ATC160602: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Oversight Visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces date 24 May 2016

Basic Education

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Oversight Visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces date 24 May 2016
 

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces, reports as follows:

1.         Introduction, Purpose and Background

1. 1         The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education conducted oversight visits to the Pietermaritzburg District, KwaZulu-Natal and Port Elizabeth (Northern Areas), Eastern Cape from 14 – 18 September 2015, as part of the Parliamentary Programme for the Third Term.

1.2          Guided by Parliament’s framework, which encouraged Portfolio Committees to collaborate during this oversight period, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education identified joint oversight activities with the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation for the 14 September 2015 in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The focus of this phase of the oversight was on the provision of School Sport and Physical Education. The Committees met with both the Provincial Departments of Education and Sport and Recreation, as well as various stakeholders such as the United Nations Children’s Fund and provincial sport federations.

 

              The oversight visit to KZN also afforded the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education an opportunity to receive an update on the Provincial Department of Education’s progress in addressing the Committee’s recommendations in respect of challenges experienced regarding group copying in the 2014 National Senior Certificate examinations. During the oversight visit to KZN in February 2015, the Portfolio Committee had made specific recommendations, as follows:

 

  • The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department should expedite and bring to conclusion the investigations into the 2014 examination irregularities to ensure that the credibility and integrity of the examinations are not compromised.
  • The Department should further intensify its monitoring of the implementation of measures put in place to prevent organised copying.

 

1.3          The oversight visit to the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape focussed on the critical area of exam readiness. Both KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape were high priority provinces for support in terms of examination readiness.

1.4          The visits entailed meetings with the National Department of Basic Education, the Provincial Departments of Education, the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Provincial Legislatures, District Officials, the School Management Teams, Organised Labour and School Governing Bodies.  Furthermore, the visits included an in-loco site visit to a Sport Focused School in KwaZulu-Natal and a Teacher Centre in the Eastern Cape.

 

2.         Objectives of the Oversight

            The objectives of the oversight visits were as follows:

 

  1. School Sport
    1. To monitor the provision of School Sport and Physical Education (as part of Life Orientation);
    2. To monitor the implementation of the model on sport focussed schools in assisting talented athletes to achieve their potential; and
    3. To monitor progress made with regard to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on school sport between SRSA and the Department of Basic Education, as well as plans for joint task teams on school sport for 2015-16.  

 

  1. Examinations Readiness
    1. To receive an update on KwaZulu-Natal Province’s progress in addressing the Committee’s recommendations regarding group copying in the 2014 NSC examinations;
    2. To assess the state of readiness to administer the Annual National Assessment (ANA) and the National Senior Certificate examinations in both Provinces, including the following.

 

  • Interventions made by  the province  in preparation for the NSC examinations/ANA;
  • Support for progressed learners;
  • Teacher development programmes;
  • The state of security systems for the printing; and
  • Distribution and storage of examination question paper;

 

  1. The Provision of ICT in Teacher Centres
    1. To monitor ICT support to schools by Teacher Centres.

 

3.   Delegations

 

  1. Portfolio Committee on Basic Education (Parliament)

 

Hon. N Gina MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon. NR Mokoto MP (ANC Whip), Hon. J Basson MP (ANC), Hon. D Khosa MP (ANC), Hon. TM Khoza MP (ANC), Hon. AT Lovemore MP (DA), Hon. HS Boshoff MP (DA), Hon. CT Msimang MP (IFP).  Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Ms P Jayiya (Stand-in Committee Secretary), Mr M Kekana (Researcher), Ms R Azzakani (Communications Officer) and Ms S Ntabeni (Committee Assistant).

 

  1. National Department of Education

 

Dr K Perumal (Chief Education Specialist: Curriculum Development and Monitoring), Ms K Sechoaro (Chief Education Specialist: Policy Development, Monitoring and Evaluation), Mr V Makam (Chief Education Specialist), Mr S Mlambo (Chief Director), Mr E Mhlanga (Chief Director: Media Liaison),  Dr A Nkosi (Director), Mr L Mahada (Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO).

 

  1. KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Education

 

Hon PN Nkonyeni MPL (Member of the Executive Committee) (KZN), Dr SNP Sishi: Head of Department,  Dr FM Nzama : General Manager, Ms BT Dlamini, Acting General Manager: Curriculum, Ms V Saunders-Carson, General Manager: MEC Office, Dr Mthembu, Mr D Chonco, Director: Uthungulu District, Ms TA Gumede, General Manager: District Operations, Mr MV Majola, Director: Umzinyathi District, Ms TC Dyer, Senior Manager: Intergovernmental Relations, Mr D Sibisi, Director: Harry Gwala District, Ms M E Mokoena, Acting Director: Uthukela District, Rev. NR Sithole,  Director: Amajuba District, Mr W du Plooy, Director: Zululand District, Ms J A Baiju, Director: Umgungundlovu District, Mr WM Sibiya, Director: Ugu District, Mr B Ntuli, Director: Umlazi District, Ms TPJ Khoza, Director, Strategic Management: Monitoring and Evaluation, Ms B Dladla, Director: Curriculum, Ms TC Vilakazi, Manager: Ilembe District, Mr T Cele: Deputy Manager, Dr NE Mahaye, Deputy Manager: MEC Office, Mr T Mbanjwa, Senior Manager: Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) Provisioning, Mr S Mlotshwa, Manager: Media Relations, Mr SA Nkosi, Acting Manager: Teacher Development Directorate, Ms M Zulu: Senior Communications Officer and Mr D Nkosi, Media Liaison Officer.

 

  1. Representatives from Organised Labour (KwaZulu-Natal)

 

Mr W Mpisi: South African Democratic Teacher Union (SADTU), Mr M Makhathini: SADTU, Ms B Ndlovu: SADTU, Mr A Pierce: National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), Mr N Schende: Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU). 

 

  1. Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Education

 

Mr R Tywakadi: Acting Head of Department, Mr MW Hlekani, Acting Director: Port Elizabeth District, Ms T Mali, Deputy Director: Human Resources, Mr MMA Leonard, Chief Education Specialist (CES): Curriculum, Ms L Goba, CES: ESSS, Ms N Lehlakane, Acting Director: Assessment and Examinations, Mr C Claassen, Deputy Director: Finance, Mr M Mbunge: Cabinet Liaison Officer, Mr M Mampunye, Parliamentary Liaison Officer.

 

  1. Representatives from Organised Labour (Eastern Cape)

 

Ms C Erasmus: Public Service Association, Mr L Mpati, National Education and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), Ms Y Gudla: NEHAWU, Mr WJ Botha: SAOU, Mr GD Saayman, Executive Officer: NAPTOSA, Ms A Simayi: Regional Education Convenor: SADTU, Ms N Mzizi, Site Steward: SADTU, Mr M J Blou, Regional Treasurer: SADTU and Mr A Adams, Senior Executive Officer: NAPTOSA.

 

4.         Overview of School Sport in KwaZulu-Natal Province

            The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Sport           and Recreation received presentations from the KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Sport and           Recreation and Education on the state of school sport in the Province. The presentations focussed on the areas of collaboration, the 2014/15 delivery performance, transformation   gaps and proposals.

 

            4.1        Areas of collaboration

It was reported that the MECs for Sport and Recreation and Education entered into a Collaboration Agreement in 2013, which delineates each department’s responsibility in respect of school sport.  The responsibility of the Department of Education was, inter alia, intra and inter school sport competition.  From the district level upwards, the responsibility lay with the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR). Academies and Sport Focus schools were coordinated at the national Department of Sport and Recreation. The task of management and coordination of school sport rested with the Joint Provincial Technical Coordination Committee (JPTCC). The JPTCC had an extended forum, namely, the Extended Joint Technical Coordination Committee (EJTCC), which met quarterly and included representatives from the 16 priority provincial federations and school sport codes committee members.  These forums were replicated at the district level.  The Province was using the allocated Division of Revenue Act (DORA) funding and the Department of Education funds to deliver school sport as per the national guidelines.

 

            4.2        Overview of 2014/15 performance

The Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) gave an overview of the Department’s 2014/15 financial and service delivery performance in respect of its programmes, as well as its Strategy for 2015 - 2020. In 2014/15, the School Sport Programme received R36 million and spent 95.4 percent of its allocated budget.

In terms of service delivery performance, the School Sport Programme had achieved 83 percent of their indicator targets for the 2014/15 financial year, which included the following:

  • The number of schools registered in the programme;
  • The number of schools provided with equipment and/or attire;
  • The number of Sport Focus Schools supported;
  • The number of district school sport and provincial school sport structures supported;
  •  The number of learners participating in the school sport tournaments;
  • The number of learners supported to participate in the national school sport tournaments
  • The number of educators and volunteers trained to deliver the school sport programmes;
  • The number of school sport coordinators remunerated; and
  • The number of staff appointed on a long-term or permanent basis.

 

Specific achievements in 2014/15 included that a total of 3 586 registered schools participated in School Sport. Participation involved intra and inter school competition in the 16 prioritised codes in the Province. Inter school competition in the form of leagues escalated to the Top Schools Programme at District and then provincial level. In total, 13 855 learners participated in the school sport programmes at district and provincial level.

 

The Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) also provided equipment and attire to a total of 417 school, achieving 87 percent of its set target. It was reported that support was biased towards rural schools and schools for athletes with disabilities. The Department also reported that Team KZN was able to obtain second position with 79 Gold medals in the National Top Schools Championships held in Pretoria in December 2014.

 

The Department reported that the contributions from the sponsors were invaluable for the implementation of school sport in the Province. With regard to school sport programmes, out of 6017 schools, 3 828 observed the Magnificent Wednesday Sport Programme.

 

4.3        The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MSTF) Strategy, Funding and                                   Progress

In terms of its Strategy for 2015 – 2020, the Department aimed to maximise access to sport, recreation and Physical Education in every school in KwaZulu-Natal (Goal 6). School Sport was allocated R47 million in 2015/16 which was expected to increase to R52 million in 2017/18.

 

The DSR also received the Mass Participation and Sport Development conditional grant consisting of school sport, community mass participation and club development.  With regard to 2015/16, the conditional grant budget amounted to a total of R89.2 million. Of this amount, R40 million was allocated towards Mass School Sport Approximately R23 million was allocated for Community Recreation (Siyadlala) and R26 million towards club development.  As of 31 August, 17, 2 percent of the total budget had been expended.

 

Progress made in 2015/16 included the hosting of the District and Provincial Top Schools Championships where teams were selected for participation in the National Top Schools Championships to be held in December 2015. In total, 5 079 learners participated in these Championships.

 

            4.4        Sport Focus Schools

With regard to the Sport Focus Schools, the Committees were informed that, the provinces had established a Task Team that was overseeing the implementation of the provincial sports academy programme, with Sport Focus Schools being the entry level of the academy programme.  The Task Team comprised delegates from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology, PRIME, the DSR, the Sports Confederation, the Department of Education and Hoy Park Management.  The terms of reference of the Task Team were the development of a provincial academy system and monitoring the implementation thereof.  The Task Team was using the national documents /guidelines in the development of the strategy, as well as to establish norms and standards for all schools.

The DSR reported that the schools currently on the list since submitted by sport codes, are not official Sport Focus Schools as no agreements were entered into.  The Province had started the process of accrediting all schools and ensuring that these schools would be able to support placed learners as was required.  It was envisaged that the province would have official Sport Focus Schools by 01 January 2016.

 It was reported that a number of structures were supporting Sport Focus Schools, including the Federation, Code Committees, Government, NGO’s and the Prime/Academies.

 

            4.5        School Sport Competitions

The Committees were taken through the school competitions, which are held in each of the 16 prioritised codes in the Province.  These school competitions start at district level and are taken up to the provincial level, where a provincial team is selected to participate in the National Top Schools Championships. The District / Provincial Competitions are the responsibility of the District/Provincial Structures and supported by the respective Sport Federation.  However, the Departments of Sport and Recreation and Education play a supporting role and provide funding to Provincial Sport Federations to host the District / Provincial Eliminations.

 

The National Top Schools Championships were held annually per code and per age category on the 16 sport codes and nine indigenous games (IG).  The competition contributed towards national identity and fostered cohesion amongst youth.  It was inclusive of people with disabilities, with a focus on hearing impaired, physically disabled and intellectually impaired.  Due to the limited number of schools for people with disabilities, this part of the competition was not school-based, but was composed of individually selected provincial teams.

 

            4.6        Transformation within School Sport

            With regard to issues of transformation within School Sport, the Department of Education           was of the opinion that there was progress, including the following:

  • With relation to swimming in disadvantaged areas, 12 schools in the UMkhanyakude District used facilities at Hluhluwe Primary School;
  • Jukskei, which was previously a white-dominated game had been introduced in nine districts;
  • Khokho, which was previously an Indian-dominated game was now played in all the districts;
  • Football had been extended to girls;
  • Indigenous games introduced included jukskei, khokho, kgati, morabaraba; and
  • In respect of the participation of the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) schools, the South African Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired (SASAII) would compete in swimming, athletics, indoor rowing and table tennis at the international games in Ecuador on 19-24 September 2015.

 

            4.7        Challenges

            Key challenges identified by the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation included the   following:

  • The KZN Department of Education did not have set targets on the number of schools participating in inter/intra school competitions. The KZN Education and Sport and Recreation Departments had recently agreed to look into the matter.
  • Not all Code Structures operated optimally and this placed considerable pressure on the Department’s ability to deliver a successful elimination competition.
  • The biggest challenge in rolling out the district and provincial selections was budgetary constraints. The Department supported by the Portfolio Committee had been making requests for additional funding.
  • Some educators and DoE officials were not cooperative in delivering school sport.  Therefore, there were pending reports on instances of officials who break the law.
  • Out of the infrastructure budget for sport fields and projects, the Department of Sport and Recreation could only construct combo-courts /multi-purpose facilities.
  • Although the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation, adopted the SASCOC national coaching framework in 2014, working with the Durban Institute of Technology, it could not identify school educators because the institution required some curriculum vitae.
  • There was a disjuncture in flow from school sport to club development, to further higher performance.
  • With regard to Ministerial Bursary holders, learners with disability challenges, who participated in sport had to be taken out to schools in provinces where they could get appropriate training.
  • There was no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in place between the schools identified for oversight as Sport Focused Schools and the Department of Sport and Recreation to ensure that resources allocated could be properly accounted for.

 

            Key challenges identified by the Department of Education were as follows:

  • The majority of rural and farm schools were not able to match the teams of schools with more resources.  Thus, the Department had a special programme to enable rural and farm schools to compete with well - resourced schools.
  • Not all school and districts had code structures, an audit was underway. With respect to supporting the code structures during 2014/15 financial year, the entire Province was allocated R50 million for Sport, Arts, Culture and Youth Development.  Meanwhile, the KZN Department of Education requested an increase in the allocation so as to provide visible support to structures and to assist the code structures and educators at implementation level.
  • Gaps were identified in the capacity building of educators; 
  • The DoE did not have a budget to pay contract workers for take responsibility of the hubs.
  • Hubs were not taken good care of.  The Department could only deal with a limited number of contractors. Federations were not visible in rural areas.

 

            4.8        Portfolio Committee Observations

            The Portfolio Committee noted that although some strides were made to implement sports          in schools, a lot remained to be done, as highlighted by the challenges raised by the       Departments.

  • The Portfolio Committee was concerned over the slow pace of transformation, especially in historically predominantly white schools.
  • The Portfolio Committee was concerned that the Department of Education had not set targets on key areas of the implementation of School Sport, including the number of schools participating in inter/intra school competitions. This impeded effective monitoring.

 

            4.9        Recommendations

            The Portfolio Committee recommended that:

  • There should be a greater collaboration between the Departments of Sport and Recreation and Education and all stakeholders with an interest in uplifting talented learners through sports.
  • The KZN Department of Education should set targets in all critical areas of the implementation of School Sport, including the number of schools participating in inter/intra school competitions. 

 

 

 

5.         Presentation by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

            The Committees were taken through UNICEF’s role in the Sports Development (S4D)       Programme and Physical Education in schools.  Since its inception in 2008, the S4D had   grown into a body providing support in the development of a Schools Sports policy, teacher development through accredited training in Physical Education, Youth Leadership training,             developing multi-purpose playing fields and improving learner academic performance.  The         S4D formed part of the overall Child Friendly Schools Framework (CFS) to increase access, retention, completion and learning achievements by supporting: comprehensive life skills;     psychosocial support programmes; the building of partnerships with parents, learners and       communities, civil society and the private sector at school level; and improving the school          environment in health and safety.

 

  1. The State of Education in the KwaZulu-Natal Province

            The MEC for Education, Hon NP Nkonyeni gave an overview of the state of education in             the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Key issues covered included the following:

 

  1. The size of the system: the Province had over 6000 schools, which are characterised as ordinary public schools, independent schools and special public schools.  The learner and teacher populations consisted of over 2.8 million and 89,000 in all schools respectively.   The Province had 12 districts with Amajuba being the smallest.

 

  1. Prioritising Mathematics: The Province was encouraging learners to choose Mathematics as a curriculum subject in response to the low intake of the subject nationally. Out of 171 820 candidates who would sit for 2015 examinations in KZN, 89,109 (52 per cent) would write pure Mathematics, compared to the national average of around 40 per cent.  In respect to Mathematics development, the international Mathematics and Science study identified in learners’ attainment that, 60 per cent of Maths and 53 per cent of Science learners are taught by a qualified teacher. 

 

  1. Access matters: The MEC noted gains made in access to education, including that 98 percent of school going age learners were at school and that over 85 percent of children had access to Early Childhood Development (ECD).

 

  1. Budget issues: The total budget allocation for the Provincial Department of Education for the 2015/16 financial year was R42.142 billion compared to R39.950 billion received in 2014/15.  The Department experienced an under-expenditure of R286 million in 2014/15.  There was no un-authorised expenditure. The Department received an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General. 

 

  1. Education Summit: As noted during the Portfolio Committee’s oversight visit to KZN in February 2015, the MEC reported that the Department conducted a summit in 2015 to provide all stakeholders with space to contribute to the overarching strategic and performance plans up to 2019. The summit was also aimed to give guidance on the poor performance experienced in 2014.  Discussions and resolutions were taken in the following areas:
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD);
  • Learner Attainment;
  • Information Communication Technology;
  • Service Delivery; and
  • Skills and Teacher Development.

 

  1. Progress on 2015 Ilembe District challenges: In respect of the loss in the teaching time when the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) regional structure demanded the dismissal of the ILembe District Manager, which the Portfolio Committee noted during its February 2015 oversight visit to KZN, the MEC reported that the Minister provided support by despatching senior managers to intervene and the District Manager was not removed.  Currently, there was stability in the district and where there were challenges, the province intervened.      

 

  1. Operation Bounce Back: This was the Department’s turnaround strategy to respond to the negative performance in respect to the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations and group copying.  The challenges identified included the decline in learner attainment in the 2014 NSC examinations, the slow improvement in Annual National Assessment (ANA) outcomes and group copying. In addressing the aforementioned challenges, the Department introduced  a range of measures, including the following:
  • The submission of District Academic Improvement Plans (turnaround strategies);
  • The funding of  districts for specific academic interventions;
  • The appointment of Subject Advisors and Lead Educators;
  • The ambassadorship programmes were initiated where people from the corporate sector participated in Mathematics, Science, Accounting and Agricultural Sciences;   
  • District engagements; and
  • Winter classes and school visits to monitor implementation.

 

  1. The National School Nutrition Programme: It was reported that the ruling by the KwaZulu-Natal Tribunal and Provincial Treasury led to the cancellation of the bid award process for the NSNP. The department resolved to cancel the 2014/15 NSNP Bid in June 2015.  The contracted service providers for October 2014 to March 2015 were re-appointed for six months (April – September 2015) to ensure an uninterrupted learner feeding.  However, the fact that the Department still used the manual payment system resulted in late payments. To address this challenge, the Department engaged the Ithala Development Bank to assist the service providers to continue offering the service.  The challenge was the difficulty for the National Treasury to ring-fence the grant allocated for the NSNP so as to ensure that it was used for its intended purpose.

 

  1. School infrastructure: Challenges noted regarding school infrastructure included historical infrastructure backlogs; budget reduction in 2014/15 to finance compensation of employee budget, and the lack of in-house engineering capacity to manage and monitor projects. In this regard, the Department had advertised nine engineering posts in 2015 to strengthen its capacity on projects management.  The interviews for these positions were underway. However, the Committee remained concerned about infrastructure funds that were diverted towards employee compensation.

 

  1. Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM):  The Department reported that there were no challenges experienced in the distribution of LTSM to schools in KwaZulu-Natal in 2015/16. However, the Department had budget constraints that hampered the attainment of one-learner-one textbook-per subject.  It was reported learner access to a textbook per subject in KZN currently stood at 63 per cent. The Department hoped to reach the prescribed target in the 2016/17 financial year. It was reported that the procurement process for 2016 was progressing well.

 

The Department indicated that it had recorded 100 percent in the delivery of LTSM.   Nevertheless, although in terms of book coverage there had been progress in Grades 1 up to 7, there were still challenges Grades 8 to 12.  In such cases, schools supplied notes to ensure that learners without textbooks had materials to use.  In addition, the Department used the initiative that was as a result of its partnership with MTN of providing e-books to some schools.

  1. Learner transport: The Department stated the challenge of inadequate funding for learner transport. As a result, many qualifying learners were still not benefiting. However, it was noted that the Memorandum of Understanding review process between the DoE and the Department of Transport had begun to clarify roles, the pricing model, as well as the monitoring of the system.
    1. Post Provisional Norms (PPN): The Department reported that due to budgetary constraints, the learner-teacher ratio had since 2008 remained at 1:30.  As a result, capped Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) affected schools with the increasing enrolment figures.  The teacher unions demanded that the Department should consider creating posts in the Province although it was difficult for the Department to do so.

 

  1. Gender parity: In response to the Portfolio Committee’s concern regarding lack of gender parity at Director level positions, the Department admitted that there was lack of progress in addressing this issue. Out of 12 District Directors in the Province, only two were females.  It was reported that the report from the Public Service Committee reflected that, in terms of educator intake, the department was sitting at 68 percent and 30 percent on gender parity.  The Department registered its commitment to address this disparity by ensuring that it meets the 50 percent target set for gender parity.

 

  1. Portfolio Committee Observations
  • Whilst the Portfolio Committee was grateful that the Province had a large number of learners enrolled for Mathematics compared to the national average, Members expressed concern that some Mathematics classes were taught by unqualified educators.  Therefore, clarity was sought on how the Department ensured that learners received quality instruction.
  • The Portfolio Committee applauded the Province for the unqualified audit and the reduction in the budget for the compensation of employees. However, there was a concern on whether the Province would not consider diverting funds towards the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). 
  • The Portfolio Committee remained concerned about the large number of learners in the Province who who were not benefiting from learner transport.  There was a concern on the impact which that may have on learner attendance.   

 

  1. Responses by the Department

The Department noted that the unqualified educators who taught Mathematics were supported through subject advisers and provided with the necessary teaching material.  In addition, constant visits were conducted to schools that had shown evidence of poor performance. Likewise, teachers who were not adequately qualified were paired with those who were better qualified.

 

As a way of attracting young people who would be interested at teaching in rural areas, the Province was considering providing accommodation to educators.  The envisaged concept would be done by establishing teacher villages through the infrastructure development programme to incorporating an element of establishing teacher villages.  This would attract young educators who would be interested at teaching in rural areas.

  

To address the challenge of learner transport, the Department was exploring different measures, including procuring ferry boats for learners who come from areas where they have to cross rivers to school.  The Department was also exploring a possibility of the function being migrated from the Department of Transport to the Department of Education.

 

  1. The State of Readiness for Examinations

 

            7.1 Annual National Assessment (ANA)

The administration of ANA 2015 in schools had been scheduled to start during the week of the Committee oversight on 15-18 September 2015 but was postponed a few days before it was due to start.

                                                               

The Committee was informed that the preparation and readiness of the 2015 ANA was at an advanced stage.  The Department provided an update on confirmation of participating schools, the registration of learners, the administration and monitoring of the process as follows:

 

            7.1.1     Confirmation of Participating Schools

The process of confirmation centres was completed at the beginning of 2015.  Each district was provided with a master-list which was meant to confirm among other issues; active, non-active schools, grades offered, the number and type of schools.

A total of 6 000 schools, comprising of 5 837 public schools, 131 independent schools and 32 special schools were confirmed as writing/examination centres in the Province. The Department gave a breakdown in the number of these centres per district.

 

            7.1.2     Registration of learners for ANA

The registration of learners for ANA was conducted through the South African –School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS), in line with the Council of Education (CEM)’s decision that SA-SAMS be the sole provider of statistics for planning purposes. The total number of learners expected to participate was 1 971 702.  The Foundation Phase had the largest percentage (38 percent) of participating learners.  The Intermediate and Senior Phases recorded 31 percent of the total number of participating learners each.  In terms of district distribution, the largest percent of learners (33%) were from Pinetown, Umlazi and UMgungundlovu districts.  It was reported that the finalisation of the ANA learner registration process had led to the establishment of accurate 2015 database of learners in the General Education and Training (GET) BAND (Grades 1 to 9).

 

            7.1.3     Concessions

The Department reported that they had processed applications for concessions for learners with special needs, following the necessary procedure and in line with the policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS).   The Department also gave the breakdown per district of the number of applications for concessions and those granted. Concessions granted included for Braille question papers, large print question papers, adapted question papers, use of computers/tapes/DVDs, additional time, teacher support, enlarged font, rest periods and extra time.

 

            7.1.4     Preparation of learners for ANA 2015

The Department reported that the District officials, including Subject Advisors for Mathematics and Language were appraised on the 2014 ANA results to enable them to formulate appropriate and effective intervention strategiesAlso, roadshows were conducted for the principals of schools with poor learner performance in Grades 8 and 9 in respect of ANA results, curriculum coverage and managing the curriculum.

Additionally, common tests for Grades 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 for terms One and Two were written on 18 and 20 March 2015 and 10 and 12 June 2015, respectively.  All qualifying schools, which scored below 50 percent in 2014 ANA were provided with test question papers equal to the number of learners per grade per subject.  Schools that obtained above 50 percent were provided with a hard copy of each test paper.  The administration and marking of these common tests were done by educators responsible for teaching the grade and subject concerned in schools. The tests were aimed at familiarising educators and learners with standardised assessment tasks. Also, these tests monitored the curriculum coverage and supported schools to achieve set targets at the end of the year.

The Department reported that the main aspect of the state of readiness was the preparation of learners and candidates for assessments and examinations.  This was an ongoing process, which involved visits to districts and engagements with officials and school managers. 

 

            7.1.5     Printing, packaging and distribution of ANA examination material

The Department indicated that the process of printing the test papers for all learners who would participate in writing ANAs was completed on 18 August 2015.  The distribution of assessment question papers to districts was also concluded on 22 August 2015.  There were 132 nodal points for the distribution of test papers across the Province.  The test materials for Special Schools were packed per school and delivered to the provincial office by the service provider. The delivery and distribution of the adapted papers had commenced.                               

 

            7.1.6     Management of the administration and conduct of ANA

The Committee was informed that the Department had also made the necessary preparations in respect of the training of test administrators, invigilation, monitoring of the conduct of ANA, the marking of the scripts and the capturing of learner scores.

 

            7.1.7     Possible risks related to marking

It was reported that, the Quality Assurance Directorate had identified a number of risks and provided mitigating strategies in this regard. It was hoped that the identification of risks and provision of mitigating strategies would help to avoid delays and poor quality marking. 

 

            7.1.8     Recruitment, selection, recommendation and appointment of markers

                        The Department reported that application forms were issued to qualifying educators        who are currently teaching Language and Mathematics in the relevant grades to apply.  Educators were appointed for marking and moderation of Grades 3, 6 and 9 scripts.  The selection of markers at provincial level was completed in June 2015.  The Department reported on the number of appointed markers per Grade.

 

7.2        National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations 2015

The Department gave an update on the extent to which the Province had prepared for the conduct of the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations. It was reported that most of the requirements for the readiness were completed. The presentation provided on the aforementioned covered the following aspects:

 

              7.2.1  Curriculum Intervention Programmes to Improve Results in the ANA and NSC                        in 2015

 

7.2.1.1    Operation Bounce Back -        Following the steep decline in the 2014 NSC results, the MEC for Education initiated the Operation Bounce Back strategy aimed at improving the overall learner performance in 2015 and beyond at General Education and Training (GET) and Further Education and Training (FET) levels. The Department had attributed the decline in results to, amongst others, changes that were brought about by the CAPS curriculum in high enrolment subjects such as Mathematics, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.  The measures that were undertaken to optimise learner performance in the Province were encapsulated in the following:

                       

  • Provincial Improvement Plan - The Department developed the Provincial Improvement Plan, drawing from inputs of the various districts. It was reported that the District plans were informed by the diagnostic reports and emphasis was on the gateway subjects, which contributed mainly to the decline of results. The focus was also on subject combinations such as Mathematics and Physical Sciences, as well as Accounting. The Province made R50 million available for the implementation of the Provincial and District plans. The six Districts who contributed towards the Province’s poor performance were allocated more funds.

 

     The Department also embarked on the development of various focussed material for both learners and teachers. The materials were reportedly informed by the diagnostic reports, the number of learners taking these subjects and their impact on the overall provincial performance. The main intention was to support schools to close the knowledge gap in preparation for the 2015 assessments (ANA) and examinations. The Subject Advisers for Mathematics and Language were capacitated on how to support educators with respect to the utilisation of the diagnostic report and assessment guidelines. The Subject Advisers were in turn required to conduct workshops with teachers on the utilisation of material in order to improve learner performance in standardised assessments.

 

  • Partnerships - The Department partnered with a range of stakeholders to improve the results. These included the following:
  • Sending a team of Subject Advisers to Sci-Bono Science Centre in Gauteng in order to enrich Winter and Spring programmes;
  • Partnering with the Moses Kotane Institute for extra tuition in Mathematics and Science for Grade 12 learners in five Districts.
  • Partnering with the Risk and Rewards, together with other Black Accountant firms, to improve performance in Accounting. Four Districts were involved in the programme, which was targeted at teachers and learners.
  • Partnering with the Masifundisane FET College to assist towards the improvement of Mathematics and Sciences.
  • Partnering with IsuLabalimi Agricultural organisation to strengthen the practical aspects of the agricultural subjects and to advance entrepreneurship for both parents and the community. A few schools and communities participated in the project. The programme also aimed to provide expertise to Subject Advisors, as well as to expand the Agricultural high schools.

 

  • The Provision of Extra Tuition and Revision Programmes for Grade 12 learners - As part of supplementary tuition programmes, the Province ran winter and spring camps scheduled during the school holidays, as well as weekends or after school classes for Grade 12 learners. The Programme targeted schools that had performed below 60 percent in key subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Accounting, Geography, Economics, History and Agricultural Sciences.  It was reported that the Province had successfully conducted winter classes in 12 Districts. The programme included the provision of materials, the writing of pre and post –tests, and item analysis.   The Province was planning to conduct intensive revision classes during the spring holidays in preparation for the examinations.

 

  • Progressed learners - The system had recorded a total of 9 956 progressed learners. Other than winter and spring classes organised by the Districts to these learners, schools were conducting extra classes on Saturday as part of the school improvement plan. To add value and support to the schools and District activities, the Moses Kotane Institute would support and conduct further revision sessions with these learners prior to the final examinations.

 

                         

              7.2.2  Other interventions: The Province noted additional interventions, including a       programme for high performing learners aimed at increasing the number of Bachelors; the      writing of letters to underperforming schools in terms of Section 58(b) of SASA; the writing of quarterly common tests by all schools who performed below 75 per cent in 2014               in the high enrolment subjects.

 

              7.2.3  Monitoring at various levels       

The Department reported that structured visits were conducted by all districts to monitor and support schools.  The monitoring tool covered curriculum coverage, time on task, the utilisation of LTSM, assessment, the implementation of the school improvement plans and targets in different subjects and school-based assessment.

      

The Committee had a concern as to whether there was less maximisation of the prescribed school time, which resulted in the use of the Saturday classes to compensate for the lost time.

 

7.2.4 Moderation of School Based Assessment (SBA)

It was reported that the Department successfully conducted the first provincial moderation of SBA in May 2015 where six schools from each of the six districts selected participated. A total of eleven subjects were sampled. During this process, Umalusi provided feedback on the 2014 SBA moderation. Similarly, the DBE conducted an external moderation of SBA in eight selected subjects. A total of 10 schools from each of UMzinyathi and Sisonke districts were selected to participate.  The second provincial SBA moderation would be conducted on 05-09 October where six districts would participate.

 

The Committee observed that, despite the articulated plan to improve the results, monitoring at school level had revealed that the School Management Team (SMT) haa a challenge in the implementation of the recommendations made by subject specialists.  Furthermore, the under-utilisation of LTSM and workbooks was a challenge. Also, the administration and management of SBA remained still a challenge to most under-performing schools.

 

              7.2.5  The Registration of candidates for the National Senior Certificate (NSC)           Examinations

The registration of full-time candidates for NSC was completed on 15 March 2015, and for part-time candidates on 15 April 2015. Late entries were processed for candidates who were unsuccessful in the supplementary examination. The total number of NSC entries for 2015 was 201 150. The registration figure at provincial level showed that there was an increase of 16.2 per cent in the total number of candidates who would sit for the NSC examinations in 2015 compared to those of 2014. Part time candidates made up 15 per cent of the total entries whilst full time candidates comprised 85 per cent of the total.  Umlazi District had the highest percentage of the total NSC entries (15%), whilst Sisonke District had the lowest percentage (4%).

 

The highest increase in registered candidates was in UMkhanyakude District and the smallest in ILembe District, both of which were visited by the Portfolio Committee in February 2015. The factors that led to the increase were attributed to the increase in the number of full-time repeaters and supplementing repeaters, as well as the beneficiaries of the progression policy. The increase in candidates in the Province meant that the Department needed to increase the number of question papers, invigilators, monitors and markers. It was indicated that the Province had entered 55 subjects for the 2015 examination. Notably, there was a large number of full time entries for Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy, with more learners registered to write Mathematics than Mathematical Literacy. This meant that the Province faced a challenge of preparing and passing a large number of full time-candidates in Mathematics.

 

The Committee requested clarity as to Umlazi Centre had registered a high number of part-time candidates. According to the Department, this could be attributed to learners who were coming from other provinces as work seekers. In turn, they registered to write their failed subjects in KwaZulu-Natal.

 

              7.2.6  National Senior Certificate Examination Centres - The registration of examination centres for the 2015 NSC examinations was completed.  All independent centres applied for new accreditation. For the conduct of the NSC, the Province had registered a total of 1 762 examination centres. Out of these, there were 76 independent and 1682 public schools examination centres. It was reported that the registration of these centres was based on, inter alia, their capacity to host the examination, the examination room space, and the security of the examination centre, compliance with the health and safety regulations, accessibility, sanitation and the availability of electricity.

 

7.2.7 Concessions - As part of the preparation for the 2015 NSC examination, schools submitted 438 applications for concessions for learners with Special Needs. The applications ranged from braille learners to other types of concessions.  The screening of applications at district level was completed on 30 June 2015.

 

7.2.8 The Delivery of NSC Examination Material - The Committee was advised that there would be five deliveries on a daily basis, which would be informed by the examination time table. Chief Invigilators would collect question papers at nodal points. For some of the schools, question papers would be delivered by departmental officials.  Answer scripts would be submitted after each session. The collection of question papers and return of answer books was determined by the distance between the examination centre and the nodal point. Each District had a number of nodal points, ranging from four nodal points in Pinetown to 15 nodal points in Umgungundlovu. All the nodal points had a gate, a fence and security guards.

                    

7.2.9 Back- up Systems for Computer Aided Subjects - In respect of providing for subjects that were computer aided, the Department reported the following:

  • The districts had prepared for possible power failure due to bad weather;
  • Generators would be on standby on these days;
  • The anti-virus programme would be installed in the computers of the examination centres;
  • Special monitors would visit the examination centres to provide support in case of power failure;
  • The isolation method would be applied where the situation was beyond control;
  • Local municipalities would be informed of the 19 and 20 October practical examinations; and
  • Each district would have one provincial Monitor to provide additional support.

 

7.2.10 The Prevention of Examination Malpractices - The Province had developed a handbook on the improvement of the administration of the 2015 NSC examination so as to prevent examination malpractices. The focus of the strategy included, quality invigilation, targeted monitoring, a safe invigilation timetable, monitoring capacity, subject teacher profile, as well as risks and their treatment. For 2015, the Department grouped the examination into five categories in terms of their risk profiles.

 

7.2.10 The Training of Invigilators and Monitors - The Province had developed a programme for the training of Invigilators and Monitors that would focus on the administration of the examination session and the professional management of the examination room. A two-level cascading model would be used to train Chief Invigilators, Invigilators and Monitors. The reason for a two level cascading level was to ensure that the Chief Invigilators and Invigilators obtained training in order to to execute their tasks effectively.

 

As a way of running a credible examination, districts were requested to appoint Ward Managers and Subject Advisors to serve in the ‘Invigilator and Monitor Training Core District Core Teams’. Each district identified 10 officials as its district core team. These teams were trained on 8 September 2015 on aspects of quality invigilation and the effective monitoring of the examination.

 

7.2.11 Invigilator’s Handbook - In line with the training of invigilators and monitors, the Chief Directorate also prepared a handbook for invigilators, which will be used as a reference during the process of the examinations. The handbook covered various aspects of invigilation, including advising the invigilator on various ways to prevent cheating.  The Portfolio Committee was assured that the handbook covered all the methods of cheating that had been identified in 2014.

 

7.2.12 Monitor’s Handbook - The Province emphasised its commitment in making significant improvements in the monitoring of the NSC examinations. It was stated that Monitors were compelled to stay at the centre for the duration of the examination session. Similarly, all the Monitors would have a handbook which serves as a guide. The handbook provided the monitoring principles; the expected forms of monitoring; the tricks used by schools to assist candidates.

 

The Committee sought clarity on how districts who have a shortage of monitors would be assisted.  The Department assured the committee that there was no shortage of monitors in most subjects.  In essence, all schools who dropped their results by 20 percent would have extra monitors.

 

7.2.13 Schools Invigilation Timetable - The Province had introduced a new approach to the design of an invigilation time table. The new paradigm prohibited teachers from invigilating subjects within their learning fields/subject grouping. This was aimed at minimising the featuring of Grade 12 teachers in the examination time table. In addition, the Province had included a step-by-step guide for developing a school invigilation time table in the training of Invigilators and Chief Invigilators.

The Committee welcomed the training provided to invigilators and monitors, but remained concerned about the risk posed by male educators invigilating lower grades. The Department was looking at extending the intensity of invigilation for ANA.

 

7.2.14 Management of school gates - The Province had noted that some of the examination centres used the school gates in operating examination malpractices. In these schools, the Monitor waited for a considerable length of time whilst the security officer collected the key from the Chief Invigilator. Thus, during the 2015 NSC examination, it was compulsory for gatekeepers in all examination centres to have the keys. The Department has developed a memorandum which instructs that a gatekeeper must have keys in his or her possession. 

 

7.2.15 Recruitment, selection of markers for NSC - The Department reported that applications were invited from teachers who were currently teaching the applied subjects or those who had taught the subjects in the past three years. The selection of markers for the NSC was completed in July 2015. This process took into account the teaching experience, gender representation, urban-rural representation, as well as racial representation. The selected markers comprised of Chief Markers, Deputy Chief Markers, Senior Markers and Markers. The letters of the NSC appointment were released in August 2015. 

 

The selection process was followed by an auditing process conducted by Umalusi and the DBE. The letters of appointment were released to districts on 4 September 2015. In addition, the process of the appointment of marking support staff had been finalised.

The letters of appointment of Examination Assistants and all the recommended support staff officials was released on 23 September 2015.

 

7.2.16 Marking Centres – It was reported that the Province had identified 27 marking centres for the 2015 NSC examination marking.

The identification of marking centres was on the basis of the following:

  • Accessibility;
  • Proximity to hospitals and police stations;
  • Safety and security;
  • Catering facilities;
  • Hostel accommodation;
  • Office space; and
  • Wireless infrastructure.
  •  

       7.3. Update on the 2014 Irregularity Hearings

 

The Department reported that the hearings of the 11 schools that were implicated in irregularities in the 2014 examinations had been completed. There were 46 confessions by learners. In respect of cases that were completed, the results were declared null and void. Eleven schools that were outstanding were due to: six schools that had legal representation, three schools that did not attend the hearing, as well as the two schools that were completed. However, the Department was concerned about the delays in closing the chapter in this process and its impact on the coming examinations. The reasons cited were that, the cases in schools that were represented by lawyers had not been completed due to the clash of dates given by the lawyers, which clash with the dates for the incoming examinations. The concern was getting into the next examinations without the matter being finalised. Also, organised labour still had to advise the Head of Department on disciplinary actions to be taken on educators who invigilated in schools where there was group copying. As a result, the Department resolved that all teachers who were implicated in examination irregularities would not be considered for marking. 

8.         Presentations by Organised Labour

The purpose of the visit was to focus on monitoring the state of readiness towards the NSC and ANA examinations, the state of Teacher Centres in the province, its benefit to teacher development and their resourcing. The Committee received presentations from Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU), the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) as follows:

 

8.1 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) - The SAOU raised concerns regarding the following:

  • The appointment of personnel in vacant posts, Post Level 1 and promotions.
  • The ANA- The reasons for administering the ANA and what the Department of Basic Education intended doing with the results.
  • The impact of the change of the curriculum in technical schools. The union argued that this would require additional educators teaching upcoming additional subjects. An example of this was that subjects such as motor mechanics and fitting and turning had been separated. The concern was that there was no surety on how this was going to affect the Post Provisioning Norms (PPN)
  • Whether additional funding would be made available for the purchase of materials and handbooks due to the envisaged change of the curriculum next year.

 

8.2 The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) - SADTU raised concern regarding the following:

Instability in schools, which was caused by the migration of teachers. This had negative effects, particularly in previously disadvantaged schools. SADTU was of the view that, this movement should not happen regularly since it caused stability. In addition, it was more undesirable when migration occured during the examinations period.

 

  1. Committee Observations - The Committee, having received the oral presentations from   organised labour, sought clarity on the following:

 

  • The state of readiness of the ANA and NSC.
  • The unions’ objections in respect of the proposed writing of the ANA in 2015.
  • The initiatives made by organised labour in ensuring that there will not be a re-occurrence of the irregularities in the examinations as in the previous year (2014).
  • The co-operation and participation on interventions such as Operation Bounce Back, 1+4 and 1+9.
  • The programmes the unions had developed to assist unqualified teachers in the Province.

 

  1. Responses from Organised Labour - In respect of ANA, SADTU contended it was not against the assessment per se. However, there was a concern around its current form. The reason being that at present, it was believed not to benefit learners. Instead it placed a burden on educators.  Hence, there had been a suggestion that there should be a Task Team created that should include the Department of Basic Education and organised labour, to look review the assessment tool. The view was that it would be beneficial if the ANA could be conducted in intervals of three years.  Equally, NAPTOSA’s view was that if organised labour was listened to in the year regarding ANA, the situation would not have concluded in its current state.  However, there were concerns regarding the cost implication of the withdrawal of the ANA.

 

SADTU reiterated its support in the Operation Bounce Back intervention strategy and the 1+4 model. However, there was a concern that not enough planning was devoted to craft the diagnostic tool.  In regard to unqualified educators, labour encouraged members to upgrade themselves.  Some unqualified educators had been granted the opportunity to complete their studies next year.    Organised labour raised a concern regarding the lack of consultation by the Department of Basic Education. For example, SADTU was of the view that the proposed inclusion of Mandarin as an additional language to the current school languages was imposed on educators.  To SADTU, there was a need for further engagement to see the impact of the proposed inclusion of Mandarin in the country.  The union felt that the Department should rather devote more attention to the improvement of the quality of the indigenous African languages in the country.

 

On the issue of organised labour’s position in ensuring that irregularities that had occurred during the 2014 NSC examinations would not reoccur, SADTU confirmed that it had spoken to its members and hoped that such occurrences would not be repeated.

  1. Visit to Vulindlela Education Centre

            The Portfolio Committee had planned to visit the Vulindlela Education Centre, as part of the oversight. However, due to logistical challenges pertaining to flights arrangements of       Members, only the Chairperson remained to visit the Centre, whilst the rest of the delegation proceeded to the Eastern Cape.

 

  1. Profile - The Vulindlela Education Centre is one of the Provincial teacher development         institutes, which serve as the base from which provinces coordinate and deliver all national   and provincial priority Continuous Professional Development.. The Centre was established     in 2010 and is situated in the middle of Elandskop Community. It was established as a symbol of community upliftment and to encourage development, as well as to restore hope to the community. For that reason, the Centre served 150 schools and 5000 community     members, who were primary and secondary users, respectively.

 

  1. Description of the Centre - This facility is aimed at providing space for professional development of educators; access to a science laboratory, library and ICT laboratory. It also provides access to the internet for members of the public, learners, other government departments’ officials and educators.

 

  1. Purpose of the Centre - The purpose of the Centre is as follows:
  • It offers expanded learning opportunities through collaborative partnerships with internal and external stakeholders;
  • It provides curriculum enrichment beyond the conventional school day; and
  • It is a hub for capacity building and a reservoir for information resources.

 

            11.4        Facilities - The following table illustrates the facilities in the Centre.

NO

TYPE OF FACILITY

CAPACITY

1.

Meetings Room 1

100 people (pp) without tables, 65 with tables

2.

Meetings Room 2

30 pp

3.

Board Room

Nil

4.

Library

24 pp

5.

Computer Laboratory

27 pp

6.

Science Laboratory

80 pp without tables, 65 with tables

7.

Audio-visual /TV Room

Nil

8.

Wellness Centre: Therapist

10 pp chairs only

9.

Psychologist

10 pp chairs only

10.

Information Centre

  1. p with tables

 

11.5   Services rendered:

  • Extra tuition for learners through winter, Saturday and holiday classes;
  • Library and ICT services e.g. mobile libraries;
  • Promotion of reading through reading clubs and story- telling;
  • Provision of Mathematics tuition and Physical Science practicals with the support of the ETDP SETA;
  • Offering career information services; and
  • Conducting courses and workshops.
    1. Challenges faced by the Centre:

 

  • The Internet server was too slow.
  • The Centre was becoming smaller because of its location. 
  • It was located in one of the busiest centres in KZN and is in the centre of the rural community.
  • The electricity power was weak, particularly in cold weather.

 

            11.7   Strategies to deal with the challenges:

  • The Centre was looking at signing a new contract with reputable internet companies such as Vodacom for the improvement of the internet server.
  • There were possibilities of extending the Centre by adding more buildings so as to accommodate the potential of introducing FET in the area.
  • The Department of Public Works had been approached to implement the improvement of the electricity level.  A comprehensive assessment had already commenced.\

 

            11.8   Plans for 2016

              11.8.1     Educators - The Centre was planning to concentrate more on educators. This would be undertaken by providing training to them on professional matters, as well as a   number of skills that focus on subject content, computer application, school management            and financial management.

 

              11.8.2   Learners - The Centre was aiming at concentrating on career guidance to learners          so as to inform them on specific career paths.

 

              11.8.3 Community - The Centre was planning on availing increased resources to the      community.

 

  1. Visit to the Eastern Cape Province (ECP)

 

            12.1   Overview of the State of Education in the Province

The Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) gave the Portfolio Committee an overview of the state of education in the Province, focusing, amongst others, on the size of the system, the operational context of small schools, the attrition rate, key challenges, the focus areas for 2015 and an update of ANA and NSC readiness.

 

12.2 The size of the education system

The Province has 5 732 schools, of which 5 554 are public schools and 178 are independent schools. There are also 42 Special Schools, which are mainly concentrated in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and Buffalo City Municipality, and 26 full-service schools.  With 15.4 percent of national enrolment, the ECDoE employs 15.1 percent of teachers and has 23.1 percent of schools. The Department noted that relative to national averages and trends, the ECDoE has in excess of approximately 1 849 schools.  Out of the schools in the Province, a total of 1 780 schools have an enrolment of under 150 learners, which the Department believes impacts on the Post Provisioning Norms.

 

12.3 Operational context of small schools

According to the Department, multi-grade teaching is still prevalent. The number of farm schools is estimated at 227 with 17 493 learners. Almost 511 small remote schools with 165 694 learners are not easily accessible. A total of 1 080 schools have less than 100 learners. The Committee therefore, requested clarity on how well resourced small schools were to ensure that learners receive quality education.

 

The Department also reported that the average school size or learner school ratio is only 340 learners versus 504 nationally.  It was also stated that the Province has an inadequate allocation of non-teaching staff in most schools, as well as inadequate resourcing of schools.

 

            12.4 Attrition and School Based Educator Termination Analysis

The Committee was informed that the attrition rate was high. Between January and June 2015, the Department recorded 2 343 educator terminations.  Out of these, 1 105 were due to resignation.  According to the Department, in most cases educators resign to cash out their pensions, and later on return to the system. It was indicated that most of these cases were educators in affluent schools. The number of those who went on retirement was 797.  The Committee expressed its view that the issue of teachers who resign and soon return to the system needs to be addressed. This was in view of the fact that, this phenomenon negatively impacts on the appointment of newly graduated teachers.

 

            12.5      Significant challenges

The Department noted the key challenges facing the Province as follows:

  • The inability to fill funded critical vacant posts in schools;
  • The phenomenon of small schools that are difficult to resource;
  • Continued neglect of Grades 7, 8 and 9 with huge implications for the FET phase and Matriculation results;
  • Ill-discipline that manifests in absenteeism by both educators and learners, resulting in non-optimal utilisation of teaching time and the inability to cover the curriculum in certain subjects;
  • The serial under-performance due to ineffectual leadership by school principals and their School Management Teams (SMTs); and
  • The idea of ‘critical subjects’ creates complacency with regard to the performance in other subjects not regarded as critical.

 

  1.    Focus for 2015
    1.  Internal success factors
  • The focus on classroom practice as a centrepiece of learner attainment improvement strategy (LAIS) activities;
  • An early start to implement interventions such as morning, afternoon and weekend classes, autumn, winter and spring schools;
  • The management of assessment standards through Common Tasks for critical subject.
  • Active participation of subject committees; and
  • Subject-specific school improvement plans actively monitored and supported by Subject Advisors and EDOs.

 

  1. External success factors

 

  • Minimum disruptions of the academic year by external factors. Currently, there are minimal disruptions in schools.  The common disruptions are related to service delivery protests; 
  • A conducive labour environment.  The Department acknowledges that in the past there were problems with organised labour.  However, both partners have managed to find common ground; 
  • Collaboration with parents and communities e.g. Ilima project and other interventions; and
  • Strong public private partnerships.

 

            12.7      Readiness for the Annual National Assessment (ANA) 2015

The Department reported that they had been ready to administer ANA tests from 15-18 September 2015.  The total number of learners expected to participate in the ANA was 1 580 456, which was more than the total registered in 2014.

 

                     12.7.1   Printing and Packaging

The Department reported that the printing of tests had been completed and districts had verified the printed material.  Tests were also distributed to all 23 districts and schools had been expected to collect them on 14 September 2015.  After the postponement of the writing of the tests, districts were informed not to distribute the tests to schools.  Sampled schools would write the verification ANA.

                      

                     12.7.2     Implications for postponement

The Department reported that, due to the postponement of ANA tests, papers would be collected from the districts to a central venue and returned to the printers, as the districts did not have enough space to keep both ANA and Grade 12 NSC examination papers.

   

            12.8      Readiness for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations

 

                     12.8.1     Learner registration for 2015 NSC examinations

The Province had registered a total of 92 109 candidates for the 2015 NSC examinations from 923 centres compared to 69 768 registered in 2014.  Out of this number, 11 612 were repeat candidates and 13 927 were progressed learners.  The Committee was informed that the reason for the increase in the number of registered candidates this year was due to an increase repeat candidates. This therefore, had an effect in the number of marking centres and markers themselves as it meant that an extra 1 440 markers would be needed.

 

In respect of the subject combinations it was noted that the Mathematics/Physical Science combination was relatively high with 10 246 candidates combining these subjects with Life Sciences and Geography and a total of 7 764 candidates combining Mathematics and Physical Science with Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences. A total of 8 151 candidates had a combination of Mathematics with the commercial subjects of Accounting, Business Studies and Economics. The PED was considering controlling the streaming based on the observation that, some schools thoughtlessly combined subjects randomly without considering the expertise of teachers they had in the pool. Also, in some instances, schools extended their curriculum without looking at the availability of resources.

 

The Committee recommended that the issue of subject combination needs urgent attention.

 

                     12.8.2     Update on measures to address the 2014 irregularities in examinations

Importantly, the Committee was interested in the preparations by the EC DoE in preparing for the NSC examinations, particularly in respect of addressing or minimising the reoccurrence of irregularities in the examinations. Furthermore, on the issue of ethical issues around the NSC examination, the Committee raised a concern around parents having to make declarations confirming their commitment in curbing irregularities in the NSC examinations. The issue was whether learners were trained to understand what is expected of them in complying with ethical standards set for examinations, as well as the consequences of copying. The other concern was regarding the actions taken by organised labour in respect of their members who were allegedly facilitating group copying.

 

The Committee was informed that hearings were conducted and finalised in seven out of 14 schools implicated in group copying in the 2014 NSC examinations. The remaining seven schools decided to involve legal representatives. As a result, out of a total of 607 learners who were involved in group copying, only 142 cases were finalised, with 474 remaining outstanding.  On the issue of invigilators who were involved in the 2014 examinations irregularities, the Committee was informed that hearings were still underway and some invigilators were issued with charge sheets.

    

In respect of registration per subject, it was indicated that, there were some subjects where there was an increase. These were Accounting, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Economics, English FAL, History, Life Sciences, Life Orientation, Mathematics, Mathematics Literacy, Physical Sciences and IsiXhosa Home Language.

 

                     12.8.3  Support to Schools

The Department reported that since 2010 there had been a greater emphasis on giving support to under-performing schools. Engagements were also held with performing schools to look at the possibility of adopting the underperforming schools. In 2015, schools requiring focused attention included a total of 403 schools that performed below 60 per cent; 24 schools that performed below 40 per cent for the past five years; and, 36 schools that performed between 0-19 per cent.

 

Key measures identified to improve learner performance included the following:

To prepare the ground for 2015, it was mentioned that at the beginning of the year, the MEC interacted with underperforming schools in terms of the South African Schools Act (SASA) provisions, as well as principals and SGBs from performing schools to encourage high performance. The MEC also interacted with performing Principals and SGB to encourage high performance. The Department had decided to close down the 24 schools that consistently performed under 40 per cent. The Department was implementing a range of measures to support schools, including the following:

  • The Department of Basic Education-JAICA partnership Maths Improvement programme to support teachers with the teaching of Problem Solving in primary school Mathematics was implemented. Four districts of Mthatha, Cofimvaba, Lusikisiki and Mt Frere were involved in the programme and 24 schools participated in each district.  
  • The 1+4 Mathematics In-Service Training (INSET) Intervention programme focusing on enhancing the capacity and productivity of Senior Phase Mathematics and Language teachers was implemented. A total of 1 449 out of 2 455 Master Teachers had so far reportedly attended training sessions.
  • The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), in partnership with the Department, supported Districts in order to strengthen Foundation Phase Mathematics and Language, as well as improving lesson planning and curriculum delivery.
  • The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) was implemented in 10 schools in each district in the Province.
  •  The training of 16 739 teachers was conducted in the Certificate in Primary Language Teaching, comprising 11 340 Foundation Phase teachers in Primary language teaching and 5 039 Intermediate Phase teachers on methodology of teaching English First Additional Language.
  • The General Motors South Africa Foundation (GMSAF) partnership with the Department supported the supervisory strata of School Heads of Department (HODs) in the monitoring of Curriculum Management in schools.
  • The Department also supported schools in the implementation of Multigrade Teaching at Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phases.

           

          12.8.4     Other Partnerships established

The ECDoE was also receiving support through its partnership with the following stakeholders:

No

Donor

Focus Area

Beneficiaries

1

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Training of MultiGrade Teaching primary school educators

10 districts. Out of 4000 educators, 450 benefited in the training programme.

2

International Business Machines (IBM) –New York

The provision of 145 cabinet size computers, with CAPS aligned lessons, for use by primary school learners.

20 districts

3

The British Council

The provision of 250 life player radios   for primary school CAPS aligned language activity lessons.

23 districts

4

The Joint Education Trust (JET)

The provision of monitoring and support to primary schools, focusing on SMTs and principals.

23 districts

         

                     12.8.5 Interventions for Learner Support and Development

The ECDoE reported that they had embarked on an early start to the academic year in Grade 12 with the use of revisions and Saturday classes, including Winter and Spring Schools, focusing on Maths Science and Technology (MST), Life Sciences and Accounting. Furthermore, incubation classes and camps were arranged for schools that were underperforming in Mathematics and Physical Science.  Roving tutors were attached to schools where there were under-performing teachers or no subject teachers. Assessment and reporting on learning progress was conducted.  The ECDoE also embarked on the re-employment of temporary teachers.  

With regard to professional support, the Department reported that strategies aimed at improving the pedagogical knowledge of educators were employed. At school level, functional Subject Committees and visible multi-disciplinary teams were established. The Department also introduced a District Awards system in recognition of excellence. Social services support systems such as nutrition and scholar transport and guidance were the main focus. In addition, strong community participation was enhanced.

 

In terms of the monitoring of teaching and learning, the ECDoE encouraged the visibility of Education Development Officers (EDOs) and Subject Advisors at school levels. This included monitoring curriculum coverage and conducting a quarterly analysis of assessment outcomes. Structured interventions such as”How I teach”, Mental Maths competitions and Debates ‘were implemented.

 

12.9      Portfolio Committee Observations

  • Members urged the Department to exercise caution in respect of the processes of closing schools, including ensuring that this did not result in learners traveling longer distances to their new school without transport.
  • The Portfolio Committee welcomed the range of interventions designed for learner and teacher support and development.

 

  1. Presentation on the Port Elizabeth (PE) Northern District 

 

            13.1      Educator District Report

                                                                          

The District Director gave an overview of the state of post provisioning in the Port Elizabeth District. In terms of the 2015 post declaration, a total of 5 417 posts were allocated for all the 248 schools in the District, to teach a total of 180 014 learners. Tables 1 and 2 below show a breakdown of the 2015 declared posts in Port Elizabeth and the Northern Areas respectively.

 

 

 

              Table 1: Educator Posts in Port Elizabeth Schools

All PE Schools

Principal

Deputy Principal

HOD

PL1

Total posts

PPN 2015

248

217

732

4 220

5 417

Filled

219

166

588

4 004

4 977

Vacant

29

51

144

216

440

 

              Table 2: Educator Posts in Northern Area Schools

All PE Schools

Principal

Deputy Principal

HOD

PL1

Total posts

PPN 2015

55

66

194

1 152

1 467

Filled

46

37

154

1 069

1 306

Vacant

9

29

40

83

161

 

As shown in Table 1, of the 5 417 declared posts, 440 were vacant, comprising 29 for principals, 51 for deputy principals, 144 for HODs and 216 for Post Level 1 teachers. It was further reported that the number of SGB educators was 845. The District had also filled 22 out of 44 Education Therapists posts and 560 out of 772 Public Servants posts.

With regard to the educator posts in the Northern Areas,  there were 161 vacancies out of a total of 1 467 declared posts, consisting of 83 for Post Level 1, 40 for HODs, 29 for deputy principals and nine for principals. The total number of learners in the Northern Areas was 50 566 and there were 155 SGB posts. The vacancy rate for educator posts in the Northern Areas stood at approximately 11 per cent compared to eight per cent for the PE District. The Department reported that there had been difficulties in making placements in these areas due to the Afrikaans medium of instruction.

 

It was reported that in respect of the appointments for PL1 educators in the Port Elizabeth District, out of 126 critical posts that were approved (59 and 67 for Grades 11 and 12 respectively), as a result of interventions from the MEC:

  • 65 teachers submitted applications and were issued with appointment letters. Out of the 65 appointed, 36 were paid and 29 had not been paid.
  • 11 teachers were awaiting appointment letters.
  • Upon verification, 50 posts were withdrawn due to some schools not having posts and others being duplicated.

Also, out of 122 Afrikaans Medium posts that were approved:

  • 103 teachers’ submitted applications, 74 were issued with appointment letters and 42 were awaiting appointment letters.
  • No submissions were received on the 19 posts. It was reported that there were no suitable candidates for three Afrikaans medium posts and 16 Therapist posts in Special Schools.

Challenges in filling posts were cited as follows:

  • Delays in PERSAL implementation in respect of letters of appointment;
  • Movement of files from District to Head Office Human Resources, the Internal Control Unit (ICU) and Treasury;
  • Delays in the payment of appointed educators;
  • 58 vacancies in African Languages posts;
  • Non appointment in the Northern Areas of non-teaching posts;
  • 83 promotions submitted to Head Office for implementation; and
  • Insufficient computers and other working tools for teachers.  

 

The Committee was informed that, among the challenges with the filling of vacancies were that, in some instances the SGB and community diverse interests impacted on the filling of vacancies. Also, some schools preferred their own candidates and did not want to appoint the beneficiaries of Funza Lushaka bursary holders. For example, it was reported that the DBE compiled a list of 45 teachers who could teach Afrikaans. Some schools were unwilling to appoint from this list. Furthermore, during the unrest in the area, no promotion posts could be advertised.  In respect of the non-teaching posts, the Provincial Education Department, in collaboration with the Department of Public Works’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), made an undertaking that all these posts would be filled. 

 

13.2      Portfolio Committee Observations    

  • The Portfolio Committee welcomed the utilisation of the Expanded Public Works Programme to contribute to the filling of non-teaching positions.
  • The Portfolio Committee expressed concern over the delays in the filling of posts.
  • The Portfolio Committee was also deeply concerned over the delays in the payment of newly appointed teachers since this could negatively impact on their performance.
  • The Portfolio Committee observed a disjuncture in communication between the Province and the District in respect of the appointment of educators.
  • Members observed that, although the Department had started taking steps to fill vacant posts, it was essential that all of them were filled.

 

13.3        Portfolio Committee Recommendations

The Portfolio Committee recommended that the Eastern Cape Department of Education:          

  • Ensure that posts were filled timeously and payments of appointed teachers were also made on time in order to enhance their performance.
  • Improve systems of communication and sharing of information with the District Office.  Ensure that all the vacant posts are filled as a matter of urgency.

 

 14.         Port Elizabeth National Senior Certificate Examination Readiness  

The Portfolio Committee was given an overview of the proposed Action Plan in respect of the conduct of the 2015 NSC examinations. Key areas covered included invigilation information; the delivery and collection of examination material; the monitoring plan; security information; and. challenges and recommendations. The District would be responsible for the administration of the NSC examinations.  The total number of registered candidates in the District was 9 745 full-time candidates in 81 centres and 3 048 part-time candidates in 11 centres.

 

              14.1      Invigilation Information

The invigilation process would be as follows:

  • The principals would be the Chief Invigilators and therefore, would train their teachers’ invigilation. The former were required to draw up an invigilation timetable, which should be visible to monitors visiting the schools; 
  • Principals were expected not to allow teachers to invigilate their own classrooms.  All officials, invigilators and monitors involved in the examination processes would complete a declaration form of confidentiality.  In turn, Chief Invigilators would be expected to submit a detailed invigilation timetable before the start of the examinations;
  • A detailed list of appointed invigilators would be submitted to the Head Office as soon as the training of invigilators was completed;
  • The District Monitoring Teams would monitor the standard of invigilation as regularly as possible;
  • All centres would receive Invigilation/Monitoring registers, to be signed by all monitors and invigilators on a daily basis;
  • A detailed delivery and collection plan would be implemented on a weekly basis; and
  • Centres would sign a register upon receiving the question papers and distributing them to various schools.

 

              14.2   Monitoring of Examinations

 

The Chief Education Specialist (CES) for Curriculum would draw up the monitoring plan utilising personnel from the following sections:

  • Assessment and Examinations;
  • Curriculum Sections;
  • Management and Governance; and
  • Special Needs Sections.

The monitoring plan was dependent on the availability of transport.  In this case, four vehicles had been secured for trail examinations and other transport to be provided through the utilisation of subsidised vehicles. Two departmental officials would be on stand-by for emergencies that might arise during the examinations.

All schools that were involved in group copying were directly trained by the Head Office. Consideration had been made to beef-up the number of monitors from the provincial office.  An inter-district examination team had met to look at issues that would pose risks in the coming examinations. These included the issue of a moratorium that was placed on subsidised cars.  In this case, the Province had resorted to renting cars. The other issue would be to appoint 14 external monitors, who would be appointed based on their experience in the area of examinations and the curriculum. 

 

              14.3   Security Information

It was reported that the District had a 24 hour security examination section, which had security cameras. The Provincial Office had contracted a private company. The District had a walk-in strong room, for which there was a policy regarding the entering and exiting of the strong room. Two officials of the District were in charge of the strong room key.  A register had to be signed by whoever took the key. Confidentiality forms would be signed by whoever handled question papers and scripts. Negotiations were conducted with SAPS stations around the centres to ensure that there would be patrols for security purposes.    

In respect of the security of scripts the following measures would be undertaken:

  • All candidates would sign an attendance register when handed scripts.
  • The seating plan and arrangements were also submitted with the scripts.
  • Scripts would be individually checked and controlled before packaging. Thereafter, they would be recorded and signed off at the provincial depot.

 

14.5   Portfolio Committee Observations

The Portfolio Committee welcomed the comprehensive Action Plan of the District in respect of the conduct of the NSC examinations, including measures regarding invigilation and monitoring, particularly in schools that were involved in group copying in 2014.  

 

15.          In-loco site inspection

The Portfolio Committee was taken on an in-loco site inspection of the storage facilities at the District Office, which housed the question papers and answer sheets. Members were satisfied with the security measures in the storage facilities.

                       

16.          Teacher Development

The Portfolio Committee visited the Port Elizabeth Teacher Development Centre, situated at the former Algoa College of Education, where Members were briefed on the activities of the Centre. The purpose of the teacher development concept is to move towards the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa 2011-2025.  The aim was to give access to teachers to quality teacher education and development opportunities.  Also, they planned to develop a concept of lead teachers, whereby a teacher who had the best results would mentor other teachers. The Province was looking at establishing a teacher development centre in each of the eight Mega Districts, focussing on the following:

  • Instructional leadership and management for school functionality;
  • ECD /Foundation phase;
  • Intermediate and Senior levels;
  • Languages;
  • Mathematics and Science;
  • Remaining gateway subjects;
  • Differentiated practical subjects in specialised fields; and
  • Special and specialised fields (e.g. special education needs).

The Province was looking at integrating the existing district teacher development centres and proposed an additional four TDCs. 

 

The proposed realignment is depicted below:

No

District

Centre

Type

Dedicated vehicle

UNITS

1

Buffalo

City Metro

Education Leadership Institute

PTDI

DTDC, Leadership & Management

4

Amatola Sun

Training Content & Materials Design

10

2

Chris Hani

J.J Serfontein

DTDC

Mathematics;  Science & Languages

3

Cofimvaba Centre

Science & Technology

1

3

Nelson Mandela

Algoa College

DTDC

Differentiated Practical Subjects

8

Dewer College

4

4

 

 

O.R Tambo

Trinset

DTDC

PLC s Management & FET Band

4

Lusikisiki College

(proposed)

Languages

4

             

  

            The proposed four additional district development Teachers Centres are as follows:

No

District

Centre

Type

Dedicated vehicle

UNITS

1

Alfred Nzo

Maluti (Interim proposal)

 

Curriculum development

4

Mt Ayliff (to be identified)

 

4

2

Amathole

Cape College

DTDC

GET Band

4

 

3

Cacadu

New (to be identified)

 

Curriculum Delivery

4

4

 

 

Joe Gqabi

Mehlomakhulu

DTDC

Curriculum Delivery

4

 

 

17.       Staff Profile of the Port Elizabeth Education Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute had a staff profile of 27 personnel, comprising a Chief Education Specialist (CES); 10 Deputy Chief Education Specialist (DCES); and, 16 Subject Advisors (SES).  The Centre had 13 vacancies for two DCES and 11 SES.  The facilities included; six classrooms; 10 offices; one boardroom; one art room; one staffroom; one Hall; one Auditorium; three computer laboratories; one cafeteria and one library.    

The Province intended establishing centres for competency assessment, where teachers would conduct self - diagnostic testing /analysis for teachers to assist them in identifying their development needs and enable expanded opportunities for access to quality Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities and programmes to meet their identified needs. 

 

18.       Training Programmes

The Centre had provided training to a number of schools in the Foundation Phase, which included the following:

  • How to teach” programme;
  • Mathematics measurement;
  • EGRA;
  • Incremental Introduction of African Language (IIAL); and
  • Reading through a special programme driven with the Zenex programme.

Training was also conducted in the library programme. This included training of nine young learners as library monitors. A total of 23 educators were trained in the Spelling Bee. Journal training proved to be a success.

 

The Committee sought clarity on the following issues:

  • Targets set on educators who attend development programmes;
  • The 230 educators to be trained to address barriers to learning;
  • The benefit of training on level 6 for ECD practitioners to unqualified teachers who, after training go to universities;
  • The reasons for the hesitation in taking the centre to Mehlomakhulu;
  • How the University of South Africa (UNISA) offered programmes towards the development of teacher centres;
  • Whether the centre was utilised to assist educators in other districts; and
  • How the Province dealt with educators who did not complete their teachers ‘certificates.

Members were concerned that the briefing by the Department reflected very little in respect of ICT support to schools, which was a priority in the Medium Term Strategic Framework.

 

19.     Presentation by Organised Labour

The Committee received an input from Organised Labour and the Northern Areas Education Forum.

 

              19.1   National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA):      NAPTOSA raised concerns as follows:

19.1.1       Circular 7 of 2015

NAPTOSA was of the view that Circular 7 of 2015 hampers service delivery since qualified and experienced educators who resign are prevented by the EC DoE and the District to re-enter the system.  To NAPTOSA, this Circular was unlawful because it was contrary to the Employment of Educators Act, which makes provision for re-employment on a permanent basis.  In addition, the circular prevented the appointment of Afrikaans educators who had previously resigned, particularly in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth.  NAPTOSA believed that it was only the EC DoE who had not withdrawn Circular 7.  Therefore, the withdrawal of this circular would solve the crisis in the Northern Areas and other schools in the Eastern Cape.

                        19.1.2       Non-payment of educators

With regard to non-payment of educators, concerns were around the following:

  • Educators who since taking employment in January 2015 had not received their salaries for almost six months after the date of appointment; 
  • The improvements of qualifications that had not been paid since the beginning of 2015 and part of 2014;  
  • Leave gratuity that was not paid for six months or more after retirement; and 
  • Unfair discrimination against 65 year old teachers who wanted to retire at the end of the year.  Whereas, the existing legislation allows for such educators to remain employed until the end of the year.

 

  1.  Non-cooperation
  • Failure by some DCESs in the Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDSM) &G to respond to formal correspondence;
  • Failure by the Department to inform employees whether incapacity leave applied for was granted or denied according to set timeframes;
  • Failure by the Department to respond timeously to the crisis at Mzontsundu Senior Secondary and Soqhayiya Senior Secondary schools;
  • Failure to hold regular meetings with organised labour to foster good labour peace; and
  • Failure to discipline a principal of a Primary School in the District for misconduct, which included intimidating the SGB with the appointment of two HOD posts.  Also, for coercing the Department to appoint him as a contractor for supplying food. Furthermore, for misrepresentation in his application.

 

  1. Administrative hurdles

The insistence by the provincial office of a separate nomination for each educator in the crisis resolution process of the Northern Areas.  Also, the rejection of a recommendation by the PE office to a group of 134 educators who met the requirements for vacancies.  This delayed the filling of these posts as undertaken by the MEC.

 

  1. Teacher development

The lack of interest by the Department in funding a workshop on e-learning, which was organised by NAPTOSA.

 

              19.2   Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU)

The SAOU acknowledged that there was a lot of goodwill between the District and other schools.  However, there were concerns on issues such as delays in the filing of posts.  It was alleged that in some cases posts would take a year to be filled. Thus, timeous placement of teacher would alleviate some of the problems.

According to SAOU, teacher development remained a huge concern.  However, the union had paid funds towards the development of educators. SAOU was of the view that the Department needed to look at the scope of Mathematics as it was too broad to complete the syllabus in one year. 

 

              19.3 National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU)

The Committee received a presentation from members of NEHAWU, which covered concerns around the following issues:

  • The lack of consultation of stakeholders such as NEHAWU, who were also part of the programme of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, which the union had adopted;
  • Members of NEHAWU were disgruntled by the lack of career path opportunities for non-teaching staff; and
  • There was a concern that the Department did not cater for non-teaching staff.

 

19.4   South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)

SADTU, in its presentation raised some concerns on some issues, and made recommendations on others as follows:

  • The shortage of Afrikaans educators had led to a situation where, in most primary schools, an ECD practitioner was appointed in a position of a qualified educator;
  • The Department should expedite the re-establishment of teacher training colleges;
  • The wrong notch increment impacted on people who exited the system;
  • The minimum qualification of ECD practitioners, which had been raised from level 4 to 11 without the formal agreement with organised labour. SADTU was of the view that the Department should implement the 1995 White Paper and the recognition of prior learning (RPL); and
  • The Peter Morkel Model of post provisioning destabilised schools. SADTU‘s view was that the current model should be changed.

 

20.     Portfolio Committee Observations

The Portfolio Committee sought clarity on the nature of the relation between the Department and organised labour, especially in terms of discussing matters of concern, since some of the issues raised could be resolved through dialogue. NAPTOSA and SADTU conceded that they each held regular bilateral meetings with the Department to raise their concerns on issues such as the appointment of educators; the PPN and the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) in respect of the implementation of agreements reached. However, SADTU still had reservations around the issue of the IQMS.

 

The Portfolio Committee was of the view that the Department needed to look at the impact of the re-absorption of teachers who had resigned in relation to the plight of young graduate educators who recently exited educational institutions. 

 

  1. Infrastructure issues 

The Department mentioned that it had approached the Department of Water and Sanitation with regard to issues of water and sanitation. In respect of the shortage of furniture, the Department had a contract with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Labour.  The Department recognised that it had not been active in addressing the restoration of old school furniture, such as desks.  Nonetheless, it had entered into an agreement with the FET colleges and the Department of Correctional Services for the refurbishment of furniture.

 

22.    Visits to schools

 

          22.1 Charles Duna Primary School

                   22.1.1 Overview: The school was established in 1962 and the current Principal joined the school in 1998. The staff complement consisted of 26 educators, three Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners (with only one paid by the Department), one Secretary, two General Workers, one security guard, who is also a parent,  as well as 27 parent volunteers for whom the school approached the Department of Public Works for Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) for funding. It was reported that all educators at the school were qualified. The success of the school was attributed to good working relations with the School Management Team.

 

The schools had a learner enrolment of 1 067, the majority of whom came from the neighbouring informal settlements and 80 percent of parents were unemployed.  As from 1 April 2013, the school became Quintile 1.

 

   22.1.2     The School Environment and Infrastructure: The school had clean and welcoming surroundings, which was attributed to good relations between the school and the community. In terms of infrastructure, the school had a total of 28 classrooms, with one used as a library. 

 

   22.1.3     Programmes: The Committee was informed about a range of programmes,             which the school was participating on. These included the following:

  • The Zenex Foundation, which is a literacy programme for Foundation+ Phase;
  • Edu-Peg, which is a Mathematics programme for Grades 1-6;
  • Mathematics afternoon classes;
  • The Beyonder programme for re-skilling teachers on the new methodology;
  • Peer Mediation, which is a learner peer mediation programme;
  • A computer literacy programme for Grades 6 and 7;
  • Computer classes offered to parents since 2015; and
  • All lessons at school started with Mental Mathematics. It was stated that this helped in improving learners’ Mathematics skills.

 

                      Other initiatives, which the school was involved in included the following;

  • The school had a vegetable garden from which parents were able to sell to earn an income;
  • A school based care giver programme, whereby a staff member does home visits and cares for the OVC needs;
  • The Bright Future Club, which is a capacity building programme where girls are addressed on teenage issues;
  • The Eco Club wherein learners look after the school environment;
  • The Art Club;
  • Through the adopt-a-learning child programme, learners were sent to Ethembeni Learning Centre to do Maths literacy, with the aim of encouraging them in doing pure Mathematics; and
  • The ECD practitioners received capacity building training through the Manyano programme.
  • For winter schools, the school used link Ambassadors who were past learners who are in High School. Similarly, some German students had assisted in coaching sport and in subjects such as Life Orientation.

 

22.1.4     The National School Nutrition Programme: The school had been benefiting from the School Nutrition Programme since July 2012.  However, there was a need for a kitchen for cooking and a dining room for learners as the old office was too small and the storage of utensils was a challenge. The school had approached some companies for sponsorship for renovating the old office into a kitchen, and the provision on benches.

 

                 22.1.5     Sport activities: The school participated in 10 sporting codes and was reportedly doing well in soccer, rugby, netball and gymnastics. In addition, learners had commenced with swimming lessons this year to create awareness on safety issues around swimming. The school had approach different companies, to look at the possibility of getting sponsorship for an indoor swimming pool. Likewise, the school provided lessons in hockey, although there was no equipment, such as hockey sticks to play the sport. Some learners were participating in chess games. One of the learners was going to participate in the provincial games. Also, learners who had behavioural challenges were trained by police and the navy in matching and drill.

 

                 22.1.6     Music and Art: The school participated in music competitions and was        reportedly doing well in art.

                 22.1.7     Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM): It was reported that the school               had received textbooks on time. However, the concern was on the quality of the books.                      The centralised procurement would enable each child to receive books.

 

                 22.1.8     Performance in the ANA: The principal acknowledged that the school had not                      performed well in the ANA.

 

                 22.1.9     The Relationship with the SGB: The school reported that it had a good                               relationship with the SGB.

 

              22.1.10        Challenges

 

  1. Infrastructure
  • The building was dilapidated and its roof was made of asbestos, which was a health hazard.
  • The school needed a storm water drain urgently. Flooding resulted in classes getting damp and files moulding. This in turn resulted in the loss of tuition time.
  • Twelve prefabricated classrooms were a danger to learners and staff as they had gaps in the walls and grass was growing between the walls and floors.
  • The windows were loose despite being repaired annually from the paper budget. Some windows were welded due to them falling whenever there was a strong wind. As a result, there was little ventilation.
  • There was a shortage of classrooms. The staff complement was 33, yet classrooms were only 28. This resulted in teachers sharing classrooms, which had an impact on the time table and contact time for the subjects.
  • The school required a Grade R Centre for the 120 learners. Currently, the school had converted old toilets into classrooms. The space was not adequate. Thus, the implementation of all requirements of the curriculum was hampered.
  • The school lacked a science laboratory to conduct experiments and a school hall which could be used for some activities.
  • The school also required a library and a larger Administration Block than was currently available. Some learners came from environments that were plagued with domestic violence and substance and sexual abuse. In this case, the school wished to have hostel accommodation, as these circumstances affected the quality of their work.

 

                       b)  Social related challenges

 

  • There was a challenge that the school was surrounded by six shebeens. There were students from the NMMU who work closely with the school and parents, as well as sector police by giving talks on issues of discipline and the dangers of alcohol abuse;
  • The school had 33 learners who were HIV positive. Due to good relations with the nearby clinic, the school assisted caregivers in administering anti-retrovirals. This programme was run by a parent.

 

c)  Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN)

 

The issue of LSEN remained a challenge. The school had no skilled people for testing and assessing such learners. The school needed more support staff to provide the necessary assistance that was required for such learners. It was reported that, at times, the school used the voluntary services of a local clinical psychologist to test learners. The principal attested that drug and alcohol problems were contributing to the escalating number of LSEN learners.

 

 

                 22.1.11        Portfolio Committee Observations

  • The Portfolio Committee commended the work conducted by the school and the support by the SGB and other partners.  Importantly, the Committee commended the leadership of the principal, as well as the initiative to source funding from the private sector. Furthermore, the Committee commended the book club programme and the initiative of converting a container into a library. 
  • The Committee wanted to know whether the issue of flooding and storm water drainage was raised with the municipality.
  • There was a concern regarding when the Department would replace asbestos in schools.
  • The Committee noted the school’s concern regarding the quality of books that were provided.
  • The Committee observed the issue of infrastructure problems in the school. This included the shortage of classrooms and the renovation of toilets into classrooms.

 

22.1.12      Committee Recommendations

The Portfolio Committee recommended that the Eastern Cape Department of Education:

  • Consider prioritising the school for its infrastructural needs.
  • Take the necessary steps to address the school’s concern regarding the quality of the textbooks it received from the Department.
  • Ensure that the challenges in respect of LSEN receive attention as a matter of urgency.

 

  1. Visit to Van der Kemp Primary School

 

The Portfolio Committee met with the principal, the School Management Team, the Circuit Inspector and members of the SGB.  The issues raised with the Committee were as follows:

 

22.2.1          Filling of vacancies: All posts that were existing had been filled, following a long waiting period.

 

            22.2.2          LSEN: Teaching LSEN was a struggle.  Although the school received           sponsorship for a psychologist who tested all learners in the Grade 1 class, it was indicated           that some parents did not take the identified challenges seriously.

 

            22.2.3          Infrastructure:

  • The school had been plagued by burglaries, which included the stripping of electricity cables. This resulted in the school having no electricity. Some rooms in the administration block had been electrified.
  • The school building was dilapidated to an extent that on rainy days the equipment and books were damaged.
  • The maintenance at the school was high. For example, the school had leaking water pipes.
  • Toilets were not in good condition. A company had sponsored the school with new toilets.  The process of erecting these toilets was left with plumbing.
  • The school had migrated to Section 21 and had installed an alarm system and was aiming to erect fencing for security purposes, following a series of burglaries.
  • The school had no library. However, it used a classroom as a library, with books that were donated by students from America.
  • The school had no computers, but had one laptop. Educators used their personal laptops to do some work at home.

 

            22.2.4     Sport: The learners participated in a few sporting codes. 

 

            22.2.5     Social problems

  • The school was surrounded by houses selling drugs.
  • Learners were exposed to negative activities performed by adults.
  • In some instances the school classrooms were used by members of the community for unlawful activities.
  • The area was plagued with substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and gangsterism.
  • At times it there was a lack of a response from SAPS when called for emergencies.
  • The school was used as a playground by children in the area.
  • At times learners and educators were exposed to shooting between members of the public , that spilled over to the school precincts;
  • The area was rife with poverty. Most parents were unemployed. 
  • There was an increase in the lack of discipline. This had resulted in teachers becoming despondent.
  • There was a problem of learners who came from the township areas, who at times had to walk home.

 

22.2.6     Annual National Assessment (ANA): The school’s 2014 ANA results were poor.

 

            22.2.7     Portfolio Committee Observations

            The Portfolio Committee, having received the presentation from the principal and SMT, noted the following:

  • Many learners at this school were Learners with Special Education Needs who required appropriate support. Educators were not trained to deal with such learners.
  • None of the classes had no electricity, except the administration block.
  • The IsiXhosa speaking learners seemed to have a problem with learning, since the medium of instruction was English and Afrikaans. Members were concerned that the school had not introduced the IsiXhosa language and appointed a qualified teacher for the subject.
  • There were adequate mechanisms to deal with safety issues at the school. The safety of educators and learners was a concern.
  • Due to the fact that a large majority of the learners were not coping with the learning, the school did not seem to be an average mainstream school
  • There seemed to be a low level of support from SAPS to respond to safety issues at the school.
  • The Department seemed not to have assisted in addressing the infrastructure problems at the school. The maintenance issues needed to be addressed.
  • The Committee commended the level of support the school received from members of the SGB slept at the school to provide security.  However, there was a concern around issues of security and whether the school could not look at initiatives such as ‘adopt a cop’.
  • In addition, whether the school had not ventured into the EPWP programmes to receive assistance in key projects.

 

22.2.8   Responses                               

As a response to issues raised by the Committee, the responses from the principal and the SMT were as follows:

  • The IsiXhosa learners were admitted at the school at the behest of the parents who claim to look for what is best for their children. In most cases, parents were informed when applying regarding the medium of instruction at the school.
  • The school had not received a response from the Department regarding the issue of an African language educator.
  • Learners with barriers to learning were interviewed by the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) one-on-one relationship.
  • Maintenance at the school was expensive due to the longevity of the challenge.
  • The school had tried to involve the SAPS though when they left the problem continued.

 

On the issue of the introduction of the African Language educators, the District officials indicated that the school had two vacancies for such positions. The District was still awaiting the Provincial Office to deal with the placement of teachers in primary schools. With regard to the dilapidated building, the school was part of the court order for renovations.

 

22.2.9       Portfolio Committee Recommendations

 

The Portfolio Committee recommended that the Eastern Cape Department of Education:

  • Take urgent steps to address the infrastructural needs of the school.
  • Fast-track the introduction of an African language at the school to enhance learning, in line with the national priority of the Department.
  • In collaboration with relevant role-players, support the school to address its security challenges and social problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, learner pregnancy and gangsterism.
  • Ensure that the challenges in respect of LSEN receive attention as a matter of urgency.

 

  1. Bethelsdorp High School

The principal led the discussion on the overview of the school. The school was established in 1972. The current principal had been the principal of the school since 2011. The school took pride on its academic excellence in providing quality learning and teaching to a poor community. The majority of learners were drawn from Missionvale. Since 2013 the school became a Quintile 3 school. 

 

  1. Staff Complement: The school had a staff complement of 33 educators, including the principal and two deputy principals. It was reported that the principal was still teaching though this affected his administrative duties. In terms of non-teaching staff, there were two secretaries.  The principal appreciated the appointment of the HoD for Mathematics and Science. However, the school was still awaiting the filling of three vacancies of one HoD and two PL 1 posts for Afrikaans and African Languages. The teacher to learner ratio was reportedly 1:35.

 

  1.  Infrastructure: The school experienced infrastructure challenges. This could be as a result that the building was made from chipboard and was built on clay. Currently, the foundation was cracking.

 

  1. Social Issues: In respect of social issues, the Committee was informed that the area where the school was situated was afflicted by drugs, taverns and gangsterism. This had an impact on the school since gangsters sometimes came into the school. The school reportedly took a proactive approach on the issue of drugs and its code of conduct had a clause on drug policy. Testing was conducted as soon as a pattern was noticed. Learners who were tested positive were referred to the relevant facilities. Mostly, those who were tested positive were learners from Grade 8. It was reported that the dwindling state of the building had resulted in the school being a haven for criminals. As a result, the Department had been requested to consider the possibility of removing the school from the current area.

 

  1. Safety Issues: The educators were concerned with the unsafe and stressful environment they worked in. Most of the time they were involved in their learners’ safety. The school indicated that it had the service of the Community Policing Forum, but that was withdrawn as a result of not receiving a stipend. The other concern raised was the issue of discipline, which had become a major problem.

 

  1. LSEN: The Committee was advised that there was a teacher responsible for learners with barriers to learning. Educators were concerned that, they were in a situation of dealing with areas where they were unqualified. Also, the school was concerned that all applications that were submitted to the Department had not received attention.

 

  1. Sport and Cultural Activities: The school had no playing field. Learners were transported by taxis to other areas that had sports fields. Essentially, there were less than 300 learners who participated in sport. Nonetheless, the school had reportedly been doing well in soccer and cricket, which was attributed to the dedication of learners. The school was active in other activities such as Toast Master and the Columba Leadership Academy which targeted Grade 10 and accepted only 12 learners at a time.

 

  1. Partnerships: It was reported that the school had a supportive Alumni, which had grown active and had taken interest in the welfare of the school. Those who were successful assisted in fundraising. The GM Foundation had assisted by offering training courses in SMT development, and sponsoring the ear, nose and throat (ENT) testing of learners.  In addition, the Foundation had assisted in empowering the school in drawing its Strategic Plan.

 

  1. Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM): The principal alluded to the issue of the shortage of textbooks, which impacted on their results. Learners relied on copies made by the school. There was also dissatisfaction with the quality of books which the school had received. The plea from the school was for the Department to inject more resources for suitable textbooks. In addition, the school referred to the issue of not receiving Afrikaans textbooks since 2013.

 

  1. Academic Performance: The school experienced low performance in in ANA (Language and Mathematics) Grade 9. The November 2014 results had also shown a struggle in the Grade 8 class in Mathematics and Home Language.  It was also noted that some Grade 12 learners were unable to do basic calculations nor analyse what they were reading. Overall, the school was concerned with the challenge in numeracy skills in all Grades. It was further noted that many learners who did a combination of Mathematics and Physical Science subjects were struggling to cope.  In this case, there was uncertainty on how the results would be at the end of the year. The school had been managing with library donations it had received from outside agencies. The school conceded to the challenge of not producing sufficient bachelor passes.  However, there had been an improvement over the past four years.

 

  1.  Progression: The school raised its concern around the lack of understanding on the implementation of the progression policy.  For example, out of 228 learners in Grade 10, 115 of these learners failed Grade 9. The school required support from the Department on the effective implementation of the policy. The school also registered a concern regarding the lack of cooperation by parents around the academic performance of their children.  In some instances, parents did not come to school to discuss their children’s performance with their teachers.

 

  1.  Interventions: With regard to Grade 11 and 12, the school was conducting Saturday classes in Accounting. In addition, two hours were spent after each school day for revision and catch-up. Educators felt that the 45 minutes that were allocated for contact time was inadequate, especially for subjects such as Mathematics. Similarly, with Grade 9, the school aligned the class to do revisions with the top learners in Mathematics in order to prepare them for Grade 10 and beyond.

 

  1.  Portfolio Committee Concerns and Findings

The Portfolio Committee made the following observations:

  • There seemed to be delays on the part of the Department in addressing the plight of LSEN learners. Amongst others, it was important that the school consider soliciting the expertise of social workers and psychologists to assist in some of the challenges faced by both educators and learners.
  • The Department was not adequately addressing the issue of wellness in education.
  • Members were concerned regarding the issue of security at the school. It was felt that the school should look at initiatives such as ‘adopt a cop’ so as to assist in alleviating some of the challenges around the security at the school.
  • The school also required support in respect of challenges related to drugs, gangsterism and learner discipline.
  • Members expressed a concern around the implementation of the progression policy.
  • There was a concern around the school not receiving all the required textbooks.
  • Members observed that the infrastructure at the school required urgent attention.

 

22.3.13 Responses from the Department

The District responded to some issues raised as follows:

  • The Department received complaints around the centralised budget for the LTSM.  A commitment was made that the matter would be followed up with the relevant directorate;
  • Issues such as gangsterism and other social ills, required a collaborative effort with other departments and stakeholders; and
  • On the issue of infrastructure, the school was on the priority list for renovations in 2015. A tender for major repairs in the school would be processed soon.

 

22.3.14 Recommendations

The Portfolio Committee recommended that the Eastern Cape Department of Education:

  • Ensure that the school receives its required textbooks as a matter of urgency.
  • Provide the necessary support to the school to improve its results.
  • Take urgent steps to attend to the infrastructural needs of the school.
  • Fast-track the filling of the three vacant posts at the school to enhance learning.
  • In collaboration with relevant role-players, support the school to address its security challenges and social problems such as drug abuse and gangsterism.
  • Ensure that the challenges in respect of LSEN receive attention as a matter of urgency.
  • Ensure that the policy on progression is well understood and implemented effectively.

 

  1. Debriefing Session

On the last day of the oversight visit, the Committee held a debriefing session at the District Office with the Provincial Department and the District Office. The Committee highlighted some of the findings during the three day interaction in the Province. These findings were as follows:

 

          23.1        Teacher Shortage - There was an outcry in most of the schools visited for not                             receiving the African Language and Afrikaans educators.

          23.2        Section 21 Schools - There were complaints around schools not receiving their                            allocations.

          23.3        Learner Teacher Supply Material (LTSM) – Some schools had insufficient                                 textbooks and there were concerns about the quality of the textbooks received as well                    as the money allocated for the books.

          23.4        Infrastructure Backlogs – School infrastructure was generally in a bad state of                           disrepair, including the prefabricated buildings and the asbestos. There was a need                        to urgently attend to these challenges, particularly since some of the schools were                          part of the court order for renovations.

          23.5        Non-payment of Educators – The Department needed to urgently attend to the issue                   of educators who were on PERSAL for up to a year and not having been paid.

          23.6        Therapists - The 22 vacancies of therapists that had not been filled required attention.

          23.7        Peter Morkel Model - The Committee would take up the concerns raised by the unions on this model with the national Department of Basic Education.

          23.8        Grade R Practitioners - The Committee would take up the matter regarding the plight of Grade R practitioners with the national Department of Basic Education.

          23.9        Transfers - Some schools had not received sufficient funds for the day-to-day running of the school.

          23.10      Dual Medium of Instruction - The Department needed to speed up the appointments of IAL to ensure that some of the challenges raised by the schools were addressed.

          23.11      Social Issues - The Committee felt that, although this was a societal issue, it required an inter-departmental intervention. Therefore, the Department needs to play a role in assisting in this regard.

          23.12      Non-teaching Staff - The lack of career path for non-teaching staff was an issue.

          23.13      Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) - There were only three growth posts in the Province. The issue was whether the MEC could increase the number of such posts.

          23.14      Inadequate Communication - There seemed to be a lack of effective communication between the Head Office and the District on critical matters such as the appointment of teachers.

 

  1. Responses by the Department

       The Head of Department (HOD) responded to some of the findings as follows:

 

24.1      Teacher shortages - The province had a rolling process of filling vacancies.

24.2      The Implementation of African Language (IAL) - The policy was implemented and            posts were allocated to all schools that were interested. Currently, this policy was   piloted into two grades. However, the former Model C and coloured schools were reportedly reluctant to employ African teachers.

24.3      Transfers - There were periods by which funds were transferred to schools and were          divided into portions. The Department had encouraged schools who would like to             apply for Section 21 status to do so. Currently, the challenge was with small schools.

24.4      Infrastructure - The Department of Water and Sanitation had been approached      regarding issues of water and sanitation. In respect to shortage of furniture, the             Department had a contract with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Labour for the restoration of old school furniture.

24.5      Maintenance at Schools - The Department conceded that there was a major problem         of backlogs in regard to the maintenance of existing structures. Therefore, the          Department committed that the focus was going to be given to schools in the Northern Areas.

24.6      Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) - The Department had a EPWP        partnership that ran annually. There was a budget which the Department had set aside         to make renovations.

24.7      Non-Payment of Educators - The Department conceded that there had been a       backlog in the payment of teachers.  These were teachers whose posts were approved   though Treasury had not authorised their payment.

24.9      Post Provisioning Norms (PPN) - The challenge with the growth posts was that some       principals chased the Section 1 status and took more learners. However, growth posts   were meant for emergencies. Thus, they were not normal posts.

24.10    Therapists - The Department had employed learner support facilitators to identify barriers to learning in learners. Nevertheless, all therapist posts had been advertised           and the Port Elizabeth district would benefit from these posts.

24.11    Progression Policy - In the period between now and the beginning of the examinations, the department would meet with all the principals on which schools should manage the progression policy.

14.12    Afrikaans Learner Teacher Supply Material (LTSM) - According to the District Office, the textbooks that were ordered were not in the catalogue. Therefore, the Department would look at measures that to be taken in this regard.

14.13    Allocations for Non-teaching Staff – Not all schools qualified for clerks according to the prescribed criteria. As the number of learners decreased, schools lost such posts.

14.14    Inadequate Communication - The Department acknowledged that the issue of teacher deployment was not managed appropriately.  Nonetheless, all educators who were additional in the District were allocated posts.

14.15    Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) Agreement - The issue of educators having to submit their applications to schools was meant to accommodate the Afrikaans medium so that schools would employ Afrikaans teachers. This therefore was not a normal practice.

 

15. Conclusion and Summary

 

The oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces have provided the Portfolio Committee with an opportunity to assess the implementation of School Sport, the state of examination readiness and the activities of Teacher Centres.

 

The Portfolio Committee found that although some strides were made to implement sports in schools, a lot remained to be done, as highlighted by the challenges raised by the Departments. These included the lack of set targets on some areas of the implementation of School Sport; the slow pace of transformation, especially in historically predominantly white schools; and gaps identified in the capacity building of educators. 

 

In terms of examination readiness, based on an evaluation of the key components of the examinations, as presented in the reports of the Departments, the Portfolio Committee was satisfied that both Provinces were ready to administer ANA tests and were at an advanced stage in their preparations to administer the 2015 National Senior Certificate Examinations. Key processes such as the registration of learners and examination centres and the printing of tests had been conducted. There were also comprehensive plans in respect of other processes such as invigilation and monitoring of the examinations, particularly in schools that were involved in group copying in 2014. The Portfolio Committee was satisfied with steps taken to curb the recurrence of 2014 irregularities. Whilst it is acknowledged that incidents of non-compliance and irregularities could occur, given the magnitude of the examinations, the Portfolio Committee is satisfied that contingency plans are in place to address these occurrences.  

 

In both Provinces, the Portfolio Committee further noted a range of intervention programmes designed to prepare learners for ANA and the NSC, including an early start to the academic year with the use of revisions and Saturday and Winter classes, focusing particularly on Mathematics, Science and Technology.

 

The oversight visits have also highlighted areas of service delivery that need to be strengthened and improved. In the Port Elizabeth District, notable challenges included the need to finalise the filling of posts, including for Afrikaans and African languages where required; to ensure the timeous payment of newly appointed teachers; and, to address the disjuncture in communication between the Province and the District in respect of post provisioning. The Portfolio Committee also observed the need to urgently attend to the infrastructural needs of the schools visited; the quality and availability of the LTSM; the provisioning of quality education for Learners with Special Needs; and, to support schools in respect of their security and social needs. Another area that needs attention is the post provisioning in respect of non-teaching staff.

 

The findings and recommendations made by the Committee should assist in identifying areas that need to be strengthened and make contributions to finding effective solutions to challenges encountered by districts and schools.

 

16. Overall recommendations

 

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having conducted the oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces, and considered the issues that were highlighted, makes the following general recommendations:

 

The Minister of Basic Education should ensure that:

16.1      The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, together with the Provincial Department of Sport and Recreation, take the necessary steps to accelerate the provision of School Sport, including ensuring that educators and Department officials are cooperative in delivering the programme.

16.2      The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education set targets on the number of schools participating in inter/intra school competitions, to facilitate effective monitoring of the progress made.

16.3      The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education provide the necessary support to the           Department of Sport and Recreation to fast-track the signing of Memoranda of     Understanding (MoU) between the Department and Sport Focused in order to ensure that       resources allocated are properly accounted for.

16.4      The Eastern Cape Education Department finalise the filling of all remaining vacant posts at schools as a matter of urgency, including ensuring the timeous payment of newly appointed teachers.

16.5      The Eastern Cape Education Department urgently attend to the infrastructural needs of the affected schools in the Northern Areas. The Department is requested to provide Parliament with the timelines for addressing these infrastructure needs and to report on progress made in the Third and Fourth Quarterly Reports of the 2015/16 financial year.

16..6    The Eastern Cape Education Department take the necessary steps to improve communication with its Districts on critical issues of service delivery, including post provisioning and teacher deployment.

16.7      The Eastern Cape Education Department take the necessary steps to ensure that affected schools receive outstanding LTSM as a matter of urgency and that all books procured are of acceptable quality. The monitoring and oversight of LTSM procurement and delivery to schools should be improved. 

16.8    The Eastern Cape Education Department ensure that all Section 21 schools receive their budget allocations to enable them to attend to their basic needs.

16.9      The Eastern Cape Education Department take urgent steps to ensure that all affected schools receive the necessary assistance and support in respect of Learners with Special Education Needs. This includes the necessary resources and ensuring that all learners entering the schooling system receive the necessary professional assessment and screening for appropriate placement.

16.10    The Eastern Cape Education Department, in collaboration with relevant role-players, ensure that affected schools are supported in respect of their security needs and challenges related to drugs, gangsterism and learner discipline.

16.11    The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Education Departments ensure that issues pertaining to schools’ connectivity be prioritised in line with the imperatives of the National Development Plan 2030 and the Medium Term Strategic Framework, 2014 - 2019. Teacher Centres should also progressively play a key role in supporting teachers with their ICT development needs.

16.12    The Eastern Cape Education Department should progressively address all other challenges facing individual schools as identified in this report. The Provincial Education Departments and the Department of Basic Education should also provide timeframes for their plans and carry out commitments made to individual schools as covered in this report. In this regard, a report back should be submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly within two months of the adoption of this report, in order to ascertain progress made.

 

Report to be considered

 

           

 

 

 

Documents

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