ATC160526: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to the Lady Frere District, Eastern Cape dated 24 May 2016
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to the Lady Frere District, Eastern Cape dated 24 May 2016
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Lady Frere District in the Eastern Cape, reports as follows:
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation conducted an oversight visit to the Lady Frere Education District in the Eastern Cape from 31 January - 3 February 2016.
- The primary purpose of the oversight was to assess the provincial state of school readiness for the 2016 school year in the identified district. There was an additional need to provide support to the Provincial Department of Education, inclusive of the district and schools. The Committees assisted in pinpointing challenges faced by the District and in finding effective solutions. .
- The Committees focused on, amongst others, the following crucial areas:
- 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 and District support;
- The availability of learner transport and school nutrition to qualifying learners;
- The functionality of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and School Management Teams (SMTs); The state of the school infrastructure and ICT; and
- The availability of school furniture.
1.4 The focus areas formed part of key interventions and priorities set out in major government plans to ensure that enabling conditions for quality teaching and learning were established. As part of its oversight, the Committees had a constitutional responsibility to ensure that these priorities were implemented, particularly since they are linked to the improvement of quality basic education as Government’s Priority Outcome 1.
1.5 In line with the Portfolio Committee’s resolve as set out in its five year Strategic Plan to focus oversight on schools and districts with the most challenges in the provision of quality education, the Committees selected the Province and underperforming schools for oversight visits based on the 2015 NSC results. The Committees also visited feeder primary schools for these schools.
1.6 As part of the oversight, the Committees received briefings from the Deputy Director General of the Provincial Department, the District Director and organised labour on aspects of school readiness. The Committees also visited seven schools (five senior secondary schools and two primary schools). The delegation held meetings with all relevant stakeholders in order to gain first-hand information on the state of school readiness and to discuss challenges faced by schools.
1.7 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 J Basson MP (ANC), Hon N Mokoto MP (ANC), Hon H D Khosa, MP (ANC), Hon D Mnguni, MP (ANC), Hon G Davis, MP (DA) 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).
- National Department of Basic Education: Mr J Ndlebe: Director, Mr L G Mudau: Chief Education Specialist, Mr N Baloyi: Project Manager, Mr A Subban: Director, Ms Rakwena, Ms M Samuels: Director, Ms M Fuzile: Chief Education Specialist, Mr Mahlangu, Ms N Ntsaluba: Deputy Director, Ms M Mini: Deputy Director, Dr R Venketsamy: Education Specialist, Mr M Ramahuma: Office of the Minister, and Mr L Mahada (Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Office of the Director General).
- Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department: Mr G N Jojwana: District Director, Mr H B Mkahle: Education Specialist, Mr Ntlokombini: Human Resources, Mrs C N Bula: Education Specialist, Mrs B L Nomana: Education Specialist, Mr B G Kwepile: Education Specialist, Ms C N Mila: Education Specialist, Ms S K Bamanyisa: Education Specialist, Mrs N G Flepu: Acting Deputy Director, Ms B Xipu: Education Specialist, Mrs N C Mpunzi: Acting Deputy Director, Mr M K Abofra: Education Specialist, Mrs N Lombo: Director, Mrs S S Maluleke: Education Specialist, Mr A Mazwi: Education Specialist, Ms W V Nojekwa: Education Specialist, Mr L G Mudau: Education Specialist, Ms C N Feni: Education Specialist, Mrs N Sobinta: Education Specialist, Mr W Ndzala: Education Specialist, Mrs N Rani: Education Specialist, Mr A M Stofile: Education Specialist, Mr B P Nkele: Education Specialist, Mrs B Nomana: Education Specialist, Mr Z E Sibawu: Education Specialist, Mr Mombewu: Education Specialist, Ms N S N Getu: Education Specialist, Mr B M Kwepile: Education Specialist, Mrs N B Ntloko: Education Specialist, Mr G M Mureguzi: Education Specialist, Ms F N Y Magungwana: Education Specialist, Ms W V Nojekwa: Education Specialist, Mr H B Mkabile: Education Specialist, Mrs S Kwaza: Education Specialist, Mr S Detyana: Education Specialist, Mr L Ntlebe: Education Specialist, Ms N M Mbola: Education Specialist, Ms S Nombewu: Education Specialist, Mr G Madliwa: Education Specialist, Mr T H Mlombile: Education Specialist, Mr M Mabusela: District Manager, Mr X Klaas: Community Development Worker, Mr P Mlindazhe: Traditional House, Mr B S Nkalambela: 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 Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU): Mrs Z E Gcaza
- National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA)
- National Teachers Union (NATU):
3. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in the Eastern Cape Province (Lady Frere District)
The oversight visit to the Lady Frere Education District occurred on 1 and 2 February 2016 and concluded with a debriefing session/report back in Lady Frere District Office on 3 February 2016. The Committees had meetings and school visits as follows:
- A meeting with the Deputy Director General of the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department, 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 Association of School Governing Bodies
- A meeting with Organised Labour
- Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Echibini Senior Secondary School
- Indwe Senior Secondary School
- Lukhanyo Senior Secondary School
- Ikwezi Senior Secondary School
- Mzamo Senior Secondary School
- Tsembeyi Junior Primary School
- A wrap-up/debriefing session with the Office of the Head of Department in the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department, the National Department of Basic Education and Senior officials.
- Meeting with the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department
The Committees observed with concern that the MEC, HOD and senior officials in the Department were not available for the meeting. The co-leader of the Parliament delegation, Hon Zwane, explained broadly the rationale behind the oversight visits to the Province and the identified District - as a Parliamentary oversight function, the Committees sought to ensure the access and delivery of quality education. She indicated that factors ensuring quality education included, amongst others, the following:
- A conducive environment for teaching and learning (infrastructure, parent involvement, discipline, punctuality, state of readiness);
- Staffing (Post Provisioning Norms, adequate educators for subjects, qualifications of educators, development and training of educators, Curriculum management, a functioning of SGBs and support from Circuits, Districts and communities);
- The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) – Was it sufficient and nutritious, were service providers paid timeously and was there hygienic food preparation?
- Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) – the timing of deliveries and correct totals delivered, as well as the quality of stationery;
- Adequate implementation of school improvement plans;
- Educators ensuring that they upheld the non-negotiables; and
- The working relationship between the Department and Organised Labour.
4.1 Input by the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department
The Department was focusing on its intervention plans, turnaround strategies and its Learner Attainment Improvement Strategy (LAIS). This strategy was focused on one year but formed part of a three year strategy premised on a theory of change. The Department touched on the policy imperatives informing the design of the LAIS in respect of service delivery platforms as well as small and farm schools. The Department also gave an analysis on school based educator attrition, including resignations.
The Department gave a breakdown of the following significant factors contributing to poor performance:
- The inability to fill funded critical vacant posts in schools;
- The phenomenon of small schools that were difficult to resource;
- The continued neglect of Grades 7, 8 and 9 with implications for the FET phase and Matric results;
- Ill-discipline by both educators and learners;
- LTSM top-ups;
- Under-performing due to ineffectual leadership by principals and SMTs;
- Teacher demand and supply;
- Professional capacity;
- Leadership and management; and
- Community ownership.
The Department mentioned that they had reached an agreement with Organised Labour that they formed part of the processes of filling vacancies. The Department experienced a relatively peaceful relationship with Organised Labour. The Department acknowledged that they were losing educators in an abnormal way and was working on setting up mechanisms to mitigate challenges with vacancy rates at schools. Some of the mechanisms to support schools included the following:
- The JAICA Mathematics Improvement Programme;
- 1+4 Mathematics Intervention;
- National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT);
- Multi-grade Teaching;
- Early Grade Reading Assessment; and
- The certificate in Primary Language Programme.
The Department further explained the difficulties encountered in the Department during the educator profiling programme. The Department indicated that they had lost data as well as incomplete data of educators and had started an exercise to ensure data received was verified and complete.
The Department explained that they had received an increased budget for infrastructure and was unable to fully utilise the budget. The Department had engaged National Treasury and received advice on spending.
The Department also experienced challenges with document management and leave management. There were delays in the approval of leave and cases of fraudulent submissions were being dealt with.
4.2 Input by the Lady Frere Education District
The District gave the Committees a broad overview of its Learner Attainment Improvement Plan for 2016. The overview covered the following key areas:
- The District profile;
- Office staffing and staffing at schools;
- PPN 2016 and implications
- Scholar transport;
- Subject performance; and
- 2016 Remedial plans.
The District mentioned that five Further Education and Training (FET) schools and a number of General Education and training (GET) schools were short of educators and Principals in 2015. Principals of three FET schools resigned in 2015. One Principal was suspended and charged in 2013 and his case was still unresolved. In respect of Centralised Functions, the District indicated that advertisements of vacant posts and the release of bulletins was determined by budget availability and approval by Treasury. Regarding the procurement of LTSM, the District only facilitated the requisitions by schools. The District is responsible for the monitoring of LTSM deliveries.
The District mentioned that the rationalisation process started in 2012 and all stakeholders in the District had realised the need to re-align and rationalise schools. The District had no control in terms of fast-tracking the process because of the quick-win approach adopted by the Department (there were no budgetary implications such as scholar transport, human resources and infrastructure). Consequently, the process was slower than they desired.
In respect of LTSM, the District mentioned that GET schools had to receive top-ups on the textbooks received in 2015. The FET schools also had to top-up on textbooks except Grade11 where set-books for languages had been changed. Schools had to order and receive new set-books for 2 854 Grade 11 learners in the three Languages i.e. IsiXhosa, English and Afrikaans. The District indicated a 100 percent delivery of stationery and 100 percent delivery of workbooks to all schools. However there had been no delivery of textbooks as yet.
The District noted some of the intervention strategies that had been working for the District as follows:
- Weekend classes for Mathematics, Science and Accounting learners;
- Roving tutors for subjects without teachers;
- Winter Schools, Spring schools and Autumn schools;
- Learner revision camps for schools without hostels;
- Monitoring by multi-disciplinary teams (Curriculum coverage, learner/teacher attendance, effective use of LTSM);
- Learner motivations and guidance on study skills;
- Use of ICT software programmes;
- School based extra classes (Morning, afternoon, evening, weekend);
- Incubation of small under-performing schools by hostel schools; and
- The use of study guides and newspaper supplements.
4.3 Committees Observations:
- Members raised a concern that the Department has had challenges in ensuring posts were filled as well as challenges in the redistribution of educators. The Department also encountered challenges in declaring its staffing finalisation.
- The Committees noted the challenges in respect of the introduction of African Language at schools together with the shortages of Afrikaans educators.
- Members were concerned that the Department only spent 30 percent of its Education Grant as of the end of the Second Quarter in the 2015/16 final year.
- Members were concerned that not all schools had received their allocated LTSM as ordered. Added to this, schools were not implementing book retention and retrieval policies.
- The Committees raised a concern regarding the instability in the Department. There was a view that the Department was being co-managed/co-lead with Organised Labour.
- Members were concerned that there was little assistance and support to progressed learners.
- Members noted with concern that communities were not in support of the merging/rationalisation of schools in their areas.
- The Committees noted that most challenges raised were of an administrative nature and required proper leadership and management at a provincial level.
- Issues around Languages were a political matter and needed to be dealt with at a political level.
- Members raised a concern that the schedules had not been submitted. Members queried how the matter was being managed to ensure compliance with consequences for those who did not comply.
- Members queried the plans in place to mitigate vandalism at schools in conjunction with parents and communities.
- Members noted that new inexperienced educators to the system had content knowledge gaps.
- Members queried the rationale behind awarding of foreign national educators with only a three-month contract as this was counter-productive.
- Members queried the reasons for certain schools not benefitting from the NSNP.
4.4 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that plans are put in place to fill vacant posts and challenges of the redistribution of educators are addressed.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that schools comply with submitting staffing declarations as well as schedules, with consequences for those who do not comply.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that all schools where shortages were reported, receive their LTSM as ordered.
- The Provincial Department should encourage schools to implement the book retention and retrieval policies to mitigate shortages and top-ups.
- The Provincial Department should tackle issues of instability and the lack of leadership within the Department at all levels.
- The Provincial Department should develop focused programmes and strategies to assist and support progressed learners.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that it broadened its advocacy campaigns and consultation with communities in respect of the merging/rationalisation of schools in affected communities.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that it develops training programmes in order to support new educators to the system so as to mitigate content knowledge gaps.
- The Provincial Department needs to investigate ways of offering longer term contracts to educators rather than awarding three-month contracts which are counter-productive.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that all schools who qualified for NSNP should benefit.
- Meeting with the Association of School Governing Bodies (SGBs)
It was noted that the challenges of the District affected predominantly children of poor parents who were mostly unemployed. The leader indicated that he had been active in SGB’s since 1995. It was the view of the SGBs that the standard of education has been lowered and this affects all role players. It was emphasised that all stakeholders, parents, children and government had an important role to play.
5.1 School Nutrition – The SGBs were concerned that funds for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) were transferred late, and it was further noted that at some point funds only reached the school in April even though schools re-open in January. The counting and allocation does not take into account the number of learners who should benefit, such that at times, schools run out of food. The SGBs no longer have the responsibility of procuring and employing service providers, which proves to be a challenge.
5.2 Scholar Transport: - A number of high schools were still without scholar transport. The poor condition of the roads make it difficult for transport to reach schools. Learners walk long distances and cross rivers and this causing difficulties for learners to reach schools during the rainy season.
5.3 Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) – The SGBs expressed frustrations with the Department’s inability to ensure that LTSM reached schools before they re-opened. It was noted that the function of procuring books resides with the Department and not schools. This was due to challenges that came with centralised procurement. On several occasions the SGBs paid R20 000 to supplement additional LTSM. It was noted that the criteria that government used posed serious challenges for the proper functioning of the SGBs and that it had a negative effect on effective teaching and learning. It was reported that there were schools where learners were without textbooks throughout the year and some learners shared and borrowed each other’s textbooks.
5.4 Relationship of Schools with Teacher Unions: It was reported that the Department was not able to take any decision without the involvement of the teacher unions. The view of the SGBs was that the situation was bad to such an extent that teacher unions were attempting to co-manage the schools. It was further noted that union meetings were held during teaching and learning time.
5.5 Discipline: It was reported that learners who come from places as far as Cape Town and had left the city after being expelled due to lack of discipline attended schools in the area. Some of the learners are up to 26 years old. They usually reside with grandparents which creates problems for the schools and the Department. It was reported that protests were led by these learners who some were former gangsters in Cape Town or had been expelled in Cape Town schools for gang related reasons.
It was noted that some schools received poor results and there was no improvement plan in place for many years nor were there consequences for the teachers and principals who continued to underperform. The SGBs called on the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape to assist the poorly performing schools.
5.6 Vacancies: The SBGs were dissatisfied with the fact that sometimes it took the Department more than three years to fill one vacant position. Some of the unemployed teachers had completed their teaching qualification at Colleges of Education many years ago but they had not been placed in teaching positions. It was noted that one teacher spent 10 years as an unemployed teacher and that the teacher went on to register and complete studies in nursing due to frustrations of being unemployed. The Department no longer employed temporary educators. A number of critical posts that were still vacant includes Music posts. It was reported that teachers for sport and the SGBs have been requesting that the Department look into including Physical Education as part of the curriculum and this had not yielded any results. At some schools teachers were only appointed in October even though schools re-opened in January.
The challenge of the shortage of teachers for Mathematics dominated the discussions. It was further noted that at some point temporary teachers were employed to assist and at times their employment was terminated just before trial examinations. The termination of employment of those teachers led to a protest march by parents to the District Office. At Mt Arthur Girls High School community members demanded the employment of a Mathematics teacher. . The SGB held a strong view that foreign nationals were more committed than local teachers. It was noted that important subjects such as Mathematics and Physical Science were taught by foreign nationals. The SGB further noted that Mathematics literacy was not adding any value to the future of the learners.
Some teachers were involved in community meetings when discussions of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) commence.
A number of schools in the District were multi-grade classes. The view of the SGBs was that the multi-grade classes compromised effective teaching and learning. It was recommended that the Department should end the practice as it is ineffective and played a major role in the decline of matriculation results.
5.7 Non-Teaching Staff: The SGBs noted the lack of uniformity regarding the allocation of non-teaching staff including administrative support such as clerks, and security guards for schools. It was noted that a number of schools had no administrative staff and teachers had to perform additional duties (administrative) over and above their normal duties.
5.8 Progressed learners: It was noted that SGBs welcomed the idea of progressed learners at first. Their view was that not all programmes were put in place to assist learners and teachers to implement the progress learner’s programme. Teacher absenteeism compromised learners as they had no one to teach them. Furthermore, teachers were not adequately prepared to assist progressed learners.
5.9 Rationalization: The communities were not in full support of the programme when it was first introduced. A number of stakeholders resisted it. The communities have since been brought on board by the Department and they were in full support of the initiative. It was noted that whenever the school had been merged or closed, learners should be provided with transport. The SGBs were not impressed with the pace at which the Department had been moving with regards to rationalization.
5.10 Laboratories and libraries: A number of schools in the District had neither libraries nor laboratories. It was observed that some schools had been on the waiting list since 2004 and 2005. Many schools were still without basic services such as water and learners were forced to bring their own bottles of water to schools as the schools neither had tap water nor water tanks.
The members of the SGB were adamant that the Provincial Department needed to be collapsed. Their argument was that a number of changes that have taken place in the department since the dawn of democracy have not brought any stability to the functioning of the Department. It was reported that the provincial leadership lacked policy implementation. The Department was faced with the challenge of HODs who do not remain for long periods of time. The current HOD was on suspension.
Teachers were overworked and some were teaching more than one subject. It was noted that phone calls to the head office no longer yielded any results, and correspondence to the head office was never acknowledged nor responded to. The SGB complained that many transgressions were committed by the Department officials and there were no consequences for those who committed these offences.
5.11 Centralised Procurement: The Provincial Department has since centralised the procurement of services, due to the fact that supply chain processes were not complied with. It was reported that tenders have crippled the Department of Education and people are enriching themselves. The SGBs were of the view that the late delivery of the textbooks and an insufficient supply was due to the challenges that came with centralising procurement services. Due to the fact that schools no longer procured services directly from the suppliers, the delivery of books had been compromised, calculators delivered were not in good working order. Central procurement has been a problem and it was having negative effects on education. Interventions have not assisted because schools are still without the required resources, such as furniture, paper and machines. There are no consequences for poor performance.
5.12 Sick leave: The Department was faced with serious challenges concerning leave management. It was noted that a teacher s ordered by the Department to teach, despite having suffered a stroke. It was reported that in one school in the District a teacher was sick for more than five years and earning a salary without teaching. The processes to finalise medical boarding took longer to be approved. It was noted that in one instance at Mchewula Senior Secondary school, in Cala District, a teacher had been sick since 2006 but was still employed and getting a salary from the Department despite not working for almost 10 years.
- Centralised procurement;
- The lack of laboratories and equipment;
- The lack of libraries;
- The lack of scholar transport;
- Poor school infrastructure;
- The inadequate number of non- teaching staff, including security personnel and administration clerks;
- The general lack of discipline from teachers and leaners with some teachers prioritising union meetings, which compromise teaching and learning; and
- Dilapidated buildings in most schools, which are not conducive for teaching and learning.
5.14 Committees Recommendations:
- The SGBs should play an active role and ensure that discussions on drug abuse in school and communities were addressed as it was not possible for Members of Parliament and Ministers to be in every school.
- The Municipality should ensure that schools have access to water and the responsibility of the Department is to connect and ensure that the schools have water.
- The meetings of the SGBs and those of members of the unions should be convened outside school hours to avoid clashes with teaching time.
- Given that the SGB is a very powerful, legally recognised structure and has an important role to play in society, they should ensure and maintain discipline in schools.
- Meeting with Organised Labour, Eastern Cape Province
The Portfolio Committee held a meeting with Organised Labour in the Eastern Cape Province to get a sense of the challenges faced by Unions on matters pertaining to the education sector. The presentations made by the various Unions were as follows:
6.1 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU):
SADTU indicated that challenges in the districts differed from district to district. SADTU stated that they hold bilateral meetings with the Department on issues that affect educators and denied reports that they were co-managing the Department. The Union was of the view that union activities do not impact much on learning and teaching time except for the call to attend memorial services. The Union stressed that the Department should review the Peter-Morkel Model since it was disabling educators. Other challenges raised were:
- A shortage of educators at schools;
- The policy on progression had deteriorated the value of education and learners were demoralised;
- The issue of the LTSM central procurement came with challenges. Schools were not satisfied with the service received since some schools had not received all the LTSM ordered. The stationary received was of poor quality;
- As principals were the leaders of the school, they could not effectively lead when they also had teaching duties;
- Some schools in the Province were still mud-structures;
- Educators felt unsafe at schools with the environment not being conducive for teaching and learning; and
- New educators to the system lacked experience and had content knowledge gaps.
6.2 National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU):
The Union also had a good working relationship with the Department and shared in bilaterals with the Department. Nehawu was concerned that Grade R educators, who, after acquiring a teaching qualification were not absorbed into the system. Other areas of concern for the Union were as follows:
- The short-term appointment contracts of three to six months for temporary educators;
- The stalling of payments to foreign educators due to re-evaluation of qualifications;
- The moratorium on filling vacancies that had been in place for some time;
- Relations with the Department were sound at lower levels but became strained at higher levels; and
- Skills development for educators needed to be in line with the needs of educators and properly implemented, managed and improved.
6.3 National Professional Teacher Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA):
Naptosa had a fairly good relationship with the Department although the Union felt many issues were not adequately addressed by the Department. The Union used the bilaterals with the Department to deal with challenges faced. NAPTOSA indicated that they attended regular workshops to discuss policies of the Department to ensure compliance and implementation.
- Delays in issuing appointment letters when posts were to be filled;
- The shortage of educators in the province;
- The discontinuation of the rural allowance to educators teaching in rural areas; and
- Security at schools – there was no proper fencing around some schools.
6.4 Committees Observations:
- Members raised concerns over the disruption of teaching and learning as Union members attend to their meetings and memorial services during teaching time.
- Members were concerned that there was not enough monitoring of teacher performance in classrooms.
- Members noted with concern the resistance from communities in respect of the merging/rationalisation of small and non-viable schools in various districts.
- The Committee were of the view that schools needed to implement the LTSM retention and retrieval policy to alleviate shortages.
- The Committees noted the outcry against the central procurement of LTSM and the poor quality of stationary received.
- Members were concerned that new educators to the system were inexperienced and lacked content knowledge.
- Members noted with concern the discontinuation of the rural incentive for educators teaching in rural areas.
6.5 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should ensure that teaching and learning time was not disrupted by Unions when they attended meetings and memorial services. These should be held after school to save teaching time.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that there was adequate monitoring of teacher performance in classrooms to be able to identify teacher training needs.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that there was proper consultation with affected communities in respect of the merging and rationalisation of schools.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that schools implemented book retention and retrieval policies to assist with shortfalls of textbooks.
- The Provincial Department should develop programmes for new educators to the system that give further support, training and development, guidance and mentoring.
- The Provincial Department should investigate all challenges in respect of the central procurement of LTSM and the poor quality of stationary with remedial action.
- The Provincial Department should consider the re-introduction of the rural incentive to attract and keep educators in the rural schools.
- The Provincial Department needs to ensure that educators work in a conducive, safe environment by ensuring school fencing and security guards fare in place at schools.
- Visits to Schools in the Lady Frere Education District, Eastern Cape Province
7.1 Echibini Senior Secondary School: The current principal had only commenced managing the school in December 2015. The school had arranged previous camps at the school over weekends with two educators overseeing the learners. The principal mentioned that the study camps and extra classes (morning, evening and weekend) were not well attended by learners. The principal was of the view that the study camps were a waste of money and time and had stopped the camps, continuing with revision exercises with available learners. Other challenges included the following:
- A sense that educators had lost control of learners at the school;
- The fluctuation in numbers of learners who wrote examinations due to learner pregnancies;
- Little or no involvement from parents in the education of their children
- A shortage of educators at the school;
- New educators were inexperienced and lacked content knowledge;
- Ill-discipline, lack of productivity and laxity of educators;
- The school is in a deep rural area and learners sometimes had challenges arriving at school on time;
- The school struggled with overage learners;
- Learners were ill-disciplined; used drugs and there was a high rate of teenage pregnancies;
- The school experienced water shortages;
- Non-completion of the curriculum;
- The shortage of educators with a high rate of resignations; and
- A high rate of absenteeism for both educators and learners.
7.1.1 Committees Observations:
- Members were disgusted at the state of the school ablution facilities, urging staff to ensure that they were kept neat and clean.
- The Committees raised concerns that the school was experiencing a shortage of textbooks and queried whether the school had made the necessary follow-ups in this regard.
- The Committees queried the remedial action to be taken when the school reached zero percent in certain subjects. Members questioned whether these educators did not require further training.
- Members also queried the recruitment strategy of the District for schools in the area.
- Members were of the view that for any turnaround strategy to be successful, it required careful and proper planning.
7.1.2 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department needs to ensure that the school educator shortages is addressed as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the school was assisted with its turnaround strategy and offered the necessary support with planning, implementation and monitoring.
- The Provincial Department should investigate textbook shortages and ensure that the school receives the outstanding textbooks.
- The Provincial Department, in collaboration with the local municipality should ensure that water shortages at the school be addressed.
7.2 Indwe High School: It was mentioned that the staff work ethics were of a high standard. The school had extra classes (morning and evening classes) for various subjects. Learners were also invited to utilise classrooms for study purposes which provided a quiet space for them to concentrate on their studies while preparing for examinations. Some of the challenges experienced at the school included:
- The school experienced challenges with Physical Science and Mathematics.
- There were no adequate sporting facilities at the school
- Leaners who exited the Foundation Phase had not reached an acceptable teaching level.
- Although school attendance had improved, the school still struggled with issues of discipline.
- The quality of stationary received was poor e.g. unsuitable and faulty calculators.
- The working relationship between the school, the District and the Province needed to be improved.
- District offices were not adequately resourced to perform their duties.
7.2.1 Committees Observations:
- The Committees were concerned with the quality of the stationery received by schools.
- The Committees also highlighted the issues around shortage of textbooks at the school.
- The Committees noted the challenges of District offices not adequately resourced (printers, fax machines, telephone lines etc).
7.2.2 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should investigate the textbook shortages and ensure the school received the outstanding books.
- The Provincial Department should investigate the service providers and suppliers of the inferior quality stationary to schools.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that District offices are adequately resourced in order to effectively carry out their duties.
7.3 Lukhanyo High School: The SMT was of the view that everybody in the community, teachers and learners needed to take responsibility for the poor results obtained in 2015. The main challenges faced were as follows:
- The surrounding community was poverty stricken and was solely dependent on social grants.
- The rate of violence and gangsterism in the area was high – including human trafficking and sex workers. The environment was not conducive for teaching and learning.
- The school was located very close to a local tavern.
- Communities were not taking ownership of the school and there was little or no parental involvement in the education of their children.
- The school had a relatively new SGB that only came into effect in June 2015.
- Learner attendance for morning, afternoon and weekend classes was very low.
- The school experienced a shortage of textbooks.
- The school had not been operating in line with national and provincial policies.
- HODs seemed not to understand their role and function in respect of monitoring.
7.3.1 Committees Observations:
- Members were curious to understand the issue of the blanket progression of students and the programmes in place to support these learners.
- Members were concerned with the proximity of the tavern and queried whether the school had tried to have the tavern closed down.
- Members questioned whether the Circuit/District offices were assisting the school through the necessary monitoring.
- Members were concerned that the subject choices and streams at the school was too wide.
- The Committees observed that intervention programmes of the school had not been properly planned and budgeted for.
- The Committees were concerned that there was no teamwork, cooperation and leadership from the SMT.
- The Committees noted that the school had not received LTSM for two years.
- The Committees also highlighted the issues around the shortage of textbooks at the school.
- The Committees noted the challenges of District offices not adequately resourced (printers, fax machines, telephone lines etc).
7.3.2 Committees Recommendations:
- The Provincial Department should investigate the LTSM and textbook shortages and ensure the school received the outstanding books.
- The Provincial Department needs to ensure that the school adhered to and operated within the guidelines and policies of the National and Provincial Department. The Provincial Department, in collaboration with the local municipality should ensure that the tavern close to the school is closed down.
- The Provincial Department needs to assist the school with narrowing its curriculum offerings.
- The Provincial Department should finalise the post-matching exercise and make certain appointments as soon as possible.
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the school receives support, assistance, guidance and training.
- The Provincial Department needs to look into assisting the school with Physical Science apparatus.
7.4 Ikhwezi High School: The school is a quintile 1 school, with six post level 1 educators, (two of whom are additional teachers. The total enrolment is 126 learners. The members were impressed with the cleanliness of the school and noted that the institution appears to be well managed. It was noted that all community stakeholders were part of the meeting, CDW, Ward Councilor, SMT, SGB, ordinary community members and representatives of the traditional authority. SGB plays an important role, parents attend meetings with a quorum being present.
LTSM: The school did not receive the required number of Learner Teacher Support Material, such that the school has been assisting learners with photocopies, and at times learners were required to make a small contribution towards making copies. Three or more students share textbooks. 48 students doing matriculation had no Mathematics textbooks. However, the circuit manager organised study guides for Mathematics, Accounting and Physical Science, and Mathematics Literacy. , Centralized procurement system led to a number of delays.
School Nutrition Programme: The school receives NSNP on time. The school had converted a classroom into a kitchen, and it looked tidy and clean even though the building had visible cracks.
It was observed that the environment at the school was conducive for teaching and learning despite minor cases where learners were caught smoking cigarettes, and dagga. In trying to address the problem, the school entered into a partnership with community members, the SAPS and social workers which led to unannounced visits to the school by police, helping to address the challenges that related to drug use.
Infrastructure: The entire building infrastructure of the school was in a poor state. The existing structures were put up by community members, and the institution needed a total overhaul and intense renovations. The ablution facilities were not safe.
The school had sports facilities for soccer, netball, rugby but the facilities were not in a good condition. The school needed a ground for volley ball as this is normally an indoor sport. . The school needed a hostel urgently.
Scholar Transport: The current scholar transport only benefits learners whose homes are located more than 15km from the school.
Teachers: The school has a shortage of teachers for critical subjects such as Mathematics and Physical Science. There is no library or computer laboratory or Science laboratory. Each teacher on average is responsible for teaching more than three subjects. Teachers have been exposed to development programmes through the involvement and regular visits by subject advisors.
Extra Classes: The school conducted extra classes on weekends for Grade 12. They also conducted spring school and boot camps. The school however noted poor attendance by learners in this initiative.
The school completed its syllabi on time, and revision was conducted in 2015. A number of learners who failed grade 12 were progressed learnersand as a result the school made a commitment to strengthen its support programme to progressed learners in 2016.
Water / borehole: The school had a borehole and community members were also using the borehole which compromised the security of the school. The school could not lock its gate as the community members wanted access to the borehole.
Input by SGB Members: The SGB reported that the learners were a law unto themselves as the school was without a principal for a long time. The current principal had been appointed in 2015. The school does not offer Physical Science due to no Physical Science teacher having been appointed. The school has no proper security. Feeder schools (Tsembeyi Primary) are refusing to release/ transfer learners (Grades 8 and 9) to Ikhwezi.
The Provincial Department reported that the school has been identified for renovations. The process to finalize the appointment of a contractor was at an advanced stage, It was noted that the biggest challenge for the department was that the school had very low enrolment numbers.
- Centralised procurement;
- Insufficient scholar transport;
- Lack of libraries and laboratories;
- Inadequate LTSM delivered to the school ; and
- No Mathematics and Physical Science teacher.
7.4.2 Committee recommendations:
- In situations where schools do not want to release learners to the feeder school, the Department should follow policy and enforce it;
- The Provincial Department of Education should guide schools on the processes of acquiring stationery, textbooks and putting up infrastructure before schools are rationalised;
- District management should assist schools in obtaining Mathematics and Physical Science teachers;
- Schools should engage private business for sponsorships, including Vodacom and many other social partners;
- Schools should strengthen their textbook retrieval policy;
- The Provincial Department should attend to the challenge of teachers who are overloaded with work including the provision of security; and,
- The local municipality, Emalahleni should ensure that school programmes within the municipalities find their way to the municipalities Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
7.5 Mzamo Senior Secondary School: The school had six educators, and 111 learners. Teachers were overloaded and others were teaching more than two subjects. The school had an additional teacher whom they could not afford to pay. The school had no English teacher and used an Accounting graduate to teach English. The English teacher achieved a 100 % pass.
Progressed learners: It was reported that some of the students who had failed Grade 11 had already dropped out and they returned to school when they learned about the programme of progressed learners. However, some parents refused to have their children progress to the next grade, and those parents were 21 in total. Only one learner passed out of 21 progressed learners. The school reported that some learners exit the examination room within 15 minutes of starting writing as they know they will be progressed to the next grade.
Discipline: Five boys were found smoking dagga and the matter was reported to parents and the police. When parents are called to parents meetings for serious challenges, very few attend. There is a tavern next to the school and some learners leave the school and go to the tavern.
All the buildings of the school were constructed through donations from the parents and community members. The school has a computer laboratory with computers though has no teacher to teach IT.
- Lack of discipline;
- Poor attendance at meetings by parents;
- A shortage of teachers for critical subjects such as Mathematics and Physical Science ;
- Syllabus not completed; and
The focus is on Grade 12.
7.5.2 Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department should ensure that school employs security guards and administration support staff;
- The SGB should play an active role in assisting the school regarding the challenges of discipline;
- The Provincial Department should assist progressed learners;
- The sharing of textbooks should be attended to as a matter of urgency;
- The Provincial Department should attend to the challenges of scholar transport;
- The Provincial Department should provide proper ablution facilities ;
- The Provincial Department should ensure that the school is prioritised for the administrative; and
- The Provincial Department should build offices for the management of the school including the principal.
7.6 Tsembeyi Junior Secondary School: The school is a quintile 1 school with 10 teachers and 315 learners, It starting from Grade R to Grade 9. In 2017. Grades 8 and 9 will be transferred to a high school.
Learner Teacher Support Material: LTSM that was delivered was not adequate and the top-up textbooks needed and were delivered.
SGB: The SGB was elected successfully and plays an active role in the running of the institutions,
Discipline: There is a lack of discipline and parents do not attend meetings. There is also a problem of drug abuse although there are no reported cases of drugs intake within the school premises.
The Post Provisioning Norm (PPN) was raised as a serious challenge, with many schools complaining of the shortage of teachers particularly those teaching critical subjects such as Mathematics and Science. The school was dissatisfied with the fact that a number of teachers were employed on a temporary basis. Some teachers left in the middle of the school term due to their uncertainty and not the insecurity of a lack information regarding the possibility that they will be permanently employed.
School Nutrition Programme: The NSNP was running well and the school had converted one classroom into a kitchen. The school needed a proper building to be used as a kitchen.
Scholar transport: The school has no need for scholar transport as all learners were coming from villages close to the school.
Grades 8 and 9: it was noted that Tsembeyi still had Grades 8 and 9 despite the fact that government policy provides that primary should preferably transfer them to the closest school, which is Ikwezi.
- Few parents don’t attend parents meetings;
- Lack of discipline;
- Lack of a proper kitchen; and
- A number of children with no birth certificates and coming from child headed homes.
7.6.2 Committee Recommendations:
- The Circuit Manager should involve all the relevant departments including SASSA and Home Affairs to bring mobile services to the school and ensure that learners receive birth certificates and the Department of Health should ensure that children are vaccinated;
- Unqualified teachers should not be teaching subjects they are not competent in;
- The school should store food in proper places for hygiene purposes;
- The Provincial Department of Education unit that deals with HIV and Aids should attend to the challenges of child headed homes; and
- The Provincial Department of Education should provide an administrative building with office space for teachers and the principal.
8. Wrap-up/Report-back Session
It was agreed that the majority of issues raised were common throughout the oversight visit. The Committees were concerned that not all Directorates within the Provincial Department were represented during the visits. After the visit to schools and engagement with stakeholders, the key matters could be summarised as follows:
- There was no quality teaching and learning in the schools.
- Curriculum management and implementation was lacking.
- Schools were not well managed at all levels.
- HODs had no knowledge as to the role they needed to play.
- There were issues of ill-discipline at schools.
- There was a gross shortage of educators resulting in learners being without educators in classrooms.
- Three-month contracts for educators were not feasible and needed to be addressed.
- There were challenges in respect of the management and implementation of the rationalisation of schools.
- The provision of learner transport coupled to the merging/rationalisation needed to be attended to.
- There were challenges with LTSM shortages and the poor quality of stationary (calculators).
- The discontinued rural incentives since the Province struggled to attract educators to rural areas. The incentive needed to be re-introduced.
- New educators to the education system were inexperienced and lacked content knowledge.
- There were non-existent teacher development programmes with little or no support from the Department.
- Progressed Learners – Leadership in the Province needed to assist and guide schools in respect of policies and limitations. The situation has had a negative impact on teaching and learning.
- Infrastructure – the Province still had a number of mud-structures which needed to be eradicated.
- School furniture – there was insufficient furniture in some schools while other schools had an over-supply.
- Learners could not reach school during the rainy season since there were no bridges.
- Inter-departmental relations were needed to be strengthened (e.g. the Departments of Health and Social Development).
- Leave management was a major concern as it also created duplication of posts at schools.
- Schools were not implementing the textbook retrieval policy.
- School kitchens and laboratories were without the necessary equipment.
8.1 Committees Observations:
- Quality of Leadership: Most schools visited indicated that there was lack of quality school leadership from the principals and SMTs.
- New Educator Recruits – Schools raised the issue of new educators being inexperienced and not possessing the necessary content knowledge
- Educator Shortages: The Committee raised concerns that the majority of schools visited were experiencing a shortage of educators.
- Ill-discipline: This was a clear challenges for most schools for both learners and educators.
- LTSM – The Committees were concerned that many schools reported shortages of textbooks and poor quality stationery. A further cause for concern was that schools were not implementing the book retrieval policy.
- Rural Incentive – Educators in rural schools were not receiving the rural incentive which assisted in keeping educators at rural schools.
- Progressed Learners – Many schools raised issues concerning the policy on progressed learners. Schools did not receive the necessary guidelines and support from the Department on the management of these learners.
- Infrastructure – Members were concerned that the Province still had mud-structures which needed to be eradicated.
- Furniture – Schools visited also mentioned that they lacked adequate school furniture for both learners and educators.
- Security – Many schools indicated that they could not afford the service of security guards and many had no fencing around the school.
- Leave Management – A recurring problem was the inability of schools to manage leave applications. The Department also took a long period of time for leave to be processed.
- Kitchens – Members raised concerns that some schools lacked adequate kitchens as well as kitchen equipment.
- Scholar Transport – Schools complained that their learners were not benefitting from the scholar transport programme and walked long distances to school.
- Responsiveness of the PED – Schools complained that there was a lack of response from the Department on all matters pertaining to administration which was compounded by over-centralisation of functions. Departmental structures were not responsive to the needs of schools.
- Parental involvement – Most schools visited indicated that there was a lack of parental involvement in the education of their children. There was a view that parents dumped their children at schools with family structures becoming dysfunctional in the Province.
The oversight visits to Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape provided the Committees with an opportunity to assess their schools’ state of readiness for 2016 as well as level of functionality. The findings and recommendations made by the Committees should assist in identifying areas that need to be strengthened and make contributions in attaining effective solutions to challenges experienced in schools in the District and Province.
10. Overall Committees Recommendations
The Committees, having conducted the oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal, and having considered the issues that were highlighted, request that the Minister of Basic Education ensure that the Department consider the following overall recommendations:
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that SMTs and principals are adequately trained in respect of their management and leadership responsibilities.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should investigate and correct the LTSM shortages as well as the poor quality of stationery received by schools.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that new educators to the system receive the necessary development, guidance and mentoring, with ongoing professional development.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should support to effectively address disciplinary challenges amongst educators and learners, including substance abuse, early pregnancies and late-coming.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that municipal by-laws in respect of the proximity of taverns to schools are adhered to.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should deal speedily with educator shortages at schools and ensure that additional educators were sourced and priority given to the Funza Lushaka Bursars.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should avail a budget to re-introduce the rural incentive for educators in rural areas.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should assist schools with policies and guidelines for the implementation and management of progressed learners. Progressed learners should also receive the necessary support programmes and intervention strategies.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should fast-track that the eradication of all mud-structures in the Province. The infrastructure budget must drive infrastructure in conjunction with the rationalisation of schools.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools receive the necessary furniture requirements as per any shortages reported.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools are properly fenced and consideration be given to employ security guards at schools.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools are supplied with fully equipped kitchens for preparation of meals.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should revisit the policy on scholar transport, distances and routing to benefit all learners who qualify for scholar transport.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools improve on and implemente policies on book retrieval.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should ensure that schools have proper educator profiles in order to facilitate effective placement.
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 officials from 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, all stakeholders were able to accommodate the delegation and this proved successful.
Report to be considered.
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