ATC180828: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts, Mpumalanga Province, dated 28 August 2018
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts, Mpumalanga Province, dated 28 August 2018.
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts, Mpumalanga Province, reports as follows:
1. Introduction and Background
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education conducted an oversight visit to the Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts, Mpumalanga Province from 28 January to 2 February 2018.
- The primary purpose of the oversight visit was to assess the state of school readiness for 2018 in key priority areas, as well as to ascertain the basic functionality of schools. The framework for the school readiness oversight visit was guided by key interventions and priorities for the Basic Education sector set out in major government plans to ensure that enabling conditions for quality teaching and learning are established. In this regard, the Portfolio Committee’s oversight sought to focus primarily on the following:
- The state of the school environment
- The state of the admission and registration of learners;
- The provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM);
- Staff establishments (Post-Provisioning Norms);
- School Improvement Plans and district support;
- The availability of learner transport and the School Nutrition Programme to qualifying learners;
- The functionality of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and School Management Teams (SMTs);
- The state of the school’s infrastructure including maintenance;
- The roll-out of OCT to improve effective curriculum delivery, quality learning and administration;
- The availability of school furniture;
- Early Childhood Development (ECD) (Grade R);
- Social Cohesion;
- Inclusive Education; and
- The Second Chance Programme.
1.3 The above areas of focus form part of the key deliverables finding expression in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MSTF), 2014 – 2019 and the National Development Plan (NDP), 2030. The NDP and the MSTF also set enrolment (improved learner retention) and quality targets. Key targets for improved outcomes include the trebling of the number of Grade 12 learners who achieve university entrance passes with Mathematics and Physical Science by 2030. In the medium term, the number of matriculants who qualify to access university should have increased to 250 000 (from 172 000 in 2013) by 2019; and, there should be commensurate increases in the number passing Mathematics and Physical Science.
- As part of the oversight, the Portfolio Committee received briefings from officials of the Mpumalanga Department of Education, including District Officials, School Governing Body (SGB) Associations, the South African Principals Association (SAPA) and Organised Labour. The Portfolio Committee was also joined by the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature during engagements and visits to schools. The delegation held meetings with all relevant stakeholders in order to gain first-hand information on the state of schooling and to discuss various challenges faced in the Provincial Education Department (PED) and affected districts.
1.5 This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with stakeholders, officials of the national and provincial departments as well as the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.
2.1 Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon N Gina, MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon J Basson MP (ANC), Hon N Mokoto MP (ANC), Hon H D Khosa MP (ANC), Hon N Tarabella-Marchesi MP (DA), Hon H S Boshoff MP (DA), and Hon X Ngwezi MP (IFP). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr L A Brown (Committee Secretary), Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Ms S Ntabeni (Committee Assistant), Mr M Kekana (Parliamentary Researcher) and Ms R Azzakani (Parliamentary Communication).
2.2 Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Education: Hon V V Windvoel, Hon V S Siwela, Hon P Ngobeni, Hon J L Nghondzweni and Hon M S Shilakwe. Staff included Ms M Varda and Ms E Thabane, Mr M Mkhombo, Mr L Mthunywa
2.3 National Department of Basic Education: Mr T Rabotapi, Mr P Dikgomo, Mr H Karimulla, Mrs M Boadua, Ms V Mokgale, Mr A Subban, Mr H Kavuma, Mr S Mlambo, Mr T Nkomo, Mr G Macquera, Mr M Gama, Mr P Njobe, Mr M Mahlanga, Mr N Nyembe, Mr S Mafoko, Ms N Nkonyeni and Mr L Mahada.
2.4 Mpumalanga Department of Education: Ms R Mhaule, Mr S Mlambo, Mr M Lushegu, Mr V Ntimba, Mr Magoane, Mr P S Sibeko, Mr R Makhubedu, Dr W Mashaba, Ms D Sibuyi, Ms L Goba, Ms K Moele, Mr S Fakude, Mr P Dlamini, Mr J Mazwi, Mr C Maebela, Ms C Lesego, Ms S Mathebula, Mr A S Chilwane, Mr E J Lebambo, Mr P Petje, Ms K Masango, Mr K Khomola, Mr S Sibanda, Mr D Ndlovu, Mr V Mthethwa, Mr M Maisela, Mr M Machaba and Mr J Mabena
2.5 Organised Labour
3.5.1 National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA): Mr N Crighton.
3.5. 2 Professional Educators Union (PEU): Mr B Mathebula.
3.5.3 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU): Mr P Mashego, Mr R Mamareane and Mr A Maunye.
3.5.4 National Teachers Union (NATU): Mr M Vilakazi, Mr M Tshabalala and Mr B Shabalala.
3.5.5 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU): Mr D Leum and Mr G Lancaster.
2.6 South African Principals Association (SAPA): Mr H Moyo, Rev N Nthame, Mr R Richards, Mr M Mnisi, Mr R Molekoa and Mr E Matshika.
2.7 National Association of School Governing Bodies (NATSGB): Mr T Nkosi and Mr T Masilela.
3. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts, Mpumalanga Province
The oversight visit to the Bohlabela and Nkangala Education Districts occurred from 28 January 2018 and concluded with a debriefing session/report back in Kwamhlanga on 2 February 2018. The Committee had meetings and school visits as follows:
3.1 A meeting with the MEC for Education in the Mpumalanga Province, Senior Officials from the Mpumalanga Provincial Education Department, the National Department of Basic Education, and Senior Provincial and district officials, SGB Associations, South African Principals Association and Organised Labour.
3.2 Schools/facilities visited by the delegation included:
- Magigwana Secondary School;
- Moses Mnisi High School;
- Mabonwane Primary School;
- Mandondo High School;
- Homuzeya Primary School;
- Alfred Matshine Commercial High School;
- M L Nkuna High School;
- Mkhuhlu Teacher Centre
- Leonard Ntshuntshe Secondary School;
- Marhagi Secondary School;
- Verena Primary School;
- Wolvenkop Special School;
- Sofunda Secondary School;
- Zikhuphule Primary School; and
- Mphanama Comprehensive Technical High School.
3.3 A wrap-up session with the MEC for Education in the Mpumalanga Province, the Office of the Head of Department (HOD) in the Mpumalanga Department of Education, the National Department of Basic Education and Senior officials was scheduled for Friday, 2 February 2018 but could not proceed due to the absence of the MEC, HOD and Senior Officials of the Department of Education.
4. Meeting with the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Members of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Committee on Education, the MEC, National Department of Basic Education, Senior and District Officials, SGB Associations, SA Principals Association and Organised Labour.
4.1 Opening Remarks – Hon N Gina, Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Basic Education
The Chairperson gave a detailed overview in respect of the reasons and specific areas of focus for the oversight visit. Amongst others, the Chairperson touched on the areas of concern in respect of the various grants and challenges faced with the grants. She noted issues in respect of infrastructure and the high number of dilapidated schools. She was also interested in the Department’s progress with merging of schools in the various districts. She further requested an update in addressing specific challenges noted during the Portfolio Committee’s 2015 oversight visit to the Province. These included a high rate of vacancies, the shortage of subject advisers and the low uptake of Mathematics.
4.2 Address by the MEC for Education in Mpumalanga – Hon R Mhaule
After some introductory remarks by the Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, Hon V S Siwela, the MEC, in her opening remarks reported that most of the points raised by the Portfolio Committee had been covered by the presentation of the Department.
Hon Mhaule gave a broad political overview of the education sector in the Province. She indicated that there was agreement at the beginning of 2016 that the Province should improve its results from the previous year. The improvement plan was well structured and even received interest from other provinces, but required the necessary resources for the plan to be successful. Although a large chunk of the provincial budget went to education, the amount was inadequate as a huge percentage went for educator remuneration with very little to benefit schools generally. The MEC also touched on issues pertaining to initiation ceremonies and other cultural practices in the Nkangala District that negatively affected teaching and learning. A further area of concern in the Province included the filling of vacancies at circuit and district level, with community protests accompanying vacancies being filled.
The MEC also indicated that the Province was not doing well in respect of grant disbursement and agreed that infrastructure challenges affected both schools, circuit and district offices. The provincial priority remained the supply of basic services (water, electricity, sanitation) to schools. The Department had completed the condition assessment of all schools in the Province. Hon Mhaule agreed that there was a need to merge schools, especially in Bohlabela and Nkangala, but this needed the support and agreements from affected communities.
The Department continued to be challenged with subject advisor shortages due to the moratorium on appointments. The Department had introduced hubs to allow for training of teachers. Hon Mhaule agreed that there was a need to find ways of supporting the Mathematics, Science, Technology and Art (MSTA) subjects where they underperformed with shared resources and intervention plans and programmes.
4.3 An Overview of the Learner Performance Improvement Plan (LPIP) 2018 – Mr Mlambo
Mr Mlambo outlined the objectives of the 2018 LPIP and reflected on the 2017 LPIP indicating the Departments strategy, what worked and what did not work. He further gave a detailed breakdown of the 2017 learner performance tracking per grade per subject. Schools were further categorised for differentiated support. Mr Mlambo went on to supply the provincial grade targets and subject targets. The Portfolio Committee received a detailed analysis and overview of the 2018 implementation framework under the following:
- School category;
- Learner support;
- Teacher support; Parental and community involvement;
- Assessment and moderation; and
- Schools within the CRDP municipalities.
Mr Mlambo further touched on the implementation of the 2018 “1 + 4” Mathematics intervention plan and mentioned that schools did not need to adjust their school time tables but to make alternative arrangements on the days that the Mathematics Teachers would be attending the full day workshops. The workshops would be conducted in clusters per grade to cover all affected Mathematics Teachers. Mathematics Teachers in MSTA Secondary Schools would be provided with extra training and support to improve learner achievement in Mathematics in Grades 10 and 11.
Mr Mlambo also touched on the 2018 LPIP risk management plan by way of detailing the risk, contributing factors and impact, remedial action, risk owners and timeframes.
Stakeholders raised the following issues during the engagement:
4.4.1 Federation of South African Schools (FEDSAS):
- Quality of education: Classrooms were overcrowded making teaching and learning difficult. More classrooms needed to be built at schools.
- Finances/Budget: There were delays in receiving tranches from the Department – schools could not function without these monies; and
- Training of SGB: The marketing of SGBs was non-existent. Current training was poor.
4.4.2 National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB)
- SGB training offered by the Department was inadequate. The NASGB had offered to assist the Department with providing training for SGBs;
- Conflict between SGB Chairperson and school principal regarding their respective responsibilities and duties;
- The Department was not doing enough in recognizing SGBs. Members of SGB needed to be able to join associations of their choice (this was not happening); and
- There was little or no assistance/support from certain Circuit Managers.
4.4.3 South African Principals Association (SAPA)
- Good, strong principals had well performing schools. Weak principals had underperforming schools;
- Principals needed to be employed on merit without any politics; and
- SAPA was available to support underperforming schools through sharing of best practices and mentoring sessions.
4.4.4 Professional Educators Union (PEU)
- Levels of reading and writing were poor – learners up to Grade 7 could not read and write.
4.4.5 National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA)
- The profession was ageing with an increase in the rate of educators lost to the system;
- There was a need to strengthen the recruitment drive as there was a reluctance of new entries to the teaching profession;
- There were overcrowded classroom at many schools despite the good pupil/teacher ratio of the province;
- Many schools required new classrooms;
- Learner drop-out rate was increasing; and
- There was a need to refocus on skills development.
4.4.6 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)
- The moratorium on the filling of posts was crippling – many crucial posts needed to be filled;
- The 1 + 4 Model was not having the intended results;
- Skills development was neglected;
- There was a need to employ suitably qualified Maths and Science educators, especially at Maths Science and Technology Academies (MSTAs); and
- Challenges with accessing Common Papers by way of passwords that were erroneousDistribution of papers needed to be packaged and centralized at district level.
4.4.7 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU)
- Challenges were in respect of financial constraints and austerity measures which put pressure on the quality of education;
- Too many vacancies for support personnel were not being filled; and
- The union requested that the Portfolio Committee assisted and supported their call for additional/increased budget for Education in the province.
4.4.8 National Teachers Union (NATU)
- Employment of principals should be on merit not political;
- Some schools had challenges with textbook shortages and top-ups;
- Vacant posts at schools were not being filled for some time; and
- A need to re-focus on Skills Development.
- Members were curious to know whether the Labour Unions had periodic bi-lateral meetings with the Department as many of the issues raised should have been covered and handled in these bi-laterals.
- Members noted that not much was communicated on Progressed and Second Chance learners and Members sought information on how these learners were being supported by the Department.
- Members noted that many schools were being converted to Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy (MSTA) schools without added support, resources or infrastructure.
- Members were concerned at the report that many schools had old, dilapidated infrastructure that needed urgent renovation and new furniture.
- Members picked up that many schools had huge challenges with school management.
- Ablution facilities at many schools were inadequate, dilapidated and did not service the learner numbers.
- Of concern was the issue of scholar transport not being made available to all those learners who qualified. Further, there were issues with the service providers receiving the tenders and not being able to offer the service as required. It was important that the Portfolio Committee received a report from the Department of Transport on the matter.
- Members were interested in whether the “1 + 4” Mathematics education Model for teachers was having the intended results or was it failing.
- Members were concerned that the Province was experiencing budgetary constraints to service its education needs.
- Members noted challenges with registration and contract renewal of Foreign Educators which was taking too long and affected teaching and learning at schools.
- Members noted that, especially in rural schools there was a lack of laboratories and science equipment.
- The National Department, together with the PED needs to support and assist schools with the infrastructure and resources as required by schools.
- With protest action by communities, learners needed to be supported and protected by the PED in respect of teaching and learning.
- Where there were vacant posts to be filled, these needed to be fast-tracked by the Department.
- The Department needed to engage at a higher level regarding challenges with insufficient budgeting for education.
- MSTA schools needed to be adequately resourced with the necessary infrastructure and ongoing support from the Department.
- It was important that the QLTC structures be revived and made functional.
5. Visits to Schools
5.1 Magigwana Secondary School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school located in the Thulamahashe Circuit in the Bohlabela District. Established in 1985, the school was named after Induna Magigwana of the Ndwandwa tribe. It currently had an enrolment of 787 learners with 21 educators and a high enrolment of 395 Grade 12 learners. The school also employed one administrator and two general workers. The SGB was established and fully functional.
The school was performing well academically and had obtained an overall pass rate of 99.2 percent in the 2017 NSC examinations, with a 100 percent pass rate in the critical subjects of Mathematics, Physical Science and Business Studies. The Committee heard of the teachers’ extra effort with learners, which was reaping the reward of good results.
In relation to infrastructure, the school had 12 classrooms, an administration block and a kitchen facility. It was also well-fenced with security personnel. The school had an adequate supply of LTSM and the nutrition programme was reportedly supplied on time.
Regarding the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years the following weaknesses were identified:
- No adherence to due dates, with parents not supporting teaching and learning;
- Poor filing systems with educators resisting monitoring visits;
- Poor attendance at SGB meetings with SGB members lacking the understanding of policies;
- Low parental support;
- Too few visits from Curriculum Implementers;
- Dilapidated classrooms which posed a threat to learners and educators; and
- Poor quality of food supply affecting learner hygiene
The priorities of the school for 2018 were as follows:
- Teacher development;
- Community involvement and safety in schools; and
- Using English as a medium of communication.
The school was in need of the following:
- Computer Laboratory, Examination Hall and Library;
- Three to four extra classrooms;
- School furniture (chairs, desks and examination boards); and
- Musical equipment.
- The Portfolio Committee was impressed with the school’s results in the NSC examinations, particularly in Mathematics and Physical Science. Members also had high praise for the commitment of teachers and the practice of naming classrooms after tertiary institutions.
- Members noted with appreciation that three of the best teachers in the District were employed at the school.
- The Portfolio Committee cautioned the school against admitting more learners than it could reasonably accommodate as this would impact on the availability of resources, including LTSM and class size.
- The Portfolio Committee was also concerned that the school was enrolling learners for far too late, including Grade 12 learners.
- The Portfolio Committee stressed the need for the SGB to be adequately trained in order to adequately understand policies and budgeting responsibilities.
5.1.2 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education:
- Consider prioritizing the school for its infrastructural needs such as a laboratory, a library and furniture for learners.
- Closely monitor enrolment at the school since the admission of too many learners than required could negatively impact on the quality of education offered.
- Ensure that the school receive targeted support since it had a large enrolment of Grade 12 learners, with some learners who were admitted late.
5.1.3 Responses of the Department
The Mpumalanga Education Department noted that the school had been included in the 2018/19 priority list for infrastructure development. The school was declared an SMTA school. The Department undertook to ensure that the school receive a mobile laboratory.
5.2 Moses Mnisi High School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school, situated in the deep rural area of Cottondale in the Bohlabela District. It was established in 1981 as a mud school and has today been turned into state-of-the-art school for rural learners. The school serves a community with a low socioeconomic status, with many parents of the learners being reportedly farm workers.
The school had a learner enrolment of 1 155 and a staff complement of 38 educators, including two deputy principals, three administrative staff and four general workers.
The admission and registration of learners at the school for 2018 went smoothly and had been finalised at the time of the oversight.
The school was performing well academically and had obtained overall pass rates of between 98 per cent and 100 percent in the NSC examinations over the past three years and achieved 100 percent in subjects such as Agricultural Science, English First Additional Language (FAL) and Accounting in 2017. Of the 148 candidates who wrote matric in 2017, 53 candidates obtained bachelor passes. The Committee was informed that the school tracked learner performance from lower Grades to higher Grades and made a concerted effort to support learners in lower Grades. It was also noted that most learners were self-motivated and committed to school work. For the past four years, Grade 12 learners camped out at the school, studying intensively in preparation for the final examination. They slept on the classroom floors, bathrooms and school hall. The school provided incentives for good performance where top performing learners received awards on a quarterly basis.
Regarding infrastructure, the school had sufficient classrooms with adequate furniture. It also had science and computer laboratories as well as a library but lacked science equipment, computers and library books.
In terms of LTSM, top-up textbooks were delivered and the school had a retrieval policy. The School Governing Body was functional and reportedly actively supported the school programme, including curricula and extra-curricular activities. The school also enjoyed the support of parents and the community. All learners enjoyed the benefits of the National School Nutrition Programme.
- There were teachers in excess of its curriculum requirements who needed to be redeployed to other schools
- The school lacked science equipment and tools, computers and books for the library
- There was no security personnel to ensure school security and security of the learners
5.2.1 Committee Observations
- Members appreciated the vision and commitment of staff as well as the support from the SGB.
- The Portfolio Committee commended the school for aligning its plans with the plans of the District and the Province.
- Members commended the school for making a concerted effort to support lower grades
- The Portfolio Committee advised the school to consider hiring security personnel from its allocated funds or through fund-raising since the Department had indicated that they currently did not have a budget for this item.
- The Portfolio Committee noted that the school wanted a hostel facility to support learners during exam preparations but appreciated that the Province was experiencing budgetary constraints and had prioritised another school in the district for this facility.
- Members noted with concern that the school had excess teachers and urged the Department to follow up on the matter.
5.2.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee recommended the following:
- The school should consider fund-raising or using its norms and standards allocation to fund security personnel and other small items given that the Province was currently without a budget for these items.
- The Mpumalanga Department of Education should consider prioritising the school for science equipment and tools, computers and library books when the budget becomes available.
- The Mpumalanga Department of Education should take the necessary steps to fast-track the redeployment of excess teachers.
5.3 Mabon’wana Primary School
Mabon’wana Primary School is a small Quintile 1, no-fee school, situated in Cottondale village in the Bohlabela District. It is a feeder primary school to Moses Mnisi High School and serves a community of a low socioeconomic status. The Committee was informed that some learners were from child-headed families where both parents were deceased.
The school had a learner enrolment of 108 and a staff complement of nine educators, including a principal, two Early Childhood Development practitioners, one administrative staff and one general worker. The school reported that they were understaffed, with some teachers teaching up to six subjects.
Although the school had enough classrooms, an administration block and renovated learner ablution facilities, part of the infrastructure was dilapidated, requiring renovations and developments. The school roof and ceiling were falling apart in some classes. The school fence was also dilapidated. The school had converted a classroom into a library but lacked resources and furniture. The school also lacked several facilities including electricity, Grade R classrooms, a playground, a computer centre, a laboratory and a kitchen. There was no internet connectivity and some of the ICT gadgets provided had expired. The school only had one laptop and a printer for administrative purposes. Fencing needed to be repaired.
Regarding LTSM, the school had received the necessary stationery and workbooks and was satisfied with the support from the district office. The National School Nutrition Programme was running smoothly at the school, with all learners benefiting from the programme.
Key challenges at the school included the following:
- Late coming was rife and this was largely attributed to child-headed families. The school was reportedly intervening to support these learners.
- Most of the parents were working at the farms far away, leaving their homes very early in the morning, which made children vulnerable.
- The school infrastructure required renovation including the ceiling and fencing
- Electricity was not functional and the school area was dark in the evening which attracted vandalism especially since the fence had holes that were left unrepaired
- Learners shared furniture, including chairs.
- The school lacked ICT connectivity.
- The school had one Laptop and one printer. Some of the ICT gadgets provided had expired.
- The SGB lacked resources to support their function.
- Low parental involvement
- The school lacked several facilities such as a library, Grade R classrooms, a computer centre, a kitchen and a laboratory
5.3.1 Committee Observations
- Members observed that there was a low staff morale at the school, requiring attention
- The Portfolio Committee noted that the school profile presented was inaccurate and required revision
- Members observed that the school Principal required support to effectively carry out her management responsibilities.
5.3.2 Committee Recommendations
- The District should assist the school to refine its presentation and submit it to Parliament within seven days of the oversight.
- The Mpumalanga Department of Education should consider prioritizing the school for its infrastructural needs.
- The Mpumalanga Department of Education should assist the school with its staffing needs.
- The Mpumalanga Department of Education should give the school principal and SMT the necessary support they require to carry out their responsibilities.
- The District should investigate the issue of school furniture and assist accordingly.
5.4 Mandondo High School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school located in the Mkhuhlu Circuit in the Bohlabela District. It was established in 1989 by the Community of Belfast. Initially, the school accommodated Grade 7 learners up to 1991. In 1995 the school admitted Grade 12 learners which saw the school enrolment increase. By 2012 the school was able to appoint two Deputy Principals and six HODs. The enrolment for 2018 stood at 967 learners with 32 educators. The best performance by Grade 12 was recorded in 2014 when the school obtained 87 per cent pass rate. This has since dropped to 39 per cent in 2017.
The SGB was functional and was responsible for governance of the school, developing and enforcing policies and supporting the principal in managing school finances amongst others.
Regarding the SWOT analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years, the following weaknesses were identified:
- Time management in terms of attending classes coupled with poor parental support;
- Inconsistent policy implementation with little commitment from members;
- Poor attendance of SGB meetings as parents reportedly relegated their duties to the principal;
- Poor or lack of resources for Science and Library;
- The school was in need of an Administration Block, Library and Computer Centre;
- The school suffered textbook shortages with poor textbook retrieval;
- Educators did not consider development;
- Crime in the area was rife and security personnel not adequately trained;
- Vandalism of school property;
- Borehole water was not sustainable;
- Termite infestation;
- The school only had one food handler;
- High number of drop-outs;
- The school did not have fully resourced and functional ICT infrastructure;
- Many are child-headed families; and
- Some learners leaving for initiation school and not returning to school.
The priorities for the school for 2018 were as follows:
- Inconsistent monitoring;
- Late submissions to circuit office;
- Poor record of continuous assessment; and
- Inability to ensure more written work to learners
5.4.1 Committee Observations:
- Members were concerned with the close proximity of taverns to the school precinct.
- The principal admitted that he may have erred in not implementing certain policies.
- Concern was raised that the school was short of a qualified Maths and Science educator.
- Members noted with concern the divisions amongst staff with the appointment of the new principal.
- Although the QLTC had been established, this was not functional
5.4.2 Committee Recommendations:
- The school should engage the community and municipality regarding by-laws in respect of the location of taverns close to schools.
- The Department needs to ensure that the Circuit is able to assist and support the principal with the understanding and implementation of policies.
- The school needs to collaborate with sister departments, private sector, business and community to deal with its many challenges faced.
- The QLTC structures should be revived.
- The Department (provincial and national) should assist the school with team-building exercises to strengthen team unity as well as assist with LTSM shortages where they occurred.
- The Department should assist the school with reworking/redrafting its School Improvement Plan.
- The Department should consider lifting the moratorium on filling support-staff vacancies.
5.5 L. M. Nkuna High School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school, situated in rural Culcutta in the Bohlabela District. It serves learners from an impoverished background, with many of them coming from child-headed families. The school had a learner enrolment of 1233 and a staff complement of 53 educators. It had an unusually high learner enrolment of 506 in Grade 11 compared to the enrolment of 150 learners in Grade 12 and 308 learners in Grade 10.
The school’s Grade 12 results declined from 80.3 percent in 2015 to 66.5 percent in 2016 and 57.1 percent in 2017. The Committee was informed that the school had a history of good performance until it was converted into a Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy (MSTA), offering these subjects as compulsory subjects. It was also indicated that the school had over 50 learners progressed to Grade 12 in 2017. These progressed learners negatively contributed to the overall performance of the school.
With regard to learner transport, the school had been allocated a bus. The SGB was reportedly ineffective with members who were unfamiliar with school policies. Support from parents was also inadequate.
5.5.1 Committee observations
Members observed the following:
- The school required urgent focussed attention to improve its Grade 12 results, which had been declining over the past three years
- There was infighting among staff, particularly senior management, which dated back to the appointment of the new principal in 2015
- SMT meetings were reportedly not held in 2017 and educators were ineffectively monitored
- The principal was often absent from school in 2017 prioritising other commitments but committed to devote his full attention to school work in 2018
- Members noted with concern that the school did not receive enough support after it was converted into an MSTA
- The school experienced a serious shortage of textbooks in Mathematics and Science
- Ineffective SGB and low parental involvement
- The school required perimeter fencing and lacked a proper kitchen facility and a science laboratory
- Learners were generally ill-disciplined with some involved in drug abuse
- The school experienced high teenage pregnancy
- There was a breakdown of the culture of teaching and learning, with learners often dismissed early from school
- The school had overcrowded classrooms.
5.5.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education should:
- Give the school urgent focussed attention to restore learning and teaching as well as to improve the results
- Take the necessary steps to ensure that the principal and the SMT perform their duties
- Intervene in the impasse within the senior management of the school and between the SGB and senior management
- Provide the school with the necessary support and resources to ensure that it succeeds as a newly converted MSTA
- Provide the necessary support to the SGB
- Ensure that the school receives the required textbooks in Mathematics and Science as a matter of urgency.
5.6 Homuzeya Primary School
The school is situated in Mkhuhlu Circuit and is a Quintile 1, no-fee primary school. The school started as a pre-school in 1991 and became an official primary school in 2002. The school has been declared a full-service school. The school had a total of 715 learners with 21 educators (including 3 practitioners). The SGB was established and fully functional. In respect of the SWOT analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years, the following challenges were identified:
- The school had a poor Curriculum Management System with inconsistent application of policies;
- Time management was challenging with poor parental involvement;
- Sub-committees were dysfunctional with year-plans not followed;
- Poor follow-up of meeting resolutions;
- Security personnel not adequately trained and unarmed;
- Shortage of classrooms and dilapidated buildings;
- Outdated irreparable ablution facilities;
- The school was in need of an Administration Block, Library, Science resources, Grade R classrooms and Ablution facilities;
- Struggle with water reticulation;
- No proper kitchen for preparing meals;
- Shortages of textbooks;
- Perimeter fencing needed upgrade;
The school priorities for 2018 in respect of performance areas included:
- Improved monitoring by the SMT;
- Commitment to time on task;
- Improved records of continuous assessment as well as record keeping of learning and teaching support material; and
- Following-up on analysis of results
In respect of support on matters of Inclusive Education, the school identified and compiled a list of all learners with learning challenges. The school developed a programme of individual support according to levels of learning. A thorough follow-up was made on individual bases to assist each learners. If there was a need for a referral, the school invited the DBST for assistance.
5.6.1 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members were concerned that policies were not being implemented.
- A further concern was the disruptions to teaching and learning caused by strikes by the surrounding community.
- Members were concerned with outsourcing for the assistance of learners and queried why the Subject Advisors were not being utilised
5.6.2 Committee Recommendations
- The Department should assist the school with dealing with the termite infestation which was dangerous to learners
- The Department should assist the school in ensuring that policies are implemented and adhered to.
- The Subject Advisors should be deployed regularly to assist the school where necessary
- The Department should ensure that the school receives proper water reticulation by way of further boreholes being sunk.
- The Department should ensure that the school receive the outstanding LTSM as a matter of urgency.
5.7 Marhagi Secondary School
The school is a Quintile 2, no-fee school, situated in the rural area of Verena in the Nkangala District. It had a learner enrolment of 771 and a staff complement of 29 educators, including a principal, one administrative staff and one support staff. There were two vacancies for a deputy principal and a head of department for the science stream.
The school’s Grade 12 results declined significantly from 96.2 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2017.
In respect of infrastructure, the school has 18 classrooms of which six are converted into two staffrooms, a computer laboratory, a science laboratory, a library and a school hall. The Committee was informed that the teacher-learner ratio was 1:50 and that there were 62 learners in the Science class. The school also has electricity, a bore-hole and is well fenced with palisade. There are four pit toilets for educators and 22 for learners. With regard to ICT infrastructure, the school uses the converted computer laboratory classroom for E-learning. There is no administration block.
The SGB reported that the Premier of the Province, in appreciation of learner results, promised the school to build a library but had not delivered this facility. A contractor dug a foundation but did not return to complete it.
The National School Nutrition Programme is served to all qualifying learners though without a proper kitchen.
With reference to Inclusive Education, the school reportedly conducts extra classes for learners with barriers to learning. Where applicable, learners are also referred to psychologists.
- The school experienced gangsterism and faction fighting amongst learners, which was linked to tribal infighting within the community.
- Vacancies for deputy principal and head of department were yet to be filled
- There was a shortage of chairs for learners
- Lack of an administration block, a library, a laboratory and appropriate equipment for preparing meals
- The school fence had been vandalized due to community protest
- Grade 10 was not performing well, which appeared to be a gate-keeping exercise.
- The school changed from Business Studies to Consumer Studies without the necessary textbooks.
- The school lost several teachers who either took up promotional posts in other schools or moved to urban areas, which contributed to the decline of the results
- All Mathematics educators were newly appointed and had not been properly inducted
- Most educators commuted daily to the school from distant areas.
- The school experienced overcrowding
- The SGB members had capacity challenges.
5.7.1 Committee observations
- The Portfolio Committee was concerned over the significant decline in the matriculation results and whether the school had plans in place to improve performance.
- The Portfolio Committee noted the report of the school that they were promised a library and undertook to follow up on the matter.
- Members were concerned that the post for a deputy principal had taken too long to be advertised and filled.
- Members were concerned that the school had changed from Business Studies to Consumer Studies without the necessary textbooks.
- The Portfolio Committee felt that some of the challenges needed to be resolved by the stakeholders at the school, including addressing the infighting among learners.
Response from the Department
The Department noted that due to financial constraints there was no budget allocated for school furniture in Mpumalanga in the 2016/17 financial year.
5.7.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education should:
- Fast-track the filling of the positions of deputy principal and head of department.
- Give the school the necessary support to improve its results
- Follow through on the promise made regarding provision of a library
- Ensure that the school receives the outstanding textbooks as a matter of urgency
- Capacitate SGB members to enable them to carry out their duties effectively
- Ensure that newly appointed educators are appropriately capacitated
- Progressively address the infrastructure needs of the school, including provision of an appropriate facility for preparing meals for learners, an administration block, a library and a laboratory.
5.8 Alfred Matshine Secondary School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school located in the Casteel Circuit in the Bohlabela District. The school was established in 1991 as a pure commercial school. The school presented its first matriculants in 1995 and achieved first position until it was converted to MSTA four years later. Most educators were commercial educators and not science educators with some being converted to science educators due to the MSTA curriculum. The school was losing learners in large numbers due to the rigid MSTA curriculum. The school did not have the facilities to accommodate physically challenged learners. Educators were not adequately trained to teach learners with disabilities. Parents were not declaring information about physically challenged learners – this was discovered much later by educators.
The School Development Teams were actively involved in finalising the school improvement plans. The SGB was established and fully functional. The SWOT analysis in relation to performance for the past three years highlighted the following weaknesses:
- Conversion of educators from their specialisation subjects. The school was losing learners due to the narrow Curriculum;
- Shortage of stationery (e.g. Commercial subjects).and none delivery of textbooks in some subjects (Agricultural Science and Tourism);
- The school experienced vandalism and ICT equipment had been stolen – and not being replaced;
- Poor class visits by SMT due to heavy workload and too much external meetings and workshops to attend;
- Insufficient funds to meet demands of school together with a lack of donors;
- Dilapidated and overcrowded classrooms;
- Educators not adequately qualified to teach Maths and Science;
- Shortage of LTSM (e.g. Commercial stationary);
- Many subjects were taught by Foreign Educators who had difficulty to secure the necessary documentation to be in the country – with inconsistent renewal of their contracts;
- There was no security personnel and SAPS was not visiting schools regularly. Buildings are old and the school needs to be renovated;
- The school needs supply of additional scholar transport vehicles;
- Termite infestation after heavy rains;
- There was a need for permanent Mathematics and Science educators for Grades 10,11 and 12;
- Learners were not good in Mathematics and Science and required support;
- There was need for consideration for the dual stream of MSTA and Commerce; and
5.8.1 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members noted that the school in general, and the toilets, specifically had not been cleaned for some time. Members were of the view that the General Assistant at the school should do his/her work.
- Members queried whether the school implemented a textbook retrieval policy as the school reported shortages of LTSM.
- Members were concerned with the lack of security personnel at the school.
- Regarding the NSNP, Members noted that not all learners were benefitting from the programme.
- Members were concerned that the school had no facilities for physically challenged learners.
- Members queried whether the budget allocated for school maintenance was sufficient.
- Members were concerned that the school drop-out rate was high and queried the programmes in place to address this challenge.
5.8.2 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Department should assist and support the school with the following:
- Placement of permanent Mathematics and Science educators for Grades 10, 11 and 12;
- Refinement of School Improvement Plans
- Infrastructure facilities for physically challenged learners
- Engage professionals to deal with termite infestation
- Provision of extra classrooms
- The principal should identify teachers in excess for the Department to assist with supplying relevant educators to the school.
- The school needs to ensure that the Department receive a full list of all outstanding LTSM required
- The Mpumalanga Education Department should find ways to fast-track the renewal of contracts of foreign educators
- The Mpumalanga Education Department should assist the
- The district and circuit to continue supporting and visiting the school by way of monitoring, oversight, mentoring and teamwork.
5.9 Leonard Ntshuntshe Secondary School
During the visit to the school, it was brought to the attention of the Portfolio Committee that a girl learner from the school suffering from albinism had been abducted days before with no word on her whereabouts to date.
The school is a Quintile 2, no-fee school located in the Emalahleni 2 Circuit in the Nkangala District. It was established in 2003 and initially located in Hlalanikahle with learners housed in prefabs inherited when the feeder primary was relocated. It initially only catered for Grade 8 learners with an enrolment of 400 learners and nine educators. The school grew with a grade added every subsequent year with the first matriculants writing exams in 2007 where the school obtained 39 percent. The school attracts disadvantaged learners from the informal settlements of Hlalanikhle, Vossman, eMpumelelweni and Kwa Guqa Extension .. The current enrolment stood at 1 233 leaners with 37 0educators, two administrative staff and two general workers. The SGB had been established and was fully functional. In respect of the SWOT analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years, the following weaknesses had been identified:
- Learners travelling long distances to arrive at school;
- Overage learners;
- Frequent load shedding;
- Some building was termite infested;
- Civil unrest on a regular basis disrupting schooling;
- Poaching in respect of promotional posts;
- Library and laboratory under equipped and not fully functional. No computer centre;
- Insufficient office space for managers – need for an Admin Block;
- SGB not conversant with school governance policies;
- Older educators not motivated to study and develop further;
- Shortage of classrooms for Science learners;
- Shortage of Science educators;
- No gate control with damaged perimeter fencing;
- Vandalism and theft;
- Substance abuse amongst learners;
- Limited parental support with learners from child-headed families or orphans; and
- No proper kitchen and dining hall.
Priorities for the school for 2018 include:
- Lack of proper perimeter fencing;
- Classroom shortages;
- Proper kitchen and dining areas; and
- Building of a school hall/multi-purpose centre.
5.9.1 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members queried whether the school had considered alternate strategies for serving meals to learners.
- Members were concerned that the school had a high number of overage learners.
- Members queried whether the school implemented the policy on drug-testing for learners.
- Members queried the monetary assistance from the Department in maintaining the school boreholes.
- Members were concerned with the negative impact of late registration and enrolment on LTSM distribution to learners.
5.9.2 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The school needs to engage their community on the importance of education and ensure programmes were in place for support from communities. All stakeholders need to come together to start an awareness campaign against theft of school property as well as drug and alcohol abuse by learners.
- The Department needs to work on a turnaround strategy in respect of security at schools.
- The school should stop admitting more learners than they are able to manage.
- Department need to assist with shortages of textbooks after receiving the listed numbers from the school.
- The Department needs to assist the school with engagements with the local municipality regarding water pressure challenges.
- The Department should ensure that the school has all the necessary LTSM.
- The Department should also ensure that the school has adequately qualified Science educators.
5.10 Verena Primary School
The school is a Quintile 1, no-fee school, situated in the rural area of Verena in the Nkangala District. It has a learner enrolment of 598 and a staff establishment of 19 educators, one administrative staff and two general workers. The school offers Grades 7 to 9.
The school reportedly achieves well in numerous competitions, both academic and extra-curricular, including sporting activities and art. In 2017, learner performance ranged from 91.68 percent in Grade 7 to 97.18 percent in Grade 9. In terms of support pertaining to inclusive education, the school has created ramps for wheelchairs. It has also established a social care committee to support learners with challenges.
The Portfolio Committee was informed that the SGB is functional and has, among others, established sub-committees; facilitated the building of flushing toilets and the erection of a bore-hole. The nutrition programme is running smoothly and all the necessary LTSM is available.
In respect of infrastructure, the school has 18 classrooms, 12 of which are used for teaching and learning. The other six classrooms have been converted into two staffrooms, an administration office, an e-learning centre, a library and a storeroom. Regarding e-learning, the school is resourced with learner performance enhancing devices such as white boards, a VGA projector and screen, and flip chart boards. Currently the school has four laptops, two desktops, a tablet, four printers, a duplo printer and two routers. The Committee was informed that the routers were mostly not working. The school previously acquired several computers which were stolen in burglaries. In terms of security, a volunteer parent is manning the gate during the day. However, the school faces security risks at night.
The school lacks a proper kitchen facility and a laboratory. Its sports fields are also in bad shape. In terms of ablution facilities, there are two flushing toilets and 20 pit toilets used by teachers and learners respectively. Only four of the pit toilets are in good condition.
The school experienced the following challenges:
- Vandalism of school property, including electricity facility, by members of the community
- Low parental involvement
- The school lacks a proper administration block and laboratory
- Ablution facilities were in a poor state, with only four of the 20 latrine toilets being in a usable condition
- Although the school has two routers, they are often not working
- SMT members complained that the Annual Teaching Plan for the Senior Phase in the 1 + 4 Programme for Mathematics teachers was packed with so much content, which left teachers with little time to cover the curriculum
- Most teachers are at an advanced age and nearing retirement
5.10.1 Committee Observations
- Members were concerned over the vandalism of school property and urged the Department to support the school to reinforce its security.
- Members noted with concern that the school had several substandard pit toilets, which posed health and safety risks
- Members noted other infrastructural needs of the school, including a proper kitchen facility, an administration block, a laboratory, electricity and connectivity. Members noted that for 2018 the school has prioritised the erection of an administration block in order to convert the space currently used for this purpose back to a classroom for to alleviate overcrowded classes.
- Members observed that although the school’s overall performance was satisfactory, its performance in Mathematics was low.
5.10.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education:
- Together with the DBE, investigate the complaint from the SMT that there is too much content in the Annual Teaching Plan for the Senior Phase in the 1 + 4 Programme for Mathematics teachers
- Assist the school to reinforce its security, including collaboration with SAPS, to address vandalism and theft
- Urgently prioritise the maintenance of suitable ablution facilities and the elimination of inappropriate pit latrines.
- Progressively address the infrastructure needs of the school.
- Support the school to improve its performance in Mathematics.
5.11 Sofunda Secondary Schools
The school is a Quintile 3 no-fee school situated in the Steve Tshwete 1 Circuit in the Nkangala District. The current enrolment stood at 863 learners with 32 educators, two administrative staff, two general workers and one security guard. Regarding the SWOT analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years, the following weaknesses were identified:
- High rate of teacher resignations and the need to employ experienced teachers;
- Inconsistent attendance of meetings by some SGB members;
- Staff members being too unionized,– with many strike action by staff;
- Poor performance in the Commerce stream with the bulk of learners supplementing;
- There was poor gate control by security with non-scholar encroachment on school premises;
- Lack of school hall;
- Lack of sporting facilities;
- The Department to assist with supplying appropriately qualified Maths and Science educators;
- Community vandalising the school during holidays - unnecessary spending on repairing and replacing damaged properties; and
The main priorities of the school for 2018 include the following areas:
- Basic functionality of the school;
- Quality of teaching;
- Learner achievement;
- Curriculum provision and resources;
- School safety, security and discipline;
- Parents and community involvement; and
- Leadership, management and communication.
5.11.1 Committee Observations
- Members appreciated the commitment from the Department to assist the school with many of the challenges identified.
- Members noted that the school had many educators who were not adequately qualified for the subjects they taught.
- Members noted that a school could not be converted to a MSTA without offering the necessary support, resources and infrastructure.
- Members were concerned with the infighting amongst staff which had a destabilizing effect of the school and learners.
5.11.2 Committee Recommendations
- The Department needed to ensure that the school produced a collective improvement plan owned by all staff
- The Department to ensure that the school receives all the necessary support, resources and infrastructure for it to operate effectively as a MSTA school.
- The Department needs to increase its monitoring and oversight responsibilities to the school.
5.12 Wolvenkop Special School
Wolvenkop Special School is a Section 21 fee paying school, catering for the severely mentally impaired and the deaf learners. It was established in 1999 and is situated in the Kwaggafontein East Circuit, on a farm 45 kilometres from Bronkhorstspruit, in the Nkangala District.
The school currently has a learner enrolment of 54, including 24 deaf learners, in Grades R to 4 as well as Senior A, Junior A and Junior B classes. It offers multi-grade classes in the Foundation Phase. Staff complement stands at seven educators, including a principal and a head of department. In respect of professional support staff, the school has one deaf assistant and one clinical nurse practitioner. The school has also employed one administration clerk and 16 general support staff including house keepers, cleaners and grounds men. In terms of the curriculum, the school offers Life Skills, Literacy, Numeracy, the South African Sign Language (SASL) and other aspects covered by the curriculum for special education needs. The school boasts trained personnel on special education needs, SASL and woodwork.
In respect of infrastructure, the school boasts six classrooms equipped with projectors and whiteboards, four workshops for teaching learners specialised skills, a computer room, a library and chalets that are used as hostel facilities. There are also two boreholes and reservoirs. In terms of ICT, the school has no connectivity and only eight computers are available for usage by the learners.
The SGB is functional and supportive to the school. The Portfolio Committee was informed that its key achievements included purchasing a vehicle for the school; procuring laptops, a printer and a woodwork multifunction machine; building a shelter for the school bus; repairing falling ceiling in the hostels, establishing the computer room and burglar proofing the library building. Parental involvement is also satisfactory. All learners benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme and there is a food garden to augment vegetables. The school is equipped with a kitchen facility and storerooms for the safekeeping of foodstuffs. There is also a voluntary food handler on site.
The school has all the necessary specialised LTSM and smartboards. In terms of sporting activities, the school participates actively and has earned awards at the national level.
With regard to safety and security, although security officers are deployed during the day and at night, the school recently experienced burglary. The school is satisfied with the level of support from the department.
Key challenges identified at the school include the following:
- Chalets used as hostels are not designed to accommodate supervisory staff
- Hostels are not equipped with wardrobes
- No gas cage is available at the chalets
- Lack of Internet connectivity
- The school experienced burglary where some equipment was stolen.
- The old infrastructure needs minor repairs
- The school has a high water bill from the Municipality that keeps escalating in spite of having its boreholes. The SGB wrote letters to the municipality to enquire about the matter.
5.12.1 Committee Observations
- The Portfolio Committee commended the school for its contribution to the welfare of learners with special needs, particularly in view of the scarcity of such schools in rural areas. It was further noted that the school was creating opportunities for teachers to learn and gain skills in inclusive education
- Members expressed a concern about the burglary that took place at the school and urged all affected parties to work together to strengthen security.
- Members urged the school and the Department to ensure that all learners whose parents cannot afford to pay school fees benefit from fee exemption.
- Members were concerned that the chalets used as hostels were unsuitable to accommodate supervisory staff, which poses risks for learner safety.
- Members noted with appreciation that the school had a learner exit strategy.
5.12.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education:
- Consider prioritising the provision of suitable accommodation for supervisory staff in the same hostels as learners.
- Assist the school with ensuring ICT connectivity
- Engage relevant authorities to find a solution to the school’s high water bill.
- Assist the school to address its security challenges.
- Ensure that the school has appropriate gas cages
- Provide the school with continuous support on matters relating to the different learner disabilities, SASL and the screening of learners.
5.13 Zikhuphule Primary School
The school is a Quintile 3, no-fee school located in the Steve Tshwete 1 Circuit in the Witbank District. The school was established in 1990 with 573 learners enrolled and 10 educators. Learners came from nearby schools and educators were deployed from overstaffed schools. In 1993 the feeding scheme was introduced but educators had to cook during their free periods. In 1994 the enrolment increased to 800 and the new building was completed and occupied by learners.
The current principal had been with the school since 2012 wherein there was resignation of three HODs, one Deputy principal, five educators and one support staff. The school was currently offering two curriculum streams (Full Service and MST). The current staff complement stood at 39 educators, four support staff, one cleaner, two clerks and four ECD practitioners (two SGB employed).
The SGB was properly constituted and established and was fully functional. Weaknesses and threats identified as per the SWOT analysis in relation to performance areas included the following:
- Resignation of teachers and the employment of inexperienced teachers;
- Inconsistent implementation plans with donors not being easily accessible;
- Underutilisation of technological resources with unstable and poor connectivity;
- Unrecovered textbooks increased LTSM shortages;
- Old and dilapidated fencing leading to vandalism due to lack of security;
- Overcrowded classrooms with no Hall or Multipurpose Centre;
- Community vandalized the school during holidays leading to unnecessary spending on repairing and replacing damaged property; and
- Learners were not being fed in classrooms and there were challenges with utensil shortages.
Priorities for the school for 2018 include the following:
- Basic functionality of the school;
- Quality of teaching;
- Learner achievement;
- Curriculum provision and resources;
- School safety, security and discipline;
- Parents and community involvement;
- Leadership, management and communication; and
The SGB had converted a classroom into an ICT centre. Interactive smart boards were installed in two classrooms. The SGB had also installed six pull-down screens and connected the school to WIFI. A total of four projectors were procured for those classes without smart boards. The challenge was that the ICT centre was not fully utilised by learners as there were insufficient laptops (only 20 laptops).
5.13.1 Committee Observations
- Members queried the active support and assistance being received by the Department for the school and SGB.
- Members were concerned with classroom overcrowding.
- Members queried whether the school was implementing its textbook retrieval policy
- Members noted with concern the shortages of textbooks
- There was concern that the school was dysfunctional with data capturing not being adhered to.
5.13.2 Committee Recommendations
- The district and circuit need to support and assist the school with presenting data to the Committee. The Committee expects a reworked report to be submitted to it.
- The Department needs to ensure that schools comply with submitting data on learner performance on the SA-SAMS.
- The school to consider the Adopt-a-Cop programme to assist with safety and security at the school.
- Textbook shortages to be listed and submitted to the Department as a matter of urgency for supply to the school.
The Mkhuhlu Teacher Development Centre operates from the former Hoxane College of Education premises, situated 12 kilometres away from Hazyview. The Centre was established to provide access to educational resources, developmental programmes for teachers and create learning opportunities for learners, out of school youth, teachers, curriculum advisors/district officials and the general public. The Centre has 10 staff members comprising a Centre Manager (at the level of a Deputy Chief Education Specialist), one Personal Assistant and eight general workers as well as three interns.
Facilities and services rendered at the Centre are as follows:
- Free Basic Computer skills training
- Internet access
- Access to digital learning content for the General Education and Training (GET) and the Further Education and Training (FET) by Mindset, Mind the Gap study guides etc in Mathematics and English learning areas. – challenge (lack of staff does field work and go out leaving no one out
- Assistance for SMTs and teachers with electronic CPTD sign up and reporting of Professional Development (PD) points to the South African Council for Educators (SACE).
- Two Computer laboratories from Vodacom and UNISA, with two interns and one ICT specialist respectively.
- Life Science and Physical Science laboratories with 1 intern deployed by MSTA through the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to assist learners in performing experiments and other science lessons.
- Breakaway rooms used as venues for workshops, meetings, interviews, hearings, study groups etc.
5.14.1 Committee Observations
- Members were concerned that the Centre was currently not a fully-fledged teacher development facility, but mainly just a venue to train teachers;
- Members queried the duration of the training conducted at the Centre and were concerned that boarding facilities were not displayed as available.
- Members noted that the Vodacom computer room required a full time ICT specialist
- The Portfolio Committee requested statistics on the achievements of the Centre.
- Members observed that a section of the roof and tiles at the Centre was damaged by the storm.
5.14.2 Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education recommended that the Mpumalanga Department of Education:
- Consider the upgrading and refurbishment of the Centre into a fully-fledged teacher centre with the requisite staff.
- Ensure that the Centre provides all the necessary amenities, which schools do not have; and
- Consider reviewing the manner in which the centre was being utilised and seek support and benchmarks from best practices in the country.
5.15 Mphanama Secondary School
The school is a Quintile 3 no-fee school established in 1981 with an enrolment of learners in 1982 who were transferred from Sozama Secondary School. Between 1982 and 1984 the school was accommodated at Makhathini Primary School and moved to the current location in 1985. The school introduced Technical and Commercial subjects in 1985. In 2016 Technical Maths and Technical Science were introduced. From 1985 to 1994 the school was referred to as a Comprehensive School. Currently it was a Senior Secondary School as it accommodates two full phases (GET and FET). The current enrolment stood at 1 310 learners. The SGB was established and fully functional. In respect of the SWAT analysis in relation to performance areas for the past three years the following weaknesses were identified:
- Late-coming of staff and learners;
- Absenteeism of educators, which hampers performance of learners;
- Shortage of learning material e.g. textbooks, which hampers effective learning;
- There was a challenge with shortages of posts for new subjects introduced;
- Learners are complacent and do not do their homework;
- No equipment to detect dangerous weapons;
- Drug abuse by learners;
- Theft of school property;
- Infrastructure requirements - leaking roofs, blocked toilets, no shelter for learners during breaks and assembly; and
- Poor parental involvement.
The school priorities for 2018 were as follows:
- Addressing late coming; and
5.15.1 Portfolio Committee Observations:
- Concern was raised regarding the shortage of educators at the school. Members queried the educator attraction and retention strategy for schools. The school was in desperate need for qualified Technical Maths and Technical Science subjects.
- Members raised alarm at the level of late-coming and absenteeism of educators.
- Members were concerned with the shortages of textbooks.
- Members queried the intended timeframe for filling the Deputy Principal vacancy.
- Members raised concern with the high rates and taxes bill being serviced by the school.
5.15.2 Portfolio Committee Recommendations:
- The Department needs to urgently assist the school with the filling of crucial posts at the school as well as to address textbook shortages identified.
- The Department to submit a report on the interventions to assist and support the school.
The oversight visit to the Mpumalanga Department of Education provided the Portfolio Committee with an opportunity to monitor, support and learn from the good work and best-practices of the Department, as well as ascertain the functionality of schooling system in the Province. The findings and recommendations contained in this report should help to assist the district and province to improve on schooling in general as well as to strengthen areas related to basic functionality.
7. Overall Portfolio Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having conducted the oversight visit to the Mpumalanga Province, and having considered the issues that were highlighted, requests that the Minister of Basic Education ensure that the Department consider the following overall recommendations:
- Support and assist affected schools with the necessary infrastructure and resources as required, including schools that have been converted to offer Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) as compulsory subjects.
- Consider the lifting of the moratorium on the filling of non-teaching support staff vacancies and fast-track the filling of vacant posts, especially educator posts.
- Consider an increase the budget allocation to the province to address its numerous challenges as identified in this report.
- Ensure that inactive QLTC structures are functional.
- Assist with engaging communities, in conjunction with the local municipality, regarding liquor by-laws and limits to location of liquor outlets close to schools
- Assist and support SMTs and principals with the effective implementation of school policies.
- Supply affected schools with the necessary textbooks where shortages have been reported as a matter of urgency.
- Consider the help of professionals in dealing with termite infestation at affected schools.
- In conjunction with the local municipalities, ensure that schools receive water reticulation.
- Assist affected schools with drawing up meaningful and refined School Improvement Plans.
- Produce a strategy to ensure security at affected schools is strengthened including through the Adopt-a-Cop programme to assist with safety and security at the school
- Take the necessary steps to ensure that excess teachers are redeployed as a matter of urgency.
- Together with relevant stakeholders, assist schools to improve their safety and security challenges.
- Ensure that, where reported, urgent steps are taken to replace any inappropriate school structures, including unsafe ablution facilities.
- Ensure that, where reported steps are taken to address overcrowding in schools
- Progressively provide all other infrastructural needs and facilities as identified in this report, including classrooms, science and computer laboratories with appropriate equipment and tools, libraries, administration blocks and appropriate kitchens with utensils, as the budget becomes available and within the timeframes set in the NDP and the Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.
- Take the necessary steps to ensure that challenges with ICT (internet connectivity) are addressed at specific schools identified in this report.
- Take steps to develop the Mkhuhlu Teacher Centre into a fully-fledged teacher development centre with requisite staff and appropriate infrastructure.
The delegation, led by the Hon N Gina MP, thanked the Members of the Provincial Department of Education and the National Department of Basic Education for their support given during the oversight visits. A special word of appreciation was extended to Members of the Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Education for their input and participation in the programme of the National Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. She also extended appreciation and thanks to the SAPA, Unions, and SGB Associations for taking the time to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and share their experiences and challenges.
Report to be considered
No related documents