Statement on the signing of the Delivery Agreement for Basic Education by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, Union Buildings
29 Oct 2010
As you well know, we are here to sign the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 1: ‘Improved quality of basic education’.
This moment is a landmark in improving the schooling system of this country.
Government has prioritised the improvement of the quality of basic education as Outcome 1 of a total of 12 outcomes representing the top priorities of government. This makes basic education the apex priority of this administration.
Given that the schooling system has been performing below its potential, improving basic education outcomes is a prerequisite for the country’s long-range development goals.
Clearly, success in education will greatly influence the capacity to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, the goal around rolling back the frontiers of poverty.
As President Jacob Zuma has correctly said, ‘our education targets are simple but critical’. The need is fairly straightforward as far as the basic education sector is concerned.
Our children and young people need to be better prepared by their schools to read, write, think critically and solve numerical problems.
These skills are the foundations on which further studies, job satisfaction, productivity and meaningful citizenship are based.
The Delivery Agreement we are signing is a negotiated charter reflecting the commitment of the key partners involved in the direct delivery process.
It stipulates the activities to be undertaken to produce the mutually agreed-upon outputs, which in turn will contribute to achieving Outcome 1, ‘Improved quality of basic education’.
The Delivery Agreement is based on the following four outputs:
- Output 1: Improve the quality of teaching and learning
This output is informed by the pressing need to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
If this happens, not only will learners know more at the end of each school year, they are also more likely to remain in school for longer.
- Output 2: Undertake regular assessment to track progress
There has been insufficient measurement of the quality of teaching and learning below Grade 12. It is envisaged that Annual National Assessments will improve and become a cornerstone of quality improvements in South Africa’s schools, providing important information on learning and its context to teachers, parents, district officials and the country as a whole.
- Output 3: Improve early childhood development (ECD)
Output 3 is based on evidence pointing to the importance of pre-Grade 1 schooling in improving learning outcomes throughout primary and secondary schooling. Essentially, if children are given a good educational foundation early in life, they find it easier to learn beyond Grade 1. The task of improving the quality of Grade R and ECD generally will extend beyond 2014.
- Output 4: Ensure a credible, outcomes-focused planning and accountability system
This outcome emphasises the need to make schooling more accountable. It is necessary to know where under-performance occurs and the underlying reasons for this so that timely and well-targeted interventions can occur. The logic is that neither poor performance nor outstanding performance should go unnoticed.
As you will see in the actual copy of the Delivery Agreement, below these four outputs there are eight sub-outputs; namely
- Improve teacher capacity and practices;
- Increase access to high quality learning materials;
- Establish a world class system of standardised national assessments;
- Extract key lessons from ongoing participation in international assessments;
- Universalise access to Grade R;
- Improve the quality of early childhood development;
- Strengthen school management and promote functional schools; and
- Strengthen the capacity of district offices.
The sub-outputs relate to the 27 goals of the Action Plan to 2014: Towards the realisation of Schooling 2025, which is a long-term plan for transforming basic education in South Africa. This way, through the relation between sub-outputs and the 27 goals, the Delivery Agreement is linked to the Action Plan. Incidentally, the closing date for submission of comments on the Action Plan is today.
We are very impressed by the volume of responses received and the level of interest our people have shown in the need to improve the quality of basic education in South Africa.
The signatories to this agreement are the national Minister of Basic Education, the national Deputy Minister of Basic Education, the nine provincial Members of the Executive Council for Education (education MECs) and an additional 17 Ministers whose departments have a direct or indirect role to play in the improvement of basic education.
These signatories form the core team of delivery partners. However, their work is dependent on good relations and ongoing collaboration with many organisations, a selection of which includes:
- The teacher unions;
- Organisations representing school governing bodies;
- Non-government organisations and faith-based organisations working with schools;
- Organisations representing the business sector; and
- Labour unions in general.
The following statutory bodies and parastatals:
- Umalusi, also known as the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training;
- South African Council for Educators (SACE);
- Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC);
- The universities;
- ETDP SETA (Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority);
- Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); and
- Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Lastly, the fact that we have signed this important Delivery Agreement together with the education MECs means that it binds all of us to deliver an improved quality of basic education.
Signing the Agreement is only the beginning. With the support of everyone concerned about the education of our children, our task going-forward is to deliver on the measurable outputs as outlined.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
29 Oct 2010
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