ATC160526: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal dated 24 May 2016
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal dated 24 May 2016
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal, reports as follows:
1. Introduction and Background
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, in conjunction with the Select Committee on Education and Recreation, conducted oversight visits to the Umzinyathi Education Districts in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) from 25 – 29 January 2016.
- The primary purpose of the oversight visits was to assess the state of school readiness for 2016 in the Province and the District, as well as to oversee the implementation of key priority areas. There was an additional need to provide support to the Provincial Education Department (PED), the District and schools in finding effective solutions to the challenges being faced.
- The framework for the oversight was guided by key interventions and priorities for the Basic Education sector set out in major government plans to ensure that enabling conditions for quality teaching and learning are established. In this regard, the Portfolio Committee’s oversight sought to focus primarily on the following:
- The state of the school environment;
- The state of the admission and registration of learners;
- The provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM);
- Staff establishments (Post-Provisioning Norms);
- School Improvement Plans;
- The management and availability of learner transport;
- The management and availability of the School Nutrition Programme to qualifying learners;
- The functionality of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and School Management Teams (SMTs);
- The state of the school’s infrastructure and ICT; and
- The availability of school furniture.
- In giving impetus to the resolve to prioritise oversight in schools and Districts with the most challenges, the Portfolio Committee selected the KwaZulu-Natal and its District and schools based on their performance in the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. As in 2014, KwaZulu-Natal experienced the steepest decline in the results of all the provinces in 2015 and was the second lowest performing province at 60.7 per cent. KwaZulu-Natal’s pass rate decreased by nine per cent from 2014. The Province had registered the highest number of candidates at 200 945, out of the overall national cohort of 799 306. Based on these results, there was a clear need to pay particular attention to the Province, with a view to supporting them in finding solutions.
- As part of the oversight, the Portfolio Committee received briefings from senior officials of the Provincial Department of Education and District Officials, the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Provincial Legislature and key stakeholders such as Organised Labour on aspects of school readiness. The Portfolio Committee also conducted in-loco site visits to schools where members held meetings with stakeholders in order to learn first-hand the state of school readiness and to discuss the challenges faced by schools with a view to finding solutions. The Committees visited a total of 12 schools, 10 senior secondary schools and two primary schools, where Members held meetings with stakeholders in order to learn first-hand the state of school readiness and to discuss the challenges faced by schools.
- This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with stakeholders, officials of the National and Provincial Departments as well as the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.
- Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon N Gina, MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon H D Khosa, MP (ANC), Hon T M Z Khoza, MP (ANC), Hon D Mnguni, MP (ANC), Hon G Davis, MP (DA), Hon C T Msimang, MP (IFP) and Hon C N Majeke, MP (UDM). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr L A Brown (Committee Secretary), Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Ms S Ntabeni (Committee Assistant), Mr M Kekana (Parliamentary Researcher) and Ms R Azzakani (Parliament Communications Unit).
- Select Committee on Education and Recreation: Hon L L Zwane, MP (Chairperson) (KwaZulu-Natal), Hon P C Samka, MP, (Eastern Cape), Hon L Mathys, MP (Gauteng), Hon M Khawula, MP (KwaZulu-Natal), Hon T K Mampuru, MP (Limpopo), Hon L C Dlamini, MP (Mpumalanga), Hon D M Stock, MP (Northern Cape) and Hon T G Mpambo-Sibhukwana, MP (Western Cape). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr M Dlanga (Committee Secretary), Mr L Komle (Content Advisor), Ms L Stofile (Parliamentary Researcher) and Mr G Mankay (Committee Assistant).
- KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Education: Hon L Hlongwa MPL (Chairperson), Hon Z Mlaba MPL, Hon J Sibiya (MPL), Hon T P Mthethwa (MPL), Hon N Boyce (MPL), Hon S Rajbansi MPL, Hon M R Shah (MPL), Hon T Mkhize (MPL), and Hon V Mlotshwa MPL,. Provincial Legislature Staff consisted of Mr M Mkwanazi (Committee Coordinator), Mr X Sithole and Mr T Ngcobo (Researcher).
- National Department of Basic Education: Mr J Ndlebe: Director, Ms E Mamathuba: Deputy Director, Mr L G Mudau: Chief Education Specialist, Mr N Baloyi: Project Manager, Ms M Mini: Deputy Director, Dr R Venketsamy: Education Specialist, Mr A Subban: Director, Mr A Lebepe: Education Specialist, Dr P Langa: Acting Director, Mr M Ramahuma: Office of the Minister, Mr J Ngcobo: Deputy Director, , Ms S Behane: Chief Education Specialist, Mr H Karimulla: Acting Director, Ms P Mdontswa: Deputy Director, and Mr L Mahada (Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Office of the Director General).
- KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department: Dr N Sishi: Head of Department, Mr M Dlamini: Deputy Director, Dr B Mthembu: General Manager, Mr T Mbanjwa: Senior Manager, Mrs T A Gumede: General Manager, Dr T Zakwe: Manager, Dr B A Makhathini: Senior Manager, Dr H Z Mhlane: Senior Manager, Mr B Naidoo: Education Specialist, Ms B T Dlamini: Acting General-Manager, Mr S D Mauganye: Senior Manager, Mr W M Sibiya: District Director, Rev M K Sithole: District Director, Mr D S Chonco: Director, Mr M J Mazibuko: District Director, Ms T C Vilakazi: District Director, Ms S Mandraj: District Director, Ms M Thusi: Director, Ms T Aiyer: Senior Manager, Mrs N Maikoo: Senior Manager, Mrs C Browne: Senior Manager, Ms R Bobat: Deputy Manager, Mrs T P Khoza: Director, Ms L Ngunabe: Circuit Manager, Mr M V Majola: Director, Mr C D Mqadi: Acting District Manager, Ms X Thompson: Senior Communications Officer, Mr S Keswa: Education Specialist, Mr M Thabethe: Education Specialist, Ms S Zakuza-Njakazi: Director, Dr B A Mjoli: Education Specialist, Ms P Mfeka: Education Specialist, Dr M Chatrooghoon: Education Specialist, Ms Z Buthelezi: Education Specialist, Dr H P Gumede: Chief Director, Mr S D Manganye: Director, Mr M V Majola: Director, Mrs N Ndlela: Deputy Manager, Mrs J Baiju: District Director, Mr W Du Plooy: District Director, Mr E B Ndaba: Education Specialist, Ms H J Mthembu: Education Specialist, Mr B Ntuli: District Director, ,Mr D J Sibisi: District Director, Mr S P Hadebe: Assistant Manager, Mr W M Mahlambi: Director, Mrs N Ndlela: Acting Manager, Mr S W Mlotshwa: District Manager, Mr M A Mqadi: Deputy Manager (Office of the MEC), Mr R Sadaw: Education Specialist, Mr J S Myeza: Education Specialist, Mr R P Cele: Education Specialist and Ms Z Majola: Education Specialist.
- South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU): Mr P M Duma: Chairperson, Mr N Nyembe: Education Convener, Ms O D Sibiya: National Coordinator, Ms P Caluza: Provincial Secretary, Ms P N Hlatywayo: Provincial Convener, Mr S Gwala: Provincial Administrator and Ms B N Malakoane: Branch Secretary
- National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA): Mr A Pierce: Official, Mrs T Moodley: Official,
- National Teachers Union (NATU): Mr M Nkabini: Regional Chairperson and Mr S Mene: Provincial Organiser.
- Independent Electoral Commission (IEC): Mr V G Mashinini: Chairperson, Mr M Moepya: Chief Electoral Officer, Mr M Kelembe: Manager, Mr T Tselane: Vice Chairperson, Judge T Makhanya: IEC Judge, Mr B Finica: Commissioner and Adv. S Ngwenya: Senior Legal Officer.
3. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in the KwaZulu-Natal Province (Umzinyathi District)
The oversight visit to the Umzinyathi Education District started in Durban on 25 January 2016 and progressed to the Umzinyathi Education District from the 26 – 28 January 2016. The oversight visit concluded with a debriefing session/report back in Durban on 29 January 2016. The Committees had meetings and school visits as follows:
- A meeting with the MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, the Head of Department in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department, the Portfolio Committee on Education in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, the National Department of Basic Education, Senior officials in the Office of the Head of the Provincial Education Department and Senior Provincial and District officials;
- A meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Education, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature;
- A meeting with Organised Labour;
- Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Mqamathi Senior Secondary School;
- Dlabesuthu Senior Secondary School;
- Dumaphansi Senior Secondary School;
- Cabangokuhle High School;
- Sibumba Primary School;
- Fundokuhle High School;
- Mpikayizekanye Senior Secondary School;
- Bathembu Senior Secondary School;
- Bhekisizwe Senior Secondary School; and
- Maceba Senior Secondary School.
- A wrap-up/debriefing session with the MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal, the Head of Department (HOD) in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department, the Portfolio Committee on Education in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature, the National Department of Basic Education, Senior officials in the Office of the Head of the Provincial Education Department and Senior Provincial and District officials.
- Meeting with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department.
The MEC for Education, Hon Peggy Nkonyane, in her opening remarks welcomed the Committees to the Province and apologised for her and the Head of Department having to be excused to attend a roundtable discussion on provincial performance with a view to developing a turnaround plan for the province.
As the political head of the Department of Education in the Province, the MEC indicated that she took full responsibility for the poor performance in the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results. She acknowledged that the strategy they had enforced lacked the necessary detail and had no appropriate monitoring tool. She promised that the Department, having learned from its past mistakes would ensure that the latest strategy would be scaled up and enhanced. She indicated that the major challenges for the Province were the following:
- A shortage of Mathematics educators;
- Crucial posts that remained vacant and to be filled;
- The Province was huge with vast distances between Districts;
- An increase in the attrition rate at schools;
- Vacant principal posts; and
- Scarcity of resources.
All the various Districts were allowed to give the Committees a broad overview and synopsis of the District and the challenges as well as strategies in place to deal with these challenges. They reported as follows:
3.1.1 Umlazi District – The District had been following an intervention plan for some time – improving on the implementation of plans. The plan, sequentially had three legs as follows:
- Functionality, effective management and governance of schools;
- Supply of critical resources; and
- Subject advisory services.
In terms of the functionality and effective management of schools, the District prioritised that all its schools had principals since they were the determining factor in any school. It was also important that principals be capacitated in terms of the overall management of schools. The District was of the view that educator development plans needed to be informed by the challenges raised by its Circuit Managers in order to respond to these challenges. There was a challenge in the District in respect of Curriculum management since principals believed in the notion that this aspect resides with the Office of the HOD. Principals did not understand their core duties of Curriculum delivery to schools. It was important that principals showed leadership and attended to issues such as the monitoring of learner attendance and late-coming.
It was important that schools protected and safe-guarded notional time since there were too many departmental circulars from directorates/sub-directorates for educators to attend meetings. The District enjoyed a good relationship with Organised Labour with regular engagements. The District also reported a lack of human resources in the Department. There was a need to ensure that educators were correctly placed and matched the subjects they taught. The District also experienced shortages of educators in critical posts. As Funza Lushaka bursars changed from their initial studies at universities, many were not suited for the subjects they taught.
Other challenges noted included:
- A lack of capacity by newly placed educators;
- A lack of capacity to administer School-Based Assessments;
- The progression of learners through a blanket process by the Department; and
- Insufficient support programmes for progressed learners which also lacked funding.
- Committees Observations:
- Members raised concerns over the challenges experienced with the District submission of School-Based Assessment reports to the Province.
- Members were concerned that there were schools where learners lacked an educator in class.
- Members mentioned that, after previous visits, intervention programmes were developed but not implemented.
- Members raised concerns over the six-month cycle for contract in respect of the NSNP – and that there had been no appointments made for the following cycle to date.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that official circulars and invitations to meetings be minimized and channeled via one central office.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the filling of vacant posts in schools in the Districts be prioritised.
3.1.2 Ugu District – The District experienced a drop in results of 12.2 per cent. The District attributed this to critical vacancies not having been filled in the last four years. These included Circuit Managers and Subject Advisors. The District was of the view that leadership at top management was lacking. The District also mentioned that experienced Foreign Educators were being replaced by inexperienced Funza Lushaka Bursars who lacked content knowledge. There was a request that there be proper delegation of duties to District level officials. For a period of three months there was little or no teaching at schools in the District with little or no intervention from the Department and leadership. Leadership within the Department had been weakened to the extent that the Department was not functioning.
The District proposed a Provincial Education Lekgotla whereby the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation should preside. It was felt that there was a complete disregard for education policies and processes with the Department not in control of education in the Province; but Organised Labour. . The Department needed to ensure that Organized Labour did not take over its management responsibilities.
Further challenges reported included the following:
- Too many small/non-viable schools in the District;
- A shortage of qualified teachers;
- A breakdown in school governance;
- No accountable measures or disciplining of officials who flouted laws;
- The SGB’s role in the appointment of principals; and
- Blanket progression of learners with no clear support strategies.
- Committees Observations:
- Members raised concerns over the move to replace experienced foreign educators with new, inexperienced educators who lacked the desirable content knowledge.
- Members raised concerns that there seemed to be no interaction between the Department (Head-office) and Districts.
- Members were concerned that there was a view that the Department was flouting national policies.
- Members were concerned that there was a view that Organised Labour had taken over the responsibilities of the Provincial Department.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that issues pertaining to staffing and vacancies be priorities for schools.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the new educators entering the system receive the necessary phasing-in, capacitation and monitoring.
3.1.3 Umgungundlovu District – The District reported that they took steps to twin underperforming schools with schools that performed better. The District had identified areas where they fell short in areas such as quality assessments. The District was proposing that progressed learners should be registered as private candidates. The District was of the view that the manner in which common tests were set did not prepare learners adequately for final examinations. Excess teachers created instability within the schooling system and required attention. Educators were not being attracted to rural schools as the rural incentive had been discontinued – many had requested to be transferred. Other challenges included the following:
- There were no funds to employ security guards at the school; and
- The capping of kilometers for officials negatively affected monitoring visits and support for schools.
- Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned that new educators to the system had content knowledge gaps and were not receiving the necessary mentoring, training and development.
- Members raised a further concern that the prescribed kilometers for monitoring of schools had been capped and that there was a one-size-fits-all approach to the allocation of kilometers for Districts.
- The Committees observed the call for extra high schools in the District.
- A concern was raised that SGBs, service providers and co-ops were not receiving the necessary training and development to manage the National School Nutrition Programme.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that all new educators in the system receive the necessary mentoring, training and development.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that issues pertaining to the capping of kilometers, including the profiling of Districts, for monitoring be re-evaluated with the view to increase the prescribed kilometers.
- The Provincial Department should investigate the feasibility of establishing additional high schools in the District.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that service providers and co-ops receive the necessary training and development in managing the National School Nutrition Programme.
3.1.4 Uthungulu District – The District mentioned that the year-on-year declaration of excess teachers created instability in the school system. The District has a shortage of Mathematics educators. The District has a large number of schools that practice multi-grade teaching. The District indicated challenges with procuring LTSM for Section 21 Schools and had to ensure that there was evidence of procurement. Schools had not reached the point of one-learner one textbook. The District had, to date, not appointed a service provider for the NSNP.
- Committees Observations:
- Members queried whether the District had submitted representation in respect of post provisioning to the Department.
- Members were interested to hear of any intervention plans by the District in dealing with past service delivery protests which impacted negatively on schooling in the District.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that service providers for the NSNP are appointed as soon as possible.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that vacant post in the school PPN will be addressed speedily.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that schools are assisted with LTSM procurement where there are shortages.
3.1.5 Zululand District – The District indicated that the turnaround strategy started very late and the District did not receive much cooperation from the Department. The District was of the view that the Department wanted to do too much, too fast without the necessary monitoring. District vacancies were mainly at the District level and this hampered service delivery to schools by officials of the District. The District cautioned that the merging of non-viable schools had budgetary implications. The District was of the view that schools needed to implement the retrieval policy for LTSM. Other challenges in the District were as follows:
- There were limited funds for scholar transport;
- There was limited accommodation of progressed learners at schools;
- Payments to service providers for NSNP services were received too late; and
- Educators resigned in large numbers for financial reasons.
- Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned that the Province was named a Mathematics Province although schools were not receiving the necessary support from the Department to realize this.
- Members noted the concerns around the vacancies at District level that were hampering service delivery and support to schools.
- The Committees raised concerns around the unavailability of funds for scholar transport.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that issues pertaining to staffing and vacancies be priorities for schools.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that funds were made available for scholar transport for learners in the District.
3.1.6 Ilembe District – The District acknowledged that they performed poorly and accepted responsibility for this. The District did the necessary analysis of the results and was working on a turnaround strategy for the District schools. The main focus of the strategy would focus on Curriculum management and implementation. The District was of the view that the matter of progressed learners was a systemic matter and required intervention at all levels in the system. The District mentioned that there was a shortage of Subject Advisors for schools in the District. Communities were dissatisfied with the merging and closing of schools (small/non-viable). Further challenges included:
- A large number of educators were on long leave which caused “double parking”;
- Many principals also held leadership positions in Organised Labour (which made them to be away from work for long periods of time);
- The implementation of the LTSM retrieval policy was non-existent;
- There was a need for accountability and consequences for perpetual underperforming principals;
- Scholar transport was inadequate – there was a need for more busses and routes;
- To date, there had been no extension of contracts with service providers for the NSNP;
- There were shortages of furniture at schools; and
- There was non-availability of educators willing to teach in rural schools.
188.8.131.52 Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned about the low teacher morale at schools in the District.
- Members noted that District Officials were helpless with no platform to voice their concerns.
- Members noted with concern the lack of consequence at all levels in the system.
- Members were further concerned regarding the challenges raised with leave management in the Department.
- Members noted the need for more Subject Advisor positions to be filled as a matter of urgency.
184.108.40.206 Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department should ensure that teacher morale is boosted for better delivery.
- The Provincial Department should create a platform for District officials to have an opportunity to voice their concerns.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that there are consequences for perpetual underperformers.
- There should be an improvement in the leave management system in the Department (from the Province to the school level).
- Subject advisor positions should be filled with competent candidates.
3.1.7 Amajuba District – The District’s main challenge was budgetary challenges, with the budget being reportedly cut by almost half for Goods and Services. The capping of kilometers for monitoring schools was a challenge. The District experienced instability at schools.. There were fights between educators which created an environment of instability and low teacher morale. Some educators were reportedly ill-disciplined and they did not follow instructions from their principals.
- Committee observations
- The capping of kilometers for monitoring of schools was a challenge.
- The ill-discipline of teachers and fighting between teachers was creating instability and needed to be resolved as soon as possible.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that disciplinary measures are put in place and implemented where necessary.
- The Provincial Department should review the capping of kilometers for monitoring of schools.
3.1.8 Pinetown District – Although the District performed poorly in comparison to the previous year, the District was of the view that staff were committed and had huge potential to improve. Challenges faced by the District included the following:
- Instability in the District in terms of leadership;
- Exit of senior, experienced officials who were not being replaced;
- Several critical vacancies not being filled;
- Increased enrollment at schools;
- Newly appointed educators having a content gap with little experience;
- Scholar transport being restricted by the policy on kilometers;
- Issues of safety and security at schools; and
- Subject combination restrictions disadvantaged learners.
- Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned over the lack of leadership and instability in the District.
- Members raised concerns over critical vacancies not being filled.
- Members noted the outcry over newly appointed educators with content gaps and little experience;
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that disciplinary measures were put in place and implemented where necessary.
3.1.9 Harry Gwala District – On the poor performance, the District had done the necessary analysis on where the challenges lay. A major problem was that some newly appointed educators (incl. Fundza Lushaka Bursars) lacked content knowledge. The District was forced to use foreign educators. The District believed that with the necessary monitoring an increased Curriculum implementation would assist. The District also had a large number of vacancies at various levels. The District was also of the view that the impact of progressed learners should be analysed with the view to better manage the policy on progressed learners. The District was also calling for the return of the rural incentive to attract and keep educators in rural schools.
- Committees Observations:
- Members noted with concern the number of vacancies which had not been filled.
- Members noted the call for the return of the rural incentive for educators in rural schools.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that vacant posts are filled as soon as possible.
- The Provincial Department should implement the Rural Incentive Scheme for educators in rural areas so as to attract and retain their services.
3.1.10 Umzinyathi District – The District proudly indicated that it had eradicated cheating and malpractices in respect of examinations. The District had intensified monitoring with the appointment of permanent monitors. Other challenges facing the District included:
- A shortage of Subject Advisors;
- A call for the review of the policy on transfers;
- Little or no effective teaching and learning at the non-viable/small schools;
- Problems encountered with Curriculum coverage and management;
- Inadequate classroom-based support for educators.
- LTSM shortages at Section 20 schools;
- Limited scholar transport; and
- The high rate of teacher attrition.
220.127.116.11 Committees Observations:
- Members noted that more Subject Advisors needed to be appointed in the District as well as the review of the transfer policy.
- Members were concerned that there were LTSM shortages for the Section 20 schools.
- Members raised a concern that the District did not have enough transport provided for learners.
- Members noted with concern the high attrition rate at schools in the District.
- Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should appoint more Subject Advisors in the District.
- The Provincial Department should consider reviewing the transfer policy as requested.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that all Section 20 schools receive the necessary LTSM.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that all learners in the District enjoy the benefits of scholar transport in the District.
3.1.11 Umkhanyakude District – Teachers in the District were moving from rural areas to urban areas for better living conditions. The schools in the District had educator shortages which needed to be filled urgently. There was a need to strengthen support programmes for progressed learners in the system.
18.104.22.168 Committees Observations:
- Members noted the exodus of educators from rural schools to urban schools, which created shortages of educators in schools in the District.
- Members noted the call for the strengthening of support programmes for progressed learners.
22.214.171.124 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should consider re-introducing the policy on Rural Incentives for educators in rural areas (so as to keep teachers in rural areas).
- The Provincial Department should strengthen support programmes for progressed learners.
- Meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Education, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature
The input by the Portfolio Committee on Education in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature was an information sharing session that covered a broad perspective of the work of the Committee in respect of its oversight, monitoring and legislative responsibilities. The Provincial Portfolio Committee also touched on the challenges faced in dispensing with its responsibilities in the Province.
The following were amongst the challenges presented during the deliberations:
- There was an emerging trend of the MEC and/or HOD of not attending meetings of the Committee as per invitation;
- The Committee waited for long periods before they received any replies to their questions, from the Provincial Education Department. The Department was good at “spinning” when answering questions. This was the reason that the challenges of the Province were piling up;
- The Department was unable to provide proper and effective leadership with little or no capacity at District level;
- Commitments agreed to and policies of the Department were rarely implemented or enforced. There was little or no implementation of oversight recommendations;
- Rural schools experienced the least monitoring with under-capacitated Circuit Managers;
- There were inadequate teacher development programmes offered by the Department as well as the lack of capacitation of principals;
- Schools had no budget to employ security personnel;
- There was a culture of no-consequence emerging within the Department;
- Provincial results were negatively impacted by the perceived “cold war” between the Department and Organised Labour.
- The challenges of leave management (Thandile) needed to be dealt with and improved upon in collaboration with the Department of Public Service and Administration;
- With the introduction of Occupation Specification Dispensation (O.S.D), the job description of educators changed;
- There was a need for accountability and consequences attached to poor performance;
- School Improvement Plans remained the same annually with no interventions from the Department;
- The late appointment of substitute educators needed to be appointed as per policy;
- Issues around teenage pregnancies needed to be addressed; and
- Learner transport was currently a disaster in the Province;
4.2 Committees Observations
- The Committees were of the view that good oversight should produce good results, but this was not the case as resolutions were not being implemented as recommended.
- The Committees were concerned that there was a view that District Managers were afraid of the Head of Department.
- The view emerging was that most of the challenges could be placed at the door of the Provincial Department.
- The Committees were concerned that policies of the Department were not being implemented.
- Members queried whether Senior Officials were receiving performance bonuses.
- The Committees questioned as to who, in fact, was in charge of the Provincial Education Department. Was it the MEC or the HOD?
- The Committees raised a concern regarding the inadequate monitoring and support to schools, especially in rural schools.
- The Committees observed that there was no political will to address the challenges faced and improve the situation. If the HOD remained in denial, there would be no changes.
- Members questioned the top award given to the HOD of the Province.
- The Committees observed that the KZN Provincial Education Department seemed to act independently to the rest of the country. This was a matter of concern.
- The Committees also raised challenges in respect of concurrent functions and their impact on departments at provincial level.
- Members queried and sought clarity on the resolution of Unions not to have educator movement in the system.
- The Committee also questioned whether the various National interventions were being implemented to assist the Provincial Department – including the Rural Development Directorate.
4.3 Committees Recommendations:
The Committees recommend the following:
- The Provincial Department should fast-track the appointment of principals and deputy principals to ensure stability in schools.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the appointed HODs receive their requisite salaries as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department should attend to the qualifications issue affecting two teachers as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that suitably qualified teachers were appointed in needy subjects at the school, particularly the gateway subjects of Mathematics and Physical Science.
- The Provincial Department should provide the necessary support to the school to improve its results.
- Meeting with Organised Labour, KwaZulu-Natal Province
The Portfolio Committee held a meeting with Organised Labour in the KwaZulu-Natal Province to get a sense of the challenges faced by Unions on matters pertaining to the education sector. The presentations made explored and led engagements on the following key issues:
- Staffing/ vacancies;
- The relationship between teacher unions and the Department of Education;
- Teacher development;
- Infrastructure and resources; and
- Nonviable schools.
5.1.1 Staffing/ Vacancies: - It was reported that quality teaching and learning was not taking place in a number of schools. This was due to the prolonged recruitment processes that are at times conducted without following correct procedures. It was confirmed that a number of schools lacked enough teachers, and the current policies were alleged not to be assisting the situation.
Most workers in the Provincial Department of Education and district were overloaded including circuit managers. The issue of high vacancy rate was raised as a concern with certain clerks and administrative personnel who were overloaded with work and faced with limited resources, including computers. It was reported that in one district up to twenty clerks were using one computer.
The inability of the Provincial Department and the District to do its work contributed to the decline of the matriculation results. A number of districts were reported to have serious capacity challenges. It was acknowledged that warm bodies were there, but they lacked authority and that authority had been centralised in the Provincial Office, including Human Resources and Finance and procurement powers, which led to delays including the appointments of substitute teachers.
It was noted that at UMkhanyakude District the District Director drives for more than 400 kilometres to secure a signature to procure materials.
5.1.2 Labour Peace: The Union pleaded with the Department of Education to work with all teacher unions. It was noted that in one of the districts, teaching and learning was disrupted in 2012. This led to the establishment of a task team, and interventions were made though there had been no progress by the time the Parliamentary Committees visited the Province. The Department was made aware of the challenges in the District and there were efforts made to address the challenges. The failure to address these challenges caused the strain between the union and the Department, despite the intervention by an official from the Department of Basic Education.
In Ugu District, the Union was not happy with the management style of the District leadership. It was alleged that the management of the District took decisions without proper consultation of Organised Labour. The failure to consult led to many disagreements. It was further alleged that the challenges of the District led to a sad situation whereby the chairperson of the region was murdered. The case of the murdered union leader was still pending in court.
5.1.3 Funds for teacher development: The union was not happy with the lack of consultation regarding the programme aimed at ensuring that teachers were well developed. The organised labour felt side-lined since decisions regarding the developmental programmes were alleged to have been taken without consulting the teachers or the organised labour.
5.1.4 Medical boarding: A number of teachers have been waiting for medical boarding for some years (others have been waiting for 7 years). The Department of Education processes to release members due to retire for medical reasons were long. The union also reported that some teachers who had been on long leave for years and were recommended by their medical practitioners for a discharge from service on account of continuous ill-health, were turned down by the Department’s leave management consultant (Thandile) who found them fit for duty. The union requested that Thandile be invited to the ELRC to discuss matters concerning leave and medical discharge from service.
5.1.5 Learner Teacher Support Material: The Union reported that the Department still failed to ensure that learners received textbooks. In some schools three or four learners shared one textbook. Approximately 30% of the budget from the norms and standards grant was deducted with the promise to procure equipment but only one or two computers were purchased. It was reported that the Department procures material for schools without proper consultation and consideration of the needs of the schools.
5.1.6 Infrastructure: The Union reported that a number of schools in the Province lacked proper classrooms and some learners were overcrowded. There was an insufficient number of mobile classrooms with some schools having more than 70 teachers in one classrooms. The Province was classified as a Mathematics Province but the issue of a shortage of Mathematics teachers remains a serious challenge. The Department failed to provide the necessary skills to teach Mathematics and this issue had not been addressed.
The Department had resorted to using foreign nationals to teach a number of subjects that South African teachers were unable to teach. The Union was of the view that foreign nationals should only be used where there was no local skill. It was reported that some of the foreign nationals were presenting fraudulent certificates. The union supported the idea of Funza Lushaka bursary holders being employed as teachers. The bursary holders should be supported through the development and mentorship programmes. The view of the union was that continuing to employ foreigner nationals was not the solution.
5.1.7 Alleged post selling: SADTU distanced itself from the selling of posts. The Union did not have facts relating to any any person who was selling posts. The Union supported the investigation and further indicated that its representatives appear before the committee that was established by the Minister of Basic Education.
5.1.8 Appointments: It was reported that the Department advertised one chief director post and employed two people. The union viewed that as a gross violation of government policy. It was reported that in some districts there was no transparency and these were matters that the union exposed.
5.1.9 Farm schools and nonviable schools: The Union acknowledged that the closure of nonviable schools was one of the positive programmes initiated by the Department. It was further noted that the process was compromised by the lack of transparency and consultation. Due to the lack of transparency, the union called for the programme to be halted. This was after the Union observed that children were simply moved and when the Union asked for further information regarding this process, none of the officials from the Department were able to provide answers. This led to many schools having more than one principal and further tensions between the Provincial Department and the management of the education head office and the teacher unions.
- The manner in which teachers were being recruited and placed negatively affected teaching and learning. The union felt that there should be a review of the recruitment policy. There was no stability in the schooling system due to challenges with the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN).
- The workforce in the Province was demoralised.
- There was little or no consultation by the Department with unions; to the point of total disengagement.
- There was a lack of responses from the Department on matters raised.
- Decisions taken at the ELRC Chambers were not being implemented by the Department of Education.
- A leader of the union had been killed and it was alleged that there was evidence of a cheque from a school used to secure a “hit man”. The matter was reported to be pending in court.
- The union was unaware of any teacher development programmes being run by the Department.
- Vacancies were not being filled timeously as d required. Circulars that barred schools from appointing substitutes aggravated the problem.
- The late and at times non-delivery of the Learner Teacher Support Material was a challenge.
- Some classrooms were overcrowded.
- There were allegations of foreign nationals submitting fraudulent certificates.
5.2 National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA):
It was noted that challenges in the Province had escalated to an extent that there were poor relations between Organised Labour and the Department. It was further noted that despite the challenges the situation was not at a point where it could be declared as a crisis. The union was optimistic that it was possible to turn the situation around
It was reported that the NSC results of 2014 and 2015 were a reflection of failed interventions that were put in place by the Department. Amongst the key issues raised was the issue of the teacher development programmes that were not conducted.
The Union was in support of the initiatives aimed at ensuring that learners were prepared for the Grade 12 examinations through programmes such as Boot Camps. A number of schools implemented the programme and in most schools learners who passed their exams were assisted by the programme.
NAPTOSA supported the programme and the union would have supported the programme being extended to all the schools in the Province. However, this was not implemented since the Department indicated that there were insufficient funds.
The Union felt that the slogan “happy teachers produce happy results” was not possible in cases where there was no link between the shortage of tools of trade and overworked staff members. As indicated, some had to travel more than 400 km to get a form signed by the officials of the Department of Education at head office.
The Union noted the following challenges:
- The Department was concentrating more on Matric Results than the ongoing challenges at schools.
- The Department gave short notice of interventions to deal with underperforming schools.
- There were inherent and systemic problems at district level that were not being addressed.
- Administrative staff and officials were incorrectly appointed and dysfunctional.
- The Department focussed largely on urban schools at the expense of the rural schools.
- There were serious challenges in Mathematics and Science at rural schools that needed to be addressed.
- Rural schools had critical shortages in key subjects, and relied on foreign nationals to assist.
- There was a lack of incentives for educators in rural schools to attract skilled educators
5.3 National Teachers Union (NATU):
The Union held a strong view that the policy on progressed learners was good. However, the Department failed to ensure that all the support was provided to schools in assisting progressed leaners. It was noted that a number of teachers spent most of their time assisting average learners.
It was reported that in 2015 a number of schools experienced challenges due to the lack of proper implementation of the Post Provisioning Norm.
The Union noted that spring and winter classes should be used as an addition to normal teaching hours. NATU was of the view that in some schools the extra classes arranged was a plan used by the Department of Education to manage the crisis. It was further noted that long term plan that the department was avoiding was teacher development programmes. The Union was of the view that teacher development programmes should be a year plan with its allocated budget and not reduced into extra classes.
The Union noted that circuit managers and subject advisors who provided services were inadequate and the situation worsened when these officials retired. They reported that the Department took a decision to freeze all the posts of retired education officials with the intention of saving money, an initiative which compromised the support of the department to the schools. This had negative consequences to the overall performance of the province in its 2015 Matric results.
The issue of quintile classification remained a challenge in many schools since it had an impact on the funding of schools and therefore on results.
It was noted that some schools started their first day of schooling with no Mathematics teachers and the Department did not find a problem with the anomaly. It was further noted that at some point unions used to interview teachers and the head office had taken over all that specific functions.
The Union noted that the Department has unilaterally taken a decision to limit the number of schools eligible to receive rural allowance and as a result teachers have left rural schools for urban areas where conditions are better.
- The progression policy needed to be revisited.
- Educators lacked proper training, development and support to practice Inclusive Education at schools.
- The moratorium on posts lacked proper consultation with teacher unions.
- Many schools had started the school year with no educators in classes.
- There was a lack of clarity on the proper implementation of policy on the rural allowance
5.4 Committees Recommendations:
- The National Department of Basic Education should clarify the role of Thandile (Consultant) with the aim of ensuring that sick leave and medical boarding process are processed without unnecessary delays.
- The Provincial Department, together with Organised Labour should ensure that labour peace is restored as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that Unions hold memorial services in such a way that teaching and learning time are not compromised.
- Organised Labour should ensure that during protest/strike action; learners were not incited to be a part of such protests/strike action.
- Visit to Schools in the UMzinyathi Education District, KwaZulu-Natal
6.1 Mqamathi High School - The school was established in 1976 and was named after a local Chief of the area. The school’s Post Provisioning Norm (PPN) stood at 26 (One Principal, one deputy principal, four Heads of Department (HODs) and 20 Post-Level 1 Educators). The school is a Section 21 school. It has one administration clerk, one security guard and one cleaner. The school is situated in a deep rural area. The area is mired by faction fights, to such an extent that it becomes impossible at times for teaching to take place. The Committees received a broad analysis of the Grade 12 2015 results which covered subjects, numbers wrote, numbers passed and percentages. The school did not have educators who specialised in Science and Mathematics. Many homes in the community are child headed and many parents are away from home for long periods which has a negative impact on learning and teaching.
- The school is in a deep rural area and at times there are faction fights amongst learners which hinders teaching and learning;
- The school has no educators for Science and Mathematics. .There is a shortage of educators since some educators who left were not replaced or substituted;
- Some homes were child headed and some parents were away from home for long periods which negatively affects learning and teaching;
- Educators were undermining the leadership of the school;
- Late coming at the school is high, many learners stay far from school and walk long distances (10 – 15 km). This affects their performance negatively; and
- A perception prevails that Grade 12, is the ultimate goal of their education.
6.1.2 Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned that no teaching and learning was occurring at the school.
- Members queried whether the necessary monitoring of the school was happening.
- Members needed to understand what the faction fighting was all about, how it started, who was involved and whether the school had any intervention strategies to deal with the challenge.
- Members queried the response from the Department in assisting with the shortage of educators at the school.
- Members observed that there were weaknesses in leadership at District and Circuit levels as schools received little or no support.
6.1.3 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should assist the school with developmental workshops in order to equip the School Management Team (SMT) so as to restore leadership at the school.
- The Provincial Department should assist the school with developing the necessary recovery programmes and intervention plans to improve performance at the school.
- The Provincial Department needs to ensure that there are consequences for poor performance and non-action at schools.
- The Provincial Department needs to ensure that they conduct regular meetings with educators, regular monitoring and development of teachers. There was a need for increased visits to schools by subject advisors.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the school submits quarterly reports of progress.
- The Provincial Department should ensure on-site, holistic, and integrated support from all levels in the system.
6.2 Dlabesuthu High School - The Acting Principle was only appointed at the school in 2015 after the previous acting principal had passed away in June 2014. The Committees received a broad overview of the analysis of Grade 12 results for 2015.
- Faction fighting amongst learners, especially during examination periods;
- The high rate of learners arriving late due to long distances travelled;
- Class overcrowding (e.g. 1:114, 1:130);
- There was less than required SMT members since two HODs resigned in 2014;
- The SMT was not working as a unit;
- There was a shortage of educators e.g. Mathematics and Technology;
- Learners could not perform practicals due to the lack of space;
- Learners were sharing textbooks;
- There was a lack of motivation amongst educators;
- Although there were enough primary schools in the area, there was a need for more high schools to be built;
- The school was unaware of the progression policy and only started progressing learners from 2014. Progressed learners were unruly and difficult to manage; and
- The school has some underqualified educators. Although a Fundza Lushaka Bursar had been appointed for Physical Sciences the school was still in need of a Mathematics educator.
6.2.2 Committees Observations:
- Members queried the timing of the faction fighting as it happened only during the examination period. It appeared that the fighting occurred only amongst a small group of learners and not the entire school;
- Members raised concerns that the school was not supplied with learner transport;
- Members queried the remedial steps to assist learners to catch up on studies when they arrived late;
- Members queried the issues of overcrowding and how this happened in the presence of placement and admission policies;
- Members queried the commitment, capacity and qualifications of educators at the school;
- Members were concerned that the Circuit Manager may not have been aware of the challenges at the school; and
- Although workshops on policy were convened with principals, this information seemed not to have cascaded down to educators and other SMT members.
6.2.3 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that, in collaboration with the SAPS, the issue of faction fighting did not negatively impact on learning and teaching at the school, especially during examination time.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the school was supplied with learner transport for qualifying learners.
- The Provincial Department should intensify the implementation of focussed intervention strategies at the school.
- The Provincial Department should consider supplying extra classrooms to the school.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that, where applicable, the necessary policies on admission and enrollment be enforced to prohibit overcrowding. The necessary Declaration Certificate are processed where applicable and learner enrollment capped.
- The Provincial Department should assist the school with mentoring and motivational speakers for educators and learners.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that transport and mileage claims submitted were finalised and paid.
- The Provincial Department should put together a multi-disciplinary team to engage with the school to improve the school in all areas.
- The Provincial Department should look into the matter of the NGO giving assistance to the school at a cost to parents when the Department offered subject advisory and teacher support to schools. The Provincial Department should ensure that the school is able to use allocated teaching time more effectively to avoid the practice of conducting extra morning and evening classes.
6.3 Dumaphanzi High School – The Acting Principal had only assumed duties at the school in January 2016. The school attempted to employ the services of lead educators, extra classes and mentoring – but this did not improve the poor performance of learners. The school also arranged accountability sessions to analyse the results and look at a turn-around strategy. One of the measures to be employed to assist was to have two/three days of teaching and have learners write short tests on the work taught. It was acknowledged that the school did not conduct enough monitoring nor did they ensure the necessary curriculum management. The principle gave a broad overview of the school subject analysis.
- Results for 2015 were very poor results;
- Parents were not supportive of the school;
- Educators felt unsafe at the school;
- Learners were ill-disciplined;
- Faction fighting amongst learners caused disruption of teaching and examinations;
- Progressed learners were reportedly unruly, disruptive and lacking committment; and
- There was a shortage of at least four educators.
6.3.2 Committees Observations:
- There was a need to investigate every level of accountability in the system, from the educators (at the school) up to the Provincial Department to understand the causes of the challenges and find solutions.
- Members queried the reasons that all learners failed Mathematics for the past three years. This was unacceptable.
- The principal and SMT had lost control of the school. The principal needed to develop a plan of action to regain control and be in charge of the school.
- Members queried whether Circuit Managers were visiting schools to understand the challenges of the schools – and develop intervention strategies to mitigate these challenges.
- Members queried the qualifications of the educators at the school.
- Members queried whether the school had any collaboration with SAPS with respect to issues of safety and faction fighting at the school.
- There was a view that the Circuit and District Managers were not working effectively. There was no support, intervention strategies and guidance to affected schools.
- There was a need to re-evaluate the educators at the school, especially the Mathematics educator.
- There was a need for a professional analysis of the challenges at the school and how these challenges occurred.
- The SMT needed to deal swiftly and decisively with educator discipline.
- Interventions at the school should be a collective to enable aground level rather than a top-down approach.
- The SMT should take back the responsibility and authority of the learners at the school.
- Members were concerned over the overall capacity at Circuit and District levels.
- There was a view that there could be a need to close down the district for a week to ensure the capacitation of all officials.
- Members queried the availability of only one Curriculum stream at the school with the large number of learners.
6.3.3 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department needed to investigate every level of accountability in the system, from the educators to the Circuit to the District to the Provincial Department to understand the causes of the challenges and find solutions.
- The Provincial Department needed to ensure that the school was able to develop a plan of action to regain control of the school. The Provincial Department needed to ensure that the school was assisted with the development of intervention strategies to mitigate challenges at the school.
- The Provincial Department needed to ensure that the Circuit and District Managers were giving the necessary support to the school through visits, intervention plans and guidance.
- The Provincial Department needed to ensure that there was collaboration and cooperation between the school and the SAPS in respect of school safety and security as well as challenges with faction fighting.
- The Provincial Department needed to re-evaluate the educators at the school, especially the Mathematics educator.
- The Provincial Department needed to do a thorough analysis of the challenges at the school so as to know how the challenges occurred and develop the necessary intervention plans and programmes.
- The Provincial Department should analyse the overall capacity at Circuit and District levels.
- The Provincial Department should consider closing down the District for a week in order to ensure the capacitation of all officials.
- The Provincial Department should investigate the possibility of adding other streams at the school.
6.4 Bhekisizwe High School - The Principal noted that when the results were released, they felt humiliated as they had put in much efforts but did not produce the desired results. The Committees received a broad overview and analysis of the subject results for the past three years. The school also appreciated the work done by the Department in ensuring that toilets had been renovated – with more work on the laboratory being completed.
- Irregular attendance from educators;
- The school was experiencing a shortage of educators as the revised PPN certificate was only received August 2015. The school was then given an extra three educators with a further educator at the end of 2015;
- Many educators at the school were unqualified and/or underqualified;
- Learners lived far from the school and unfortunately was not benefitting from any scholar transport provided;
- A general lack of cooperation and involvement of parents in the schooling of their children – parents did not attend meetings;
- There was a shortage of classrooms. The school only had six classrooms currently (Grade 8 – Grade 12). Some of the classrooms were not in a good condition; and
- Some educators did not want to take part in extra/evening/afternoon or weekend programmes as they left the school early and only returned late – after weekends.
6.4.2 Committees Observations:
- Members were concerned with the irregular attendance of educators.
- Members queried whether educators were attending to learners or teaching them adequately.
- Members also queried the quality of teaching.
- Members questioned whether educators were qualified to teach the subjects they teach.
- Members queried the role of the SMT in the success of the whole school as the leadership from the Principal and SMT was critical.
6.4.3 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should assist the school with leave management to address irregular attendance of educators. Furthermore, the Department should investigate whether leave forms had been submitted timeously to HR and policies in respect of teaching time were adhered to. Where there was deviation, the necessary disciplinary steps needed to be enforced.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that workshops/mentoring and guidance be afforded to the school in respect of early pregnancies and matters pertaining to HIV/Aids.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the capping of kilometers for Subject Advisors having to monitor or visit schools be re-evaluated as it creates restrictions on quality of monitoring. The one size fits all policy approach needed further improvement.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the necessary induction of new teachers to schools is implemented.
- The Provincial Department should investigate and re-evaluate the school curriculum package to prevent overloading.
- The Provincial Department should consider ways and means to retain educators at rural schools by way of incentives.
- The Department needs to address the issues around learner transport needs for the school by way of an audit of the area for possible extension of the transport routes to benefit learners in the area.
6.5 Cabangokuhle High School - The school was established in 1981 and is a quintile 2 school with a PPN of 24 and five educators who are reportedly in excess. The school was at loggerheads with community members after it became clear that a number of teachers had no content knowledge. It was reported that at some point the community demanded that the principal and the entire School Management Team (SMT) vacate the premises and this led to a number of challenges that later followed. The principal was displaced and for a long time the school was without a principal until an Acting Principal was appointed.
The situation was stabilized since the acting principal took over. The instability negatively affected the performance of the school. The acting principal had introduced a number of interventions including fund raising and developmental programmes for educators. Mathematics and Physical Science teachers were taken to Durban as part of the capacity development programme. Local business came on board and the programme was beginning to yield results.
The school received funding from the LOTTO and a netball field was constructed using the funds. The perception amongst some educators was that only Grade 12 curriculum should be completed. The Circuit Manager was aware of the challenges faced by the school and commitment was made to provide support to the school. The Circuit conducted school visits to monitor the situation to ensure that teachers were at school on time and teaching.
The Provincial Department of Education intervened and a number of programmes were put in place. Amongst these were curriculum management, boot-camps for performing learners and all taking place outside the village and accommodation was paid for by the Department. The school had resources including computers and the Department advised the school to download material and the Department of Basic Education made a commitment to provide special support to the school. The School Governing Body (SGB) noted the improvement in the management of the school since the acting principal was appointed.
- Poor attendance of meetings by parents;
- Teachers who lack capacity to deliver content despite the fact that they are highly qualified and mostly beneficiaries of the Funza Lushaka Bursary fund;
- The language of instruction which is English seemed to have been a major challenge in the school not only to learners but also to teachers and teachers at times used isiZulu despite the fact that learners were examined in English;
- The principal has been acting since 2014;
- Infrastructure remains one of the challenges which led to overcrowding, the school enrolled less students in order to try and address overcrowding;
- Lack of proper security as the school is only manned by one female security personnel; and
- Textbook retrieval used to be a challenge and since the issue had been addressed, there was a 98% collection rate.
6.5.2 Committee Recommendations
- The SGB members should encourage community members to attend parents meetings and play an active role since education is the responsibility of all the community stakeholders;
- The Provincial Department of Education should provide training and capacity development programmes to all the beneficiaries of the Funza Lushaka bursary;
- The Provincial Department of Education should fill vacancies within the government stipulated time;
- The Provincial Department of Education should prioritize the schools for the building of infrastructure;
- The Provincial Department of Education should provide security personnel to the school; and
- The school should implement its textbooks retrieval policy.
6.6 Sibumba Primary School - The school was established in 1935and is a quintile 2 school with a PPN of 13 educators. The school was placed at a strategic location and closer to the hospital where all learners who are admitted being immunized. All the teachers in the school were well qualified from Grade R to Grade 7 and quality teaching and learning is taking place. The school received the school nutrition programme and the services provider is a local company. The institution was led by an SGB member who is a very committed young woman.
The school received computers from MTN. The District were informed upon the arrival of the computers though no teacher had yet been provided to the school to conduct computer classes. The institution received regular visits from the Department of Health. The school received Learner’s Teacher Support Material but the allocation was inadequate.
The school, has applied for scholar transport but this has not yet been provided at the time the committee visited. Workshops were held to train teachers on competency and expose them on delivering the curriculum and the importance of upgrading their qualifications.
- Poor attendance of meetings by parents;
- Lack of proper fencing;
- Incorrect quintile classification;
- Inadequate Human Resources Centre;
- No security guard which leads to vandalism;
- No rural allowance;
- None of the teachers are qualified to teach computer classes and as a result the computers have not been used since they were donated three years ago; and
- No scholar transport.
6.6.2 Committee Recommendations
- The SGB members should encourage the community members to attend parents meetings and play an active role as education is the responsibility of all the community stakeholders;
- The Provincial Department of Education should ensure that the school receives proper fencing;
- The Circuit Manager should assist the school in the appeal process to assist in the incorrect quintile classification of the school;
- The Provincial Department of Education should ensure that all teachers who were due to receive rural allowances and had as yet not received them should be attended to;
- The Provincial Department of Education and the District manager should prioritise the appointment of a computer teacher and ensure that computers are utilised;
- The Provincial Department of Education should assist the school in ensuring that learners eligible for scholar transport are assisted.
6.7 Fundokuhle - The school was established in 1983 and is classified as quintile 1. It currently has a PPN of 18 educators with six educators in excess. The school’s infrastructure appears to be on the point of collapse. The entire school needs a major overhaul. The institution has been producing poor results for the past three years with clear evidence of demoralised teachers.
At times community wars took place within the school premises, the school reported this to the local chief and the police. Parents do not participate in the education of their children, a matter confirmed by poor attendance of parent meetings. The school was not fenced for a long time causing an increase in the vandalism. Since the school has been fenced there has been a decrease in the number of break-ins and vandalism. The school did not have any vacant posts since the Physical Science teacher who had been removed was replaced. The school recruited a Mathematics teacher from Pietermaritzburg. The school had a cleaner, an administrative assistant and a security guard all paid for by the Department of Education. The funds for norms and standards were used to replace broken windows and to install burglar bars. The Circuit promised to develop a teacher development plan for all the schools in the District.
- Classrooms with cracked walls, which is a high risk to both learners and educators. The entire school is not a conducive environment for teaching and learning;
- Inadequate security personnel;
- Vandalism by local children;
- A lack of proper water supply relying upon rain water;
- A high rate of absenteeism due to prolonged sick leave; and
- Teacher’s demotivated and lacking morale.
6.8 Emacityana Primary School- The school was established in 1935 in the backyard of a farmer. The institution had 329 learners with a PPN of 12 and classified as quintile 1. There were four educators in excess. The infrastructure at the institution was up to standard and the school was built in the 1990’s. After the withdrawal of the principal, a permanent appointment was made in 2012
The Members were impressed with the manner in which the principal was managing the school. The institution was struggling to attract teachers due to being located in a rural area. The majority of the children come from child-headed families, others with parents who have no identity documents and children with no birth certificates. It was reported that Learner Teacher Support material (LTSM) was delivered though it was inadequate. The institution had no laboratory but had a Science kit.
The performance of the school in Mathematics was revealed by the ANA and mechanisms have been put in place to improve performance. The school received regular visits from the Circuit Managers.
- High rate of absenteeism by learners;
- Late coming by learners;
- Some learners had no uniform or worn out uniforms; and
- A lack of proper sports facilities.
6.9 Mahlokohloko Secondary School- The school was established in 2004 with 80 learners and it presented its first Grade 12 in 2007. The enrolment has decreased from 207 in 2015 to 105 in 2016. The PPN of the school currently stands at 7 educators and the school is a quintile 1 school. The pass rate decreased from 76.3 per cent in 2013 to 7.8 per cent in 2014. In 2015 the school had a pass rate of 2.8 pass rate, which signals disaster. Some of the learners who have failed would write supplementary examinations and others were repeating.
The school had seven newly appointed teachers as the teachers that were in the school were redeployed by the Department. Teachers are qualified in the subjects they are teaching. In 2014 the Principal left the school in September and came in February 2015. The teachers used to stay in the village, but they had moved to Tugela Ferry, which is a long distance.
Parents have refused to give teachers a piece of land so that the Department can build them houses. Teachers are always present at school. However, there was a teacher who was pregnant and she was on sick leave due to start her maternity leave on the 29 January 2016.
It was reported that teachers conduct School Based Assessment and the SBA is monitored. The school used to have multi-grade teaching due to the shortage of classrooms. The school put in a request for a Mathematics teacher and the Department promised that the teacher would soon be at the school. The replacement of the teacher that would be going on maternity would start at the school on 1 February 2016. Learners came late to school as they walk long distances.
The school received R34 000 for LTSM from Grades 8 to 12. However, there is a shortage of Business Studies textbooks. The shortage occurred since the teacher ordered the wrong publications.
The SGB indicated that the community was very disappointed by the poor results of the school. The SGB and the councilors were asked to assist the teachers to obtain land in order to build houses. The SGB is supporting the principal.
The school is still under construction. The principal was hopeful that the construction may be finished by the end of the year. They are currently using a classroom and some mobile classrooms. The school has six mobile toilets. The school does not have a library. The school does not have playgrounds.
- Inadequate supply of text books;
- Lack of proper infrastructure;
- Shortage of classrooms;
- No proper library nor laboratory equipment;
- A lack of proper sports facilities; and
- The schools do not have Mathematics teacher.
6.10 Mpikayizekanye High School- The school was started in 1986. It has 14 teaching staff (Principal, two HODs and 11 teachers), an admin staff, a security guard and a LSA. There is a night security guard paid by parents (R950 per month). The school has two streams, Commerce and General. In 2015, the school registered 72 Grade 12 learners and only one passed.
The SGB chairperson commented that the learners who passed are unable to gain acceptance into any institution. This shows that it was a very weak pass. The 2014 results were null and void. There was a 100% failure in Mathematics. The reasons for the failure rate in 2015 were:
- Three weeks were lost in 2015 as teachers were evicted by the community;
- Learners were not respectful of teachers;
- The SGB did not want the teachers; and
- The History teacher was substituted in September after being on leave for six months.
The school has a learner support agent to assist in the wellbeing of learners. One learner was a drug addict and after he was taken to a rehabilitation Centre he returned to write exams.
Absenteeism by learners poses a serious challenge. There is also a problem of teenage pregnancy though this has declined. There is good relation between the SMT and staff.
The school has a good infrastructure and it has playgrounds that are usable. There are four toilets for boys and girls, one for teachers and one for learners with disabilities. The school has a borehole which provides them with water. The fence of the school is in good condition.
- Lack of proper ablution facilities;
- Lack of proper electricity supply;
- High rate of drug abuse;
- High rate of teenage pregnancy;
- Incidences of learner abuse by alcoholic parents
- The need for an administration block; and
- There was a general lack of discipline by learners.
6.11 Bathembu High School: - The school has a PPN of 14 educators with one vacancy. Some students have learning barriers and cannot read and write. They come from their feeder school already lacking these skills. Some abuse drugs. The results of the schools decreased drastically from 44.7% in 2014 to 25% in 2015. The failure is caused by:
- The neglect of Grades 8 and 9 by teachers and learners who arrive at the FET band unprepared;
- Leniency by teachers during SBAs; and
- Leniency in controlling teachers work.
The principal promised to organise extra classes in order to turn around the dire situation. There were six progressed learners in 2014.There is a woman security guard who is not obeyed by learners. The SGB did not support the SMT. When parents meetings are called, only 30 to 40% of the parents attend. Moreover when there is conflict, the entire village come to the school to fight.
Maintenance has been a challenge due to the fact that the school has old buildings. The fence needs attention. The toilets are in good condition. The school has no administration block.
- Learners do not complete tasks;
- Weak monitoring of teacher’s work and learner’s work;
- Easy SBAs for learners;
- There are two big classes; and
- Books are delivered though learners have to share them.
6.12 Maceba High School- The school was started in 1998 and presented its first Grade 12 in 2002. The school has a shortage of classrooms and toilets. The school has a capacity of 650 but this year it admitted 881 learners. There was an influx of learners to the school, which may be caused by the good results over the years. Teachers have decided to start with their feeder schools when they admit learners and others are then admitted on merit. The teachers pride themselves with the good results as they transform the image of the school. The school has awards for high performing learners.
The school had 142 Grade 12 learners in 2015 and 138 passed (66 Bachelors, 57 Diplomas, 15 Higher Certificate). The school had 36 progressed learners and only four who did not pass Grade 12. However, they all qualified for supplementary examinations. If they pass, the school would have achieved 100 per cent pass rate in 2015. This year, the school has progressed four learners.
Teenage pregnancy is a problem and parents are also not encouraging their children to use contraceptives. However, teachers with the SGB work with nurses to try to address this challenge.
There are also child headed families who receive help from the teachers and the SGB with the assistance of social workers. Some teachers in the school were lead teachers and they were largely used by the District. The Principal was also used by the District to mentor other teachers.
The SGB is performing, and they work very well with the SMT. Parents meetings are always full to capacity.
The school needs an extra classroom, a hall, a library, a computer laboratory (since it offers CAT) and Science laboratory. It also needs toilets. The Department promised mobile classrooms and also mobile toilets. The school has a netball field sponsored by Lotto.
- Shortage of classrooms and toilets;
- PPN: Vacancy of PL1: Science educator;
- The lack of proper sports facilities;
- The lack of proper fencing; and
- The high rate of teenage pregnancy.
7. Wrap-up/Report-back Session
With the conclusion of the oversight visit to the Umzinyathi District in KwaZulu-Natal, the Committees had a brief wrap-up/report-back session with the National Department of Basic Education and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Education. The objective was to receive a broad summary of the major challenges and obstacles that hampered the establishment of enabling conditions for quality teaching and learning. What the Committees drew from the monitoring and oversight visit would also assist the Provincial Department and its districts to improve its preparations for school readiness in future.
The Chairpersons of the Committees appreciated the time spent in KwaZulu-Natal Province and noted that it was money well spent. The Committees were able to interact with various stakeholders in the Province and have visited the schools as identified. Members were able to give input, guidance and support. It was noted that the oversight visit focused mainly on underperforming schools in order to provide them with the necessary support. The Chairpersons gave an overview of some of the key challenges observed in the schools visited. These related to curriculum delivery and management, teacher development, leadership issues, staffing, rural incentives and accountability.
The Committees indicated that the oversight was biased to those schools that underperformed. The Committees were aware of the pockets of excellence but chose the underperforming schools deliberately to enable them to improve their performance.
7.1 Presentation on Strategies to Improve Results, Dr Nzama
It was reported that the Department was committed to work hard to guarantee improved results. The Province has a draft plan to improve the results. Some of the gaps and weaknesses that were noted by the Department were as follows:
- The support given to learners did not adequately address the Curriculum needs.
- There were weaknesses in the administration and monitoring of the School Based Assessment (SBA).
- The approach to school support was undifferentiated.
The Department’s strategies to mitigate underperformance focused on the following areas:
- Performance in Home Languages;
- Addressing insufficient content knowledge;
- The Just-In-Time programme targeting Mathematics, Mathematics Literacy, Geography, Accounting, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences;
- Conducting pre and post-tests;
- Intensifying monitoring and compliance with Curriculum coverage;
- Tracking learner performance quarterly;
- The use of language (EAC) through a number of measures;
- The use of language as a language of learning and teaching (LOLT), including using ICT;
- High cognitive levels of question papers;
- Addressing the high failure rate in Mathematics, Science and Accounting;
- Strategies to ensure Curriculum management at all levels;
- Increased accountability at all levels;
- Intensifying the quarterly moderation of SBAs; and
- Developing a focussed programme for progressed learners.
The Department further noted that teachers in focus schools (Technical schools) and ECD practitioners received training in 2015. It was also noted that plans to intensify teacher development and capacity building were in place. A detailed Action Plan would be developed at a later stage.
7.2 Committees Observations:
The Committees reported the following critical issues, requiring the attention of the Department:
7.2.1 Curriculum delivery and teacher development: The Committees observed that there was little teaching and learning happening in many of the schools visited. Teachers in these schools appeared to lack adequate subject content knowledge and in some cases, language skills. The Department needed to provide targeted teacher development, guidance and mentoring. Whilst members were grateful that an increased number of learners in the Province were taking Mathematics, there were concerns that there was no proper and appropriate planning, particularly in terms of resource provisioning. There was a shortage of suitably qualified teachers to cater for the increased enrolment and the Province appeared to be unable to attract Mathematics teachers, particularly in rural areas. Members needed to know whether action was taken in respect of the non-submission of the School Based Assessments (SBAs).
7.2.2 Turnaround strategy of the Department: Members noted that whilst the draft plan on strategies to improve the results was comprehensive, most of the issues raised were generic. The Committees requested that the Province should submit a detailed Action Plan, with officials assigned to tasks and timeframes. It was also important that measures were put in place to ensure that the plan was effectively implemented, particularly in respect of critical areas such as the differentiation of the support to schools. Members appreciated the report from the Department that schools were twinned in the Province. It was important that the system be strengthened to ensure that underperforming schools benefit optimally from being twinned with better performing schools.
- The relationship with stakeholders: Members needed to know whether all role players had access to information. The Committees appealed that communication within the Department and between the Department and all stakeholders be improved. In this regard Members welcomed the commitment made by the MEC and senior management of the Department to improve relations and coordination with the district directors. Members urged the Department to implement agreements and decisions made with the unions in the bargaining chamber. Members further appealed to the Department to ensure that strained human relations between schools and communities were resolved. In addition, Members noted that parental involvement was lacking in some schools. This required attention.
- Support to schools: Members observed that District support to schools was inadequate. School Management Teams and teachers in the schools visited required intensive targeted support to ensure that they carry out their responsibilities, including Curriculum delivery, coverage and management. Rural schools appeared to experience the least monitoring with under capacitated Circuit Managers and Subject Advisers. It was also important to conduct regular monitoring to ensure that learner performance was tracked throughout the year. With respect to the limitation on kilometers, the Department needed to allocate budgets to Districts, taking into account the distances to schools and the Curriculum needs of the Districts. It was important that the Department’s arrangements on this matter be well communicated to the Districts. Members were informed that officials in some Districts were sharing computers, and subject advisors resorted to buying their own. It was important that the Department consider fast-tracking the delivery of computers to officials who directly support schools.
- Staffing: Members were concerned regarding the delays in the appointment of Post Level 1 educators. The Department needed to put systems in place to fast-track the process of filling posts, particularly for educators teaching critical subjects. Members expressed their concern over the lack of suitably qualified teachers, particularly in critical subjects. There was an acute shortage of subject advisers, a matter requiring urgent attention. The Department needed to ensure that Funza Lushaka educators were qualified to teach the subjects they were required to teach. It was also vital to strengthen the mentoring systems for these teachers. Members urged the Department to pay attention to the management of leave and the role played by their consultant on the matter. It was important that leave management be administered in line with policy. The issue of educators and officials on long suspensions needed to be attended to as a matter of urgency. The Department should consider requests from the Ilembe District to appoint Human Resources and Finance officials.
- Accountability: Members observed that there was a tendency by officials at different levels of the system to shift blame to each other with regards to underperformance. There were no clear guidelines for accountability and no one was taking responsibility. This impacted on teaching and learning at school level. It was important that there be consequences for underperformance and ill behaviour at all levels of the system. Instances that were a cause for concern included a school which had not produced passes in Mathematics for three consecutive years, without any consequences being levied. The Department needed to ensure that policies and legislation were implemented at all levels of the system.
- Responsibilities without authority: Members heard from the interaction with District Directors that their service delivery performance was hampered by the lack of authority in respect of budget expenditure, including small items. Budgetary authorisation was reportedly largely centralised in the provincial Head Office. There was also a strong perception from the District Directors that some unions had taken control over the management of the Department. This matter needed to be addressed.
- Planning and prioritising: Whilst the budgetary constraints faced by the Province were noted, the Portfolio Committee urged the Department to focus on urgent matters. These included the appointment of teachers and officials in critical positions, District support to schools; the strengthening of relations with District offices, addressing appalling conditions at some schools and enforcing accountability. It was also important to ensure that there was value for money in the spending of budget allocations at all levels of the system.
- Non-negotiables: Members urged the Department to ensure that the non-negotiables were observed and implemented in schools. These included that learners and teachers were at school on time; that teachers were teaching, covering the Curriculum; and that principals were managing schools effectively.
- School leadership: The Department needed to ensure that principals were adequately trained in respect of their management and leadership responsibilities. It was also vital to ensure that school leadership exerted their authority and devoted their time to school work.
- Infrastructure: Members observed that infrastructure in the schools visited was generally better than in other Provinces. However, some schools require additional classrooms and proper fencing. The Province was requested to prioritise Fundokuhle Secondary School for its infrastructural needs. Members also urged the Department to fast-track the procurement of furniture for needy schools.
- Multi-grade and non-viable schools: It was important to fast track the rationalisation of small schools.
- LTSM: Members were concerned regarding the shortage of textbooks in some schools despite reports of schools receiving top-ups from the Department. It was also vital that the Department find ways to effectively monitor procurement processes of LTSM in Section 21 schools.
- Areas showing positive preparations: Areas that were fairly well managed in respect of school readiness included the timeous registration of learners in many of the schools visited and the School Nutrition Programme, which had commenced smoothly in several schools visited.
- New curriculum stream: Members agreed that the three streams school system to be introduced in 2017 would help to ensure that learners were able to choose their learning paths according to their individual strengths and weaknesses.
8. Overall recommendations:
The Committees, having conducted the oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal, and having considered the issues that were highlighted, requests that the Minister of Basic Education ensure that the Department consider the following overall recommendations:
8.1 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department, including Districts and Circuits, should intensify their support for schools, including curriculum delivery and ensuring that all schools develop quality Improvement Plans and effectively implement them. The KZN Education Department, should ensure that they implement their Plan on Strategies to improve the 2015 results as intended, particularly in respect of the following:
- Differentiating the support to schools in order to adequately address the curriculum needs of individual schools;
- Paying particular attention to areas such as content knowledge of critical subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Accounting; the use of language as a language of learning and teaching (LoLT), and School Based Assessments (SBAs);
- Implementing the focussed programme for progressed learners;
- Twinning schools to effectively benefit underperforming schools; and
- Tracking learner performance quarterly.
8.2 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools have mentoring systems in place in respect of newly appointed teachers, including Funza Lushaka teachers.
8.3 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that all schools are effectively monitored to implement the basic requirements of functionality, including that learners and teachers are in class on time, teachers teach and principals manage schools effectively.
8.4 The Kwazulu-Natal Education Department that principals and SMTs are adequately trained in respect of their management and leadership responsibilities.
8.5 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that there is accountability at all levels of the system as well as consequences for underperformance and wrongdoing. Policies and legislation should also be effectively implemented.
8.6 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department take the necessary steps to effectively communicate with the Districts its arrangements in respect of the limiting of kilometers officials are required to travel to support schools. It is important that the Department consider allocating the budget to the Districts taking into account their unique distances to schools and curriculum needs.
8.7 The KwaZulu-Natal Department should consider fast tracking the provision of tools of trade such as computers and faxes to all District officials directly supporting schools to ensure effective service delivery.
8.8 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should fast track the filling of all critical posts directly linked to school functionality, including teachers, principals and subject advisers.
8.9 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that leave is managed effectively and that concerns of the unions on this matter are addressed.
8.10 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should deal with cases of educators and officials on long suspensions as a matter of urgency.
8.11 The Department should consider requests from the Ilembe District to appoint HR and Finance officials to improve service delivery.
8.12 The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should fast-track the rationalisation of non-viable schools.
8.13 Given that learner transport is one of the keys to access, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, together with the Department of Transport of Education, should take the necessary steps to expand the service to all qualifying learners.
8.14 The Provincial Education Department should follow up on commitments made in respect of the following:
- Strengthening its relationship and improving communication with the District Office and the unions. This should include implementing the commitments and decisions made with the unions in the bargaining chamber.
- Engaging the Msinga stakeholder forum to attend to faction fights in the area.
- Improving communication with the Transport Department in respect of learner transport.
- Considering the establishment of boarding schools in suitable areas
- Attending to the infrastructural needs of Fundokuhle Secondary School during the current financial year.
- Finalising the Action Plan in respect of strategies to improve the 2015 NSC results. The Action Plan, including timeframes and staff delegated to particular tasks, should be submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education as a matter of urgency.
- The Department of Basic Education should ensure that its commitment is fulfilled in respect of giving the Provincial Education Department, the Umzinyathi District Office and its affected Circuits the necessary support to improve their 2015 NSC results.
- The Provincial Education Department should progressively address the challenges facing individual Districts and schools as identified in this report. The Department of Basic Education should provide Parliament with a progress report in addressing the recommendations made in this report, within two months of the adoption of the report by the National Assembly.
The delegation, led by Hon N Gina MP (Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Basic Education) and Hon L L Zwane MP (Chairperson: Select Committee on Education and Recreation), would like to thank Members of the Provincial Legislatures, the Provincial Department of Education and the National Department of Basic Education for the support given during the oversight visit. Although the visit was arranged at short notice, the legislatures were able to accommodate our delegation and this proved successful.
Report to be considered.
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