ATC120904: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an Oversight visit to the Northern Areas, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, dated 28 August 2012

Basic Education

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an Oversight Visit to the Northern Areas, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, dated 28 August 2012

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an Oversight Visit to the Northern Areas, Port Elizabeth , Eastern Cape , dated 28 August 2012.

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Northern Areas, Port Elizabeth , Eastern Cape from 19 – 20 June 2012, reports as follows:

1. Introduction

As an ongoing theme within the Portfolio Committee, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education has undertaken to visit Provinces and Districts to continually monitor and oversee the work of Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) in respect of schools in their Districts, throughout the year. The Portfolio Committee received information regarding problems being experienced at schools in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape . These included the possible closure of schools, protest action by members of the community, picketing and a march of various stakeholders in the community. Although the Portfolio Committee had not conducted oversight in these areas to date, it was important to meet with all the relevant stakeholders in the affected area and to make an evaluation, including monitoring and oversight.

The oversight visit also involved the National Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department (ECPED), District Officials, School Management Teams, Ministers Fraternal, Organised Labour and School Governing Bodies.

The main objective of the visit was to assess the gravity of the challenges being faced in the affected areas, gain first-hand experience and information from those affected and give the necessary support and advice in dealing with the challenges.

2. Composition of the delegation

2.1 The Parliamentary Delegation

The delegation from the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education comprised of Hon H H Malgas MP (Chairperson) (ANC), Hon F F Mushwana MP (ANC), Hon A C Mashishi MP (ANC), Hon A Lovemore MP (DA), Hon W Madisha MP (Cope), Hon N M Kganyago MP (UDM), Hon A M Mpontshane MP (IFP), Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Mr L Mahada (Parliamentary Researcher) and Mr L Brown (Committee Secretary).

2.2 Stakeholders

2.2.1 Department of Basic Education – Mr H M Mweli, Mr S Mafoko, Mr M R Tywakadi and Ms B Qonongo

2.2.2 Eastern Cape Education Department – Mr I Assam , Ms B Biko and Mr L Hechter.

2.2.3 Port Elizabeth District Office – Mr M Leonard, Mr W A H Shene, Mr J T Tutu, Ms N M Mtulu, Ms N Mali, Mr S Strimling, Mr K Boswell, Ms L Goba, Ms B T Matroos and Ms M Mbaco

2.2.4 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) – Ms M Nono, Mr D Kamutoe, Ms N Ngubelanga, Mr S C Zamisa, Mr M H Dukwe, Mr Z K Mdani, Mr K Mangam and Mr R Mtynaru.

2.2.5 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU) – Ms B van der Walt

2.2.6 National Professional Teacher Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) – Mr A Adams, Mr P Du Preez, Mr D Erasmus and Mr N Paulsen.

2.2.7 Bethelsdorp School Governing Body Forum and Ministers Fraternal – Mr D T Lewis, Ms A P Njomane, Mr A J Smith, Mr W Francis, Mr C Didloft, Ms R Joseph, Ms Y Jonkers, Pastor T L Strydom, Mr F J Joseph, Pastor N Goldman and Prophet A Sauls.

For the record, the Portfolio Committee received an apology from the Director-General, Mr B Soobrayan, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Legislature, Hon M Mrara and the District Director, Dr N Ntsiko.

3. Engagements with the National Department of Basic Education, the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department and District Officials

Presentations to the Portfolio Committee covered the following areas where challenges were being faced:

· Human Resources

· Finance

· Infrastructure


· Schools Nutrition and Transport

3.1 Human Resources

The status of temporary educators in Port Elizabeth stood at 1 836. The temporary educators retention was 111 (1 222 Head Office) with 99 paid and 12 unpaid. New temporary educators stood at 155 (614 Head Office) of which six had no indication of being approved. The Portfolio Committee received a breakdown of the retention of temporary educators which also showed those who were re-instated and actions being taken in this regard. The Portfolio Committee also received a breakdown of all cases involving temporary educators and the status of those cases. There was a further breakdown in respect of the appointment of Post Level 1temporary educators against substantive vacant promotions. A list showed that although schools were granted new temporary educators for various subjects; none had been instated.

The Portfolio Committee further received detailed information of schools in respect of the following:

· Protected temporary educators

· Unqualified educators

· Vacancies

· The status of Fundza Lushaka Bursary Holders

The budget for substitute educators for Primary schools stood at R 5 077 602.00 while that of the Secondary schools stood at R 3 259 149.00. The province had 154 Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centres where 14 educators had not received their salaries. Of the 14, eight had their documents forwarded to head office for payment and six had incomplete documents. In the 248 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres; 238 ECD practitioners had not received their salaries with an additional 78 practitioners who were awaiting approval.

Some educators, appointed for their professional skills, were over 65 years of age and needed to receive the necessary approval for their appointments. Schools also experienced problems with the validation of qualifications of foreign educators, as well as work-permit challenges.

3.2 Finances

It was mentioned that there had been a major change in respect of payments made through the Finance Section. All documentation needed to be forwarded to Head Office and then to be sent to Treasury for approval and authorisation. This process was cumbersome and time consuming. It was mentioned that the focus of the Finance Section was that of retired educators whereby their salaries had to be paid manually with additional administration. Another challenge was the payment of outstanding allowances due to employees. This issue was being addressed. It was mentioned in respect of payments of creditors that they were authorised on a weekly basis. For payments to be effected, it was necessary that all invoices and documents were received. Currently the payments to creditors were up-to-date.

3.3 Infrastructure

A major issue was the challenge in respect of human settlements, and the influx of learners to schools in the area. It was mentioned that the area would need at least 22 new schools to be built. Of the schools in the area, at least 18 needed emergency repairs, 83 needed major renovation with at least 82 schools needing fencing. After two schools had burnt down, there was no assistance to have them rebuilt. In the Coega area there was only one primary school built from prefab material with an enrolment of 1 300 learners. The Joe Slovo area was a new area which had class overcrowding with a ratio of 1-80. It was further mentioned that Greenfields was in need of a high school.

In Port Elizabeth there were 295 schools broken down as follows:

· Farm Schools - 15

· Pre-Primary Schools - 13

· Special Schools - 13

· Independent Schools - 27

· Ordinary Primary - 257

· Ordinary Secondary - 70

A further breakdown of the schools in Port Elizabeth showed the following:

· No fee schools - 164

· Section 21 schools - 163

· Section 20 schools - 137

· SA School Administration and Management System (SA SAMS) Schools - 172

ü Primary Schools - 128

ü Secondary Schools - 44

Schools per Quintile were as follows:

· Quintile 1 - 0

· Quintile 2 - 9

· Quintile 3 - 95

· Quintile 4 - 50

· Quintile 5 - 86

In respect of the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) there was an indication that all schools had received the necessary LTSM. All primary schools received workbooks, although there were shortages in English and Afrikaans workbooks.

3.4 School Nutrition and Scholar Transport

School Nutrition:

The current status of the school nutrition programme was as follows:

· The number of schools feeding: 77 (17 Secondary and 59 Primary/Farm)

· The number of learners benefiting: 35 756

· Meal servers: 258

· Schools benefiting from July 2012: 60

The Portfolio Committee was alerted to some of the challenges in respect of the nutrition programme which included:

· The poor submission of financial reports

· The lack of financial management

· The monitoring process

· Limited Resources – Human and Physical (Transport)

To deal with the above challenges, the Department ensured that the School Nutrition Programme Team visited non submitting schools and ensured that the Education Development Officers (EDO`s) assisted with school monitoring. It was important that School Governing Bodies (SGB`s) were taken on board regarding financial management. Further financial management training was identified for the School Management Team (SMT’s) and Finance Officers . There was a need to supplement human resources where needed.

Scholar Transport:

There were 14 schools who received approval for scholar transport with only 13 benefiting currently. There were 18 operating service providers covering 14 routes with 29 pick-up points. The total number of approved learners for this year stood at 1 045 learners with a waiting list of applications standing at 1 200 learners. In respect of human resources there was a need to employ a Senior Education Specialist, and for transport there was a need for a vehicle to conduct monitoring. Other challenges included:

· Service providers not having received payment for March – June 2011

· The relocation of families to Motherwell (N.U.29) whilst learners were attending at Vukani Bantu School which was more than 20km’s from where they lived which created new routing and transport requirements

· The reduction in numbers resulted in non-operation at D.D.T. Jabavu Senior Secondary School as the community felt strongly that all deserving learners had to be transported to school.

In respect of the above challenges, it was indicated that Head Office were informed of a R638 000.00 allocation for payment of service providers. There were 250 forms completed by schools and submmitted to Head Office – these needed verification of kilometers and confirmation of any schools in the vicinity. The Department of Roads and Transport and DDT Jabavu Senior Secondary School negotiated and reached a consensus to resume transport in the third term.

In responding to some of the concerns highlighted, the Department stated that much of the concerns were not policy issues but issues of implementation. Although the Eastern Cape accounted for a significant portion of the National drop-out rate of 17.1percent, the repetition rate was not properly captured. Many learners left Grade 9 and enrolled at FET Colleges. The Department was engaged with vacation classes and winter schools which were running parallel to the CAPS training programme. It was indicated that the Eastern Cape was leading in respect of schools that were not educationally viable. This unfortunately meant that the merging of schools would be effected. It was stated that the Department was facing many challenges and was neither effective nor efficient. The attrition rate within the Department was very high. The Department was attempting to move forward in respect of the payment all temporary educators. Part of the challenge was that parents did not register their children within the stipulated times, which affected the post-provisioning norms. Regarding the payment of tranches (allocations) the problem was that schools operated within the calendar year, whereas the Department operated within the financial year. There had been numerous occasions where schools’ banking payments were returned resulting in non-payment.

4. Engagements with Schools Governing Bodies and the Ministers Fraternal

It was reported that 51,000 learners where negatively affected by the problems in the District. From their research it was estimated that SGB’s were paying approximately R 1, 2 million for temporary educators at 10 schools. It was estimated that in 10 schools there were at least 50 temporary educators appointed. There were an estimated number of 20 educators who were not appointed. It was further indicated that funds for scholar nutrition had not been transferred. Classes remained overcrowded as there had been an influx of learners to the district. Transport services for some schools in the area were not consistent.

The SGB forum was appointed as there had been no progress in dealing with the challenges faced. Officials continued to give numerous undertakings without any substance. Of the initiatives employed by the forum these included picketing, prayer meetings and a march. The demands put forward by the SGB Forum included:

4.1 Personnel / Staff

· Back dated payment for and payment of all serving educators

· The permanent appointment of educators

· The appointment of support staff

· Providing a teacher for every class

· Eradicating overcrowding in schools

4.2 Finance

· The transfer of funds that are due to schools

· Cash payments/paper budgets

· The nutrition programme

4.3 Infrastructure

· School infrastructure to receive the necessary immediate attention.

· Some schools were built to last for 10 years – but were at least 61 years old

4.4 Administrative

· The correct delivery of LTSM

· The correct quintile classification

· Issuing an inclusive staff establishment

4.5 Curriculum

· A need for urgent attention to mother tongue instruction

The SGB Forum was of the view that there were obstacles to creating good schools. There were extensive resource shortages, both practical and financial. There was also a lack of leadership at District as well as school levels. Bureaucracy issues were frustrating initiatives and implementation. The broad concerns of the SGB Forum were the quality of education, quality educators, improved infrastructure and commitment to budgets.

To overcome many of the challenges faced, the SGB Forum was of the view that there was a need to strengthen district offices by creating engagement and capacity – as well as strengthening partnerships. They also felt that there was a need to create successful pilot schools.

5. Engagements with Organised Labour

The Portfolio Committee also held a special meeting with the following Unions:

· The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)

· Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU)

· The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA)

It was mentioned that at many schools there were Grade R educators attached though in actual fact there were no Grade R educators appointed at the identified schools - which lead to posts being vacant since there were no posts allocated to these schools. Of concern to the unions was the continued failure to resolve the temporary teachers issue in the District and the entire province. Temporary educators were terminated in December 2011 – and included unqualified educators, under-qualified educators as well as educators protected by the collective agreements of 2008. Of further concern was the divide in respect of class size between rural and urban areas, the non-appointment of substitute educators and the norms and standards in respect of school funding. Some schools were forced to become Section 21 Schools without capacitating the principals affected. The realignment/rationalisation of schools also had a negative impact, particularly in rural areas. A further concern was the restructuring of the Department and Districts to be in line with municipal boundaries.

It was felt that there needed to be one National Association of SGBs to reduce the current number. Of concern was the hostel allowance for supervisors that was not being received. It was requested that the moratorium on the filling of office-based educator posts be lifted. There was a need for clarification and direction in respect of pre-primary educators and practitioners. Another issue was the outstanding strike monies of the 2010 issue that needed to be resolved.

6. Recommendations

It was agreed that the Department would look into all concerns identified and have them resolved within 10 days of the date of the oversight. Those not resolved within the 10-day timeline would need to have timeframes for completion attached. The Department should report back to the Portfolio Committee on its progress.

The Portfolio Committee recommended that unions submit their concerns in writing to the Committee. These would form part of the Committee Report which would highlight all concerns with recommendations. The Department would have to act on all the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee within agreed upon timeframes.

Report to be considered.


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