education, including adult basic education; and
- to further education, which the state ... –
... through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.
The ANC-led government has made tremendous progress in liberating South Africa from the bondages of apartheid. As the ANC we believe that more still needs to be done. That is why His Excellency President Jacob Zuma keeps on calling for all citizens of South Africa to work together in order to eradicate the remaining legacies of apartheid. Together we can do more. We are inviting you to join us in this work.
Kuyetfusa kakhulu kubona lidlanzana nje lebantfu lelisafuna kusibuyisela emuva elubandlululweni, ngekutsi liphikisane nato tonkhe tinhlelo tahulumende, ngisho Nalolwabiwomali lwa 2015-16. NjengaKhongolose, asibaleki tsine, siyahola. Sisetaniphatsa kuze kubuye Jesu.
We are confident that the Department of Basic Education, through this budget, will ensure that there is progression towards sound leadership and management in schools. It is vitally important to reinforce responsibility and better management in schools and districts, as per the ANC’s 53rd national conference resolutions. The department is further tasked with committing itself to the strengthening of education districts, so that they are able to effectively support schools.
Our oversight role as a committee is to monitor functionality of both schools and districts, and we are inviting the hon Lovemore to join us in that. [Interjections.]
The ANC fought for democracy to prevail in society. [Interjections.] One of the areas where this is evident is the institutionalisation of democracy in school governance. The South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, recognises the school governing body, SGB, as a statutory body.
Furthermore, it stipulates that SGBs are to be elected every three years. The sixth election took place in 2012, while 2015 marked the seventh SGB elections. The Department of Basic Education, through the provinces, co-ordinated the process of this year’s SGB elections. This was done in order to ensure that properly elected, competent and visionary SGB members assume governance responsibility for all public schooling systems, in support of quality teaching and learning. The 2015 SGB election has just been concluded successfully. The more than 94% achievement of the successful completion of SGB elections by South African schools is hailed as a distinction for the sector.
It is envisaged that this budget will ensure that elected SGBs are capacitated and supported in the performance of their functions. That is leadership. We take pride in the fact that the department has made progress in mobilising support by collaborating with SGB associations towards the mandate of training SGBs.
We have to mention that the department has prioritised the training of principals in regard to curriculum management, especially after the successful roll-out of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements, Caps. The SA Council for Educators, Sace, being one of the entities of the Department of Basic Education, conducted research, and the findings of the research emphasised the importance of the training of principals. It is noted that the department has already trained circuit managers, and will use this budget towards training principals.
The ANC-led government has always sought for schools to be managed by effective principals. That is why the department is tasked through this budget, amongst others, to: establish a clear understanding of what the system expects from those leading and managing schools in order to inform better recruitment and selection procedures; clearly define the roles of principals, and the expertise required; and keep a list of competencies that will inform capacity development of principals in the system.
The National Development Plan emphasises the importance of enhancing accountability for overall performance in the education sector. This is expected to apply to districts, schools and communities. Indeed, education is a societal issue. As the ANC, we support the Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr T Z M KHOZA
Mrs C DUDLEY: Hon chair, with approximately 170 million workbooks being distributed to learners in 23 562 public schools and the challenges being faced at the provincial level, the ACDP recognises the logic of centralising the delivery of all books to schools as of January next year.
Together with the standardisation of school building plans and the cost of construction being controlled by the office of the chief procurement officer, we see these measures as necessary to improve supply chain management. Desperate times demand desperate measures.
The ACDP would like to congratulate the department on bringing education into the 21st century with information technology and e-initiatives.
What we do not understand, however, is that despite the adoption of norms and standards for schools nearly 18 months ago, we saw hundreds of learners from township schools in and around Gauteng march to the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria to demand the immediate release of plans for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure. Learners also slept in tents outside the Department of Basic Education offices in King William’s Town and protested at Parliament in Cape Town. Why does it seem so difficult for stakeholders to get what they want in this regard?
The ACDP would like to use what little time we have left to talk about education challenges still facing children with disabilities. As an expert in the field of education for children with disabilities has said, for a blind or deaf person, schooled only amongst fellow blind or deaf pupils, going out into the world poses huge challenges.
We know that efforts have been made in regard to mainstreaming. The education of children with disabilities relies heavily on accessibility, correct infrastructure, suitably qualified teachers and assistive devices. If mainstreaming is to be successful, these are non-negotiable. The cost implications are, of course, significant and it will be this, and future budgets, that will or won’t make the needed difference.
With the world changing so rapidly, the skills required to carry out work in the 21st century are changing, and it is crucial that we ensure skills-based education for children with disabilities changes too. There have been calls, for example, for a centre which will train youth and parents in entrepreneurial and income-generating skills – courses related to bookkeeping, business development, green skills, IT and career management skills, which include social adaptability, communication, interpersonal skills, positive attitude building, a stable work ethic, and ability for lifelong learning.
Now, these are topics which should, of course, be compulsory for all learners, to align them with current shifts and tendencies in the world of work and self-employment. But given the discrimination and stigma that surrounds people with disabilities, especially in the world of work, social adaptability becomes crucial if mainstreaming is to be truly the aim of all development programmes beyond 2015.
The ACDP is concerned that this budget may not be adequate in regard to significantly addressing these issues, but we appreciate the huge commitment and work being done by the department. [Interjections.] We recognise that quality education requires equal commitment from learners, teachers, communities, and so on. [Time expired.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Hon Chairperson, let me say upfront that supporting the budget does not mean that we don’t have to talk about critical issues, because we want the very same budget to address those issues.
The Basic Education Department is one of the most important departments in our government and, as the AIC, we appreciate the fact that the lion’s share of the national budget has been allocated to this department. But, alas, the department always fails to use the budget appropriately.
One of the smaller outcomes of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework is bringing about effective utilisation of teachers. I wonder how this is possible, when one teacher has to teach more than 100 learners in a classroom. For instance, where my wife is teaching, at Zamokuhle Senior Secondary School in Matatiele, she teaches more than 100 learners in the classroom. [Laughter.] [Applause.] That is not very fair. [Interjections.] Yes. The teaching cannot be effective.
The manner in which teachers are allocated to schools, using the notorious Peter Morkel model, does not assist us. This is a model that can cause a Grade 7 school to be allocated only four teachers – with more than 10 learning areas or subjects. That is not fair! The Peter Morkel model just takes into account the number of learners, and not the number of teaching areas or the subjects. I think that this should now be addressed, Minister, because the teachers have long been complaining about it. It is high time that we got rid of it.
The Basic Education Department is now going back to the notorious multigrade teaching which was used in the olden days. We should do away with it. We cannot use it when we are 25 years down the line in democracy. [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: Does your wife ... [Inaudible.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Yes.
I think that the department should give it to the school management and capacitated SGB members, who should make a point of acknowledging that curriculum issues are their responsibility. That is because the schools belong to them and therefore they should participate in taking decisions on the curriculum of the school. This will allow them to see to it that the students come back and do something in their communities where they live. They should be allowed to deal with this. However, the SGB members have to be trained.
The provinces and districts are very reluctant to employ teachers in vacancies that occur as a result of retirement or death. They always say that there is no budget for that. I wonder how that can be, because the person that has retired or died was getting paid. Where does that money go? Does it get rotten? It means that there is a budget. So, they cannot say there is no budget.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, your time has expired!
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: No.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Your time has expired, hon member. Thank you.
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Has it expired?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Yes. [Laughter.]
Ms H S BOSHOFF
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Ms H S BOSHOFF: Hon Chair and hon Minister, despite a departmental Budget of almost R22 billion and a range of policies, it is clear that the safety of our learners is not being given the priority it should be.
I recently highlighted the fact that almost 380 000 teachers employed in public schools had not been vetted against the Child Protection Register. This is of great concern considering that, between April 2014 and February 2015, 525 complaints of physical, verbal and sexual abuse by educators were reported.
We have no doubt that the majority of our teachers would pass the vetting process, but it is an unfortunate reality that in some cases those who are entrusted daily with our children are also the very same people who are guilty of abusing them. That is why it is imperative that teachers are checked against the register to ensure that they are suitable to be trusted with our children.
The SA Council for Educators, Sace, which is responsible for vetting the teachers against the list, have stated that the reason none of the 380 000 public school teachers have been vetted is that they are in the process of compiling the list from the relevant departments. They have been in the process of compiling this list for several years while putting our children at risk.
Minister, despite having Sace implement strategies on ethics, norms and standards, we have seen a drastic rise in teenage pregnancies. A reply to a DA parliamentary question recently revealed that there are 20 000 students in our education system who are pregnant, 717 of whom are primary school children. This indicates high levels of statutory rape by the legal definition. It is possible that some of these instances are at the hands of teachers and principals, and it is critically important that the real nature of how these pregnancies came to be is exposed.
The role of Sace is critical but, as it currently stands, none of their responsibilities are being effectively managed or executed. It would appear that they are more interested in buying a fancy building, which has been the main topic of discussion during the tabling of their reports, than they are in ensuring that sexual offences by educators are dealt with, swiftly and decisively.
Minister, why have we not seen any serious offences committed by educators being reported to Sace? If there are no incidents to report, why are there so many pregnancies? Why have we not heard Sace mention a single case of statutory rape, which by law must be reported to the SAPS?
Minister, we should do everything possible to ensure that our children are, at the very least, safe from sexual and physical abuse at school. To this end, the budget must prioritise the need for vetting all teachers and for the implementation of policies to curb the high incidence of teenage pregnancy.
To build a society which is free and which empowers the people of our nation to reach their potential, we must first protect and nurture our young people so that they are given the opportunity to achieve great things.
The starting point is making sure that our children are safe at school, and I call on you, Minister, to bring about the necessary change to ensure that our children are taught in an environment free from abuse. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Ms N R MOKOTO
Ms H S BOSHOFF
Ms N R MOKOTO: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Minister Angie Motshekga, Deputy Minister Enver Surty, members of the executive in the House, strategic managers from the department, hon members, and guests in the gallery, I greet you all.
Before I start my speech in the debate, I want to make a comment directed to the Minister.
Nna ke Motswana, Tona. Ka Setswana ga twe: Nonyane e e mephuphutho megolo, e iphatlha ka diphuka tsa yona. [Legofi.] Lereo le lengwe le ke batlang gore lo le utlwe la re: E re go utlwa modumo o mogolo wa lekapa, o itse fa lo le lelea. Fa ke bua jaana, Tona ... [Tsenoganong.]
Ms S V KALYAN: Chair, on a point of order: There is no interpretation and it is unfortunate because we cannot hear what the speaker at the podium is saying. [Interjections.] [Inaudible.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members, please! Hon members! It is coming through. We have noticed that it is not working. It is coming through.
Ms N R MOKOTO: Minister, maybe it is one of the areas that we have to attend to, the area of ensuring that we balance the equation. If we move to the North West, we are able to hear all 11 languages. However, when we come to the Western Cape it is only two or three languages that we are able to hear, even on the SABC radio channels. [Interjections.] So we must start addressing that legacy of apartheid so that all South Africans are able to interact with each other ... [Interjections.] ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members, please! Hon members, order! Order, hon members!
Ms N R MOKOTO: ... or learn each other’s languages. This is because it is not an obligation for one sector of the community to fully understand all 11 languages.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members!
Ms N R MOKOTO: So I think the point of order that was put was improper, because we as South Africans must learn each other’s languages. [Interjections.]
I want to put the point that some of the statements that have been made from the podium by members of the opposition are statements that we as members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education don’t expect to be made. That is because some of the members have sat in the committee meetings and agreed with the annual performance plan, the strategic plan and the budget of the department. They failed to raise issues effectively during the discussions in the committee so that their issues could be adequately addressed.
Just because they want to play to the gallery, people have chosen to come here and say that they reject the Budget. On what grounds are you rejecting the Budget? What do you have to offer the South African community? What do you have to offer the South African nation? Give us your proposals. We as the ANC-led government will listen to you because we are a nation that is mandated by the people.
Ms D KOHLER: Chair, I have a point of order. Point of order, Chair.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Can you take your seat, hon member?
Ms D KOHLER: Chairperson, the person in the Chair before you arrived today took great delight in instructing my hon colleague to address or to speak through the Chair. May I ask that the ANC does the same thing?
Ms N R MOKOTO: Hon Chairperson, I think I still want to reiterate the fact ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member! Hon member! Please, hon members, can we all talk through the Chair? Please address the Chair. Carry on, hon member.
Ms N R MOKOTO: Chairperson, thank you for the directive. I still want to reiterate the fact that members of the portfolio committee, especially the members of the EFF, who have spent more than two months not attending the portfolio committee meetings, have chosen to come here and brainwash society with their lies. They have chosen to come here and pretend that nothing has been happening. Because of their hallucinations, they were never there in the committee. They were never there ... [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: Chair, I have a point of order. A point of order, Chair.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): What is the point of order? [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: Yes, the hon member should not lie to the hon members here. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): That is not a point of order, hon member. That is not a point of order.
Ms N R MASHABELA: The EFF member didn’t not attend meetings for two months. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chairperson!
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): That is not a point of order. Please, hon members! [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: You understand?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): It is not a point of order. Can you take your seat?
Ms N R MASHABELA: It is a point of order.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Can you take your seat, hon member? [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: The hon Mokoto knows very well that ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, can you please take your seat? Can you please take your seat, hon member? Hon member! [Interjections.]
Ms N R MASHABELA: ... she got an apology from me.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member!
Ms N R MASHABELA: So, she must stop lying.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, please!
Ms N R MASHABELA: She must stop lying.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Take your seat!
Ms N R MASHABELA: She must stop lying. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chairperson. Hon Chair, I have a point of order.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): What is the point of order, hon member?
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: The word “lying” is unparliamentary and the hon members know it. Don’t do that hon member, if you want me to recognise you as an hon member. Chairperson, please will you rule on this one? The word “lying” is unparliamentary. Thank you.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, can you rise? This has been discussed and we all know as hon members that using the word “lying” is unparliamentary. It is on record. Can you please withdraw that, hon member?
Moh N R MASHABELA: Go lokile, Chairperson. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Say you withdraw that. Hon member, can you please say that you withdraw that? [Interjections.]
Moh N R MASHABELA: Hon Chairperson, ga ke tsebe because mohlomongwe ga o tsebe Sepedi. [Interjections.] Nna ke bolela Sepedi sa kua GaSekhukhune. “Go lokile” are Sepedi words which mean “I withdraw”. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chair. Hon Chairperson. Hon Chair. Hon Chairperson. That is not it and she knows it. The words “go lokile” mean “okay”. That is not a withdrawal, hon Chairperson. Please! [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members, can we please do what we are supposed to do. Let’s do the right thing.
Ms N R MASHABELA: Chair, I am doing the right thing.
Go na le batho bao ba naganago gore ke bona Bapedi e le ge ba sa tsebe Sepedi ba bolela semmotwana. Se ke se bolelago ke Sepedi sa GaSekhukhune.
The words “go lokile” mean “I withdraw” – “go lokile” are Sepedi words which mean “I withdraw”. [Interjections.] Call a person from GaSekhukhune ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members, there is no interpretation. Can you look at that? [Interjections.] Can we proceed? Can we let the hon member proceed and wind up her discussion?
Mr K Z MORAPELA: Chair, on a point of order: May I please address you?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): No. Can we please move away from that point?
Mr K Z MORAPELA: It is on another matter. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): [Inaudible.]
Mr K Z MORAPELA: Thank you, Chairperson. Earlier on there was a ruling on the gestures that we were making. That gentleman with the white head is continuously doing wrong things in regard to the very same gestures. The gentleman with white head – I think that white head is a problem. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): I am afraid all the members here are doing the wrong things. Can we try to do the right thing? I think all the members are doing that. We have a specified period in which we may be in the Chamber, so I am asking, hon members, that we do what is right.
Mr K Z MORAPELA: We agree, but a ruling was made in connection with gestures that are not acceptable. Can you make a ruling on that?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, the ruling is that we must not do wrong things in the Chamber. [Interjections.]
Mr K Z MORAPELA: Why are you conducting a choir? [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Can you proceed, hon member?
Ms N R MOKOTO: Chairperson, I want to express my warm appreciation for the opportunity given to me to participate in this debate. The debate comes at a time where we are commemorating a very important milestone in the future of our country and the globe, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
We think about the heroes and heroines of our struggle who have bravely defended their principles, fought selflessly, and sacrificed their lives to make sure that we are freed from subjugation and oppression. Today as we stand here we owe our entire being to them.
This milestone has reminded us, and continues to remind us, of our responsibility to make sure that we raise the bar and ensure that our mandate, objectives and national goals are met without discrimination, whether it is of gender, religion, colour, race or creed. [Interjections.]
We are very much aware that the apartheid regime identified education as a soft spot and easy target for political abuse and cheap point-scoring. The Verwoerdian era of apartheid clearly illustrated this when it heightened the offensive by introducing Bantu education. It took the June 1976 student uprising to challenge this. The students stood up and made sure that his policies and tactics of brutality did not come about. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon members! Hon members, can we listen to the speaker!
Ms N R MOKOTO: The ANC-led government has consciously declared war on the problem of inappropriate structures and unsafe schools. Through the Asidi programme they have ensured that children, wherever they are, are able to have universal access to education and that the doors of education continuously remain open for everybody, every child, as we build a global citizenry. [Interjections.]
We as an ANC-led government are convinced that we were not wrong when we said that education is at the core of the development of both the economy and society in general. In that case ... [Interjections.] You will not agree with me because you are still stuck. [Interjections.]
The ANC-led government remains convinced that the decision it took in 1994 to open the doors of learning and make sure that there is proper infrastructure ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member.
Ms N R MOKOTO: ... in each and every ward continues to be valid. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, your time has expired.
Ms N R MOKOTO: We support this Budget Vote because it serves the constitutional interests. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member.
Ms N R MOKOTO: It addresses ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member!
Ms N R MOKOTO: ... the disparities ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member!
Ms N R MOKOTO: ... of apartheid. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member!
Ms N R MOKOTO: It can be enforced ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member!
Ms N R MOKOTO: ... and we can have oversight over it. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Hon member, your time has expired!
Ms N R MOKOTO: I thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Ms N R MOKOTO
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Chairperson, let me just quickly respond to a few matters.
I agree with the chairperson that we do need to relook at the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, QLTC. It has elements that function very well and I think we now have a better understanding of what it should have been. For instance, here in the Western Cape we have the QLTC doing great work around gangsterism, in Gauteng we have some QLTC groups in those regions dealing with drugs, and in the Eastern Cape it is another facet. There are different models which are emerging in regard to what the QLTC should do. So I agree fully with you.
I don’t want to sound rude to my colleague from the opposition, but what was said was so predictable and full of fury. Hon Mokoto is right. One should say something concrete, useful and substantive. We respect everybody and we will take it in good faith. Instead you are always screaming about things as if you are playing find-a-mistake. You just find things to criticise all the time, without acknowledging where it works. That is not very helpful. I think it is a problem of political bankruptcy. You are unable to say anything useful. [Applause.] There is no theory and no framework, and all you can do is to play find-a-mistake. You have nothing to offer. It is very discouraging. I wish you would really, at some stage, make some useful comments so that you can add value. [Interjections.] It is so funny, and so predictable, just full of fury.
The other point that I want to respond to is the one raised by the NFP member. I agree that we would not say that we will be building so many classes in 2019 if they were all complete. The mere fact that our budget and plans go up to 2030 is an acknowledgement that there are schools without proper sanitation. It is an acknowledgement that there are schools without sanitation. Why would we plan for them, if they were in place? We are planning for them because we are aware that they are not in place. So, we are equally concerned about all the matters that the member raised.
Regarding the question of the post baskets in different provinces, let me say that that is why I stated on p 7 of my speech that we are going to work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to make sure that we align our budgets with the plans, especially in regard to post provision. This is because it is a problem that we have schools without clerks.
Unfortunately, the budget is aligned to the number of learners and you can’t run away from that. That is why, when the AIC member raised the Morkel model, I could guess that he is from the Eastern Cape. However, the Morkel model is not an Eastern Cape model only. It seems everybody from the Eastern Cape has a problem with that. It is to do with post provisioning. It is an international tool which helps departments to determine budgets. It is not an Eastern Cape tool. The problem is that provinces have not been able to align their budgets with it.
If you look at page 12 of the speech – we will be putting the speech on the website – you will see that we also speak about infrastructure and we have begun to employ building experts, because not having proper building experts is a problem, and we are where we are as a result of that.
It is quite sad to be debating on rumours. I wish ... [Inaudible.] It is all rumours. Why do I have to respond to rumours? There is nothing that sounds credible about what we are saying.
To the member of the UDM, I will follow up on the SA Council for Educators, Sace. I agree with you about it. We have to work with Sace to make it much more effective as a tool to professionalise the sector. Sace should be strengthened to do all the things that you have raised, and what the other member has also raised, about the register of offenders. It is important that we professionalise Sace so that it is able to do all the things it is supposed to do. So, I will follow up on Mhlontlo, because I agree with what you are saying.
Another point I wanted to make – unfortunately I am running out of time – is that I agree with the FF Plus on many things, even on history. I think we are on the same page. We cannot correct history by having a history of victors and victims. It won’t work. If we are to build a cohesive nation, we should have a balanced history that makes our kids better citizens than us and able to deal with problems. [Applause.]
On the question of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, my understanding is that there are processes and procedures that are followed. However, if there are difficulties, we will look into that.
We agree with what the hon member from Cope has said, but I don’t agree with her on the issue of private schools. You can’t commodify education to a fault, so that everybody can come and run a business at schools. Education is a right and you cannot commodify it, so I don’t agree with what the member is saying.
On multigrade teaching, I think what we should agree on is closing unviable schools, because multigrade schools are not effective. We should close them.
I agree with hon Boshoff on vetting and the role of Sace. I think we really have to work together to strengthen that. However, we also have to acknowledge that there is a role for communities to play.
Blocked pipes were mentioned, and opening them with a garden fork. Where do I come into that? Our work is to create policies, not to come from the Ministry and unblock toilets. [Applause.] What you should judge us on is whether we are able to provide the necessary budgets, policies and infrastructure to do those things. We don’t do it ourselves, or are you talking about a handyman?
Let me thank members very much. I couldn’t answer my home girl because ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms X S Tom): Order! I’m sorry, Minister, your time has expired.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: I could not answer the member from Limpopo because “ukufa kusembizeni”. So I would be accused of saying bad things about people. [Interjections.] The issue is with the person, not with the things she said. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 17:22.
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