National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Policy Debate on Vote 15: Basic Education by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education
24 May 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
Indeed it is a privilege, for which we’re very grateful, to address this esteemed Council on the occasion of the Policy Debate on Vote 15, which is Basic Education.
Most importantly, we appear before the National Council of Provinces oozing with confidence and pride of a decolonised people for this debate unfolds on the eve of Africa Day.
In spite of vestiges of our racist past now rearing once more their ugly heads on our shores, Africa Day reminds us of the road the continent has traversed through centuries of colonialism and underdevelopment.
Education is rightly one of our greatest priorities. We know that it is not a panacea for all social ills. But still, it is a public good with huge economic and social benefits.
Centuries of inequality and neglect of schooling for black people, for Africans in particular, have had extremely negative effects. Not to acknowledge this is to be party to what political analyst, Aubrey Matshiqi, has called ‘apartheid denialism.’
We build in this budget on significant gains in achieving equity, efficiency and access for all our people.
We’re mindful of the distance we have to travel and this is what informs our policy priorities and strategic response to key government tasks as outlined by President Jacob Zuma during the 2012 State of the Nation Address (SoPA).
Budget for 2012/13
The consolidated investment in the basic education sector, encompassing national office and provincial Education Departments, is R179.834 billion. This makes education an important driver of government’s transformation agenda.
The overall budget for 2012/13 for the Department of Basic Education, Vote 15, has increased from R13.868 billion of 2011/12 to R16.344 billion. It is an increase of R2.475 billion.
On earmarked amounts, allocations for 2012/13 include R520.9 million for the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy campaign. This initiative has already touched 1.6 million adults.
This being the midterm of our office, it’s important to reflect on where we are in discharging our mandate. We’ve become more equitable and more pro-poor and have extended educational opportunities to over 12 million learners.
We are very encouraged because more young people are completing Grade 9, an increase from 80% in 2003 to 88% in 2010, with more young people completing Grade 12.
School attendance is close to 100% for the basic compulsory band, in the 7-15 year age-range. We’re concerned though that just over 120 000 children in that band are out of school. We have requested provincial Education Departments to look into this matter. As a sector, we’re engaging on interventions for improving learner retention rates.
On pro-poor policies, the number of learners in no-fee schools exceeds our 60% target. This year, 69.3% of learners are in more than 20 000 no-fee schools. Total expenditure for school allocation on no-fee schools at the national target level is projected to be in excess of R7.7 billion.
The National School Nutrition Programme Conditional Grant has increased to R4.907 billion.
National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams
We have passed the target of improving the Grade 12 National Senior Certificate pass rate by 10%, by 2014. This target we set after the alarming pass rate for 2009 which was 60.6%.
The overall pass rate combining the November 2011 and March 2012 supplementary exams is 72.7%. ‘Thank you’ to all patriots for making this possible.
We are implementing a new national strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology education and this June, we will convene a Maths and Science Indaba with key education stakeholders involved in the teaching of math and science.
We have identified 4 priority areas for 2012/13, to make schools work better. These are Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), Annual National Assessments, Workbooks and Infrastructure. These are in addition to ongoing focus on the 3 Ts of Teachers, Text and Time.
As we said last year, focus is on prudent implementation of revised CAPS, starting with Grades 1 to 3 and 10, this year.
We will refine and use ANA to monitor performance of learners in the critical foundational skills of literacy and numeracy.
We will expand provision of texts to schools. In 2011 we have provided workbooks to 6 million learners and have conducted a survey of their utilisation. Workbooks for Grades 1- 6 were adapted and are being prepared for Braille.
This year we have extended the workbooks to cover Grades 7, 8 and 9 and are providing 54 million books to learners at no cost to parents. Indeed we’re very proud of this achievement.
On textbooks, a national catalogue for Grades 1-3 and Grade 10 has been developed and distributed to provinces for procurement of core materials for schools. A national catalogue for Grades 4-6 and Grade 11 is being developed and will be finalised in June and July 2012. A National Catalogue for Grades 7-9 and 12 will also be finalised in 2012/13.
We will continue to do more to fast-track provision and improvement of school infrastructure. The total budget allocation for the Education Infrastructure Grant for the 2012/13 financial year is R 5,822, 398 billion.
Our targets are: eradication of 496 inappropriate structures, provision of basic water to 1257 schools; Provision of basic sanitation to 868 schools and electrification of 878 schools.
In 2011/12, 55 schools were provided with water, 115 with sanitation and 48 with electrification. Fifty inappropriate schools are in construction for completion by end of 2012 and will be ready for occupation by 2013. We’re attending to programme delays caused by capacity challenges among our Implementing Agents and contractors.
In partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and other partners, last month we launched the 94+ Schools Infrastructure Project as part of International Mandela Day. You can make this a success by supporting a school of your choice.
We will invest more energy also on critical areas influencing implementation of our 2012 priorities, including the following:
We believe our system is as good as its teachers. Continuous teacher professional development will be upscaled. Again we urge teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least 7 hours a day.
For 2012/13, provincial Education Departments are spending over R3 billion on teacher development. We will conduct an audit process to support functionality of teacher resource centres. This will include a scoping for the development of new centres in the provinces. Now we have 144 teacher centres.
A process is underway to streamline the Integrated Quality Management System, to improve evaluation of educators’ performance. An integrated assessment instrument to improve performance of principals, deputy principals and teachers is in its final stages of negotiation.
NEEDU is another element of our accountability system. It has been allocated R12.5 million. We gazetted its Bill in December 2011. Thank you for valuable comments received.
For 2012/13, the Funza Lushaka scheme has been allocated R671.9 million. Let’s encourage the young to take teaching as a profession of first choice.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Implementation of the Teacher Laptop Initiative is back on track with more teachers enabled to access this resource. Work on a new funding model, procurement and administration processes to strengthen the initiative is going very well and during the latter part of this year we will announce accordingly.
The establishment of 9 ICT resource centres, one per province, sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation, is expected to accelerate training of teachers in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning.
Our sincere thanks go to the Telkom Foundation for their support in the eradication of multi-grade classes across the country.Their R5 million investment of 50 mobile units which include three laptops, one flat screen TV, a DVD player, Dstv connectivity and 800 books will go a long way in assisting us in providing quality learning and teaching in 50 of our multi-grade schools.
Planning and delivery oversight unit
As promised last year, we did establish a Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit. It is working with provinces to support underperforming districts.
We have aligned provincial annual performance plans to the action plan. We are also hard at work to restore stability and service delivery in provinces under Section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
To reduce health and social barriers to learning, we’re working with the Department of Health to expand and strengthen school health services.
The HIV and AIDS life skill education conditional grant for 2012/13 is R208.7 million.
In November 2011, we launched a new initiative on sport in education and already there is great excitement around it.
We will work more closely with partners in education to drive the implementation of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) accord on Basic Education.
We appeal to delegates to support the Adopt-A-School campaign which is indeed gathering momentum and enjoying commendable support of unions and companies.
We took very seriously resolutions of the African National Congress (ANC) Education Policy Summit, held in April (2012), which noted the following systemic barriers inhibiting implementation of key strategic programmes in the sector:
- Monitoring and evaluation of performance of all officials, including educators
- Post provisioning and deployment of educators
- Conditions of service and annual bargaining processes
- Resourcing of education (including infrastructure, and capacitating governance structures) and
- Preparedness and capacity of government officials to implement policies and legislation to maintain a stable human resources and labour relations environment.
I take this opportunity to thank members and Chairperson of our Select Committee for your hands-on approach. We’re confident of this council’s support, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and fulfilling Africa Day.
Lastly, our efforts in education should lead to the restoration of humanity to all our people in a climate that would foster respect for the dignity of every citizen, with everybody protected from any abominable colonial ‘state of undress’.
I thank you!
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
24 May 2012
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