ATC200901: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Basic Education During the House Sitting of 14 June 2018, As Adopted on 27 August 2020
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 14 JUNE 2018, AS ADOPTED ON 27 AUGUST 2020
On 14 June 2018, the Honourable Minister of Basic Education (Minister) made the following executive undertakings during the Question and Answer Session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “. The first focus that we have is the review of our progression and promotion policies, especially in the lower grades."
- Executive Undertaking 2: “To improve the efficiency of the system, we are also focusing on other grades and work with the sector to see how we arrest repetitions and drop-outs even in higher grades.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “Our third focus area is the reality we have repeatedly stated that the internal efficiency of the system and quality basic education outcomes can only be achieved through specific and deliberate interventions in the early grades, especially in our primary schools.”
1.4 Executive Undertaking 4: “Our next area of focus is on strengthening the curriculum content, quality and relevance.”
- Executive Undertakings 5: “The fifth focus area is our response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Together with our provinces, we have begun to prepare the basic education sector to provide learners with the skills and competencies for the ever changing world.”
1.6 Executive Undertakings 6: “The seventh area is on refocusing of the infrastructure planning and coordination delivery.”
1.7 Executive Undertakings 7: “Our eighth area is the tightening human resource management in the basic education system, especially the recruitment, appointment and promotion of education specialists and teachers.”
- PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE
The executive undertakings concerned were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 04 October 2018, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral to the Committee, proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Basic Education (the Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings, which falls under its respective portfolio.
- MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE
On 11 March 2020, the Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting with the Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department:
3.1 Hon Z V Ncitha, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.4 Hon M P Mmola, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.5 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.6 Hon A B Gxoyiya, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.7 Hon C Visser, DA, North-West;
3.8 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.9 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng;
3.10 Hon S Zandamela, EFF, Mpumalanga; and
3.11 Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The Committee Members present, at the meeting, were supported by the following Committee officials:
3.12 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.13 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Researcher;
3.14 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.15 Mr M Nkwali, Researcher, Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.
The following representatives of the Department of Basic Education appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.16 Hon./Dr R Mhaule, Deputy Minister of Basic Education
3.15 Dr M Maboya: Deputy Director General (DDG); Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring
3.16 Mr. L Matshoba: Head of Office, Office of the Deputy Minister;
3.17 Mr D P Van De Westhusens: Head Infrastructure;
3.18 Mrs L Munday: Director, HR Planning, Provisioning and Monitoring;
3.19 Ms N Mdhuli: Technical Specialist: Office of the Deputy Minister;
3.20 Ms S I Lubisi: Parliamentary Liaison Officer;
3.21 Ms T Mohlala: Parliamentary Liaison Officer;
3.22 Mrs. L A Carolissen, Office of DG, Administration Support; and
3.23 Ms H J Heideline: Administrative Support;
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION
In their progress report to the Committee, the Deputy Minister and the Deputy Director-General reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
It was reported to the Committee that the National Curriculum and Assessment Task Team (NCATT) was mandated to align the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) policies to allow automatic progression especially in the lower grades is still ongoing.
Further reporting that safe and conducive learning environments are created in schools through school safety programmes, as components for the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL), the lack of which, can lead to drop out. They as the Department are in partnership with the private sector for awareness campaigns in dealing with repetition and drop-out rate through:
- School Safety;
- A Co-curricular and Enrichment Policy;
- Sport and Enrichment Programmes;
- Managing the impact of Pregnancy on Schooling;
- Improving progression policies as a low-cost way to improve efficiency;
- Dealing with specific barriers to learning; and
- Improving the fundamental quality of learning.
Indicating that the above are ongoing programmes, the sport and enrichment programmes, are implemented to promote social cohesion and learner well-being. It was also reported that the Co-curricular and Enrichment Policy, is regulating the delivery of school co-curricular and enrichment programmes have been developed and implemented.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
The DGG submitted that in collaboration with The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the LEGO Foundation, about 160 000 Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners and Foundation Phase educators, completed the Powerful Learning Around You (PLAY) service course based online free accredited in-service training. Further submitting that the Mobilisation of Foundation Phase teachers to complete the training, is an ongoing programme.
The Foundation Phase initiative on PLAY pedagogy was implemented in three provinces; i.e., Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Free State in 2019.The Institutionalisation of PLAY pedagogy is expected to be finalised in 2022.Reporting that 3 816 Foundation Phase teachers from 554 quintiles from grade 1-3 schools were trained PLAY based learning approaches. The training of all Foundation Phase teachers is expected to be finalised in 2024.
The Department reported that the training has been completed on reading methodologies through the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme (PSRIP), including ;4 316 Foundation Phase teachers; 4 805 Intermediate Phase teachers; and 2 693 SMT members. Up-skilling of 2 837 School Management Team (SMT) members in the management functions.
The roll-out of PSRIP in 917 Foundation Phase schools and 1 920 Intermediate Phase schools will be completed in 2020.
The training of 113 204 Teachers across the provinces on the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) Policy and its implementation for early identification learning barriers from as early as 0 – 6 years will be finalised in 2024.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
The Committee was informed that the development of Curricula and the Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSM) for the 26 technical occupational subjects for ordinary schools and schools of skill was completed. The curricula for the 26 technical occupational subjects were piloted in 74 schools of skills across the provinces and is expected to be finalised in 2021 and Schools of Skill to be completed by 2022.
Informing that a total of 1115 Teachers from the schools of skill were trained on the new curriculum. And Training of teachers from the ordinary schools on the new curriculum will be expected to be finalised during the 2020/21 financial year.
- Executive Undertaking 4:
It was reported that 70.7% of ordinary schools were provided with connectivity through the Universal Service and Access Obligation (USAO) and Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA). Implementation of the roll-out of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in:
- Phase 1: Multi-grade Schools, Farm Schools, Special Schools & Quintiles 1 to 3 Schools. To be completed in the financial year 2021/22
- Phase 2: Quintiles 1 - 3 and Special Schools, to be completed in the financial year 2022/23
- Phase 3: Quintiles 4 – 5, to be completed in the financial year 2023/24.
It was further reported that 67 schools for learners with special educational needs were provided with connectivity. Provisioning of connectivity, ICT devices and assistive devices to 240 special schools will be in the taking place in the 2020/2021 financial year. A total of 9 394 laptops and 112 728 tablets were deployed to schools across the provinces through USAO.Informing that 298 620 teachers were trained on ICT integration. The training of 11 600 teachers on ICT integration will be ongoing
The curriculum for coding and robotics for Grades R- 9 was completed. Piloting of the curriculum in 200 schools with Grades R-3 expected to be finalised in 2020. That will include full implementation of curriculum in grades R-3; grades 4-6 and 7-9. Informed that the Department submitted a proposal to the Educational Training and Course Development (ETDP) SETA course for funding the training of teachers on the curriculum for coding and robotics for Grades R- 3. The funding was secured from the National Treasury Budget to support program (on the coding and robotics curriculum) for the training of Grade 3-9 teachers will be expected to be finalised in the 2022/23 financial year.
It was further reported that the entrepreneurship education was rolled-out in 332 schools across the provinces. Indicating that 667 teachers and 32 education officials were trained across the provinces. The roll-out of entrepreneurship education will cover around 23 600 schools. The training of teachers on entrepreneurship education in 23 600 schools. Pointing out that it will be rolled-out in 600 schools in 2020/21 financial year; then 3 000 Schools in 2021/22 financial year;10 000 schools in the 2022/23 financial year and 10 000 schools in the 2023/ 24 financial year.
- Executive Undertaking 5:
It was reported that the Department developed standard guidelines for condition assessments. Indicating that some provinces conducted assessments funded from the Education Infrastructure Grant. By loading all available assessments into National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) to develop a mobile app for condition assessments, develop a drone & walk-through photography and prioritized updating. This is expected to be in full operation in the 2022/23 financial year.
It was further reported that the Digitized business processes for infrastructure provisioning-SITA is hosting the Education Facilities Management System (EFMS). SITA provided a quote for system support to the Department to conclude service agreements.
It expected that the Department load all Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) & Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) projects on Education Facilities Management System (EFMS). The Department is to exclusively use EFMS as programme management system for ASIDI & SAFE and to roll out the entire sector as programme management system in the 2020/21 financial year.
The Committee was made aware that a revised education infrastructure delivery & funding model was proposed. In this regard, the Department contracted the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) to propose the following: improved planning; alternative procurement; alternative funding; contracting models; value for money and maintenance management.
Maintenance of education Infrastructure-Guideline for general upkeep and maintenance of education facilities has been developed. Grant framework for Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG) determines that 30% must be used for maintenance. Increase allocation of EIG to maintenance by 10% each year to a maximum allocation of 60%; develop key performance indicators for maintenance; each province to establish a dedicated maintenance unit; monitoring and evaluation of maintenance programme in the 2020/21 financial year and onwards.
Further informing that there will be a use of multiple implementing models, -the Department revised the Education Infrastructure Grant framework to assess capacity of implementing agents prior to the allocation of projects. The Department also developed guidelines on minimum requirements for implementing agents. This requires a review of Memorandum of Agreements with implementing agents to ensure the inclusion of performance management and consequence management clauses. Monitoring & evaluation of the performance of implementing agents are to be implemented in the 2020/21 financial year.
The Department reported that there has been a development of built environment capacity, which has seen the appointment of a senior engineer as Head Infrastructure, appointment of Chief engineer, two Chief quantity surveyors and senior project manager. And various Provinces have appointed built environment professionals.
- Executive Undertaking 6:
In its presentation, it was reported that the Sector has been inundated with allegations of making wrong appointments in schools and in offices, resulting in poor management and leadership. These allegations ranged from, amongst others; nepotism, alleged selling of posts, appointment of inappropriately qualified personnel, etc. These practices continued to prevail despite the existence of relevant legislation and policies that must govern the recruitment, appointment and promotion of staff.
The education system was alleged to have exposed learners to the risk of danger by not instituting vetting procedures on people who want to be employed as teachers, as per the requirements of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. This has resulted in people who were declared unfit to work with children being employed in schools. Incidents of abuse and sexual misconduct that took place in schools were attributed to some extent, to the lack of vetting procedures.
Introduction of formal professional induction for office-based educators have already been introduced. New Teacher Induction Concept Note that was developed will inform a planned field-testing of the new teacher induction programme before December 2020.
A protocol governing the vetting and verification processes defining the roles of various stakeholders has been signed. It is required that the protocol be implemented in all schools while monitoring the extent to which the protocol has been adhered to by Provincial Education Departments (PEDs). Protocol involves checking whether prospective employees are offenders and are on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO). This is an ongoing exercise.
Measures to ensure that Educators are not on the Sexual Offences Register have been put in place by making it compulsory for educators to submit an affidavit from SAPS that they are not on the register. A Collective Agreement clarifying conditions for prevention of appointment of educators dismissed or deemed to have been dismissed has been approved in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC). An Educator application form needs to be amended to comply with Children’s Act 38 of 2005, e.g., Have you been convicted of sexual offences? Is your name appearing on the Child Protection Register/ Sexual Offenders Register? This will also be an ongoing exercise.
A collective agreement has been signed that expedites the arbitration of sexual offences cases and the educators who are found guilty in such cases are now placed on the sexual offences register by the ELRC. The implementation of the collective agreement in provinces will be monitored and reported on and PERSAL will have the IDs of offenders loaded to prevent reappointment of such offenders.
In relation to these certain provinces have explored implementing competency assessment on a voluntary basis but this has been opposed by the teacher trade unions. It is envisaged that this matter will be formally tabled in 2020/21 in the ELRC.
4.7 Executive Undertaking 7:
The Department reported that it has strengthened provisions regarding the role of unions in the appointment process. A draft collective agreement has been developed that makes the appointment processes more stringent. The draft clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the teacher unions and other stakeholders in the recruitment and selection process including developing measures to expedite the grievance resolution mechanisms.
Eligibility for promotion into school and office-based educator posts tightening requirement around experience and certain competencies. The matter affects various collective agreements in the ELRC and
citing that the amendments to the Employment of Educators’ Act introduces probation processes. PEDs will be monitored to ensure that they meet the probation requirements for appointment. They will be motivated by ongoing specific legal and administrative recommendations. Citing that Section 17 of the Employment of Educators Act needs to be amended to accommodate the definition of Sexual Offences in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (No 32. Of 2007). The next round of amendments to the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill will accommodate these changes. The development of the integrated database of sexual offenders will commence now that the protocol has been signed by all signatories.
- OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting report given by the Department of Basic Education in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
- The National Curriculum and Assessment Task Team (NCATT) was mandated to align the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) policies to allow automatic progression, especially in the lower grades.
- Partnerships with the private sector for awareness campaigns in dealing with repetition and drop-out rate through: School Safety; A Co-curricular and Enrichment Policy; Sport and Enrichment Programmes; Managing impact of Pregnancy on Schooling; Improving progression policies as a low-cost way to improve efficiency; Dealing with specific barriers to learning; and Improving the fundamental quality of learning.
- The Department has developed curricula and the Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSM) for the 26 technical occupational subjects for ordinary schools and schools of skill has been finalised.
5.4 It was reported that 67 schools for learners with special educational needs were provided with connectivity. Provisioning of connectivity, ICT devices and assistive devices to 240 special schools will be finalised in the 2020/2021 financial year.
5.5 A collective agreement has been signed that expedites the arbitration of sexual offences cases and the educators who are found guilty in such cases are now placed on the sexual offences register by the Education Labour Relations Council. The implementation of the collective agreement in provinces will be monitored and reported on and PERSAL will have the IDs of offenders loaded to prevent reappointment of such offenders.
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Basic Education, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be tabled for consideration.
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