ATC210303: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to the Gauteng Province (Ekurhuleni North Education Districts), KwaZulu-Natal Province (Umzimkhulu and Ixopo Education Districts) and Eastern Cape Province (Matatiele and Mount Fletcher Education Districts) dated 3 March 2021.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on an oversight visit to the Gauteng Province (Ekurhuleni North Education Districts), KwaZulu-Natal Province (Umzimkhulu and Ixopo Education Districts) and Eastern Cape Province (Matatiele and Mount Fletcher Education Districts) dated 3 March 2021.
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having undertaken an oversight visit to the Gauteng Province (Ekurhuleni North Education Districts), KwaZulu-Natal Province (Umzimkhulu and Ixopo Education Districts) and Eastern Cape Province (Matatiele and Mount Fletcher Education Districts), reports as follows:
1. Introduction and Background
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education conducted an oversight visit to the Gauteng Province, KwaZulu-Natal Province and Eastern Cape Province from 31 January to 6 February 2021 as follows:
- Sunday, 31st January 2021: Departure travel day;
- Monday, 1st February 2021: Gauteng PED (Ekurhuleni North Education District);
- Tuesday 2nd – Wednesday 3rd February 2021: KwaZulu-Natal PED (Ixopo and UMzimkhulu Education Districts);
- Thursday, 4th – Friday, 5th February 2021: Eastern Cape PED (Matatiele and Mount Fletcher Education Districts); and
- Saturday, 6th February 2021: Return travel day.
1.2 The primary purpose of the oversight visits was to assess the re-opening of schools and the state of school readiness for the 2021 Academic Year. This included, amongst others, the following areas of focus:
- Status and Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Re-opening of schools;
- PPE Procurement Essentials;
- Curriculum Coverage;
- Infrastructure (incl. Maintenance);
- Social Distancing;
- Safety and Security;
- Water and Sanitation,
- Screening, Testing and Tracing;
- Scholar Transport; and
- School Nutrition.
- The state of the admission and registration of learners;
- The provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM);
- Staff establishments (Post-Provisioning Norms);
- SGB vital role in school governance;
- Measures to deal with dropout rates and return of learners;
- Access to ICT / virtual platforms for learners during this pandemic; and
- Practical support spectrum for Educators, Non-teaching staff and learners impacted by COVID-19.
- The oversight visits also paid special attention to status and impact of COVID-19 Regulations on schooling and school readiness for the 2021 Academic Year - 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. The Portfolio Committee’s oversight approach entailed visiting Provinces through Districts to continually monitor and oversee the implementation of key priority areas. The framework for state of school readiness for the 2021 Academic Year oversight visits is guided by key interventions and priorities for the Basic Education sector set out in major government plans. The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education has undertaken to visit provinces and continually monitor and oversee the work of the Provincial Departments in respect of schools in their districts.
- As part of the oversight visit, the Portfolio Committee received briefings from the Office of the MEC, Head-of-Department and Senior Officials from the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDOE) as well as the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDOE). These engagements also included 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 specific Legislatures. 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 – specifically in response to the COVID-19 regulations.
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. Objectives of the Oversight Visit
2.1 The oversight visit focussed primarily on the following:
- Status and Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Re-opening of schools;
- PPE Procurement Essentials;
- Curriculum Coverage;
- Infrastructure (incl. Maintenance);
- Social Distancing;
- Safety and Security;
- Water and Sanitation,
- Screening, Testing and Tracing;
- Scholar Transport; and
- School Nutrition.
- The state of the admission and registration of learners;
- The provision of Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM);
- Staff establishments (Post-Provisioning Norms);
- SGB vital role in school governance;
- Measures to deal with dropout rates and return of learners;
- Access to ICT / virtual platforms for learners during this pandemic; and
- Practical support spectrum for Educators, Non-teaching staff and learners impacted by COVID-19.
2.2 The above areas of focus formed part of the key deliverables finding expression in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MSTF), 2014 – 2019 and the National Development Plan (NDP), 2030.
3.1 Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon B P Mbinqo-Gigaba MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon N G Adoons MP (ANC), Hon T Malatji MP (ANC), Hon E K Siwela MP(ANC), Hon B Yabo MP (ANC), Hon B Nodada MP (DA) and Hon S L Ngcobo MP (IFP). Parliamentary staff consisted of Mr L A Brown (Committee Secretary), Ms P Mbude-Mutshekwane (Content Advisor), Mr J van der Westhuizen (Committee Assistant) and Mr M Molepo (Parliamentary Communication).
3.2 Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Education:
3.2.1 Gauteng: Hon F Hassan MPL, Hon J Mpisi MPL and Hon K Ramulifho.
3.2.2 KwaZulu-Natal: Hon N Sibiya MPL, Hon L H X Hlongwa-Madlala MPL, Hon I Keeka MPL and Hon V Mlotshwa.
3.2.3 Eastern Cape: Hon M Saziwa MPL, Hon T Nkompane MPL, Hon N Maqubela MPL, Hon Y Cassim MPL and Hon M Ndabeni MPL
3.3 National Department of Basic Education: Mr S Thlabane, Ms N Nyembe, Mr S Ndebele, Mr J Tladi, Mr J Ngcobo, Mr S Qanya, Ms C Mtumtum, Dr S Taylor, Ms S Zokwana
3.4 Provincial Department of Education
3.4.1 Gauteng: MEC P Lesufi, Mr E Mosuwe, Mr A Chanee, Mr R Mmutlana, Mr P Moleke, Mt J Van Coller, Mr V Mpofu, Ms P Ntsobi, Mr O Bodibe, Mr P Hamnca, Ms S Selepe-Khubedu, Ms R Mogorosi, Ms M Sekhonyane, Mr S Mabona, Me E Mchiza, Mr E Tau, Ms N Ntuthu, Mr T Dlamini and Mr T Khangala.
3.4.2 KwaZulu-Natal: Dr E Nzama, Ms W Hadebe, Ms B Dlamini, Mr G Ngcobo, Mr T Mbanjwa, Mr P Ndlovu, Mr S Zungu, Ms N Nsomi, Ms S Zakaza-Njakazi and Mr B Mlambo
3.4.3 Eastern Cape: MEC F Gade, Mr R Tywakadi, Mr S Ncapayi, Mr T Monare, Mr W Payi, Dr N Mbude, Mr R Fetsha, Ms N Jali, Mr G Mbangeni, Mr A M Mpupu, Dr M Mceleli, Mr S Sokujika and Ms N Mgijima
3.5 Organised Labour
3.5.1 South African Principals Association (SAPA): Mr T Hlongwane, Mr L Shezi and Mr C Saddler.
3.5.2 Professional Educators Union (PEU): Mr N I Sithole and Mr J Madonsela.
3.5.3 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU):
3.5.4 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU): Mrs E Raubenheimer, Mr I Kritzinger and Mrs D Harvey.
3.5.5 National Teachers Union (NATU):
3.5.6 Federation of South African Schools (FEDSAS): Mr B Ferreira and Mr P Rencken.
3.5.7 National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA):Mr R Mothadane and Ms R Marnce
4. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE)
The oversight visit to the Gauteng Department of Education occurred on Monday, 1 February 2021. The Portfolio Committee had a meeting with the MEC, HOD and senior officials from the Department at their Head-Offices in Gauteng. The format of the engagement was as follows:
- A briefingmeeting with the Gauteng Department of Education, the National Department of Basic Education, Senior and District Officials of the Provincial Education Department, SGB Associations, South African Principals Association and Organised Labour.
- Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Rhodesfield Technical High School; and
- Isiziba Full Service School:
- Engagements with the Gauteng Department of Education
The Department touched on the Strategic Goals of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) for 2019 – 2024. The announcement of the new dates for reopening of schools informed by the rise in COVID-19 infections, shifted the re-opening by three weeks from the initial dates. This meant that the curriculum coverage was delayed by three weeks. The School Management Teams (SMTs) would return to school first to prepare for the return of teachers; and the teachers would prepare for the return of learners. Schools will use the time to finalize outstanding matters, regarding admissions, especially the unplaced learners in certain cases.
In respect of the 2021 admission and school readiness, the Department touched on issues of learner placements for Grade 1 and Grade 8 specifically. The Department also dealt with early unique provincial placements as well as late provincial applications and placement. The Portfolio Committee was also briefed on the processes to facilitate placement and admissions processes for 2021
In respect of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) the Department further gave a detailed overview of the following key areas:
- Procurement processes;
- LTSM Section 20 procurement report (2020/21);
- LTSM Section 21.1 C procurement report (2020/21); and
- Allocation, dispatch and delivery of DBE Workbooks
Regarding infrastructure, the GDE addressed issues pertaining to the delivery of infrastructure and infrastructure requirements and COVID-19 infrastructure interventions. The Department also detailed the provision of mobiles to supply additional learning space for appropriate social distancing as well as the provisioning of secure perimeter fencing to manage access to school premises. In respect of disinfections in schools the Department indicated that schools were disinfected on a case-by-case approach, directly linked to the cases reported as well as areas affected. Approval had been granted to deviate from normal procurement processes and a total of 271 companies had been appointed to facilitate the process. The Department also gave a summary of all new and replacement schools in the project pipeline. The Portfolio Committee also received a detailed brief on the methods of delivering infrastructure. The Department further gave a detailed summary of mobile classroom allocation in all districts.
The Department also alluded to the areas pertaining to Human Resources in respect of the following:
- Interventions in response to COVID-19;
- Post Provisioning Norms; and
Regarding school furniture, the Department gave a summary of the procurement of furniture and quantities as well as furniture for the new schools opened in 2020. The Department also gave a detailed overview of the School Nutrition Programme and Scholar Transport. The Department had prioritised the support interventions related to school nutrition, to ensuring schools were fully COVID-19 compliant and meet all required health and safety protocols.The Department’s poverty alleviation programme fed 1 546 187 million learners from Quintile 1-5, benefitting from the no-fee policy. During Covid-19 regulations, a total of 1 529 027 learners received nutritious meal in schools. A total of 16 493 learners did not return to schools, however they were still being fed whilst still at home - and 667 learners are receiving food parcels.
In respect of the approach to teaching and learning for 2021 – 24, the Department outlined the following focus areas:
- Assessing Learners;
- Maximise instructional time;
- Systemic instruction;
- Teaching routines; and
- Addressing social and emotional challenges.
The Department also covered the Curriculum recovery plans which included the amended school calendar, the FET risk adjusted strategy, support for Matrics and the 2021 SSIP plans and programmes. Members were given further details in respect of the Departmental plans for ensuring access to Coding and Robotics as well as ICT/Virtual platforms for learners during the pandemic (remote, distance and home-education).
Regarding drop-outs, the Department outlined its measures and plans to address issues of learner drop-outs e.g. enforcement of attendance policy by schools and processes to follow in cases of drop-outs in the compulsory school band and learners in other areas. Further to this, the Department also covered the measures in place to deal with COVID-19 in school by way of the following:
- Schools only opened if safe to do so;
- Utilisation of full coronavirus prevention toolbox;
- Implementing regulations and protocols;
- Standard Operating Procedures guidelines;
- School access control and screening control guidelines;
- Approach to staff with comorbidities;
- School nutrition;
- Scholar transport scheme; and
- Health and Psychosocial support and referrals.
The GDE also gave a detailed overview of the delivery of PPEs for 2021 which included a list of items per school as well as the plan for the distribution of PPEs. The Department also touched on the issues of social distancing and the implementation of social distancing. This included the class utilisation strategy to comply with social distancing norms as well classroom configuration.
On the provision of Psychosocial support services, the Department mentioned that this was provided for to all employees and their immediate family members at no cost. The service was accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, within the borders of South Arica. The Department indicated that 838 individual cases related to COVID-19 had been managed since June 2020 to date. The Department was able to reach 3531 cases which included 220 group trauma interventions.
In respect of safety and security in schools, the Department highlighted that during the lockdown period, there was an increase in reported cases of break-ins at schools. Cases ranged from vandalism to arson and mainly directed at Admin blocks, nutrition centres and storage facilities (including strong rooms).By the end of November 2020, 355 schools had been vandalised and 131 of these schools had been vandalised twice or more. In addition, 26 cases were reported since the closure of schools to date. Another emerging trend was the day light robbery where educators were mugged. The GDE, Department of Community Safety, SAPS and Gauteng Community Police Board were mobilising the community to also provide support to the schools.The SAPS had linked the schools to officers in local police stations in the form of the Adopt-a-Cop Programme which was not entirely effective. Current initiatives of the Department to mitigate vandalism and theft included the following:
- The Department was planning on providing full electronic systems in high priority schools that should be linked to police stations and armed security response teams which was costly exercise.
- The GDE, Gauteng Department of Community Safety, SAPS and Gauteng Provincial Community Police Board (GPCPB) were working on a School Safety Plan that would be linking the high priority schools to a cluster of armed response teams to respond to alerts that were provided electronically
Regarding SGB functionality, the Department mentioned that in preparation for the SGB Elections the province had standing weekly meetings with the SGB Associations and the SGB coordinators representing districts for the following:
- Discuss the plans and ensure that there was constant information sharing;
- Create working teams for comprehensive and collaborative processes; and
- Discuss SGB training needs.
A memo was distributed to schools guiding them on the tabling of the 2021 school budget as well as the school management documents. The Department was also developing training material and conducting training on SGB handover processes.
4.3.1 Portfolio Committee Observations
- It was noted that the Department needed to research the cost of repairing vandalised schools against the costs for school security
- Members sought further clarity on the media reports in respect of the contracts entered into for disinfecting and sanitising schools.
- Members queried whether it would not be best to consider building more schools to cut down on the learner numbers requiring scholar transport.
- There were queries regarding the Department adopting a platooning approach for learners once schools reopened.
- In respect of water and sanitation, Members queried the number of schools negatively affected by challenges with water and sanitation.
- Members were curious as to how the Department would ensure implementation of social distancing in classrooms and hostels.
- Where teachers had comorbidities, Members queried how these teachers would be supported and accommodated.
The GDE acknowledged there were challenges and would continue to improve in areas that required our attention. The Department further appreciated the cooperation from all relevant stakeholders in the sector, including Organised Labour. The Department gave a detailed explanation around the schools-disinfection contracts. The Department had also received a donation from BIDVEST for 577 school identified for disinfection/sanitisation. Contractors were selected from the Central Database. As the matter was still under investigation, the Department would make available the final report once completed.
The Department noted the concerns raised by Members in respect of the safety and security plan – and agreed that there was a need for a more comprehensive plan going forward.
As at December 2020, the Department’s infrastructure spending stood at 88 percent. There was a need to reprioritise money from the infrastructure budget towards maintenance of vandalised schools.
The Department had taken a decision not to practice platooning but to work with alternate days for learning and teaching. Where teachers had comorbidities, the was a need to ensure proper management of leave approvals. Where approval of leave was granted, the Department made provision for substitute teachers.
All school had access to water – some schools may have challenges with water pressure and the Department was always available to assist.
The Department was currently working to ensure that all unplaced learners were admitted and registered at a school – all would be completed by the end of the week.
The MEC indicate that they would never run away from accountability and took oversight seriously. The Department remained stakeholder driven and no decisions were taken without consultation with all relevant stakeholders – there was no rush to take decisions. There needed to be a clear separation of roles and responsibility within the Department. Where officials had done wrong, there would be consequences. Going forward there was a need to ensure the safety and security of learners and educators – and ensure that adequate PPE essentials was provided. The Department had managed to build a total of 13 school in the last financial year.
The National Department of Basic Education enjoyed a good working relationship with the GDE – and they were receptive to DBE teams reaching out to them on many issues. The 2021 Grade 12 learners were the most disadvantaged and came with huge curriculum losses. The DBE was encouraged to see the plans of GDE to assist learners with catch-up programmes and other interventions.
The Legislature Committee on Education had received the report and engaged the Department on some matters of concern.As there was time before the reopening of schools, the Department was urged to ensure all vandalised schools were renovated/refurbished. sorted as soon as possible.
The Principals Association requested that the MEC resumed their regular meetings going forward. Generally, Organised Labour also noted the challenges and the loss of educators. There was also a need to fast-track psychosocial support to learners and educators. Another matter that needed urgent attention was the unplaced learners in the various districts. The Department needed to collaborate with the Security Cluster as it was not feasible to continue spending money on renovating vandalised schools on an ongoing basis. Unions also indicated that the Department needed to be much clearer on how teachers with comorbidities would be supported and accommodated. Challenges with water and sanitation needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency as schools would be reopening soon. Organised Labour reiterated their willingness to work hand-in-hand and cooperate with the Department to find meaningful solutions to many of the challenges.
4.3.3 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Department ensured that the Committees were furnished with the final report on the issues pertaining to the contracts procured for disinfecting/sanitising of schools in the province.
- The Department ensured the management and accommodating of teacher leave application were teachers applied for leave due to comorbidities.
- The Department engaged the Department of Health regarding the possibility of fast-tracking the vaccination of educators.
- The Department ensure that all vandalised schools were renovated/refurbished prior to the reopening of schools.
- The Department found lasting solutions to the challenges with scholar transport, overcrowded busses and servicing deserving learners with scholar transport.
- The Department ensured that all unplaced learners in the system was placed in schools prior to the reopening of schools.
- The Department continued its fast-tracking of appointing psychosocial support for learners and educators.
- The Department collaborated with the Security Cluster regarding vandalism and theft of school property
- Visits to Schools (Ekurhuleni North Education District)
- Rhodesfield Technical High School
The school was situated in Ekurhuleni North in Kempton Park. The school was established in 1975 as a boys Technical High School and had a learner admission of 600. At present, the school has been launched (in 2018) as a School of Specialisation, focussing on aviation in partnership with COMAIR LTD. The school was a Quintile 4 school with a learner enrolment of 1 151 between Grade-8 and Grade-12. The school was geared to start an Aviation Curriculum in April 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this did not materialise as the aviation industry was taking strain due to the pandemic.
The staff compliment of the school included eight SMT members, 49 educators, eight non-teaching staff and six EEIs. Generally, the school had sufficient and useable infrastructure, with the exception of challenges with old pipes/drainage and refurbishment needed in the workshops. The school had sufficient and reliable water and sanitation. School infrastructure included 44 classrooms, a library and four laboratories. The school was well maintained and was planning for full ICT school connectivity. The staff had access to ICT platforms such as Teams or Zoom and often utilised laptops for virtual meetings and training.
The school complied with COVID-19 regulations and sanitizers were supplied on a daily basis – with PPE for learners also being dispatched. All who entered the school were screened on arrival and placed in isolation (two isolation rooms) if they presented any symptoms. The school also managed a COVID-19 incident register.
The school offered learners task catch-up programmes on a daily basis and further offered Saturday classes for Grade-12 learners. The school offered a wide range of technical subjects e.g. civil engineering, electoral engineering, power systems, automotive, welding, metal work and mechanical work. Some subjects were directly related the aviation industry whci also exposed leaners to the aviation and airhostess industry. The subject offerings also required learners to do Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Graphics and Design.
The school had no shortages of LTSM and all learners had the necessary textbooks.
Although the school had a functioning SGB, members of the SGB had difficulty understanding the roles and responsibilities of the SGB and the SMT.
Regarding psychosocial support, the school provided educators and learners with psychosocial support in the form of counselling as required. Where there were learner behaviour problems, the school has a strategy to deal with this in collaboration with the adopt-a-cop initiative.
Some of the challenges highlighted included the following:
- Old and dilapidated piping and drainage;
- SGB not understanding the roles and responsibilities of the SGB and the SMT;
- Poor ICT connectivity and network access
126.96.36.199 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members queried whether the school, apart from COMAIR, had any other partnerships with surrounding businesses in other sectors.
- Members sought clarity on whether the school had recorded any educators with comorbidities - and the emergency health plan in place to accommodate these educators. Further to this, Members queried how educators with comorbidities impacted on schooling and how the school managed this.
- Members also queried whether the school had reported any acts of vandalism or theft.
- Members were interested in knowing the number of learners who was undertaking the aviation course – and what the current school fees were.
- In respect of the Quintile, Members queried the Quintile level imposed as well as the equity targets for race and gender. Members also queried the learner/teacher ratio.
- Members queried whether EEIs had received their respective payments as yet.
Although the school had a partnership with COMAIR, they were looking to engage with other businesses in the area. It was explained that the school focussed on engineering and envisaged channelling learners to the aviation industry through its partnership with COMAIR. Further to this, the school was also building a network with the nearby Technical College. Regarding career opportunities, students had been accepted at the Airforce – but not all opted for aviation as they struggled with Technical Mathematics and Science. To enhance aviation programmes, the school had a specialisation budget for the aviation workshop, safety equipment, firefighting and First-Aid.
The school had recorded three educators with comorbidities and had received four replacement educators (although one had left the school). The learner/teacher ratio was 1:20 with a ratio of 1:28 for Grade-12. In respect of race and gender equity, the majority of learners was African, twowhite learners, 12 coloured and 5/10 Indian learners
The school has not experienced much vandalism and theft as compared to other schools in the area. The fees structure of the school was R9 200.00 per annum with parents paying R900.00 pm. There has been no increase in school fees for 2021 due to parents having lost their employment. The Department confirmed that the pass rate for the school was a challenge and could be attributed to the underperformance in Technical Mathematics and Technical Science. The Department indicated that there were plans and interventions in place to improve.
188.8.131.52 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department ensure that, in conjunction with the school, the demographics of the school reflected the demographics of the area and learners.
- The Provincial Department ensure the school was assisted with further/new partnerships in the aviation field and other business sectors e.g. Gautrain and other Aviation Industries.
- The Provincial Department ensure the school was assisted and supported with the management of vandalism.
- The Provincial Department investigated reasons for the decline in the Matric results – and assisted with interventions strategies to improve learner performance in technical subjects.
- The Provincial Department assisted and supported the school with the relevant Curriculum for aviation studies.
The school was situated in Isiziba Section in Tembisa. The school was established as a primary school in 1974 and catered for only 150 learners. The school received full service status in 2013 and had a current learner enrolment of 1 344 learners (including Grade R). There were eight SMT members, 35 educators, eight non-teaching staff and seven kitchen staff. Generally, the school had sufficient and useable infrastructure.
The school had the necessary processes in place to identify learners with special education needs (LSEN) from identification of learners to referral and collaboration. Admission procedure for learners with specific education needs included:
- Identify needs of learner;
- Mapping (support needs assessment tool);
- Assessment by District office or psychologists;
- District allocates LSEN number and informs school and parents of placement at appropriate school; and
- Collaboration between role players and compilation of individual learning programme.
The school further implemented the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) programme to provide a policy framework for the standardisation of the procedures to identify, assess and provide programmes for all learners requiring additional support to enhance their participation and inclusion in school. Some of the challenges identified at the school included the following
- Infrastructure cannot accommodate the learner numbers – there was a need for extra classrooms;
- The staffroom was too small and needed to be extended of extra staffroom added;
- The school did not have a school hall nor sports grounds;
- The landscape of the school and surround was very uneven.
- Minimal parental involvement
The Committee received a breakdown of the academic performance for the past three years. Fur underperforming learners, the school intervention strategies included added support by subject teachers when learners are progressed – with further implementation and monitoring of learner progress with support strategies.
184.108.40.206 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members noted that the school had an acting principal and queried when the school would have a formally appointed principal.
- Members also noted the challenges with parental involvement with the school and queried whether there were any alternate initiatives to bring parents on board.
- Regarding underperformance, Members queried what interventions were in place to assist and support learners in underperforming subjects. Similarly, Members noted that the Foundation Phase performance was also lower than the district average.
- Members further queried the quality and quantity of food provided by service providers for meal preparations.
- It was noted that the school also practiced having virtual meetings – and queried whether this was really necessary.
- Members queried whether the school had the services of teacher assistants – and also queried how effective they were.
- Members noted the high learner/teacher ratio – and queried whether there were plans to employ more teachers in coming future.
- Members queried whether the school experienced any vandalism and whether the school was linked to a police station.
The Acting principal had been in the position for some time – as the principal had not retired as yet, nut on leave. The Department indicated that vacancies were advertised twice a year and the post for principal would be advertised in due course. The Department gave a detailed explanation regarding the process of filling of posts/vacancies as well as the redeployment of teachers in the system. The Head-of-Department had established a committee at a provincial level to assist with the filling of vacant posts.
The Department in implementing the Educator Employment Initiative (EEI) engaged the local community to employ locally – but this was abused as young people falsified addresses to receive employment. The Department had resolved all issues in respect of payment of EEIs to date. Teacher assistants were being utilised by schools – the employment period has been too short to gage their effectiveness.
The school continually sought assistance and support from the Department in respect of vandalism and theft of school property. In the past, the school was burgled of its laptops and computers.
220.127.116.11 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department supported and assisted the school with community workshops to draw in parental involvement. This could also assist with lowering vandalism of school property. The school be further assisted with being linked to the nearest police station.
- The Provincial Department looked to fill any vacant positions as a matter of urgency – as this could assist with bringing down the teacher/pupil ratio.
5. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDOE)
The oversight visit to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education occurred on 2 and 3 February 2021. The Portfolio Committee had a meeting with the MEC, HOD and senior officials from the Department at the Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg. The format of the engagement was as follows:
- A briefing meeting with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, the National Department of Basic Education, Senior and District Officials of the Provincial Education Department, SGB Associations, South African Principals Association and Organised Labour.
- Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Ixopo Education District
- Ixopo High School;
- Impunga Full Service School; and
- Daniel Mzamo Special School.
- Umzimkhulu Education District
- Nombewu Full Service School;
- Mhlaba Combined School;
- Vulekani Special School; and
- Kromhoek Primary School
- Engagement with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDOE)
The MEC, in his opening remarks gave appreciation for the oversight and monitoring visit by the Portfolio Committee. The Department was constrained in the absence of conditional funding and budget cuts which exacerbated the problem. The Department indicated that due to a lack of funding, they were unable to provide scholar transport to all deserving learners. Currently the grant received was insufficient for the size of the province. The Department remained hamstrung without extra funding. The MEC also touched on the non-payment of Education Assistants and explained the challenges of verifying information received from Educator Assistants. National Treasury had undertaken to disburse funds but nothing had been forthcoming. The Department was doing all it could to ensure that EEIs received their payments.
The Department employed a 10-point plan to ensure schools were ready for reopening on 15 February 2021 – this included, amongst others the availability of educators, LTSM, Infrastructure, learner transport etc. The Department further had resuscitated their weekly engagements with Organised Labour and SGB associations on updates and feedback regarding the reopening of schools.
The Portfolio Committee was given a detailed overview of the filling of Circuit Management posts as well as the implementation of the PPN. The Department was given authority to advertise 121 critical office-based educator posts with an aim of effective service delivery Circular was issued advertising the categories of posts. A total of 102 posts had been filled. The Department gave a detailed breakdown on the posts filled in the various districts as well as the due dates for the finalisation of implementation. The Department further gave a breakdown of the following:
- Surplus educators;
- Vacant posts;
- Vacancies as a result of COVID pandemic and
- Vacancies as a result of resignations.
Regarding the issues pertaining to learner admissions for the 2021 academic year, the Department alluded to the establishment of the Admission Committees and the current status of leaner admissions per Grade.
In respect of the procurement and delivery of learning and teaching support material (LTSM), the Department gave a detailed breakdown of the delivery of stationery and textbooks to all districts. The Department further covered the progress in respect of the procurement of Braille LTSM. Further to this the Department detailed the progress in respect of the delivery of school furniture and the installation of desk shields for all districts.
The Portfolio Committee was given a brief on the number of vandalised schools and storm-damaged school in all districts. The Department also gave a summary of the delivery of chemical toilets previously procured by the districts – as well as water-tanks in schools.
Regarding the NSNP, the Committee received a breakdown of the expenditure as at 31 December 2020 and the Fourth Quarter projections. The Department gave a breakdown of the payment of service providers and reasons for non-payment of some service providers. Further to this, the Department briefed the Committee on the Department plans to provide meals to learners as well as plans to improve kitchen facilities.
The Department also briefed the Committee on the learner transport readiness for schools reopening in 2021 – including details on the meetings and engagements held with operators. These meetings had yielded a planned way forward. The Department assured the MEC and HOD that learner transport would be ready on the first day of schooling.
Regarding the preparation for schools reopening the Department gave a detailed breakdown of the progress on Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and the main focus areas for the procurement and delivery of PPEs. The Department also shared their PPE procurement and delivery management plan with timelines.
Regarding the Education Employment Initiative (EEIs), the Department touched on the progress in the payment of EEI appointees.
The Department also spoke on the issues of the transfer of Norms and Standards allocations and touched on the legislative requirements, transfers identified as well as a summary of transfers.
In respect of the Departments readiness for Curriculum delivery, the Department alluded to the printing, distribution and mediation of Annual Teaching Programmes (ATPs). The Department further touched on the printing and mediation of revised ATPs in the GET and FET Bands. The Committee also received a breakdown of the current status of time-tabling in schools as well as the draft 2021 academic recovery and improvement plan.
The Department concluded the presentation by outlining the progress in the capturing of mark sheets for Matric Examinations. The capturing of the mark sheets commenced on 8 January 2021 and concluded on 26 January 2021. A double capture process was followed to ensure accurate capturing of marks. Marks were transferred to the candidate profiles on a daily basis. A total of 3 595 911 marks were captured for the 2020 National Senior Certificate Fulltime candidates which constitutes 24.1 percent of the National total of 14 933 561 marks. The system was closed on 26 January 2021 at 16:30 pm by the Department of Basic Education to prepare for the standardization process. The system will re-open on 30 January 2021 for queries and irregularities to be finalized before resulting is done on 5 February 2021. The districts will check the results from 6 – 12 February 2021. The final result run will be done on 13 February 2021 and results will be distributed to the candidates on 23 February 2021.
- Portfolio Committee Observation
- Members noted that in the Province, many learners were not paced. Members queried the plans in place to address this matter.
- Regarding vandalised schools, Members queried whether there were any school that currently did not comply with COVID-19 regulations – and may not reopen.
- Members sought further clarity on the Departments catch-up plans and how this affected the Curriculum.
- It was noted that there was a huge drop in learner performance in Technical Maths and Science. Members queried the support from the Department to improve learner performance in these subjects.
- Members sought clarity on the number of schools with water access challenges – and how the Department was assisting. It was noted that there were further challenges with water tanks being filled by the Department/local municipality.
- Members also queried whether there were any mud-schools in the province - and plans by the Department to eradicate these.
- Regarding scholar transport, the Department needed to address issues of overcrowding on school busses.
- Members noted that there were many educator vacancies. Members urged the Department to ensure these were filled urgently within a short timeframe. The Department needed to ensure that Funza Lushaka graduates could also be accommodated.
- Members also queried the palns and possible challenges in ensuring that the Coding initiative was implemented in schools.
- Members also raised the challenges of connectivity and coverage reported by schools – and queried how the Department was looking to address this matter.
- It was important that all plans of the Department to mitigate challenges could be measured with timeframes – these required regular oversight and monitoring.
The MEC acknowledged and accepted the comments and advice from the delegation and indicated that the Department had continuous engagements with Committees on all plans and developments. Companies employed to provide PPEs now have to adhere to even stricter, more stringent measures in place – PPEs have to pass a particular standard. The Department would discontinue services where companies provided sub-standard PPEs.
It was important to note that most schools were in rural areas, and many were not connected to municipal pipelines and relied on water tankers for access to water. The Department had started a programme of boreholes for schools. The intention was to ensure all schools not connected to municipal water had boreholes drilled.
The MEC further alluded to the reasons for not employing Funza Lushaka graduates as they had changed their subject choices and combinations. The Department utilised Funza Lushaka graduates but also looked to employ graduates who paid their own studies.
The Department had developed material for certain Grades to ensure certain areas were covered. Further to this, the Department would also have diagnostic assessments going forward. The Department was aware of the poor performance for Technical Mathematics and Science and was considering these subjects to be targeted with the MST Grant for further support. There was agreement that psychosocial support was fundamental and needed to be included in plans of the Department.
- Portfolio Committee Recommendation
- The Provincial Department needed to ensure that there was adequate accountability in respect of the payments made for COVID-19 essentials.
- The Provincial Department committed to ensured that all EEIs received their payments.
- The Provincial Department ensured that posts of educators lost to the pandemic were filled as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department ensured that psychosocial support was priorities in the plans of the Department in respect of school readiness.
- The Provincial Department ensured that challenges with scholar transport was addressed
- The Provincial Department, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and local municipalities ensured that schools were supplied with adequate running water.
- Visits to Schools (Ixopo Education District)
- Ixopo High School
The school was situated in the Miskofiel Circuit in Ixopo and was a Section 21 School (with Function C). There was no school-fee exemption at Ixopo High School. The school was established after the community of Ixopo and Library Association identified the need for a school in the area. The school was officially opened on the 5th of August 1895 and had 22 pupils registered. The hostel for girls was completed in 1953 and in 1960 the Ellerton Hostel was officially opened with the Cassington Hostel was completed in 1967. Ixopo High School became one of the first provincialschools in the Natal-Midlands area to open its doors to all cultural groups. Currently learner enrolment stood at 700 learners.
The school PPN stood at 27 with one principal, one deputy principal, three departmental heads (with one vacancy) and 21 PL1 educators. There were three vacancies for PL1 educators. The non-teaching staff comprised of four cleaners, six household aides, two senior admin clerks, one house-keeping supervisor and one auxiliary officer. There were 10 general assistants, one librarian, two security officers, one matron, one kitchen staff and one foreman. In respect of the Presidential Youth Initiative the school received a further seven Educational Assistants, one library assistant, two admin assistants one handy-man and two screeners. The school had a current total enrolment of 764 learners.
In respect of school infrastructure, the school had the following:
- Three admin offices, principal’s office, deputy principal’s office, three department heads offices and one sports office;
- 22 classrooms;
- A computer laboratory (lab), four Science labs, one Life Science lab, one Library, two workshops and one Technical Drawing room;
- Nine male toilets and 12 female toilets;
- Running water supplied by the municipality. However, the supply often runs out and borehole water is then used. Water was stored in tanks for emergency use.
- The school had three hostels
Due to COVID-19 the school started at 08:00am to ensure that all learners could be screened. Grade-12 learners attended school every day while Grade-11 and Grade-9 learners attendedschool together and Grade-10 and Grade-8 learners attended together. These groups attended school on alternate days. Regarding pregnancies, learners who fell pregnant received support from the school and often returned to continue schooling after child-birth.
The school highlighted some of the following challenges:
- Use of drugs and smoking;
- Theft of digital devices;
- Motivation of learners was challenging when you only see them every secondday;
- Parental support was lacking;
- Non-payment of school fees
- Digital connectivity for learners;
- Old water-pipe infrastructure; and
- School renovations, repairs and maintenance.
- Regarding Human Resources, Members noted that there were vacant positions that had yet to be filled. Members queried whether these would be filled before schools reopened.
- Members queried how long deserving learners were on the waiting list to access scholar transport. – and whether the Department had plans to address this problem.
- Members sought clarity on the plans to ensure social distancing within the school hostels.
- For teachers with comorbidities, Members queried how these teachers were being assisted and accommodated. Further to this, Members queried the emergency health plans for the school.
- Members queried how many school still required the necessary PPE essential prior to reopening of schools.
- Members also queried the measures in place to mitigate vandalism.
- Members noted the decline in Matric results and queried plans and interventions to improve the results.
- In respect of payment of EEIs, Members queried plans by the Department to address this matter and ensure EEIs received their payments.
- Members noted the steady underperformance of learners in Technical Mathematics and Science and queried whether learners were not capable of doing the subject or were teachers not adequately resources/equipped to teach these technical subjects.
Although the presentation did not cover issues of vacancies, the Department had plans in place to fill all vacant post. Teacher with comorbidities submitted the relevant applications and was replaced with surplus educators in the process. After returning to Level 1, all educators were required to return to school. Teachers needed to reapply for issues of comorbidities and there was a plan between teacher and substitutes to ensure teaching and learning.
In respect of water and sanitation, schools received water from municipality through a service level agreement and the purchasing of water from municipalities. With COVID-19the Department requested municipalities to prioritise schools for the supply of water. Further to this, the Department also utilised school water tanks. The Department mentioned that they had renewed their service level agreement with local municipalities for this service.
The Department has equipped schools with the Standing Operating Procedure in respect of health issues and COVID-19 infection cases. The Department also collaborated with the Department of Health and followed the necessary guidelines and protocols. Most school had all received their PPEs which was delivered during the period schools were closed. There was further delivery of PPEs to schools prior to reopening currently.
The Department had one reported school vandalised in the district and had engaged the local community to ensure safeguarding school property.
The Department had the services of Advisors for Technical Mathematics and Science but has further employed a Subject Advisor to assist the district with improved results going forward.Technical Mathematics and Science were relatively new subject introduced to assist technical learners and there was a move to have the Curriculum revised. The school also offered Motor-Mechanics but was not considered a technical school. The Department had a partnership with the Skills Centre for teacher training by qualified artisans. There was a need to ensure teachers were qualified to teach these subjects through further training and development.
The Department had around 85 learner transport contracts to transport approximately 62 000 learners currently. Although the schools received a direct allocation from Treasury for scholar transport, the Department still experienced shortfalls in the budget for scholar transport – the money is not adequate for the function. The Department continued to engage both the Provincial and National Treasury on the matter.
- The Provincial Department ensures that schools who had not received LTSM received delivery prior to the reopening of schools.
- The Provincial Department looks to have Coding and Robotics adequately resourced and supported.
- The Provincial Department ensures that teachers for technical subjects was up-skilled and receive ongoing training and development to teach the technical subjects.
- The Provincial Department continue engagements with the Provincial and National Treasury in respect of additional funding for scholar transport.
- The Provincial Department urgently fill any outstanding vacancies prior to the reopening of schools.
- The Provincial Department also ensures that outstanding payments of EEIs is fast-tracked.
- Impunga Full Service School
Impunga FSS was a Section 21, Quintile 2school situated in the Jolivet Circuit in Ixopo established in 1977 by members of the local community. The school was awarded full service status in 2008 after a series of workshops conducted by the Department. The school PPN stood at 35, but only had 34 staff with one principal, two deputy principals, four departmental heads (with one acting departmental head) and 26 PL1 educators (with one vacancy). In total there were currently three vacancies. The school was supplied with 20 Education Employment Initiative (EEIs) staff and a total of 12 school support staff. The learner enrolment stood at 984. The school also gave a breakdown of the enrolment of learners with special education needs.
The school had a functional SGB willing to assist with governance matters. There had been an improvement in academic performance from Grade 8 – 12 with noted improvement of the NSC results. The following challenges were highlighted:
- Shortage of classes or rooms to accommodate all staff – the school had only two staffrooms for a staff of 36.
- No running water to ensure the frequent washing of hands as per the Covid 19 Protocols. The school relied on rain water which was rarely purified. The municipality supplied water on average once every two weeks.
- Shortage of ablution facilities for learners – this made it almost impossible for the reopening of schools to take place smoothly.Ablution facilities were in an appalling state with eight pit-toilets to accommodate in excess of 600 learners daily.
- An anticipated shortage of educators as a result of the platooning. The school was anticipating that seven educators would not be returning to work due to the health conditions which render them vulnerable and at risk of contracting the corona virus. Five of the seven with comorbidities taught Grade 12 and three offered critical subjects at Grade 12 level.
- The school had large enrolment figures with over 100 learners with special needs. The circuit was serviced by only one LSA, one Social Worker and one LSE to attend to learner needs.
- Shortage of qualified educators for inclusive teaching.
- The access road to the school was not always accessible, especially for learners with physical disabilities.
- Platooning of learners was causing shortages in terms of floor space at the school.
- At least three classrooms require a proper drainage system to render them usable.
The Department was in the process of erecting new toilets and received 18 more toilets for future use. Further to this, a contractor was on site to demolish and eradicate the remaining pit-toilets. The school had been earmarked for receiving a borehole.
Regarding scholar transport, the school busses were being overloaded and there was a need for more busses. The school supplied deserving learners with food parcels and there were plans to intensify the delivery of the food parcels programme for deserving families – the current target was to deliver a total of 120 food parcels.
- Members queried how the school was managing the overcrowding, especially in school busses.
- Regarding water and sanitation challenges, Members queried the support and assistance from the Department.
- Members noted that there seemed to be a disproportionate allocation of funds for scholar transport at a national level without a proper review of the size of our provinces to offered the scholar transport programme.
- Members queried how the SAFE programme was assisting the school in addressing ablution shortages.
- Members queried the timeframe for the completion of the school borehole programme – hopefully before the schools reopened.
The Department indicated they had signed agreements with municipalities to supply schools with water. This was ongoing engagements in collaboration with SALGA and COGTA. The Department acknowledged that currently they were only transporting a fraction of deserving learners – and had noted the overcrowded scholar transport. The Department was in discussions with Provincial and National Treasury regarding the underfunding of the scholar transport programme.
The National Department also indicated awareness of the scholar transport challenges being faced at provincial level – and agreed this needed urgent attention. Although National Treasury made allocations to provinces, provinces needed to find ways and means to adequately utilise the budgets received. Currently the Department transport around 62 000 learners while the demand for scholar transport stood at around 150 000 learners.
- The Provincial Department in collaboration with the National Department and Treasury addresses issues of underfunding for the scholar transport programme to ensure deserving learners benefitted from the scholar transport programme.
- The Provincial Department ensures that vacant posts are filled and water challenges addressed prior to the reopening of schools.
- The Provincial Department ensures that the school is supplied with extra mobile classrooms.
- The Provincial Department ensures that the school is supplied with adequate ablution facilities.
- The Provincial Department assists the school with reconnection of recovered stolen computers as well as assists with issues pertaining to connectivity and network coverage.
- The Provincial Department assists the school with the drainage of specific classrooms for further use.
- The Provincial Department ensures that schools revive the adopt-a-cop initiative to improve on curbing vandalism.
- Daniel Mzamo Special School
The school is located in KZN, Harry Gwala District. The school caters for learners with a variety of severe disabilities with 381 enrolments. According to the PPN the school has 34 staff members. In support of learners with severe disabilities, the staff at Daniel Mzamo take care of learners at all times, by following Covid – 19 protocols and guidelines.
All Areas are sanitized frequently, and frequent fumigation is done. In terms of water and sanitation, the school has water tanks. Learning and teaching occurs by alternating the attendance of learners. Learners and staff benefit from Psycho social support as provided. On Stationery requirements Grade R have furniture and school is happy.
Challenges is issue of water - this was addressed by talking to municipality. Water is sourced via the borehole. There were shortages of furniture for the special school which required more beds for learners. The school also had challenges with transport as one of the buses was replaced.
18.104.22.168 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members expressed to the department that the district has mud schools/inappropriate school and had thus requested to see a mix of schools in good stead as well as those in bad schools in order to recommend for necessary changes.
- Members queried what the challenges were with water reticulation and water sourcing.
- Members questioned how does municipality get water in borehole, would it not be wise for the school to get its own water, so that the learners are not stressed?
- Members were interested to know how the school managed social distancing in the hostel.
- Members queried how the school was addressing the challenges with the scholar transport shortages.
- Members queried how teachers with comorbidities was being assisted and accommodated.
- Members queried whether the learners use assistive devices, equipment and books - are they sharing the equipment,
- Members also raised as question as to whether the school got the substitute teachers.
In terms of hostel accommodation, the rooms are big enough to accommodate learners, sometimes its 2 – 4 in a room the block for girls is not utilized. Regarding transport, the 19-seater bus was responded by affirmation that there was a 56-seater bus and the 19-seater is replacing 44-seaters. The school clarified that in respect of learner enrolment numbers, the figure stood at 381 and the weighted enrolment stood at 1 000. The hostels are empty and there was a need for more learners.
The exit from Daniel Mzamo is such that from Grade 6 and pre–vocational class which is the senior classic, from here learners go to different institutions like I can or TVET college, EThekwini college.
The school does provide learners with devices and learners don’t share devices as leaners alternate with junior classes, and they have PPEs.
On issue of water availability, Harry Gwala was part of the scope that would receive boreholes. However, it was decided that the school draw water from existing borehole.
22.214.171.124 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department assisted and supported the school with its current learner numbers and attract more inclusive learners with severe disabilities.
- The Provincial Department ensured a proviso that learners exiting the school be supported in accessing TVET Colleges.
- Visits to Schools (Umzimkhulu Education District)
- Nombewu Full Service School
Nombewu is a Full Service Junior Secondary School (Grade R – Grade 9) situated in the Mkhatsha Circuit, Nqokozweni (Ward 7) in Umzimkhulu. The school is a Section 21 school with a staff compliment of 14 which is made up of one principal, one head-of-department and 12 level-one educators. Other staff include on safety officer and seven EEI appointed. There was currently a total of three vacancies at the school. Learner admissions are in progress with parents having been given the necessary forms in 2020 already. Unfortunately, there is no scholar transport provided for learners of the school. The timetable followed by the school was that of alternate days for teaching and learning. School was well fenced and there was a safety committee…the challenge is burglary and vandalism at the school. Engaged relevant stakeholders regarding issues of safety and security, vandalism and burglaries. The school was in need of the following infrastructure:
- Grade R classroom;
- Toilets; and
- A media centre.
The school had no running water but had six water tanks that were full (filled by the municipality as required) - and the school complied with COVID-19 regulations. Screening and testing was done at the school entrance. The school reported six infections with one educator with comorbidities.
The Portfolio Committee was given a detailed overview of the provisioning of PPEs. The Committee also received a breakdown of the COVID-19 cases at the school. In respect of academic performance, the principal gave a detailed breakdown of learner performance in various subjects and grades between 2018 – 2020.
The school reported challenges in respect of the building of extra classrooms due to storm-damage but had been provided with mobile classrooms as a temporary measure
Unions reported that there was a need to ensure there were adequate masks for learners and ensure that learners received their food parcels. It was important that the Department looked to demolish and renovate storm-damaged classrooms as a matter of urgency – with specific timeframes.
A major challenge facing the school remained the access roads to the school as well as challenges with scholar transport for deserving learners. The Department had advertised for the post of principal but this was current being disputed and the Department was addressing the dispute. There were many schools damaged by storms and the area was declared a disaster area. Funding for building renovations would come from the National Disaster Funding – but, to date, no funds has been forthcoming for repairs to damaged schools. The Department had provided interim relief by way of supply of mobile classrooms for affected schools. The Department was addressing the issues of non-payment of EEIs in the system. The school relied mainly on face-to-face teaching and learning rather than e-learning/remote learning due to challenges with connectivity.
- Members raised concern over the fact that the school did not provide scholar transport for learners – and queried reasons for this.
- Members noted that surrounding communities need to ensure that school property was protected against vandalism and theft. Members queried how the Department and school was able to collaborate with the surrounding communities.
- Members queried the plans in place to ensure that damaged structures would be renovated in the near future.
- Members noted challenges with water provisioning and queried how best engagement between the PED and DBE could secure schools access to running waters.
- Regarding the non-payment of EEI’s, Members noted that some had been paid while others not. It was important that the Department addressed this issue urgently and ensure EEI’s received their payments.
- The Provincial Department fast-track its engagements with network service providers to consider erecting signal towers for improved connectivity.
- The Provincial Department continue its work on the eradication of mud-schools in the district. Also ensure there is a commitment to repair and renovate all storm-damaged classrooms – with timeframes.
- In respect of the drop in learner performance, the Provincial Department ensure the school received the necessary support and guidance to improve on learner performance.
- The Provincial Department address the issue of the non-payment of EEI’s as a matter of urgency.
- The Provincial Department, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including municipalities, ensure that the school received water as was required.
- Mhlaba Combined School
The school was located Umzimkhulu in the Harry Gwala District. The school was a Section 21 (without Section C), no-fee paying school. The current PPN for the school was as follows:
- Deputy Principal
- Three Departmental Heads
- Educators – 15
- PL1 Educators – 10 (excluding two Grade R practitioners)
The new PPN certificate for 2021 allowed for an extra PL1 educator – and the school was awaiting placement of the educator. The school also had one security guard employed by the Department and 19 EEIs appointed to the school. EEIs had not received any payment to date.
The current staff compliment of the school stood at 17 educators. The school learner placement stood at 573 learners. The school was included in the Departmental palns for refurbishment at a very later stage. Some of the classrooms were in a state of disrepair and needed refurbishment – much of the destruction was caused by the 2020 storm that hit the area with a complete classroom block blown away. The damaged classrooms had a negative impact on teaching and learning.
There had been some recent refurbishments done in conjunction with SGB and Department. The matter of the damaged school was reported to the Department and the Department was able to secure 10 extra classrooms for the school. A contractor was appointed to renovate the classroom block – but this took much longer than expected. Officials from the Department of Public Works came to expect the work done and gave the go-ahead for the block to be used. The only outstanding refurbishments was for the block to be equipped with a ceiling and electricity – the Department was looking into this matter.
In the past, the school recorded three cases of COVID-19 infection amongst learners. These cases were reported to the Department who did the necessary interventions in collaboration with health professionals. Learners received counselling and discussed issues with parents. Fumigation of school was done.
The school was ready to accept learners and reopen on 15 February 2021. All Grades were expected to return to school – but in groups as we have a rotational basis. The school had no running water and utilised three water tanks which were currently full. The school initially had 15 chemical toilets for use by learners but after the storm damage, three were completely destroyed. The school had requested replacement toilets and received six additional chemical toilets from the Department. Toilets were clean and well serviced
In respect of LTSM, the school had received all the workbooks, textbooks and stationery and was ready to distribute these to learners. The school had a functional LTSM committee that also had its own book-retrieval policy. our own retrieval policy in place.
Regarding the NSNP, the school ensured that all learners received meals. During the pandemic, the school engaged with parents on the issues of food-parcels. Parents had indicated that if the school was closed, they did not want their learners to collect food parcels from the school. Parents were also not prepared to collect food parcels. With the reopening of schools, the school needed to ensure that it meets the feeding requirements and ensure food parcels were issued to learners on the day specified for them to come to school – this had been communicated to learners and parents.
The school performance for the various Grades had shown a general increase over the last three years.
The following challenges were reported:
- Storm damage to school buildings;
- The school operated from Grade R – 9 when they believed it should only offer Grade R – 7. There were other High Schools in the area for other learners to attend.
- Vandalism of school property. The SGB and parents came together to pay for the employment of a night-watchman
- PPN is 15 educators, 10 post level 1, 3 HODs, Deputy + Principal. Excluding 2 Grade R teachers. New PPN Certificate for 2021 allowed for an extra PL1 educator (awaiting placement of this educator). Other support staff included one security employed by the Department and 19 EEI. It was noted that all EEIs had not received any payment to date.
- Members raised concern over the non-payment of EEIs and requested the Department to speed-up the process.
- In respect of the electrification of the school, Members queried when the Department would look to ensure the schools was electrified.
- Members noted that the school needed to adequately manage the choice of school-time-table – the choice of time-table needed to be communicated to learners and parents.
The Province received around 73 000 EEI posts and all were appointed in December 2020. The Department had a monumental task of having to verify the appointees before they could be paid. It was important that all appointees were scrutinised. The main challenge was that the Department was not able to disburse funds for payment to all schools due to insufficient funds. The Department was engaging the Provincial Treasury on the matter – and it has been resolved that money would be made available for payment of remaining EEIs.
The Department was of the view that further research needed to be done in respect of the timetabling options for schools. It was important that schools properly managed the time-tabling choice they make for their school.
In respect of electrification of the school, this matter was receiving the attention of the Department through its electrification programme – the school has been identified for electrification. There had been good progress made in respect of the renovation of storm-damaged classrooms – but the scope of the build did not include ceilings. The Department had found that some classrooms were too old for renovation and may require complete new rebuild. The school had been provided with mobile-classrooms and there has been a special request made for supplying the school with extra toilets – as the school was not initially part of the programme for delivery of toilets. All school in the area formed part of a safety committee and needed to ensure that one person was assigned by South African Police Service ( SAPS )to participate in these committees.
The Department further noted the challenges with the school typology that the school should only have Grade R – 7. There was a need to consider phasing out Grade 8 – 12; and have these learners transferred to the nearest High School.
Unions further noted that the pandemic had taken the lives of many educators and urged the Department to ensure that thermometers used were in working order as not to compromise the safety of learners and educators. The Department was urged to address the issue of the rural allowance to school in the area.
- The Provincial Department fast-track the appointment of the vacant educator post.
- The Provincial Department prioritise the renovation and refurbishment of damaged classrooms and ensure this included ceilings and electrification.
- In collaboration with the local municipality, the Provincial Department ensure that the school received adequate water supply as required. Further to this, the school was also provided with a borehole.
- The Provincial Department consider assisting and supporting the school with the possible phasing out of Grade 8 – 12 and transfer these learners to the nearest High School.
- The Provincial Department ensure that all EEIs received their respective payments.
- The Provincial Department consider a rural allowance to school in the area.
- Vulekani Special School
Vulekani Special School is a Special School (Grade R – Grade 9) situated in Clydesdale Circuit, Border Location (Ward 16) in Umzimkhulu. The school is a Section 21(with Function C) school and has a staff compliment of 35 which is made up of one principal, one deputy principal, three heads-of-department and 10 PL1 educators. The school has 20 support staff and six EEI’s appointed. It was noted that the EEIs had still not received their payment. The school has 142 registered learners for 2021. With two school buses (1 x 24-seater and 1 x 65-seater), qualifying learners enjoyed scholar transport. The time-table utilised by the school was a differentiated table with day scholars alternating on a weekly basis. The school had a total of 15 classrooms and one computer laboratory. The hostel facilities comprised two blocks for girls and two blocks for boys. The school was provided with adequate PPE provisions. There were 10 water-tanks and a borehole on the school premises.
The school complied with the necessary COVID-19 regulations which included social distancing, screening and testing and sanitation. It was noted that one educator and three support staff had been infected in 2020 and recovered well. The school also identified one educator with comorbidities.
Workbooks had been received and outstanding PPEs were being delivered shortly. To conform with social distancing protocols, the hostel accommodation had been halved.
It was further noted that one of the school buses needed urgent repairs and had engaged with the Department in this regard. Generally, the school infrastructure was in a satisfactory condition. Learners enjoyed the benefit of food-parcels delivered to them.
Some of the challenges highlighted at the school included the following:
- No running water - the school had been interacting with Department and local municipality in this respect water to the school.
- Scholar transport – one of the busses needed urgent repairs and an extra driver was required.
- Post-provisioning Norms – the school was not aware of the current weighting of the school and the number of educators required.
- Vandalism – although not frequent, vandalism did occur.
It was noted by the Department that the school was generally in a good condition but there was a need to continue with engagements with surrounding community to curb vandalism of school property. It was further noted that the MEC had relaunch Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) and committed that all schools had functional QLTC structures.
- Members noted the move to half hostel accommodation to ensure social distancing – but queried whether the school ever had challenges with shortage of space at the hostels.
- It was noted that, generally, most schools had challenges with running water. Members queried whether the Department had an adequate water-plan to assist schools with access to water. Issues of water supply to schools needed to be resolve before schools reopened.
- Similarly, many schools complained of vandalism and theft of school property – and Members queried the plans in place by the Department to mitigate these challenges to ensure the safety of school precincts.
- Members sought clarity on the learner and educator numbers at the school to gauge whether there was overcrowding.
- Members queried whether the school received support and assistance from the Department in ensuring educators/staff were adequately skilled, trained and developed to teach learners with special needs.
- The Provincial Department ensures that schools with water challenges received the necessary elevated water tanks for water storage. The Provincial Department also engage with the local municipality to ensure steady supply of water to the school. Issues of water to school needs urgent attention and solutions – if needs be there should be higher-level intervention. Issues of water supply to schools needs to be resolve before schools reopened.
- The Provincial Department ensure that the school received all the support and assistance it required and ensure adequate staffing as well as the refurbishment of the school busses.
- The Provincial Department consider reviving the policing forums to curb vandalism of school property.
- The Provincial Department investigates the weighting of the school and report back to the school on the PPN for the school.
- The Provincial Department ensure that all EEIs received their payments.
- Kromhoek Primary School
The school is a Full service school from Grade R to Grade 12, established under Section 21 C. In terms of PPN, the school has – 14 teachers and enrolment of 295 learners. With regards to water and sanitation, there is no water challenges, as there is plenty of watersupply.In following Covid 19 protocol, the Social distance is observed by keeling 1 learner per desk, in 1 meter apart spaces. Class sizes have been reduced from 1: 40 to classes to 25.
The challenge is night security; the current security is appointed by SGB. The environment is neat, and Cleanliness is upheld in preparation for the re-opening of schools.
On infrastructure the school has 12 classrooms, pertainingto sanitation 4 new toilets have been built.
Covid impact on teaching and learning, the school reported that 1 educator was affected, no death, no comorbidities.
School nutrition is progressing well, and academic performance in good progress.
126.96.36.199 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members noted that learner numbers need to be increased for learner transport.
- Members also commented that support for teacherswith comorbidities is vital, so that they are able to perform.
- Members queried whether the school had received any appointment of EAs.
- Members raised question on infrastructure; in particular,the status of pit latrines – and replacement of old toilets.
The Department hired chemical toilets and these are paid by the Department to address sanitation problems. Regarding Teacher Assistants, the school had employed EAs that received their payments and assisted with ensuring COVID-19 compliance.
Regarding fluctuating learner enrolments, it was explained that there was a river with no bridge and therefore learner numbers drop because of a lack of transport in the area.
188.8.131.52 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department review the learner transport criteria for rural areas.
- The Provincial Department assisted and supported, through interventions, the improvement of learner performance in Physical Science and Maths.
- The Provincial Department reviewed the workload of the principals, who have to offer tuition for Matric learners as well as deal with multiple other demands.
- On the aspect of Security for protection of the school, safeguarding at night needs a balancing of human resources.
- The Provincial Department ensure that the SAFE program (pit toilet eradication) is given attention at this school.
6. Oversight and Monitoring Visit in the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDOE)
The oversight visit to the Eastern Cape Department of Education occurred on 4 and 5 February 2021. The Portfolio Committee had a meeting with the MEC, HOD and senior officials from the Department at the Maluti College in Matatiele. The format of the engagement was as follows:
6.1 A briefing meeting with the Eastern Cape Department of Education, the National Department of Basic Education, Senior and District Officials of the Provincial Education Department, SGB Associations, South African Principals Association and Organised Labour.
6.2 Schools visited by the delegation included:
- Matatiele Education District
- Moshesh Technical and Agricultural High School;
- Manguzela Full Service School; and
- Sive Special School.
- Mount Fletcher Education District
- Sidinane Technical School;
- Mount Fletcher Special School; and
- E T Thabane Full Service School.
6.3 Engagements with the Eastern Cape Department of Education
The MEC, in his opening remarks welcomed the oversight and monitoring visit by the Portfolio Committee and agreed that together, lasting solutions for the schooling system in the province was found. The Department had developed an Education Transformation Plan to respond to systemic and structural challenges for schools in the province. The Department had also taken the unpopular decision to reaffirm importance of the decolonisation concept in schooling in the province. The Department would welcome assistance from the Portfolio Committee in managing the infrastructure challenges faced, especially ICT infrastructure. There was a need to engage on whether to invest more on ICT infrastructure going forward.
The Portfolio Committee received a broad overview of the Departments vision for 2030 as well as the Education System Transformation Plan of the Department. The Department also highlighted the learner performance trends and outlined the basic principles in the management of underperformance. The Department alluded to the provincial pass percentage for the last three years as well as pass rates per quintile and subject pass rates (Grade 10 – 11)
Regarding the implementation of the Three-Stream Model the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDOE) had committed to focus on emerging skills requirements for high growth sectors in the province. The six high growth areas identified as a priority in line with the Provincial Development Plan (PDP) would guide the Three-Stream Model. These included the following:
- Agriculture – exploiting the enormous potential of arable land in the EC;
- Tourism – focusing on the rich cultural, sporting and eco-tourism history of the EC;
- Oceans economy – focusing on Marine and Maritime Studies;
- Manufacturing – exploiting industrial zone potential;
- Auto-sector – deepening educational ties with the auto industry;
- Renewable energy – exploring the potential for the EC to become the renewable energy hub by promoting mathematics and sciences in EC schools.
The Department further outlined the management of learning losses 2021 – 2023 with a three-year recovery plan in place. In respect of the implementation of a digital initiative the Department’s main focus for E-Teaching and Learning were as follows:
- Electronic Content: Electronic Content and Apps identification, development and distribution.
- Website: Curriculum and Exams website development and management.
- Training: Training of educators on e-Teaching i.e. the ICT integration in teaching, learning, administration and classroom management.
- ICT Infrastructure: Identification, testing and implementation of new technology in education.
- Broadcasting: Identification, testing and implementation of new broadcasting solutions in education- establishing own Virtual Lessons studios and use own human capital to deliver the lessons right the schooling system- using Subject Planners and Subject Advisors; Lead Teachers
- E-Policies: e-Policy Development, development of the provincial eLearning Strategy and implementation.
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting: The monitoring, evaluation and reporting all e-Learning solutions.
- Partnership Projects: The co-management of partnership projects.
The Department also outlined the provincial e-teaching and learning interventions. The Department further gave a breakdown of special school funding and inclusive education and social cohesion plan. Regarding special school transport, the Department procured ten 23-seater school buses which was delivered to ten special schools in the 2019/20 financial year. Funds were transferred to 46 special schools for maintenance, licensing, service, repairs and fuel purposes. Learners were transported to and from schools (day schools), to hospitals and sporting activities. The target was to resource all special schools with school buses per year.
In respect of psychosocial support, the Department planned to appoint 72 Psychologists and Therapists in Special Schools as per the PPN approved for Specialist in 2020.The procurement of assistive devices for Special Schools was a priority within the 2020/21 financial year as these resources could not be procured during the 2019/20 financial year due to austerity measures. A further 22 school nurses had been appointed at Special Schools with Hostels. The Department had the following Psychological Support Personnel namely:
- 27 registered Psychologists (including 3 newly appointed Psychologists within the LSPID team);
- One registered counsellor;
- Five Psychometrics;
- One registered Intern Psychologist; and
- One student registered counsellor.
The Department had the following Social Support Personnel namely:
- 49 Social Work Interns at 49 CMC;
- 46 Social Work Interns at 46 Special Schools;
- 12 Social Work Interns at the 12 Districts;
- 24 Social Work Interns for Employee Wellness; and
- 900 Learning Support Agents at mainstream schools.
The Department of Education had established Discipline Specific Psychologist and Social Work Groups, presented by specialists of all districts, to plan and facilitate support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department also highlighted that infrastructure challenges at Special Schools remained. Other challenges included the following:
- Slow movement on the procurement of assistive devices;
- Limited number of tools of trade are available for Psychologists and Therapists; and
- High number of learners on waiting lists at Special Schools.
In respect of post-provisioning, the Department implementedthe nationally approved PPN model for provisioning of educators in Public Ordinary Schools and Special Schools. The MEC for Education was empowered to annually declare post basket for all schools in a province, within affordable means in accordance with section 5 (2) and (3) of Employment of Educators Act (EA). For the 2021 academic year, the MEC for Education declared 54,026 educator posts for the entire Province and the Superintendent General, as empowered by both Employment of Educators and Personnel Administrative Measures of 2016 as amended, had to distribute posts to schools based learner ratio, poverty and maintain stability in the system. The Alfred Nzo District was allocated 5025 posts for 2021 academic year of which 4890 posts were filled. This represented97 percent of educator posts were filled thereby the district had a three percent vacancy. The Joe Gqabi District was allocated 2922 educators posts for academic year 2021 of which 2813 were filled. This represented 96 percent of educator posts were filled thereby the district hadfour percent vacancy rate. The Department gave a detailed breakdown of the employment equity for principals, deputy principals, Heads-of-Department and Post-Level 1 Educators.
The Department’s response to COVID-19 was a collaborative one, in that they worked with Social Partners, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Development and all units within the Department. A COVID-19 Command Consultative Structure was established wherein all unions and SGB associations participated.Occupational Health and Safety committees were established in all Districts and Head Office. The Department also utilised services of the Department of Employment and Labour in delivering training on Occupational Health and Safety committees.Various COVID-19 protocols were developed for all schools and offices.SSTs and EAs who were part of the support to schools were employed to do screening, cleaning, sanitization and other support services relevant in the mitigation of COVID-19. The psychosocial support to educators and non-educators had been provided through the following:
- The recruitment of Social Worker Interns who provide counselling and do referrals;
- Tele- counselling App(Sikuncede Njani); and
- Orientation was done for all learners, Educators, and Public Service Employees.
To date 136 employees had benefitted through the Social Worker Interns programme. Currently there was refresher orientation sessions of employees coming back to work from 1st February 2021. In 2020 the Department received 5608 educators applying for remote work due to comorbidities. A total of 3871 of these cases needed substitutes and unfortunately the Department could not provide this due to the lack of funds. The Education Assistants were utilised in most of the cases and in some cases the rotational arrangements by schools closed the gap.
In respect of school readiness, the 2021 adjusted school calendar required School Management Teams to be at school on 25 January 2021 and other staff on 1 February 2021.They were expected to prepare for the arrival of learners and commencement of teaching and learning on the first day of school, 15 January 2021. The Department had a responsibility to ensure the smooth take-off for 2021 academic year and therefore schools needed to be supported by ensuring that the necessary mechanisms and resources for quality teaching and learning were in place. The Provincial Administration therefore recognizes that the Back to School campaign for 2021 reopening requires an integrated effort and collaboration of various departments and relevant stakeholders. Key areas to consider in view of the reopening of schools included:
- Safe hygiene practices;
- Safe school management;
- Curriculum planning; and
- Safe districts and communities.
The Department’s integrated school health programmes and school safety saw the Department achieve the following:
- Implementation of the National School Safety Framework aimed at addressing social ills at schools.
- Signed protocol between DoE and SAPS to ensure that all schools are linked to nearest Police Stations.
- With assistance from SAPS, random drug and weapons searches are conducted at schools as per legislation and policy.
- Schools have functional School Safety Committees and Peace Clubs.
- DoE appointed 900 Learner Support Agents (LSAs) who assist the school management team (SMT) in rendering psychosocial to learners.
- LSAs also update the database of vulnerable learners (update the database of children who have been orphaned during the summer vacation and assist in ensuring that these children are referred to Social Development for Social Welfare Grants).
- Mobile health clinic conducting basic health screening at some rural primary schools.
- LSAs identify learners who require school uniform and submit the same to SASSA and other stakeholders for the provision of school uniform.
- The LSAs will also make a follow-up to learners who did not return to school to determine the cause and assist with return of those learners to school.
- Schools implement programmes on prevention of learner pregnancy, anti-violence in schools and prevention of substance abuse.
- 49 Social Workers have been appointed and placed in the 49 CMCs, covering all Districts. Rendering psychosocial support to learners.
- Development of “Self-Care” packs for learners.
- Development of COVID-19 information posters and pamphlets for schools, these were developed in partnership with GIZ and the University of Cape Town.
- Some of the key partnerships which DoE has are with the Dept. of Social Development, Dept. of Health, SAPS, Dept. of Sport and Recreation, Eastern Cape Liquor Board, Eastern Cape Gambling Board, GIZ, Tiger Brands
In respect of scholar transport, the Department indicated that scholar transport was a shared responsibility with the Department of Transport. The Department of Transport had contracted service providers to transport 124,036 learners in 1,044 Schools for a period of three years (2020 to 2021). The Department in collaboration with the Department of Transport had started a process of verification whereby learners transported, schools and routes were verified. This process would include provisions for the realigned and rationalized schools that would be in need of the service. The Department of Transport provided learners with two cloth face masks worn while in scholar transport. They further sanitized vehicles and ensured that drivers adhered to COVID-19 protocols. The Department of Transport further provided EPWP scholar transport monitors along routes to monitor compliance.
The Department further gave a detailed update on the delivery of stationery, textbooks and workbooks and mentioned that the Department was working hard to ensure 100 percent delivery of LTSM to schools. The Department further elaborated on the preparations for COVID-19 and ensuring a safe learning environment as well the guidelines for schools to support teachers and learners at home.
Alfred Nzo West District: State of School Readiness
The Department gave a brief overview of the District, listing and categorizing all the school in the district and the circuits they fall under. The District NSC Performance stood at 76.9 as the 2019 Academic Year. The sub district (Maluti) had a learner enrolment of 60 516 taught by 1687 educators, categorized thus: 188 Principals, 38 Deputy Principals, 202 Departmental Heads (DH) and 1259 post level 01 educators. This was a deep rural district with the 96% of schools located in the rural areas and only 4% of the schools are located in the urban areas. The Maluti Sub-District was far away from the economic hubs of the country, as a result, the majority of the active population was unemployed and compelling people to depend heavily on social grants.The youth unemployment rate has been very high but the Presidential Employment Initiative (PEI) has reduced it significantly by employing 1839 Education Assistants (EAs) and General School Assistants (GSAs) in the 207 schools from 01 December 2020 to date.
The Portfolio Committee was given a broad statistical representation of EAs and GSAs. A total of 42 documents have already been captured on Persal and waiting for the Persal run. There were 39 documents outstanding due to the delay in the submission of tax numbers, resignations and double employments.
The Department further gave a broad overview of the various partnerships with NGOs and businesses in the area.
Regarding the status and impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the reopening of schools, the Department briefed the Portfolio Committee on the issues pertaining to the PPE procurement essentials as well as the 2021 plan for delivery of PPEs to schools. The Department further elaborated on the COVID-19 cases with a breakdown of the number of educators who had succumbed to the virus.
The Department further spoke on the state of admission and registration of learners with a statistical representation of learner admissions in respect of applications, unplaced and placed learners for all grades.
Regarding the provision of LTSM and stationery the Portfolio Committee was briefed on the number of schools, number of requisitions and the number of schools who received LTSM and stationery. The Department also mentioned the names of the service providers utilised for this process. It was mentioned that the delivery of workbooks for 2021 remained work in progress and will be finalised by 10 February 2021.02.04
The Curriculum coverage was premised on the following:
- that Covid 19 had a profound negative impact on teaching and learning in 2020 and 2021;
- teaching in 2021 has been lost for 2 weeks and there is uncertainty in terms of the further impact it may cause in 2021;
- the Annual Teaching Plans (ATPs) in 2020 were not fully covered and therefore learning losses incurred must be recovered; and
- The district Learner Attainment Improvement Strategy (LAIS) will address curriculum coverage.
The focus of the Department for 2021 would be on the following:
- Mediation of ATPs by Subject Advisors per subject from Grade R-12;
- Identification of topics not covered in the first two weeks of 2021;
- Schools to draw up the recovery plan based on the lost time, focusing on fundamentals;
- Place emphasis on assessment for learning through written quality informal tasks;
- Ensure that schools establish/revitalize curriculum structures;
- Departmental Heads (DHs) to use curriculum coverage tools to monitor work done per subject;
- Subject advisers to monitor syllabus coverage during on-site support visits/use on-line monitoring tools;
- School Management Teams (SMTs) to draw up a Programme of Assessment (POA) for all grades and subjects;
- Subject advisers to report on this deliverable every month and quarter in accountability meetings and during cluster School Based Assessment (SBA) moderation sessions; and
- Subject advisers and Circuit managers to report on the availability of teachers for every subject and grade in monthly and quarterly accountability meetings.
The Department also provided general details pertaining to the support provided to Section 58B Schools (Underperforming Schools) as well as support programmes for General Education and Training.
In respect of issues pertaining to infrastructure, the Department was committed to ensure maximum compliance to Covid-19 dictates (social distancing). Schools have adopted a staggered approach (rotation) and provision of sanitation. The Department gave a detailed breakdown of the infrastructure response to the re-opening of schools under the following focus areas:
- Sanitation provision (ASIDI Water and Sanitation Project);
- ASIDI inappropriate structures project;
- Maintenance; and
- Infrastructure partnerships (including SAFE Schools batch).
Regarding scholar transport, the Department indicated that there were 98 approved and fully serviced routes for transportation of 6017 learners drawn from 38 schools in Maluti/Matatiele CMC (15 Primary and 23 Secondary schools respectively).At Manguzela FSS, 309 learners were transported from four approved routes. Similarly, 419 learners from five approved routes were transported at Moshesh Agricultural School.
The Department also indicated that, in respect of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), all Quintile 1-3 schools were benefitting, including LSEN school.A total of 60551 learners benefitted from the NSNP (12 090 learners from 30 Secondary schools, 48 269 learners from 176 Primaries and 190 learners from one LSEN). The fourth tranche for feeding of all learners inclusive of fuel/gas and payment of Volunteer Food Handlers (VFH) had already been transferred to schools. Schools had been instructed to feed learners as from the 27 January 2021. Funds for the procurement of PPEs for VFH have been deposited to schools in accordance with the number of VFH employed.
On staff establishment (Post-Provisioning Norms), the Department indicated that the MEC pronounced a declaration of PPN 2021 posts in September 2020.A total of 80 educators have been identified additional on operational requirements in their respective schools.Of the 80 educators, 32 have been suitably placed, this is work in progress though with COVID-19 casualties also adding to the vacancy list.
The Department gave the Portfolio Committee a detailed overview of the role of Circuit Managers in supporting schools as well as the role of school governing bodies in school governance. The Department also alluded to the measures in place to deal with drop-out rates and the return of learners to schools. The Committee was given a detailed overview of the access to ICT/virtual platforms for learners during the pandemic as well as practical support for educators, non-teaching staff and learners impacted by COVID-19. The Department concluded with some of the overarching challenges being faced as follows:
- Poor connectivity for online learning for deep rural schools in the district. SITA must assist the province;
- Poor access roads to schools;
- Shortage of subsidy vehicles to field workers;
- No transversal systems (Bas, Logis, & Persal) at Lubhalasi where the district will be relocating as the building has been recently revamped. Head Office has been notified and has costed it for installation;
- Head Office has been alerted of the financial constraints exerted on district operations due to the cut of the provincial budget by the National Treasury of 6.5 billion. It brings a strain and frustration; and
- Shortage of pool cars to cater for the geographical spread of the district.
6.3.1 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members noted that many teachers had been lost to the pandemic and needed to be replaced for the reopening of schools – some schools did not have their full complement educators.
- Members noted that not all schools had received their allotted LTSM and Members queried when all schools would have received their LTSM.
- Members noted that there were reports that not all EEI’s had received payment and Members queried reasons for this and plans in place to make payment.
- Members raised concern that schools were being requested to procure their own PPEs.
- Regarding issues of water and sanitation, Members queried whether there were schools that had challenges with water reticulation – and whether the Department had done adequate analysis of this challenge with adequate planning to mitigate this challenge.
- Members noted the issues of school vandalism and queried what this was costing the Department – and plans in place to address issues of vandalism.
- In respect of e-learning, Members queried whether learners were utilising their tablets and whether the Department ensured learners had enough data to access portals.
The Department noted the educator vacancies due to COVID-19 deaths and mentioned that there were plans in place to have new educators included in the Department’s placement plans. The only outstanding area was the filling of vacant principal posts. The Department would ensure that all vacancies would be filled before the reopening of schools. The Department was also addressing the issue of non-payment of EEI’s and would make payments once all relevant documentation had been submitted. In respect of LTSM delivery, the Department mentioned that suppliers were currently on the ground making final deliveries to schools – suppliers were instructed to ensure all deliveries completed by 5 February 2021. The Department encouraged schools to be linked to their nearest police station – and this has had positive results. There had not been many cases of vandalism at schools. The Department also had a standing arrangement regarding the delivery of food parcels to learners.
The Department also indicated that there had been a cut in their budget and needed to ensure there was a balance of educators employed from the pool of Funza Lushaka graduates and other unemployed teachers. The Department further utilised the services of Social Workers through collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Development. The Department elected to use the PERSAL System for capturing EEI’s and ensure they are paid. Where there were discrepancies with documentation, the Department could not pay EEI’s until documentation was corrected. The Department cautioned that they needed to guard against paying ghost-workers and need to do proper verification of data.
Regarding issues of infrastructure, the Department understood the demand for classrooms and the Department was looking to embark on a programme of nationalism and mega schools to accommodate classroom shortages. With the assistance of the ASIDI Programme, funds were committed to build school infrastructure. The Department also had plans in place to mitigate challenges of water and sanitation at schools in collaboration with municipalities. Where schools had water tanks, the Municipality would ensure these were filled while other schools had boreholes. With the SAFE programme schools were supplied with toilets, however, there had been delays in the disbursement of these funds.
All scholar transport was regulated by routes - with strict regulations on distances travelled. The Department was currently in the process of data collection and verification for scholar transport and routes.
6.3.3 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department reports challenges to the National Department of Basic Education for further assistance.
- The Provincial Department ensure that vacant educator positions are filled as a matter of urgency. The Provincial Department ensure they are able to utilised not only Funza Lushaka graduates, but all educator graduates.
- The Provincial Department address the issue of the non-payment of EEI’s - and ensure they are paid.
- The Provincial Department ensure that plans are in place to deliver LTSM to all schools prior to reopening of schools.
6.4 Visits to Schools (Matatiele Education District)
6.4.1 Moshesh Technical and Agricultural High School
At Moshesh Agricultural High School, the delegation from the Portfolio Committee did not have a formal meeting with the School Management Team. However, the delegation had an in-loco site visit of the school precinct. The walk-about on the precinct included the following areas:
- School kitchen;
- Vegetable and fruit plantations;
- Poultry hatches;
- Piggery; and
- Technical workshop.
6.4.2 Manguzela Full Service School
Manguzela FSS was situated in the Dengwane Location in Matatiele. The school was established in 1940 by the parents of the Dengwane Location. The parents used mud to build the school that initially accommodated Sub A to Standard 2. In 1969 the school added another mud and brick structure to accommodate Standard 3 to Standard 7. In 2014 the school was accorded the status of a Full Service School to accommodate learners with moderate barriers to learning. In terms of the PPN 2020/21 all educator posts were filled and the school did not have any vacancies. The staff complement was as one principal, one deputy principal, four departmental heads, 21 PL1 educators and one Grade R practitioner. Non-teaching staff included one learner support agent, one security officer, one admin clerk and five voluntary food handlers (VFHs). In respect of the EEI’s the school was given 14 Educator Assistants and 10 General School Assistants. The current 2021 learner’s population of the school stood at 895 learners.
In respect of COVID-19 regulations compliance it was noted that the school received PPEs from the Department. There were COVID-19awareness charts displayed around the school premises with markings to observe social distancing. School visits were restricted and it was compulsory for all to wear masks. The school practices sanitising and screening at entry points with sanitizers in every classroom and offices. The school implemented rotational attendance by learners.
The Portfolio Committee was given a detailed overview of the academic performance of the school for the past three-years for all grades.
Regarding the use of ICT technology, it was mentioned that lessons were prepared using laptops and the school also followed a Learner Assistance Programmes (Maths dynamo). The school also utilised overhead projectors and electronic capturing of learners’ marks. There were also virtual meetings held.
Some of the projects completed by the school included the drilling of a borehole, building of a Grade R class and walkways completed. The main challenges indicated was the shortage of classrooms for the remedial programme as well as a shortage of teacher assistants for learners with special education needs (LSEN).
After receiving the above presentation, Members had no formal deliberations on the presentation but opted for an in-loco walkabout of the school.
6.4.3 Sive Special School
Sive Special School for the Deaf was initiated by the Moravian Church in 1994 at Mvenyane AA with 25 deaf learners and as such the school operated on a privately owned church site. This initiative was greatly appreciated as there was no Special School of any disability by then. The residential school caters for beneficiaries who have disability in terms of hearing impairment (the Deaf). The school then moved to Cedarville in 2010 and 2018 was built in the site that it operates as a new school
The school has enrolment of 176 learners. With regards to the school curriculum previously they had grade R – 9, now they have Grade R – 12. The first enrolment of Grade 12, was started in 2020 with 4 learners. Staffing is comprised of the principal, and 12 educators and 14 non-teaching staff.In terms of management and governance, there are well functioning sub-committees i.e.
- LTSM Committee
- Disciplinary Committee
- Welfare Committee
- Deaf Awareness Committee
- And many other committees with their respective constitutions
Regarding CIVID-19 Regulations - In 2020 PPE’s were delivered and adequate supply was done. Each learner was supplied with TWO masks and ONE Face mask. There was a School Support Team (SST) to ensure that there was compliance with regulations, for example the use of Thermometers, sanitizers and obeying social distance.
Workbooks were delivered in November 2020, however for 2021 school is still waiting for other LTSM to be delivered. Learner furniture was adequate.There was a shortage of educator’s furniture (13 tables and 24 chairs). Learners have access to transport two combis, three busses and 1 minibus.
184.108.40.206 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members queried the PPEs used by teachers who were marking and how the Department would pay for these.
- Members queried the delivery of the LTSM and Stationery, from the Department.
- Members queried the number of learners from the nearby communities, and if there are there no learns to be placed, how will the school draw in / recruit them.
- Members questioned the Department as to when post of the deputy principal will be filled.
- Members requested the Department to clarify the overtime pay of staff as presented as well as when will furniture of support staff be delivered.
The school gave an explanation as to why there is only 2 learners from the nearby area, in that learners are first and foremost for screened to establish the nature of the disability, and whether they would meet the criteria to be admitted at the Sive Special School.The Department indicated that Sive School did not give LTSM /stationery request on time - hence delivery was late.
With regards to the issue of overtime and why it has not been paid, the Department responded that there is a policy which stipulates that employees don’t just get remunerated for overtime. Overtime is approved subject to the nature of the work activities that were planned, also the overtime in question is a historical matter that did not occur in the current financial cycle. Sive staff were taken on board through a workshop so that they may understand issues related to overtime.
On the aspect of filling the vacancy of deputy principal, the Department responded that the current principal was a deputy, he was promoted, his post is profiled. The Department will not redeploy a deputy principal, because in this district there is over employment of deputy principals, if vacancy is not filled through the deployment list, that creates some challenges.
Regarding the employing of an interpreter, the Department responded that the budget of Sive is limited. The Department has relationship with organisations that drive the campaign all deaf awareness, when interpreter is needed, Department makes use of such organisation in order to make progress for interpreting service. Whilst the Department does not have funding, they make use of resources from another entity, however the issue of interpreter for Sive is one of the areas that they will look into.
On the matter of screening and criteria for learners, the department response indicated that learners when they go home they must get integration, there is a need for inclusive education as per prescripts of, White Paper 6 because research done on children put into special schools, is that the perception is they cannot cope, hence there is a need to move towards Inclusive Education.
- Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department consider immediate delivery of stationery for learners.
- The Provincial Department attend to the HR matters of the school.
- The Provincial Department redirect mobile / temporary classrooms to address needs. Further to this, the Provincial Department also provided adequate furniture for educators.
- The Provincial Department attend to employment of interpreters for the school/district.
6.5 Visits to Schools (Mount Fletcher Education District)
6.5.1 Sidinane Technical Secondary School
The school was founded in 1984 through the initiative of the then Dengwane Administrative Area local community. The name SIDINANE is the name of one of the outstanding forebears in the lineage of the Zibi clan of the amaHlubi tribe. The royal family in the Dengwane area still bears that name as their surname. The first Senior Certificateclass wrote in 1986. The community built the first three classroom block with mud and soil cement blocks. That block is still in use even today.
In a quest to equip school leavers with skills for self-sustenance, SIDINANE was the first school to introduce Technical subjects in the then Mt Fletcher District.
In 2002, when the then Dinaledi Project for promoting Mathematics and Science excellence in schools was launched, the school was part of the project. It is still part of the MSTE (Mathematics Science and Technology Education) project.
In terms of staff establishment, the school has 50 posts. Staff establishment is given per year by PPN quotas from the Department of Basic Education. The school has a fully functional School Management Team (SMT) which actsas the Principal’s advisory Council comprised of the principal, two deputy principals and departmental heads whose number varies from 7 to 9 depending on the PPN of that year. Currently there are seven posts of Departmental Heads. Each of the deputy principal are responsible for Curriculum Management and development in selected subjects under guidance with the respective Departmental Heads working under their leadership. Other staff include four screeners and 11 assistant teachers - who are assigned teaching duties, 11 sanitizers, who are responsible for Covid regulations around the school, and adherence to COVID-19 protocol.
In total there are 52 classrooms, who need the EEIs. The schools need the EEIs to champion Maths and Science, so the ones recruited do have the qualifications. Two were reading champions, two were ICT champions, two were assisting with data capturing and two were internal auditing.
In terms of Curriculum, it is humanities-based and also included was commercial subjects, technical subjects, maths, science and technology.
Regarding COVID-19 management it was noted that due to the impact of COVID-19, the school closed last year when Covid affected teachers and learners. For social distance, the school used both the rotation as well as platooning systems. This included the following:
- Each group will attend in two groups.
- One group will attend in the morning at 7.00 till 11.00
- The second group will attend from 11.00 to15.00
- Class periods will be reduced to 30 minutes
- Grade 12 learners will attend classes normally throughout
Some of the challenges identified included the following:
- The school has never been properly built and yet the enrolment has grown to an average1500 learners since 2016. There are 11 conventional classrooms, one is used as a computer laboratory, four are used as staffrooms and one is a store-room. On average there are 70 learners per class. Grade-11s are accommodated in zinc shack structures for purpose of providing more space at the school. A total of 298 Grade-12’s use prefab classes. The school requested from Department extra classrooms but nothing has come to fruition. Computer classes are available however they become useless because there are no computers.
- LTSM had not fully been delivered and was scheduled for delivery in the second week of February 2021.
- There was a shortage of teacher furniture.
The Civil technology classrooms are fully stockedwith resources. Scholar transport is a success story, as of 2020 a total of 1086 learners were transported on routes. With regards to school nutrition, the school thank the Department for prompt transfer of funds, however there was a need for a canteen because learners ate in open spaces as there was no school dining area. In view of analysis of results, the school performs very well. The school has consistently produced grade-12 results above the District, Provincial and sometimes even National pass percentages and always have learners getting provincial awards. The Grade 12 educators are specialists in their subjects in so much that they are always invited to assist other schools. The pass rate is high due to support measures taken to strategize around Covid – 19. For Matric, there was a consistent good pass percentage. Learners were supported by the Department as well as the District, and learners received the ICT tablets. A total of 63 returned the tablets, 145 did not return the tablets.
220.127.116.11 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members noted that on Infrastructure the school is oversubscribed.
- Members wanted clarity as to why nutrition program don’t offer food on days they don’t have classes- what is the reason.
- Members noted the issue of more progressed number of leanersthan ones that have passed,
- Members queried as to whether this situation will not create a problem once learners are in matric.
- Members alluded that gadgets’ lifespan is 1- 2 years therefore with computer / tablet gadgets the school should not expect the next class of learners to use it.
- Members asked whether the school has connectivitychallenges.
- Members queried if there is policy in place for returning the tablet gadgets back to school.
- If leaners were progressed, 61% learners did not get back to grade 12 what could be the reason.
- Members alluded that the department generally has challenges with infrastructure. There was a need to keep on maintaining the schools. Members noted that the Department has SAFE programs, it needs areas like these to ensure that delivery is happening.
- Members noted that there is a dire problem with technical schools in the form of teachers that are either not qualified to teach technical maths and tech science. Members wanted to know whether at this school the challenge of technical maths and science persist, what is the problem that learners don’t do well in this subject.
- On the issue of overcrowding, Members pointed out if there are 2000 learners in a school there can be no normal teachingtherefore overcrowding / learner admission must be controlled to at least (1500).
- Neighbouring schools may admit the learners who can’t find placement at Sidinane.
- Members remarked on the issue of scholar transport, in the district visited it seems that learner transport is well managed, according to the report as presented.
The school responded that Grade 12 is less learners so what happed to others learners who do not get back is that the numbers reported on are those writing on multiple opportunities to get matric. On the issue of ICT Tablets- schools were instructed by the department to retrieve the tablets from the learners. In December 2020 some tablets were locked centrally. In response to the issue of nutrition, the school alluded that Sidinane is a secondary school, learners find it cumbersome to travel to school only to collect food.
In providing response as to why learners are progressed in grade 9, the school indicated that a leaner must pass at 40 %, this is the reason why learners are condoned, learners do well in other subjects, but struggle in maths are not kept back, hence they get condoned.
On the approach of Technical subjects, the school expressed that these 2subjects are not difficult, however what makes learners to attain low pass rate / failure rate is that, the curriculum pulls university topics such as Pythagoras theory to grade 10 level.This curriculum is difficult to comprehend to learners who can’t cope academically. The reason learners do technical subjects is to expose them to practical components. The school explained that only learners who do well in Maths and Physics, can pass technical subjects, those needing vocational skills, will not cope with this curriculum.
The Department responded that with progressed learners they use profiling of learners, and develop a program to assist them. In terms of the curriculum planto pass grade 12, the Department conducts road shows to assist learners.
ICT Tablets – policyis explicit in that its stated it does not belong to the learners; the gadget belongs to the school. if learners do not return; the responsibility of the school is to approach parents to encourage the learners to bring back the tablet. The Department sourced the tablets with lease agreement, to be used for 3 years, plus a maintenance clause. For technical subjects, quality of passes not all is well, its new subjects – educators are being re-skilled, so that they may be able to alleviate the problem
The Department responded to maintenance of current kitchen and toilets and mentioned that schools are making savings from nutrition program. This was not the burden of the Department, but also the responsibility of schools to make safe kitchens. The Department encouraged the school to write an application for construction of kitchen, out of the savings.
- Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department ensure the school received a fully-equipped school kitchen for preparing meals.
- The Provincial Department assisted and supported the schoolin reducing the number of learners at the school
- The Provincial Department pay regular visits to schools to do oversight and monitoring.
- The Provincial Department ensured that the school received all necessary infrastructure to ensure conducive learning and teaching. This includes follow-ups on furniture for educators.
- The Provincial Department ensure that all pit-latrines were eradicated.
- The Provincial Department intervened and assisted school with improving on learner performance in maths.
- The Provincial Department in collaboration with other provincial structures, considered the full renovation of rebuild of the school.
6.5.2 Mount Fletcher Special School
The school was situated in the Fairview Circuit in Mount Fletcher. The school had a staff complement of one Principal, one Head-of-Department and four educators. The Support staff include the following:
- 1 Admin clerk;
- 2 Drivers;
- 2 Kitchen aiders;
- 2 Cleaners;
- 3 Laundry Workers;
- 6 Hostel Workers; and
- 1 Social worker intern.
The school has been allocated 10 posts paid under the Expanded Work Programme to assist the support staff in the hostel, kitchen and laundry. The EEI’s appointed at the school included five Education Assistants and six General Assistants.
In respect of admissions, the school had no new admissions for 2021 because of the school capacity – with re-admission of 80 leaners. The school had unplaced learners who had been on the waiting list for years. There was a total of 270 pupils on the waiting list - 70 of them had been assessed by the DBST and were awaiting admissions. Unfortunately, the school currently had no further space with at least 200 learners not assessed.
The school had received delivery of LTSM for all Grades on 14 September 2020 (quantity 80). The infrastructure at the school comprised an Admin. Block, six classrooms, one laundry prefab; a Grade R Hall (which also served as a dining hall) and five prefab boys and girls hostels. The school had been supplied with enough PPE’s and further manufactured their own face-masks and protective clothing. There was daily screening at school entrance and staff received training on COVID-19 regulations.
The Portfolio Committee was given some background regarding the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) by indicating that the Department was supporting the school with funds for the NSNP programme. There was constant feeding of learners of nutritious meals at the school and the necessary PPEs for meal-servers had been procured. The kitchen staff adhered to and observed all COVID-19 regulations and protocols.
At least two of the EEIs had not received payment as yet. The EEIs also assisted with ensuring that learners utilising the scholar transport maintained the social distancing as required. The school also allowed some hostel learners to remain at home to maintain social distancing – these learners are collected from their respective homes and transported to school as is necessary.
The school utilised the teaching of the differentiated curriculum for learners with severe intellectual disability the D-CAPS (Differentiated National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement). The school offered the following vocational skills (electives):
- Art and Craft;
- Consumer studies sewing;
- Creative art (fabric painting);
- Consumer studies food processing;
- Bricklaying and plastering; and
- Agricultural studies.
Regarding the transfer of Norms and Standards - in 2020 monies were transferred except the last tranche (both subsidy andfunds for NSNP). The funds are utilised according to PFMA and SASA and the school was audited yearly. In all procurement meetingsthe school involved parents and the LSEN coordinator.
Some of the school successes included the following:
- Construction of six prefabs used for hostel purpose (both boys and girls and laundry room);
- Skills equipment from the Department;
- An additional school vehicle (22-seater with the driver);
- School gate donated by Ishivuyo Construction;
- Services of a social worker intern;
- Four learners toured to AbuDabi for special Olympics and returned with medals;
- After the first lockdown the school managed staff development around the time learners were at home; and
- The school managed to build relations with sister departments (Health, Home Affairs, Agriculture and Headmen) who provide relevant services.
Challenges face by the school included the following:
- Poor access roads to school;
- Perimeter fencing is required (clear view fence);
- Extension of the school site requires urgent attention and focus (currently process very slow);
- The school requires more playgrounds;
- Extra staff required include security guards and teacher aides;
- Ablution facilities needs upgrading and renovation, as the five existing toilets had construction faults and unable to use;
- The school does not have enough running water and using water tanks. There was a need for more water tanks or consideration given for borehole water. A borehole would be a better option as the school spent much money on water.
- The issue of the waiting list is a challenge. Learner stay on the waiting for a long time and became over aged before they could be admitted.
18.104.22.168 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members raised concern regarding the long waiting list for learners to be admitted to the school and urged the Department to address the problem and ensure learners were placed and admitted.
- Members urged the Department to manage and address the challenges as reported by the school.
- Members noted challenges with the access road to the school that required attention.
Members queried the time-frames for the implementation of solutions to some of the challenges being faced.
22.214.171.124 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The Provincial Department ensure that there are regular oversight and monitoring of the school to ensure that challenges are being addressed.
- The Portfolio Committee followed up with the school to monitor progress in addressing challenges.
6.5.3 E T Thabane Full Service School
E T Thabane is a full service school situated in Ward 2 in the Ugie, Mount Fletcher. The staff establishment of the school were as follows: one principal, to deputy principals, four HODs and 45 post-level one educators. The school has lost one educator due to COVID-19 with no replacement. As per the Post Provisioning Norm (PPN), the school has one Post-Level 1 and one Post-Level 2 vacant positions.
The school had been adhering to all relevant COVID-19 regulations. The school had been supplied with educator and learner masks, sanitisers and thermometers. Where these were depleted, the school bought their own.
Regarding Curriculum coverage, the Department was provided with the revised ATP’s with a streamlined Curriculum. The school did not have any exams, only controlled tests with a reduction in formal tasks. The Foundation Phase had continuous assessments.
The school buildings were old prefabs. Although there were tenders for the rebuilding of the school, nothing had materialised to date. The school further required upgraded perimeter fencing. There was adequate running water for drinking and ablutions. Educators and learners practised social distancing as required and everyone who entered the school needed to have their temperature taken and a questionnaire completed.
A total of 1 020 learners used scholar transport and the school had applied for additional service providers to transport an additional 142 needy learners. There was a total of 44 service providers providing scholar transport.
All learners received meals even during COVID-19 period. Learners came to the school to receive their meals even when the school was closed. Feeding was slightly impacted by the rotation system due to the pandemic. Meals were prepared in a make-shift container as a kitchen.
Stationery had been delivered to the school in December 2020 and workbooks only received on 27 January 2021. All learner packs were kept in the school storeroom and would be distributed when schools reopened. The school further highlighted the shortages which the school still required.
It was noted that the school was the only no-fee primary school in the area and the school services three locations. The rural/urban depopulation was uncontrollable and was exacerbated by the PG Bison Industry which attracted parents to the area for employment oppurtunities.
126.96.36.199 Portfolio Committee Observations
- Members raised concern regarding the school building tender having been released but, to date, there had been no building renovations. Many of the classrooms were unsafe for use. The Department of Basic Education needed to explain the delay in the school renovations.
- Members noted that the school was supposed to be closed down. Members noted that the school was overcrowded with a large number of learners admitted and the huge teacher/learner ratio was also concerning. Members queried whether the school had adequate ablution facilities to cater for the huge learner numbers. Members further queried whether there were no schools in surrounding areas to accept learners. Members requested that the Department of Basic Education
- Members were concerned that the school did not have a functional kitchen to prepare meals for learner.
188.8.131.52 Portfolio Committee Recommendations
- The National Department of Basic Education urgently looked onto the matter of the renovation/building of the school and provide the Portfolio Committee with an update on the status of the renovation/building of the school. The Department further considers supplying the school with temporary structure in the interim.
- The Portfolio Committee arranges a virtual meeting with all relevant stakeholders regarding the issues of the school renovation/building.
The oversight visit to the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Departments of Education provided the Portfolio Committee with an opportunity to monitor, support and learn from the good work and best-practices of the Departments, especially with the issues pertaining to COVID-19 regulations with the reopening of school in February 2021. The Portfolio Committee further ascertained the functionality of schooling system in the three Provinces. The findings and recommendations contained in this report should help to assist the districts and provinces to improve on schooling in general as well as to strengthen areas related to basic functionality.
8. Portfolio Committee Recommendations (Overall)
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having conducted the oversight visit to the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape Provinces, and having considered the issues that were highlighted, requests that the Minister of Basic Education ensure that the three Departments of Education consider the following overall recommendations:
- Infrastructure – Ensure that all schools in the provinces received the necessary infrastructure and resources where such was reported to the Portfolio Committee. These included the necessary PPEs, classrooms, mobile units, assistive devices, toilets, laboratories, libraries, school kitchens, halls, admin blocks and furniture. The Department ensure that schools are placed on the priority list for the ASIDI Infrastructure Programme. Where schools identified storm-damaged, dangerous and hazardous buildings, that the Department gave focussed attention to these schools.
- Water and Sanitation – Ensure that schools were supplied with adequate water supply through collaboration with municipalities, digging boreholes and ensuring water tanks were filled as required.
- Technical Mathematics and Science – Ensure that educators who taught these subjects received ongoing support, training and development to equip them to teach these subjects with confidence.
- Psychosocial Support – Ensured that, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Department of Social Development, both educators and learners had the services of psychologists and social workers to assist with their mental health.
- Educators with Comorbidities – Ensured the accommodating of teachers with comorbidities – where teachers applied for leave, this should be processed and managed.
- Non-Payment of EEIs - The payment of EEIs needed to be fast-tracked to ensure all EEIs received their payments.
- Overcrowding – Ensured that schools were monitored to check implementation of admission policy and not accept more learners than they could accommodate. Principals needed to be held accountable for such overcrowding.
- Shortages of LTSM – Ensured that where schools had reported shortages, the Department urgently made arrangements for these shortages be made available to schools affected.
- Post-Provisioning Norms (PPN) – Ensured that vacant posts were filled as a matter of urgency, especially taking into account the looming reopening of schools. Schools had lost educators due to the pandemic and these vacancies needed to be filled. The Department needs to focus on attracting and retaining skilled and qualified educators, especially for Maths and Science – and ensure these educators received ongoing training and development. A balance should be found between the employment of Funza Lushaka graduates and non-Funza Lushaka graduates.
- NSNP – Ensured that NSNP service providers delivered food as required on time. Also ensure
that learners received their food parcels – even during the period they are not at school.
- E-Learning and ICT – Ensure that, through collaboration with the Department of
Communications and relevant network service providers, to erect signal towers in rural areas to ensure schools were able to receive network coverage and signal.
- School Safety and Security – The Department found ways to assist and support school’s in
ensuring proper safety and security of school premises and school property. This could be achieved by collaborating with the Security Cluster and also ensure that schools were linked to their nearest police station. School needed to implement the adopt-a-cop initiative.
- Scholar Transport –Through engagements with National Treasury, ensured that provinces
received sufficient budgets to fully implement the scholar transport programme to prevent overcrowding of busses and ensure deserving learners had access to the scholar transport programme.
The delegation, led by the Hon B P Mbinqo-Gigaba MP, thanked Members of the Provincial Legislature Committee on Education, Members of the Provincial Departments of Education and the National Department of Basic Education for their support given during the oversight visits. 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
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