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About Basic Education

The Department of Basic Education was formed when the former National Department of Education was split into two: Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training. The DBE deals with all schools from Grade R to Grade 12, including adult literacy programmes. The aim of the DBE is to develop, maintain and support a South African school education system for the 21st century.

Our vision is of a South Africa in which all our people will have access to lifelong learning, education and training opportunities, which will, in turn, contribute towards improving the quality of life and building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic South Africa.

Our mission is to provide leadership in the establishment of a South African education system for the 21st century.


The Department of Basic Education adheres to the following values

People: Upholding the Constitution, being accountable to the Minister, the government and the people of South Africa.

Excellence: Maintaining high standards of performance and professionalism by aiming for excellence in everything we do, including being fair, ethical and trustworthy in all that we do.

Teamwork: Cooperating with one another and with our partners in education in an open and supportive way to achieve shared goals.

Learning: Creating a learning organisation in which staff members seek and share knowledge and information while committing themselves to personal growth.

Innovation: Striving to address the training needs for high-quality service and seeking ways to achieve our goals.


Strategic outcome-orientated goals: Improved quality of basic education

Output 1: Improve the quality of teaching and learning

1.1 Improve teacher capacity and practices.

1.2 Increase access to high-quality learning materials.

Output 2: Undertake regular assessment to track progress

2.1 Establish a world-class system of standardised national assessments.

2.2 Extract key lessons from ongoing participation in international assessments.

Output 3: Improve early childhood development

3.1 Universalise access to Grade R.

3.2 Improve the quality of early childhood development.

Output 4: Ensure a credible outcomesfocused planning and accountability system

4.1 Strengthen school management and promote functional schools.

4.2 Strengthen the capacity of district offices.

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