SPEECH BY MR ME SURTY, MP, DEPUTY MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION AT THE EDUCATION BUDGET VOTE IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: 30 JUNE 2009
The Minister of Basic Education,
The Minister of Higher Education and Training,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me to start by congratulating Bafana Bafana on a game well played on Sunday and also extend my congratulations to the Local Organising Committee for hosting a world class event. We have indeed proven to the world that South Africa is ready for the main event, the 2010 World Cup.
Chairperson, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup brought all the excitement to our country. Parallel to this event the Department of Basic Education together with Sport and Recreation South Africa and the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the Local Organising Committee have successfully hosted the first phase of “ My 2010 School Adventure ”.
The Schools Confederations Cup championships was held from 14-16 May at Marks Parks, Johannesburg where all school teams from all provinces of South Africa had adopted all countries that took part in the Confederations Cup. More than 250 000 boy and girl learners participated in this event representing more than 8 500 schools . It is envisaged that more than 500 000 learners will participate in the next phase of ‘My 2010 School Adventure'.
One of the partners in this project, Adidas, sponsored all our qualifying teams with football kits including soccer boots. Winners were then presented with tickets to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup matches. We also received excellent support from embassies and other sponsors, including FIFA.
The Education Pillar of ‘My 2010 Adventure' was held at Museum Africa in Newtown , Johannesburg on 19-20 June. Learners from all the provinces of our country showcased their world class artworks, poems, essays, and traditional dances. Teachers were also part of this project and their portfolios were displayed to show how they had introduced My 2010 School Adventure in their classrooms. As I sat and watched our learners dancing I felt proud to be a South African, even more proud seeing the Western Cape learners representing Iraq, singing the Iraqi national anthem.
Honourable Members, this year (2009) marks the last year of the second phase (2005-2009) of the National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education which we originally launched in 2001. We are therefore pleased to give account of the progress that we have made in regard to the implementation of the objectives that we had set ourselves in pursuit of a mathematically and scientifically numerate society.
Since the launch of the strategy, we have seen an increase in the level of participation and systematic improvement in the performance of learners in mathematics and science. The attendance and performance of girl learners has also dramatically improved. 2 400 mathematics and science teachers in Dinaledi schools have had access to training opportunities to strengthen their subject content knowledge in mathematics and science. 15 private sector companies have adopted 250 Dinaledi schools following our call for a more focused partnership between government and the private sector. We invite other partners to join this platform of cooperation for our common good.
The advances of education systems in these areas could also be attributed to the dedicated support that the Department of Education has provided to schools to enhance the teaching of mathematics and science. While we understand that more still needs to be done, the initial teaching resources that were provided contributed to renewed energy for the improvement of the system and towards the achievements of the outcomes that are envisaged. The Department of Education supplied the following to Dinaledi schools:
• 251 000 copies of English, Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Orientation textbooks
• 500 000 copies of Maths 911 workbooks for Grade 11 and 12
• 235 000 scientific calculators for Grade 11 and 12 learners
• 20 000 mathematics and physical science exemplar papers
In 2005 we also committed to double the number to 50 000 of learners would pass mathematics at Higher Grade level (or at 50% and above in terms of the National Curriculum Statement) by 2008. As you would know, 63 000 learners achieved 50% and above in mathematics in the 2008 National Senior Certificate examinations. This number is 13 000 more than the target that we had set ourselves. It should be highlighted that the Dinaledi schools make up 8% of the total number of high schools which registered for the matric exams, and they have contributed 24% (15 500) to the pass rate of learners who achieved 50% and above for mathematics . We would like to commend our learners, teachers, schools and communities for this significant achievement. It demonstrates that when we pull in the same direction our collective efforts for success can be realized quicker. May I also remind us that there are 120 days left to the 2009 National Senior Certificate examinations. It is time that we encourage learners to get down to study win earnest. The countdown starts now. In this regard, the Department has put a comprehensive package of support to assists learners to prepare for their studies. We ask each learner to use their Study Mate and textbooks to prepare themselves.
Given that this year is the last year of our targeted Maths, Science and Technology strategy, we will carry out an evaluation of the programme to establish the total impact of our interventions. This will assist the system to respond more appropriately to areas that would still require dedicated attention in improving the quality of our education.
We are pleased to inform honourable members that, with regard to Kha Ri Gude, we are offering the classes to 620,000 learners in eleven languages, at 35 000 venues across South Africa .
The National Campaign delivery is carried out by approximately 35,000 facilitators, 3500 supervisors/monitors and 180 co-coordinating managers. In addition, the Campaign specifically targets the Deaf and Blind and, in 2009 has recruited and enskilled 180 Deaf volunteers to teach the deaf using sign language, and 100 Blind volunteers to teach the blind to read and produce Braille.
Through the training received, the volunteers are better skilled to participate in their communities, to help their own children with learning, and also, since 66% of them are below the age of 35, are socialised as youth to provide community service.
The development of the national Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (Lurits) was completed in 2008 and is currently in development in all the provinces. LURITS is one of the Department's key strategic developments and will move into full operational mode after March 2010.
Via its tracking functionality, the LURITS will be the primary mechanism for identifying the individual learners that have left the system at any point, before or during secondary school level. Not only will the system be able to identify these learners, but will be able to provide an accurate biographical, migration and performance profile of these learners in order to assist with the development of appropriate support interventions. Furthermore, the system will be the main monitoring tool to establish whether the required increase in secondary school enrolment of 95% by 2014 has been reached. The system will be able to identify duplicate learners across schools and provinces and will be able to provide accurate enrolment numbers for planning, monitoring and provisioning purposes.
The National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) is now accessible to all provinces and is being used to provide information on infrastructure progress in education and better information is now available as a basis for monitoring and planning.. The second phase of the project is in progress and will provide historical information, capability for data updating, verification of data, automatic updating of learners numbers and to provide a platform for data downloading to enable distribution to provinces. Cabinet also mandated the department on the basis of this information, to investigate innovative mechanisms to accelerate school infrastructure delivery in order to deal with the very significant remaining infrastructure backlogs and challenges.
Honourable members, one of the most visible ravages of the inequality in the provision of education from the past are that of school infrastructure. Major strides have been made in budget allocations and delivery, particularly tremendous progress has been made in dealing with the water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure backlogs in schools over the last fifteen years. To date, 71%, 69% and 76% of the backlogs in access to reliable water, access to decent sanitation facilities and access to reliable of electricity backlogs have been dealt with.
The backlogs have been so large that in spite of an almost tenfold increase in allocations backlogs persist. We are also grateful to the many donors who have contributed to elimination of the backlogs.
Notwithstanding the huge strides we have made the challenges still remain daunting and will require an extraordinary effort by the department and all other stakeholders to ensure that we are able to enhance access to quality education for all.
Ministers, MEC's, DG, Senior Management, CFO, the Department and my staff.