ATC121123: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape Departments of Education, dated 20 November 2012
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic
Education on an oversight visit to
Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit to the
delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education conducted an oversight
visit from 28 31 October 2012 to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education
(Port Shepstone and Pinetown Regions) and Northern Cape Department of Education
purpose of this oversight visit was to assess the state of the National Senior
Certificate (NSC) examination readiness for 2012. This included assessing the
state of security systems for the printing, distribution and storage of examination
question papers as well as the procedures in place to conduct of the
examinations. The Committee also aimed
to provide support to departmental
teams and to ensure the delivery of successful and credible examinations, with
no or minimal irregularities.
In pursuit of the oversight
programme objectives, the delegation conducted working sessions with the Office
of the Head of Department, District and Senior Curriculum and Examinations
Officials as well as Organised Labour in the identified regions of the
provincial departments. The delegation also undertook site tours of printing,
packaging, distribution and storage facilities for the examination question
papers in order to obtain first hand knowledge of the state of security in
During 2010, the Committee undertook oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natals
Pinetown District as well as
other regions with the same
objective. The Committee observed that there were challenges relating to power
failures in some examination centres, as well as security measures, staffing
and conditions in storage facilities of the examination section (Report of the
Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on oversight visits to Provincial
Examination Centres, dated 16 November 2010). Part of the current oversight visit
to this district was to evaluate the progress made in addressing these issues.
In respect of the
report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction
with officials of the provincial departments and organised labour, and the Portfolio
Committees deliberations, observations and recommendations
2.1 National Portfolio Committee on Basic
Hon H H Malgas MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon N Gina MP
(ANC) (Whip), Hon Z S Makhubele MP (ANC), Hon F F Mushwana MP (ANC), Hon A
Lovemore MP (DA), Hon W Madisha MP (Cope) Hon A M Mpontshane MP (IFP), Mr D
Bandi (Content Advisor), Mr L Mahada (Researcher), Mr L A Brown (Committee
Secretary) and Ms S Ntabeni (Committee Assistant).
2.2 Provincial Portfolio Committee on Education
2.3 Provincial Portfolio Committee on Education
2.4 National Department of Basic Education:
Sechoaro, Ms M Fuzile and Ms N Msimanga.
2.5 KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education
Dr S N P Sishi, Mr E Mosuwe, Mr M Gwala, Ms J Dlamini,
Mr M Cele, Mr H Mcuma and Dr S Z Mbokazi.
2.6 Northern Cape Provincial Education
Ms G Cjiekella
Mr G T Pharasi, Ms A P Phuzi, Dr M Ismail, Mr H J Pekeur, Mr O S Stander,
Mr E Laban.
2.7 South African Democratic Teachers
2.8 National Professional Teachers Organisation
Mr H Sembisya, Mr D Snaar, Mr Strydom, Mr E Ramasehla,
Titus, Mr A Taunyane and Mr G
2.9 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU) Northern
2.10 Professional Educators
3. An Overview of the national examination
examination system in
4. Oversight in
Overview of Education in
The education system in
the Province was demarcated into four regions. Pinetown had the highest number
of learners while Umlazi had the highest number of educators with Vryheid
having the highest number of schools. This showed some anomalies where Pinetown
district had the highest number of learners with fewer schools than Vryheid
which had a high number of schools with fewer learners than Pinetown. This
raised serious questions around the distribution of learners and educators. In
the 2011 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination, the Province recorded a
68.1 percent pass, a decrease from the 70.7 percent pass in 2010. Most of the
districts experienced a slight decline in performance with only Sisonke and
Umzinyathi recording improvements. The lowest performing district was Obonjeni
at 55.3 percent while Umlazi was the highest performing at 77.0 percent.
5. Engagement with the Department of Education,
The Head of
Department (HOD) submitted apologies from the MEC for Education due to prior
commitments, as well as the members of the Provincial Portfolio Committee on
Education who were abroad. The HOD thanked the Portfolio Committee for the
opportunity to engage with the Department at this level. He reiterated that the
classroom remained the centre-piece for all activities of the Department;
remaining the focus area. The HOD spoke broadly about interventions from the
Department since 2010, the last visit by the Portfolio Committee. The Portfolio
Committee had raised the following issues, among others that required the
The issue of power
failures and their effect on examinations
Staffing there were too
many acting positions
Conditions in storage
to the above issues raised, the Department indicated that remedial action had
been taken as follows:
The Province made
preparations for back-up systems and the use of nearby areas with the
relevant infrastructure. Some schools in Ulundi had experienced power
failures but generators were on hand.
Appointments had been
secured in key positions in the Department (e.g. Senior General Manager,
General Manager: Examinations, Assessment and Quality Assurance, Manager:
Assessment, Accreditation and Certification, Manager: Examination
Administration and Manager: Quality Assurance). None of these managers
were in acting positions.
The Department had
installed cameras in all the critical areas of the examination section.
All materials in storage areas were removed and only question papers or
answer sheets were stored there.
Further, the Department
had also installed cameras in the loading areas at these facilities. All
material posing any risk had been removed from the storage facilities.
The 2012 National Senior Certificate Examination
Preparations during the year:
Department had been engaged with preparing learners for examinations from very
early in the year through the Matric Intervention Programme which included:
Studying previous learner performance and identifying
Schools who scored below 60 percent wrote a common
test and learner camps were established across the province
A study skills manual was developed to give learners
the necessary study and planning skills
The Department also had supplementary tuition e.g.
Saturday classes, Winter School Programmes and Spring Study Camps
facing the Department was that they had received no Occupation Specific
Dispensation (OSD) funds for adult and technical education. The Department
therefore reported over expenditure on personnel as funds were transferred from
other programmes to fund this item. The budget could be broken down into 75
percent - compensation, 9.8 percent - goods and services, 7.1 percent
transfers and subsidies, 6.3 percent buildings. A further challenge was the
backlog in respect of infrastructure.
Department boasted with at least 2.2 million learners who benefited from the
National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
The magnitude of the examination
magnitude and scope of
the 2012 National Senior Certificate Examination in
Number of candidates
Printed question papers
1 983 240
The Printing, Packing and Distribution of
The province had successfully printed, packed and
distributed the first consignment of question papers. The delivery of question
papers to district offices was done by a contracted company and the trucks were
escorted by a private security company and the South African Police Service.
The question papers were delivered to nodal points and then to examination
centres on a daily basis. The printing, packing and distribution of examination
material was in order and security measures were in place and sufficiently reliable
to protect the integrity of the examination.
Conduct of the Examinations:
The invigilators who supervised the
conduct of the examination in the province were trained on the rules of the
examination. Those educators who had close relatives writing the National
Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training Examination were not
involved in sensitive examination processes. This was done to protect the
integrity of the examination. All the Chief Invigilators and invigilators had
signed secrecy forms where they bound themselves to
the protection of examination information. All Chief
Invigilators and invigilators were officially appointed for the duration of the
National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training examinations. The
province used the Regulations pertaining to the conduct, administration and
management of the examination to manage irregularities. The examination was
monitored by district and provincial personnel. There were also external
monitors in the province (from DBE and Umalusi)
serious irregularities had been identified to date. In one instance a candidate
was found with crib notes. In the second instance, a principal denied learners
access to examinations claiming that they were not ready to write. Indications
were that the efforts of the districts and province to discourage examination
malpractices were effective.
Department reported that the provincial monitors had identified technical
irregularities which were dealt with immediately as they had no direct
potential to compromise the integrity of the examination.
: The province had completed the moderation of school based assessments.
The Committee heard that the province had benefited maximally from the comments
and evaluation of school based assessment practices by the National Department
of Basic Education and Umalusi. Another area for quality improvement was the
administration of a common Life Orientation Task which was written by all the
schools in the province.
The marking centres were
organised in such a way that a specific paper was marked at a particular centre
under the management of the Chief Marker. Markers marked specific questions to
allow for greater standardisation of marking and to avoid inter-marker and
intra-marker variations. The supervision at each level of the marking hierarchy
entailed moderation of the scripts that were marked. Internal moderators had
been appointed for each subject or paper at each marking centre. The National
Department would appoint external moderators and Umalusi would appoint
Letters of appointment
for markers would be released to districts on 31 October 2012. Marking would commence
on 1 December 2012. There was still the question of competency tests that needed
to be piloted in 2012. The results of these tests would inform the placement of
markers to questions of different cognitive demands. The training of Chief
Invigilators took place in September and the training of moderators would take
place on 26 October 2012.
The discussion and
finalisation of the memoranda would take place in
Processing and release of results:
After the completion of
marking, processes leading to the release of results would commence. These
processes included the capturing and computing of marks, standardisation, and
the final approval and release of results. The dates are as follows:
Completion of marking
14 December 2012
16 December 2012
21 December 2012
Checking of results by
23-27 December 2012
Final approval of
results by Umalusi
27 December 2012
Release of results
3 January 2012
analysis and providing feedback to the system:
The province would present
a detailed analysis of results per school and per district. The analytical
presentation of learner performance would form a qualitative feedback to the
system. This would be presented in the form of a booklet that contained all the
subjects. All schools would receive this document to ensure that educators could
improve their teaching of certain parts of the syllabus.
Workshops and seminars would be
conducted with teachers and subject advisors to share the findings of the 2012
examination qualitative and quantitative results. Underperforming schools would
be expected to contribute towards the improvement of learner performance by
accounting to the Head of Department by providing their improvement plans.
Finalising of irregularities:
The structures that coordinated the
handling and processing of irregularities in the province was the Provincial
Assessment and Examination Irregularity Committee (PAEIC). The PEIC ensured
that there was a consistent approach in handling irregularities in the twelve
districts. Each district had established the District Assessment and
Examination Irregularity Committee (DAEIC) which took responsibility for the
handling and finalisation of irregularities at district level. The
irregularities for the 2012 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and
Training would be finalised on 30 January 2013. Letters informing candidates of
the outcome would be released on 1 February 2013. All the appeals had to reach
the district offices on 16 February 2012 and all the appeals would reach
provincial examinations on 18 February 2013. The office of the MEC would deal
with the appeals and provide feedback to provincial examinations to communicate
to districts and schools.
Committee noted the following key issues and concerns regarding the state of
examination readiness in
The Committee commended
the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education for the thorough preparation for
the 2012 National Senior Certificate examination, which included preparing
learners early on in the year through intervention programmes and
addressing issues raised by the Committee in its previous oversight visit.
It was important that the
Department give the necessary support to those districts that had
performed poorly in the past.
There were huge
anomalies in the provinces in respect of the learner numbers vs. educator
numbers in the various districts. The Committee was concerned how this
impacted on the smooth running of the Department.
Also of concern were the
infrastructure backlogs and the budget for this backlog.
The Committee was
interested to know what systems were in place to give assistance and
support to Special Needs learners.
The issue of management
of leave needed to be addressed as there seemed to be different systems
used by different Departments. It was noted that the Auditor-General had
given the Department a qualified report in respect of leave management.
The Department needed to
give the Committee a much more comprehensive report in respect of Dinaledi
It was heartening to
establish that the Department did not employ any unqualified educators.
The NSNP was working
very efficiently in the Province though the Committee was concerned with
learners during weekends and holidays in respect of meals.
The Committee emphasised
that it was illegal to use the Capital Budget for funding personnel.
6. Engagement with District Officials Port
Shepstone (Ugu District)
507 registered public and independent schools in the District (491 ordinary
public, 16 ordinary independent and 3 special schools). The District had five
categories of schools i.e. primary, secondary, combined, and pre-primary and
LSEN. Schools were categorised in two Circuits with each Circuit being divided
into wards. Wards were managed by Superintendent of Education Managers (SEMs).
Each SEM had approximately 30 schools to manage with daily operations managed
by Circuit Managers. Unfortunately, schools in the district were not equally
distributed through the 17 wards thus creating a discrepancy in the number of
schools per ward.
was ready and prepared for the upcoming examination with all systems go and all
structures on board. The District was in control of the marking centres. All
principals attended workshops on the examinations arranged by the Department.
For inaccessible areas, the Department worked closely with the South African
Police Services to render the necessary support vehicles to distribute
material. The district unfortunately had a problem with not having sufficient
storage space. A major issue remained the weather. When it rained there were
areas that became inaccessible. All moderation of Schools Based Assessments was
completed. Invigilators had already been appointed in writing and had undergone
the necessary oath of secrecy.
achieving less than 60 percent wrote a common test in the critical subjects in
March 2012. The tests were analysed and feedback was given to subject advisors
with the necessary resultant interventions taking place. Tools were developed
for subject specialists to monitor the coverage of the curriculum. The
Department also supplied all districts with a 4X4 vehicle for the distribution
of material. There were plans in place to construct buildings, specifically for
the Department in the districts to mitigate the problems of space and storage.
The competency tests for markers remained a National programme and would be
implemented by the provincial department to enhance the caliber of markers.
7. Engagement with Unions (Port Shepstone)
7.1 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU)
Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU) indicated that they were satisfied with the
preparations by the Provincial Department for the final examinations. The
relationship that SAOU had with the provincial department was congenial. SAOU
also indicated that the curriculum coverage was properly monitored and learners
were ready and prepared for the examinations.
7.2 National Professional Teachers Organisation
The Committee was
heartened by the fact that all seemed in order in the District with few or
no weaknesses. A cause for concern was the issue of the insufficient
The Committee sought
reasons for the underperformance of the Dinaledi Schools in the district.
The Committee was
concerned over the significance of the competency test at this crucial
time of the year whether the test was well placed.
The Committee requested
that the Department supply them with the details pertaining to those
educators who were selected to do the testing of the question papers at a
National level. There was a feeling that schools connected to these
educators had an unfair advantage over others.
Unions and the
Department needed to engage with each other over the issues around the
setting and marking of the competency tests. The Committee was of the view
that it required an urgent briefing by the Department on regulations
pertaining to the competency testing.
8. Engagement with District Officials Pinetown
district had the following statistics in respect of centres and candidates:
Number of full-time centres
Number of full-time candidates
= 15 997
Number of part-time candidates
Total number of candidates
= 18 192
Number of deregistered centres
Number of Chief Invigilators
Number of exam monitors
of the 2012 ANA pilot analysis, the Department recorded a slight improvement in
the Grade 3 performance. According to the Department, the challenge was not with
the quality of learners but rather with the educators who lacked the required
content knowledge as one moved higher with Grades.
Distribution of Question Paper
In terms of
the guidelines, examination answer booklets had to be checked at the Nodal
points by examination personnel together with the Chief Invigilator to ensure
maximum safety, security and confidentiality of all scripts. Exam material for
both morning and afternoon sessions would be delivered to Nodal points at
06H00am each morning. Materials were unpacked and controlled against
acknowledgement provided. The original acknowledgement was retained by the
circuit officials and a copy returned to district officials. Circuit officials
ensured the safekeeping of question papers for both morning and afternoon
sessions. Chief invigilators verified that the correct package/s was received
before proceeding to the centres. The issuing of question papers and stationery
commenced from 07H00am for the morning session and 12H30pm for the afternoon session.
All 55 National
Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA) participated fully in the common tests.
The March/June test performance was presented to the District management
committee and subject targeted interventions were being implemented by FET.
Circuit management was focusing on proper school management for the creation of
favourable progress towards quality teaching and learning. The 2012 ANA Pilot
analysis was being discussed with schools. The Department was addressing the
issue of competent educators for correct subjects and correct classes.
The whole examination section
was separated from other sections. Access to the examination section was also
safe, with gates, CCVTC cameras; alarm systems linked to armed response and 24-hour
on-site security personnel. Question papers were stored in two strong rooms and
three store rooms. The loading zone was controlled through the electronic gate
and was wide enough for the trucks to enter.
The training of monitors and invigilators
focused on the manual but with emphasis on the moral obligation to ensure that learners
were ready for the examination and would be able to write a credible
examination. There were 120 monitors taking into account all Deputy Chief Education
Specialists (DCESs), Assistant Directors (ADs), First Education Specialists (FESs),
Superintendent of Education Management (SEMs), Chief Superintendent Education
Management (CSEMs) and Chief Education Specialists (CESs). For some of the
known centres the Department would apply the strategy of fixed monitors during
the examinations of specific subjects. Signing of secrecy forms by Chief
Invigilators would be undertaken on 21 August 2012.
Over the two
year period the Deparment had reduced the number of irregularities. Chief
invigilators whose centres were involved were not re-appointed. For centres
that were known for irregularities the Department appointed a camping monitor.
All monitors worked in teams led by ward managers.
Department held regular briefing meetings with SAPS during the examination
session. There were SAPS officials tasked to have regular checks on nodal point
strong rooms and distribution points. For Information Technology (IT) and Computer
Aided Technology (CAT) purposes the relevant centres would provide backups in
the event of power failure.
Of concern was the control of
scripts and their distribution between morning and afternoon sessions. There were
uncoordinated submissions and distribution of materials. There was a lack of
urgency in dealing with cases of misconduct by officials and the time taken to
conclude cases. A further concern was the delay in authorizing the removal of
old scripts from store rooms.
9. Engagement with Unions (Pinetown)
9.1 National Professional Teachers Organisation
9.2 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysunie (SAOU):
SAOU echoed the sentiments of NAPTOSA, they further indicated that many within
the Department and their membership had gone far beyond the call of duty to
ensure a smooth examinations period in the province. They were also in favour
of the competency tests as these guaranteed competent markers. SAOU also
indicated the concern that markers had not been informed as yet due to the
timing of the test.
9.3 South African Democratic Teachers
A concern for the
Committee was that learners who had failed the previous year were not
allowed to register as full time students the following year, but needed
to register as part-time candidates. This meant they did not have the
luxury of full-time classes which placed them at a disadvantage.
It was important to
understand the basis and rationale involved in de-registering an examination
centre and the criteria used for these centres to re-register.
Members were concerned
about the impasse with the ELRC in respect of the payment of markers.
Members also noted the concerns around the timing of the testing and the short
notification of markers selected.
The Committee was
interested in the broader picture in respect of teacher development and
the various programmes in place.
The Committee noted with
concern the challenge of not having a Subject Advisor for Mathematics.
10. Engagement with the Portfolio Committee on
Committee was informed that due to the size of the Legislature, Members of the
Provincial Legislature (MPLs) were spread thinly and needed to attend many
Committee meetings in the course of the day. Only three MPLs could join the
meeting due to others being tasked with attending meetings dealing with Annual
Reports during this period. Although the Provincial Portfolio Committee on
Education was satisfied with the performance of the Department, there remained
serious challenges in respect of Special Schools and staffing challenges. The
Provincial Portfolio Committee was satisfied with, and commended the Department
on the interventions on behalf of learners during the period of protest action.
Special Schools was a key focus area for the Provincial Portfolio Committee.
The Committee had submitted a report to the Legislature and was awaiting the
Department to action the recommendations in the Report. The Provincial
Portfolio Committee also recently engaged with the Department on the
state-of-readiness for the Matric Examinations; and was satisfied that the
Department was, in fact, ready for them. The Department had indicated that all
examination centres had been properly registered, a risk management strategy was
in place, question papers delivered on time and professional invigilators
appointed. An issue that needed to be addressed was that of implementing the plans
for promotion/progression and repeaters. Another question was the criteria used
for appointing moderators as many experienced moderators had been excluded.
There was a view that there needed to be a mix of experienced and new
moderators to prime them for the future.
11. Engagement with the Department of Education,
The MEC for
Education, Hon G Cjiekella, expressed her gratitude for the support from the
Portfolio Committee. She alluded to the protest action that had occurred and
reiterated that the issues protested about had nothing to do with Education, though
it was impacted on when learners were held back from attending schools. She
indicated the lengths the Department went to, to ensure the safety and
continued schooling of the affected learners. She also mentioned that a similar
briefing was given to the Portfolio Committee on Education in the legislature.
The Head of Department, Mr Pharasi indicated that as per the National
Department of Basic Education, the province was in the clear, without risks and
ready for the national examinations.
The State of
preparation for the November 2012 NSC Examination, the directorate responsible
for Examinations and Assessment in the Northern Cape underwent a
self-evaluation process, followed by the annual Monitoring of the State of
visit by the Department
of Basic Education (DBE) conducted from 20 - 21 August 2012. The DBE declared that
the Northern Cape Department of Education (NCDOE) was ready to administer the
NSC Examination in November 2012.
filled most of its vacant posts - 46 posts had been
filled in 2011/12 (including director, deputy director, deputy chief education
specialist, assistant director, two senior education specialists and one senior
education specialist per district). An examination unit was established in each
of the districts (two officials per district had undergone induction and
various training courses). The department was complimented for upgrading and
purchasing new machines, and proper access control systems to the printing
unit. The department was further commended for the establishment of nodal
points to reduce storage at schools, as well as infrastructure developments.
the province, 134 Examination Centres were registered for the approximately 11
420 registered candidates (9 281 full-time and 2 139 part-time). These could
further be broken down per district as follows:
John Taolo Gaetsewe
of learners registered in the nine affected schools was 425. Approximately 388 learners
were registered in camps (Warrenton Kultuur Oord - 360 and Langberg/S C Kearns
Camp 28). The
DBE conducted an audit on registration at the
end of August 2012.
Printing and Packing:
NSC question papers had been printed under strict security.
question papers were packed and sealed with newly acquired packing machines to
ensure minimal human contact under strict security. Question papers were packed
per subject, per paper, per centre including centres at risk (special camps).
Storage and Distribution:
Papers were stored centrally and
distributed, with armed security, to Nodal points on a weekly basis. The
Province had a total of 18 Nodal points servicing 112 schools (with 22 schools
which were delivered to directly). This meant that 112 out of 134 centres
receive their question papers on a daily basis. The province mitigated risk at
the 22 schools by deploying daily monitors to these 22 schools, with officials being
rotated. The storage period of question papers was substantially reduced from a
period of 3 weeks to 1 week.
Collecting, Control and Archiving of Scripts:
was in the process of constructing a new system administration building and a
warehouse to alleviate the problem of undue access of script management
officials in printing area. The province planned to split the different
sections on completion of the warehouse, but for 2012, scripts would be controlled
in the new packaging building. In enhancing control mechanisms for answer
booklets, the Northern Cape Department of Education (NCDOE) had introduced the
weekly delivery of stationery, which would be controlled on a stationery
control list. (In the past, stationary was delivered in two consignments). The
daily collection of scripts was done at the camps
DBE commended the NCDOE on the high security measures in place, which include
The integrity of staff (long history
and signed declarations of secrecy)
Buildings with proper security
Electronic Access control
Strong Rooms complying with all
Closed circuit camera surveillance
and recording in all buildings
Security personnel at all high risk
No History of Security Incidents
Monitoring and Conduct of Examinations:
Invigilators were trained on the conduct of the examination from the 6 - 24
August 2012. All monitors were trained from 1 12 October 2012. Circuit
Managers and other officials attended a workshop on examination processes
including dealing with irregularities, progressions and promotions in September
2012. All examination processes were monitored with a focus on the writing
phase of the examination by Province, DBE and Umalusi. Centres at risk would be
monitored on a daily basis.
School Based Assessment (SBA):
introduced a mid-year NSC SBA moderation that was conducted and monitored
(verified) from 9 - 13 July 2012 in the five respective districts. Portfolios/evidence
of 20 learners and educators were sampled from selected subjects from 10
schools per district. The provincial end of the year SBA moderation was conducted
from 20 26 October 2012, whereby learner evidence from all schools and all
subjects were moderated. The DBE and Umalusi monitored the provincial
moderation process. The capturing of the SBA marks would take place from the 1
- 19 November 2012. It was important that all centres submit an SBA mark, including
centres at risk. Special arrangements were made for Langberg learners to ensure
Three marking venues were identified
and contracted in
number of marking officials
End of Year Processes:
Provincial Irregularity Meeting was scheduled for 13 December 2012 and the
National Irregularity Meeting was scheduled for 18 December 2012. The DBE and
Umalusi Standardisation Meeting was scheduled for 21 December 2012 with the
printing of results scheduled for 29 and 31 December 2012. The release of
results and media briefing of the MEC was scheduled for 3 January 2012.
12. Engagement with Organised Labour Unions
12.1 National Professional Teachers Organisation
12.2 Professional Educators
13. In-loco Site Visits to Printing, Packaging
and Distribution Facilities
Apart from the
engagements with all the stakeholders in the districts visited, the Portfolio
Committee also undertook in-loco site visits to the printing, packaging and
distribution facilities at the Ugu and Pinetown District offices as well as
Kimberly in the
The Committee was very
impressed with the high standard and the heightened security at these
facilities. Members of the Committee were able to tour the factory floor and
gain first-hand knowledge of how the questions papers were printed, packaged
and ready for distribution. Members were taken through the procedures followed
when scripts were received from principals after the days writing and how these
scripts were collated, monitored and stored.
14. Committee Observations
Committee noted the following key issues and concerns regarding the state of
examination readiness in the Northern Cape:
The Committee was satisfied that the Northern Cape
Department of Education was ready and prepared to administer the National
Senior Certificate examination. The NCDOE had made the necessary preparations,
including the registration of learners and examination centres, the packing,
printing, storing and distribution of question papers under strict security controls.
The examination was also progressing well without major irregularities. During
the previous oversight visit to the Province at the beginning of October 2012,
Portfolio Committee applauded the efforts of the NCDOE, in collaboration with
relevant stakeholders, to create the necessary environment for learners
affected by the protest action in order to continue schooling at special
However, of concern to the Committee was the number of learners who had
had very little or no schooling for the period of the protest action and beyond.
To date some were still not receiving any tuition nor were they writing the examination.
The situation needed to be resolved speedily.
Competency tests for markers remained a contentious
issue. It was important that this issue be finalised as soon as possible
through engagements with all unions.
Members queried the reason for some schools being
allowed to store question papers at the school. What were the security issues
pertaining to this storage? How was the integrity and assessment of those who
handled the papers physically ascertained?
important that the province pronounced itself on the pass-one-pass-all
scenario. Questions were raised about possible protest action calling for
pass-one-pass-all Was the Department investigating this scenario?
The Committee noted the challenges in respect of
infrastructure that sparked the protest action and accepted that these formed
part of the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of municipalities. Plans were
in place to address these challenges, but due to budgetary constraints they could
not be rolled-out.
The costs of study camps were approximately R17
million and these were not budgeted for or planned.
The Committee advised the Department
during the previous oversight visit to approach the Provincial Treasury for
assistance in accessing additional funds.
It was important that schools develop their own
recovery plans, with the provincial department adapting work schedules, as well
as common task assessments. Curriculum coverage needed to be monitored very
Members were further concerned about possible
disruptions at marking centres.
Irrespective of the protest action, Members were
concerned with the low pass percentage for some of the districts generally.
It was essential that the dispute on the remuneration
of markers be resolved as soon as possible.
The Portfolio Committee agreed that it should meet
with Provincial Portfolio Committee Chairpersons at least once per term/quarter
to close gaps that exist and create synergy.
The Committee was concerned about reports that CAPS
textbooks for the Foundation Phase and Grade 10 were not delivered to some
schools in the Northern Cape and the impact that this had on teaching and
learning. It was important to receive a list of those schools who, to date, had
not received any textbooks for the Foundation Phase and Grade 10, as well as
Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having conducted the oversight visit to
KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape, and considered the issues that were
raised, makes the following recommendations:
of Education should ensure that:
is updated on plans to address the challenge of insufficient storage space for
examination material in Port Shepstone (Ugu District).
Northern Cape Department of Education should continue giving support into 2013
to learners who had very little or no
schooling for the period of the protest action. It is important that there be
consultation with the Northern Cape Department of Education to investigate how
the Province could find the necessary funding. A report on the Departments
learner support plans for 2013 should be submitted to Parliament within three
months of the adoption of this report.
issue of the competency tests for markers should be resolved as soon as
possible through engagements with all unions. A report in this regard should be
submitted to Parliament within three months of the adoption of this report by
the National Assembly.
dispute on the remuneration of markers should be resolved as a matter of
Northern Cape Department of Education should enquire about the allegations of the
non-delivery of textbooks and workbooks.
15.6 The allegations
made by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education of not receiving the
Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) allowances are investigated and the
necessary procedures be put in place to ensure that the Department receives its
OSD allowances in accordance with the relevant regulations.
Report to be
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