Council of Education Ministers meeting, 23 February 2009
23 February 2009
The Council of Education Ministers met today in Johannesburg for its final scheduled meeting under this administration, and considered the following matters.
The Minister shared with MECs the report of the task team into the delay in the release of matric results, and Council discussed some of the findings in the report. According to the report a variety of factors contributed to delays, including incompetence or neglect of duty in some cases, but also systemic issues at a national level, some related to the new computer system being used. In most cases, the delays were as a result of a tightening up of the system, and a lack of compliance with the new requirements.
The report has been referred to the Committee of Heads of Education to take the necessary follow-up action. A report to Council today indicated how each of the matters identified in the report will be addressed before the 2009 examinations. Council is confident that this situation will not be repeated. The DoE has apologized to all candidates whose results were delayed, and has appealed to any who feel they have been unduly prejudiced to contact the Department to see if any redress can be provided.
The task-team report will be provided to the Public Protector and to the Human Rights Commission.
NSC supplementary examinations
Supplementary examinations, which started on 17 February for over 123 000 candidates, are progressing well. Final results of the NSC class of 2008 will be released on a date to be announced.
Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign
Council agreed to intensify the implementation of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, a social compact between the education department and other role-players, including unions, student organizations, as well as SGB and community organisations. It was stressed that the focus on the non-negotiables for each stakeholder could improve quality teaching, learning and administrative support. The report indicates a valuable set of engagements between district-level officials and teacher union leaders, as well as with the Education Portfolio Committee of Parliament.
Quarterly infrastructure report
The report showed that all provinces have made satisfactory progress in the completion of capital projects during 2008. It was noted that 248 schools had been damaged in recent storms around the country. Provinces indicated that this had put pressure on available infrastructure, and in some cases temporary facilities and other contingency arrangements had been used to accommodate affected learners.
ABET Level 2 classes ready for Kha Ri Gude graduates
The Kha Ri Gude campaign that was started in all provinces last year has reached over 350 000 learners, who are currently being assessed and encouraged to advance to level 2 ABET classes. The campaign will reach 700,000 learners this year.
Dinaledi schools join the 100 club
A report on the 2008 NSC results of Dinaledi schools revealed that 16 dinaledi schools joined the maths 100 club (those schools with over 100 learners passing maths at 50% and over). Of these dinaledi schools 7 are in Gauteng, 4 in KZN and 4 in Limpopo. There are also 5 dinaledi schools with more than 100 learners passing physical science at 50% or over.
In 2008, there were 74 schools in the 100 Club.
The Minister introduced the 100-club initiative in 2006 to highlight the number of mathematics higher-grade passes at a school. Qualifying schools, with at least 100 such passes, receive a cash prize of R25 000 from First National Bank and a further R25 000 from the Department of Education.
In 2007 only 14 schools, mostly former Model C institutions, were members of the 100 Club.
School meals for secondary schools
Funds have been made available to expand the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) to quintile 1 secondary schools as from April 2009. Departmental officials have visited provinces to assess the state of readiness to initiate this, and to finalise plans for the implementation of this programme.
Eastern Cape intergovernmental protocol signed
Following a request from the Eastern Cape province, the Department of Education has agreed to assist the provincial department in various areas. An Intergovernmental Protocol was signed today by the Minister and the MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape to give legal effect to this agreement.
Click here to view the Eastern Cape intergovernmental protocol agreement document
General Education Certificate
Council agreed to select a representative sample of schools for purposes of piloting the national assessment of Grade 9 learners. These schools will assist us to prepare for the introduction of the General Education Certificate (GEC), which will be available to all learners from 2010.
Provinces were congratulated on the significant improvement in the delivery of learning and teaching support material for the 2009 school year. This has ensured that teaching and learning can commence from day 1, and should contribute to improved performance this year.
Funding to small schools
The Council agreed to revise the funding norms for small schools, which will guarantee them a minimum allocation from the departments to ensure that they can function properly. These changes will be further consulted with school governing bodies.
Review of school funding
Council discussed possible amendments to the South African Schools Act and the National Norms and Standards for School Funding to overcome many of the problems faced in relation to quintiles and fee exemptions, and with a view to bringing about greater equity. These draft amendments have been widely consulted, and attracted wide support from a variety of stakeholders.
Council approved the broad thrust of the proposals, but indicated it required further time to discuss the amendments, which will constitute a major reform in public school funding. Once Council is satisfied with the amendments, they will be released to the public for comment.
Electioneering in schools
Council agreed that political parties should not conduct any campaigning directed at learners or teachers during school time, and called upon all role-players and political leaders to respect teaching and learning time, and to ensure that teachers or learners were not taken out of class for any reason. Teachers and learners should not be allowed to attend campaign meetings during school hours.
Council expressed concern about the place of billboards on school property, and urged the Department to develop guidelines on school billboards, especially regarding the advertising of alcohol or tobacco products, as well as political messages.
Issued by the Ministry of Education