Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you warmly for affording us a chance to present our budget vote speech. Our theme this year is “a delivery-driven basic education system informed by the Delivery Agreement”.
Indeed we are truly honoured to account to the nation in the Month of Freedom. We entreat Parliament to approve our budget at a time when the nation is renewing its sacred vows and commitment to the values of human dignity, equality and freedom for all.
An educated citizenry will help us unite the nation, promote democracy and protect our freedom. Education is our hope for attaining the regeneration of Africa envisioned by Pixley Ka Seme and other pioneers of the ANC.
As Professor Es'kia Mphahlele rightly said, alternative education, which we have committed to since the dawn of democracy, can pave the way for a transformative and humane educational system for all.
In 2004, to rally support for the Education for All campaign, UNESCO underlined the importance of transformative education when it said, I quote:
“Empirical research has demonstrated that good schooling improves national economic potential – quality of the labour force...appears to be an important determinant of economic growth, and thus of the ability of government to alleviate poverty.”
The value of education is echoed in our Delivery Agreement which states that in the context of high unemployment and skills shortage, reducing poverty depends on giving South Africans a better educational start in life. This is precisely what makes education the apex priority; the real reason for working together to create a delivery-driven basic education system.
How we handle education will make or break our children and the future of our country. We know from Antonio Gramsci that education “is a process of inculcating a sense of knowledge with the aim to mould and refine a human being by way of acquisition of knowledge with the purpose of enskilling or making a person competent” (cited in Commemorative Lecture, Mwamwenda, 2008: 65).
Budget for 2011/12
Our allocations testify to the commitment of the ANC-led government to educating and “enskilling” our children. The overall budget for our Department for the 2011/2012 financial year has increased by R6.369 billion to R13.868 billion.
When we presented the 2010 budget vote speech we made bold to say we have made huge strides in education since the advent of democracy in 1994. We committed to do more to resolve challenges affecting delivery of quality education.
Our systems, we conceded, needed improving efficiently and effectively to deliver on our targets.
We acknowledged shortcomings in the system, some of which demonstrated by research showing that our weakness lies in the quality of education.
In the light of the systemic challenges in education, we then made a commitment to Parliament that we will develop, by 2010, an education sector plan that would serve as a blueprint for turning around schooling.
The Action Plan was meant to establish key outcomes and performance deliverables for the entire education system, including the national and provincial departments.
As a compass, we used the President’s declaration of 2010 as “The Year of Action”. We can announce boldly that we have delivered on this important task of producing an action plan for education.
On 2 August 2010, we gazetted Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. This step we took after consultation with the Council of Education Ministers and in terms of the National Education Policy Act (of 1996).
Put differently, the Action Plan is our heading arrow for improving learning outcomes. It will help in navigating stormy seas towards the education harbour we all endeavour to reach. It must help us to achieve full functionality and advance our resolve to make all public schools function optimally for better learning outcomes.
This Plan gives strategic direction on various aspects of basic education, including, enrolments and retention of learners, educators, infrastructure, school funding, learner wellbeing, school safety, mass literacy and educational quality.
Alarmed by low achievement in 2009 in the Grade 12 National Senior Certificate exams, we committed to improve the pass rate by 10%, by 2014.
Last year, despite the fact that we found ourselves plunging into a sea of bewilderment when the ship of basic education came face to face with a brooding teachers’ strike, we weathered the storm and achieved an impressive 67.8% pass-rate, showing our systems are improving.
We recorded an increase of 7.2% on the 2009 pass-rate of 60.6%, just 2.8% short of the 10% we had promised to deliver by 2014.
Most importantly, we turned the tide and rolled back the downward spiral of the past years. The challenge is to maintain or improve results. 70% is within reach.
In May 2011, provinces will release results of supplementary exams. This will impact on overall performance of the Class of 2010.
Report on the CAPS process
Regarding the curriculum, we promised to proceed with due deliberation and decisiveness to implement recommendations of the Ministerial Committee established in 2009 to review the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement.
We are satisfied with the state of progress on preparations for incremental implementation, from January 2012, commencing with the Foundation Phase and Grade 10. The CAPS for Foundation Phase and Further Education and Training Phase have been finalised and submitted to the publishers for textbook development.
Once the CAPS have been edited they will be gazetted and placed on the DBE and Thutong websites. Printing will begin in May 2011 and distribution to district offices in June 2011.
The National Curriculum Statement (2002) will be amended to consist of CAPS for each subject and the National Policy pertaining to the Programme and Promotion Requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12. This policy explains the subject selections and promotion requirements for all four school phases. The National Protocol for Assessment (Grades R-12) will provide guidance on school-based management of assessment and assessment records.
We have trained 365 subject advisors for the Foundation Phase. Provinces have targeted school holidays to orientate Foundation Phase and Grade 10 teachers in preparation for implementation in 2012. By the end of the July holidays, provinces will have trained about 108 807 teachers.
There was clear evidence, given low levels of performance that still persisted widely in the system, that we required an effective performance evaluation system through which quality of education could be enhanced.
It was therefore agreed, as early as 2007, that a new external agency had to be established to evaluate the entire education system and report to the Ministry and the public on the state of education in South African schools.
Having investigated the mandate, scope, name, location and modus operandi of the proposed structure, we promised to operationalise this new evaluation agency and appoint staff appropriately qualified to head and direct its work.
Accordingly, on 17-18 March 2011, we launched the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU). I’m glad to announce the appointment of its inaugural CEO, Prof John Volmink, effective from 1 July 2010. Since then, six additional staff members have been appointed to the NEEDU team.
It will have a lean national team, responsible for policy development, coordination, quality assurance and reporting.
The core responsibilities of NEEDU are to identify the critical factors that inhibit or advance school improvement and to make focused recommendations for redressing the problem areas that undermine school improvement.
The main task would be to provide the Ministry with an authoritative, analytical and accurate account on the state of education in South Africa, in particular, on the status of teaching and learning in all schools.
In this way, through independent evaluation of schools, and as part of its objectives, NEEDU will therefore help us to:
- Establish frameworks for school accountability;
- Establish the causes of poor school performance;
- Learn more about the factors responsible for school functionality and excellence;
- Make policy recommendations on how to improve school functionality; and
- Disseminate good practices about school improvement.
A Draft Bill has been developed based on the report of the 2008 Ministerial Committee on NEEDU and informed by an analysis of public comments; consultations with DBE; consultations with provincial officials and consultations with practitioners, academics and teacher unions.
As per recommendations of the 2008 Ministerial Committee, NEEDU “will absorb the Whole School Evaluation function of the national and provincial departments of education as it currently stands, while the IQMS function will continue to be honoured as an ELRC agreement operating under the authority of the Department of Basic Education.”
By launching NEEDU, we have delivered a vital agency that will advance the goal of creating a delivery-driven basic education system. We therefore look forward to the support of this House in finalising relevant legislation.
Quality education, which we are striving to deliver through interventions such as NEEDU, also takes place in an educational environment where learning is supported by high quality learning and teaching support materials.
Last year, we promised to provide high quality workbooks in Literacy and Numeracy for Grades 1 - 6 learners, and Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills for Grade R learners, to improve and enhance the quality of learning. We have developed the high quality workbooks as promised.
Workbook 1 was rolled out to schools from January 2011. A total of 11 946 386 workbooks were delivered to schools, but with difficulties and delays in some schools. Some of the delays were caused by unreliable EMIS data, incorrect addresses for some schools and new schools not being on the database.
Workbook 2 will reach learners in June 2011. To limit errors, the Department has determined the number of learners and will verify the data with Provincial Education Departments. District managers and principals will be informed of the process of delivery.
The workbooks have been developed differently and with huge savings and much has been learnt from the process of their development and the money will be ploughed back into the system to add more learner support materials.
Going forward, we will be able to add more workbooks in other subjects and extend their provision to other grades, beyond Grade 6. That is delivery, vital for a delivery-driven basic education system!
Further on, we committed before this House to improve performance of Grades 3, 6 and 9, from an average performance of between 27% and 38% to at least 60%, by 2014.
One way of doing this was to administer Annual National Assessments that are standardised and internationally benchmarked.
The analysis of the results of such assessments would inform the plans we adopt to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
We started in February 2011 with Grades 1-6 and Grade 10. Approximately 6.5 million learners participated in the process. We will release the report on 29 April 2011. The results will be shared with parents and will also help with the necessary data essential for informed planning and interventions to improve educational outcomes.
Our deliverables for 2010/11 included improving teacher subject and pedagogical knowledge fully to realise the rights of all learners to quality education.
The key responsibility for ensuring that teachers are supported to deliver the national curriculum we placed squarely at the door of the National Department.
We targeted, for the period 2010/11 - 2014/15, having at least 8000 principals and deputy principals completing the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership and Management. For better support for schools, we had to strengthen subject advisor's knowledge of the school curriculum and their skills for supporting teachers to implement the curriculum more effectively, through specific programmes.
Early Childhood Development
Armed with the knowledge that the early years of the child are very critical for the acquisition of skills and concepts that lay the foundation for lifelong learning, we committed to up our efforts in the area of Early Childhood Development.
Last year, the Department trained more than 10 000 ECD practitioners through the Expanded Public Works Programme. We will strive further to expand access to Grade R ensuring that it provides quality programmes to compensate for socio-economic deprivation and low family literacy, and is universalised, by 2014, as we promised.
In spite of the footprints we have made, we still have many rivers to cross. Current institutional challenges include: inefficiencies resulting in poor management and weak financial controls. This we see in some provinces continuing to receive qualified reports.
Among other things, we are faced with poor accountability in different parts of the system; poor planning, monitoring and evaluation; poorly designed institutional structures that are not aligned to the key role of the department because of poor focus on the key role of instructional responsibilities for an education department, especially at district level, thus making it difficult to deliver on the key mandate of the department; and unsettling safety levels in schools.
The education system is also plagued by learner related challenges around: learner wellbeing, exacerbated by poverty and social deprivation; Ill-discipline and youth criminality; and reproductive health-related problems, like teenage pregnancy.
Members would recall the recent attack of a teacher in Soweto and the shocking case around an illicit sexual incident at Jules High School. Incidences of rape in schools have also been reported in schools around the country, including in Limpopo.
It is behind this background that we launched the Bill of Responsibilities in partnership with Lead South Africa and the South African Inter-Faith Council. This will help in raising awareness around the Bill of Responsibilities so as to promote the Bill of Rights, constitutional values and civic responsibilities.
Educator related challenges include: educator wellbeing, which is aggravated by the nation’s burden of disease, such as the impact of HIV and AIDS; low levels of skills, commitment and discipline, and inappropriate working conditions.
Whilst great progress has been made, the sector needs to intensify ongoing work in the area of curriculum development, implementation and monitoring.
In 2011 we will see to it that there is greater focus by the sector on the importance of instruction. Principals should see themselves as instructional leaders in the main, districts as supporters of schools on instructional delivery and just the entire system should appreciate that it exists in the main for instructional purposes.
We have evidence that some of our schools continue not to manage and cover the curriculum adequately; there are ongoing challenges with the quality of teaching and assessment and with ineffective school-based systems for monitoring curriculum delivery.
It is also important to note that our educational outcomes continue to reflect our country’s socio-economic patterns of inequalities mainly based on race and apartheid settlement patterns. Schools servicing Black and African children, especially in rural areas, continue to service our children badly.
So, one of our major challenges remains addressing inequalities in the system. In line with our theme that ‘every child is our national asset’, working with our provinces we will strive to make sure that no child is left behind.
Given the many challenges plaguing the education system, and the need effectively to respond to them, better to support the national goal of achieving inclusive growth and economic freedom, we have decided to up the bar and work even much harder towards “a delivery-driven basic education system.
Whilst the government has committed itself to an outcomes driven service delivery, the Department still has to align itself to outcomes delivery processes.
Following a process of consultations and deliberations within the Department, with Deputy Minister Surty, we have come to the conclusion that during the 2011 financial year, we should up our current delivery programme through the establishment of a Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit.
This unit’s mandate will be to take forward the processes and initiatives currently underway, guided by the current administration’s outcomes approach. Among other things, it will have to work with and through provinces to weave together all the current initiatives so as to allow for a coherent value chain from policy to implementation in the classroom.
Using resources allocated in this financial year, the department of basic education will use its mandate, of being responsible for curriculum policy, monitoring and evaluation, to develop this value chain in order to take the process of improving the quality of education to a higher level.
Our single most important deliverable for 2011/12 will therefore be the establishment of the high-level Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit whose task it is to ignite the delivery process. We will give full details on this unit in the next 8 weeks.
The rationale behind the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit is that as things stand now, we really need a mechanism effectively to unblock bottlenecks to make the current system work better, faster and smarter.
As a radical break with the past, we will use the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit to align and integrate our programmes and to refocus everybody around our core business – effective delivery of the curriculum. This has also been informed by international experiences of systems change, as required by our current department.
Its 4 key functions are the following:
- Bringing our focus back on instruction;
- Providing coherence and linkages that will bind our strategies and cross-border activities into a larger whole;
- Setting up an effective value-chain across the system; and
- Helping to build an integrated and transparent system based on the principles of evaluation, monitoring and accountability.
Whilst we will continue to focus our attention on improving the quality of education as a whole, key areas and major challenges of the system will still receive attention.
An amount of R29.2 million has been allocated in 2011/12 for attaining full functionality in the fairly new Department.
The Department will continue to focus on the following levers to steer this quality education outcomes improvement programme:
Given the key role of gateway subjects in accelerating economic transformation and growth, we will do more to improve performance in Mathematics and Science. We’re already developing a Maths and Technology Strategy to reinforce the Dinaledi Schools programme which has received a conditional grant amounting to R70 million in 2011/12, and will reach R105.5 million in 2013/14.
To improve literacy standards in the system, our initiatives will also benefit from improving competency in languages, in particular, in English First Additional Language.
After the CAPS have been finalised and gazetted, we will begin a process of benchmarking to establish their comparability on an international scale.
An allocation of R80 million for the printing and distribution of curriculum review documents has been secured for 2011/12.
To further enhance quality within the system, there is an additional allocation of R14.197 million in 2011/12 for the NCS examinations and assessment function.
All our efforts that are aimed at enhancing the quality of learning outcomes will indeed benefit immensely from heeding the President’s call, in the 2011 State of the Nation Address, for undivided focus on the ‘Triple Ts’, that is, teachers, text and time.
Thus, working with Provincial Departments of Education, we will ensure that we indeed deliver on the objective of providing a textbook for every learner, in every subject.
Plans for the central procurement of Learning and Teaching Support Materials are underway. We will appoint a national management agency to manage this process. This will result in an efficient service through which we will eliminate risks associated with expensive and inefficient procurement processes which have up to now made it difficult for us to provide every child with a book in every subject.
We have agreed with provinces on the need to consolidate the selection process of quality textbooks to ensure that we get the best books, cost-effectively, with 2014 being our target for full coverage. This process will be linked to the enforcement of a book policy which has been developed already.
To strengthen our efforts, information derived from the Annual National Assessments, alongside other information from the Department, will be used by the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit to classify schools for focused support better to improve curriculum implementation.
But all these efforts will not adequately produce a delivery-driven basic education system without quality teachers. We will therefore up our work on teacher development proactively to advance the Triple Ts and ensure that teachers are in class, teaching, at least seven hours a day, as President Zuma has directed. Teachers are a critical resource for improving quality.
On 5 April 2011, with Minister Nzimande, we launched the Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development. It is key to achieving output 1 of the Delivery Agreement, that is, improving teacher capacity and practices.
Work has already started on the establishment of a national institute for curriculum and professional development. A stakeholder seminar will be held shortly on this matter.
Through the Funza Lushaka bursary, we produced close to 5 534 teachers in only 4 years; over 65% are employed in Quintile 1 - 3 schools, and serve the poorest of the poor. In 2011/12, Funza Lushaka bursaries have increased to R449.44 million and will reach R893.867 million in 2013/14.
We have instructed our teacher development branch to improve current challenges around the programme, including learner targeting and improving placements of graduates in schools once they have completed their studies.
Improving conditions of service for teachers is a top priority. Last year, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Occupation Specific Dispensation was stepped up.
We will continue to monitor full implementation of OSD by provinces to ensure unintended consequences are addressed.
Our targets include attracting young qualified teachers and filling vacant posts to help advance this year’s clarion call for the creation of decent jobs and economic freedom for all.
We have also begun a process of supporting and collaborating with our teacher unions and Higher Education Institutions on teacher professional development work. We see this as an important milestone in creating a high-level professional culture of commitment to teaching and professional development.
Our Lifetime Achiever, Mr Piet Swart, selected at the last National Teaching Awards, is an epitome of our capacity to produce excellent educators. We just need to do more. He is here with us today.
In his 36 years of teaching, Mr Swart counts as his greatest achievement the role he played in 1996 to convince parents to agree to a phased-in multicultural policy for his school – Hoerskool Ben Vorster, in Tzaneen. His school has won the trophy for the best performing school in the Mopani district 9 out of 10 times and its Grade 12 pass rate has been 100% for the past 7 years.
From 2011, these awards will also recognise excellent schools in the different quintiles and schools improving with sustained strides.
The baseline of the Department has been adjusted with an amount of R43.981 million for the Extended Public Works Programme: Social Sector: Kha Ri Gude.
This allocation will help strengthen our resolve to make millions of our people to become literate and numerate and help us to deliver on the UN: Education For All commitment made at Dakar in 2000 – that of halving illiteracy rates by 2015.
We will intensify our work on strengthening school management and governance. A major deficiency we are striving to address with regard to principals is that circuit managers are not adequately held accountable for supporting schools and for assessing performance of principals.
The Department is reinforcing the training of principals, particularly those from underperforming schools. The focus will be on making principals also appreciate their role as instructional leaders. They have to know what is happening in the classrooms in their schools.
In 2010/11, 1488 principals were registered for the Advanced Certificate in Education in Management and Leadership.
In weaving together this delivery value chain, the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit, working with and through provinces, will use as a point-of-departure the Guideline Document on Roles and Responsibilities of Districts that has been developed.
This document places at the centre an improved quality of learning outcomes and is intended to guide district support to schools.
The Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit’s initial task will be to focus on improving the performance of 18 poorly performing districts in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. These are the districts which over a period of 3 years have consistently underperformed in the NSC exams.
The funds allocated for school infrastructure will be used for building infrastructure in line with our improvement plan. We will work with communities at all levels, encouraging their participation and urging them to take ownership of school buildings. A community facilitation team has already been constituted to work with school communities.
A professional team on the built skills is being established to help the Department manage and monitor its service providers.
The motivation for managing this fund is not only to ensure quality infrastructure at the right price and with the necessary speed to alleviate the plight of our children, but also, to ensure that education communities take ownership of infrastructure built in their communities.
We will eradicate mud and unsafe structures. For 2011/12, we have prioritised 85 mud schools and 246 inappropriate structures. We will provide water to at least 807 schools, provide sanitation to 391 and electricity to 286 schools.
For free standing facilities without adequate resources, we will build 29 administration blocks, 25 libraries and 6 laboratories.
An allocation of R5.498 billion for the Education Infrastructure Conditional Grant has been introduced for the 2011/12 financial year which will increase to R6.207 billion in 2013/14.
The School Infrastructure backlogs Indirect Grant of R700 million for 2011/12 has also been introduced; it will increase to R5.189 billion in 2013/14.
Working with provinces, by 2014 we would have attended to 3627 schools that need to be brought to basic functionality and safety levels.
We will gazette all schools that are going to be built including implementation guidelines.
Learner wellness is another crucial element demanding our undivided attention. Therefore, we will continue to pay serious attention to the health, safety and protection of children, mainly children at risk.
With the knowledge of the impact of poor nutrition and health on quality teaching and learning, the National School Nutrition Programme will continue with more involvement of and beneficiation to communities.
In 2011/12, this programme reached over 10 million learners in approximately 21 000 schools. For 2011/12, the National Schools Nutrition Programme conditional grant has increased to R915 million to cater mainly for implementation in Quintile 3 secondary schools.
To further advance learner wellbeing, we will continue to focus on building a national identity among learners and educators by, inter alia, encouraging schools to celebrate significant national and international days.
We have implemented the Health Screening Programme through two School Health Weeks conducted in March and October 2010. This programme commenced with Foundation Phase learners in quintile 1 schools and has reached in excess of 150 000 learners, overshooting the 50 000 target we had set. In 2011, the Programme will be rolled out to Grade 1 learners in all Quintile 1 primary schools.
In 2010/11, the Department developed learner focused guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse in schools. In 2011/12, we will extend the programme to capacitate teachers and parents to identify signs of abuse, provide support, and help in protecting learners from possible abuse.
In collaboration with the police, we will focus increasingly on promoting safety in schools and combating sexual abuse, criminality, violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
Accordingly, we have tasked the branch responsible for social cohesion with the responsibility of focusing on learner wellbeing broadly, not only in terms of health screening and testing, but also to develop a social protection programme for our children at risk working closely with the Department of Social Development and local municipalities.
Education being a concurrent function, indeed we’re very worried that 18 of our districts are underperforming; and we are very much aware that provinces are also not performing satisfactorily in different areas, including slow spending on some programmes and over spending in other areas.
For instance, on one hand, Provincial Education Departments are projecting under-expenditure of R459.250 million due to under spending on capital payments and goods and services.
On the other hand, their projected over-expenditure on compensation of employees is R2.535 billion for 2010/11.
We will work with provinces, particularly those that have received qualified reports properly to deal with the Auditor-Generals concerns. The Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit is very key in this respect.
We will have to prioritise the strengthening of outcomes improvement plans of poorly performing provinces and districts.
On the intervention in the Eastern Cape Department of Education, I had made a ministerial statement before Parliament, on 16 March 2010.
The Eastern Cape Department of Education had struggled, for the past sixteen years, to establish itself as a stable and fully functional department.
The challenges resulted in a Cabinet decision to invoke Section 100 (b) of the Constitution, in March 2011, to allow the Ministry of Basic Education to work with the province to implement a comprehensive and sustainable intervention.
We are working with the Departments of Finance, Public Service and Transport in the province to improve functionality.
The intervention enjoys the support of the leadership of the province and all key stakeholders. It is envisaged that the intervention will turn around the situation swiftly to enable delivery of key services in the education sector.
A special ‘thank you’ to all patriots who supported the Class of 2010. You proved working together we can do more. We ask you once more to raise a hand for education and together let’s support the Class of 2011. Education is a societal issue.
We thank all professionals who participated and volunteered in our programmes during the eventful year – 2010. The invaluable role of the academic and research communities has no doubt enhanced our work.
The NGO sector has continued to play a very important role in education. We were fascinated by initiatives of young people supporting other young people, like Ikamva.
I thank Deputy Minister Surty for his sterling support. I’m also grateful to the Chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee for their guidance and oversight. All thanks to team members who helped me steer the ship through heavy storms, including education MECs and our Director-General.
I thank our dedicated officials who are driven by the passion to transform the quality of life of our people by being champions of Batho Pele and putting our people first.
We are grateful to all teachers and teacher unions, principals’ associations, School Governing Body associations, Learner Representative Councils, learners’ formations and the rest of civil society for supporting all our efforts to deliver a quality, transformative and humane educational system.
We welcome the continued support of Lead SA; with whom we’re launching a campaign to support the Class of 2011. Lead SA has worked tremendously to publicise the Bill of Responsibilities. Through their efforts, I am convinced, we are strongly reaching out to our people on the message that with rights comes corresponding responsibilities.
South Africa’s commitment to education as a driver of human development and transformation was clearly demonstrated when corporate South Africa joined us and the Deputy President of the Republic, in a Breakfast meeting, on 29 November 2010, meant to build support for education. Our business partners really demonstrated an unimpeachable level of patriotism.
We also acknowledge and are grateful to the European Union for the Primary Education Sector Policy Support Programme whose overall objective is to contribute to improving learner performance in literacy and numeracy at primary school level. The total cost of the programme is €122 680 000 (estimated at R1 216 450 000).
Finally, we appeal very strongly to the young of our country to take responsibility for their own destiny, be it in matters of health, social conduct or academic performance. You can forget everything but never forget that the future belongs to you! Our young people should not only prepare for their future; they must love it and protect it at all cost.
It would be a travesty of justice to forget to pay tribute to those heroes and heroines of our nation, good managers, teachers and parents, especially those parents who go out of their way to support our learners even if they are not their own children.
Our promise to democratic South Africa is that 2011 will not only focus on the theme of “a delivery-driven basic education system informed by the Delivery Agreement”. But, it will also be about the general provision of education as a public service, faster, better and smarter.
We are confident that with the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit these commitments will be realised. Together we can improve the quality of basic education.
Whilst we continue and appeal to all South Africans to support the President’s call of making education a societal issue, we also call upon all our people to raise their hands to join us in supporting education. We also urge them to stand up and be counted during the 2011 census.
I thank you.