Provincial departments of education
The role of the DBE is to translate government’s education and training policies and the provisions of the Constitution into a national education policy and legislative framework. Therefore, the department works closely with the PEDs to ensure that provincial budgets and strategies are in line with and support national policies.
The national department shares a concurrent role with the PEDs for basic schooling and ECD, but it is the responsibility of each PEDs to finance and manage its schools directly.
District offices are the PEDs’ main interface with schools. Not only are they central to the process of gathering information and diagnosing problems in schools, but they also perform a vital support and intervention function. This includes:
- organising training for personnel;
- dealing with funding;
- resourcing bottlenecks; and
- solving labour-relations disputes.
District offices are key to ensuring that school principals remain accountable to the PEDs and that accountability lines within the school to the principal and to the SGB are maintained.
Equity in education expenditure between and within provinces is achieved through the equitable division of national revenue between provinces, making use of the Equitable Shares Formula, the National Norms and Standards for School Funding, and the national post-provisioning norms.
The norms are progressive, with 60% of a province’s non-personnel expenditure going to the poorest 40% of learners in public schools. The poorest 20% of learners receive 35% of non-personnel resources, while the richest 20% receive 5%.
Council of Education Ministers
The CEM – consisting of the Ministers of Basic Education, Higher Education and Training and the nine provincial members of the executive councils for education – meets regularly to:
- discuss the promotion of national education policy;
- share information and views on all aspects of education in South Africa; and
- coordinate action on matters of mutual interest.
Heads of Education Departments Committee
Hedcom comprise the Director-General (DG) of the DBE, the deputy DGs of the department and the heads of provincial departments of education.
The purpose of the committee is to:
- facilitate the development of a national education system;
- share information and views on national education; and
- coordinate administrative action on matters of mutual interest and advise the department on a range of specified matters related to the proper functioning of the national education system.
Umalusi is responsible for the development and management of a sub-framework of qualifications for general and FET and for the attendant quality assurance. Umalusi means “herder” or “shepherd” which in Nguni culture, is the person who is the guardian of the family’s wealth.
The council is tasked with the certification of the following qualifications:
- In schools: National Senior Certificate.
- In FET colleges: the National Technical Certificate (Level N3) and the National Certificate Vocational (NCV).
- In adult learning centres: the General Education Training Certificate: Adults.
To issue learners with certificates that are credible, Umalusi:
- develops and evaluates qualifications and curricula to ensure that they are of the expected standard
- moderates assessment to ensure that it is fair, valid and reliable
- accredits providers of education and training, and assessment
- conducts research to ensure educational quality
- verifies the authenticity of certificates.
National Education Evaluation and Development Unit
Needu ensures effective evaluation of all educators based on the extent to which learner performance improves.
Its core responsibilities include:
- providing the Minister with an independent account of the state of schools, including the quality of teaching and learning in all schools;
- providing an independent account on the development needs of the school education system;
- accounting for the attainment of the standards by all schools through a monitoring and evaluation system;
- identifying on a system-wide basis the critical factors that inhibit or advance school improvement and making focused recommendations for redressing problem areas that undermine school improvement;
- proposing appropriate sanctions to ensure that schools offer effective education for all learners;
- strengthening internal evaluation capacity within schools in ways that inform and complement external evaluation;
- monitoring the different levels of school support and the extent action is considered on proposed interventions, whether in the form of developmental support or disciplined action;
- reviewing and assessing existing monitoring, evaluation and support structures and instruments regularly, to ensure clarity and coherence in the way schools and teachers are assessed and supported;
- providing schools with evidence-based advice on how to pursue school improvement in their particular context; and
- promoting school improvement through the dissemination of good practice.
Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC)
The ELRC serves the public education sector nationally. It is a statutory council, initially established by the Education Labour Relations Act, 1993 (Act 146 of 1993), but draws authority from the Education Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act 66 of 1995).
The main purpose of the council is to maintain labour peace within public education through processes of dispute prevention and resolution. These include collective bargaining between the educator unions and the DBE as the employer.
The ELRC also conducts various workshops to increase the level of awareness and understanding of sound labour-relations procedures.
South African Council for Educators
The SACE is a professional council aimed at enhancing the status of the teaching profession and promoting the development of educators and their professional conduct. It was established in terms of the SACE Act, 2000 (Act 31 of 2000).
The SACE’s functions are to:
- register educators;
- promote the professional development of educators; and
- set, maintain and protect ethical and professional standards.
Before their employment, educators are required to register with the SACE, which has a register of about 500 000 educators. The council has strengthened entry requirements by checking applicants’ professional standing.
The SACE has a number of programmes that promote the development of educators and enhance the status and image of the teaching profession. These include:
- the Professional Development Portfolio Project, which aims to encourage educators to reflect on their practice and take responsibility for their own professional development;
- teacher education and development research activities;
- setting up the Continuing Professional Teacher Development System;
- celebrating World Teachers’ Day to acknowledge the work of educators;
- ensuring that educators adhere to the SACE Code of Professional Ethics; and
- the Continuing Professional Teacher-Development System, which recognises professional development undertaken by educators on their own initiative.
Educators are organised into six educator unions, namely:
- the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa,
- the National Teachers’ Union,
- the South African Teachers’ Union,
- the Professional Educators’ Union,
- Cape Professional Teachers’ Association and
- the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union.
A labour-relations framework was agreed on by the former Ministry of Education and the unions. This encompasses both traditional areas of negotiation, and issues of professional concern, including pedagogy and quality-improvement strategies.
An agreement was reached on the framework for the establishment of an occupation-specific dispensation (OSD) for educators in public education. The OSD provides for dual career paths, where educators and specialists in classrooms can progress to levels where they earn salaries that are equal to or higher than those of managers without moving into management/supervisory posts. It also provides for a new category of posts for teaching and learning specialists and senior learning and teaching specialists, as well as the creation of a cadre of education managers at school and office level.