Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, attended the second quarterly meeting for 2018 with District Directors. The meeting took place from 05 to 06 July 2018, at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in Pretoria, to review the strides made as part of the mid-year review process, and to ensure that challenges that have not been dealt with are unpacked and addressed. The theme for the meeting was: “Measuring the impact of the implementation of plans”.
Basic Education Deputy Minister, Mr Enver Surty, addressed District Directors on the first day of the meeting saying that, “Our data and research results indicate that our journey has been steady but sure. As we conclude our final year of administration we can say, with conviction, that the DBE had brought Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and connectivity within reach of our teachers and learners. Workbooks and textbooks are also digitised for easy access. We are empowered to effectively and accurately analyse and interpret data. The South African School Management and Administration System (SA-SAMS) provides a solution for managing and collecting data received from South African schools and the Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System (LURITS) provides information regarding learners. We are ready to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution head-on”.
District Directors, guided by Deputy Director-General for Planning and Delivery Oversight, Mrs Palesa Tyobeka, presented their various reports. “As a forum, we continue to learn valuable lessons from various provinces. Analysis of the 2018 term one results indicate that we are on track for 2018. Let us remember that, it is not optional, but obligatory for us to identify underperforming schools and to assist them with intervention measures. District Directors work under challenging circumstances, but we continue to make gains. What binds us together is the interest of the child. It is a fact that data-driven-districts are key to improving learning outcomes and capacity building initiatives must be put in place to empower our districts officials to perform their functions,” said Mrs Tyobeka.
Why do certain schools work and others struggle to produce quality learning outcomes? Dr Sibusiso Sithole from the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) reported that the Schools that Work II – Lessons from the Ground Report, as well as the NEEDU Policy Briefs, a summary of the Report, were shared with provinces, districts and schools during roadshows that took place across provinces. Ms Cheryl Weston, Director for Curriculum Implementation and Quality Improvement (FET), presented the recommendations of the History Ministerial Task Team Report. Other items on the agenda included Care and Support Services and School Safety, Rural Education and School Self-Evaluation, and School Improvement Plans as management tools for district officials. These two presentations provided the basis for deliberations during the commissions that produced recommendations for implementation.
A group comprising of the 5th annual National Education Excellence Awards first prize recipients, including school principals and District Directors, led by DBE’s Mr Phillip Tshabalala, Director for District-Level Planning and Implementation Support, attended an international conference on school leadership in Birmingham (UK) from 12 to 16 June 2018. International best practice and lessons from the conference were shared at the meeting.
The next quarterly meeting scheduled for 20 to 21 September 2018, will be replaced by a workshop to launch the World Bank Report: Learning to Realise Education’s Promise, South African country report. District Directors will be in attendance during the workshop. The last meeting will be held during December 2018 in preparation for the 2019 academic year.