Statement following the Council of Education Ministers' meeting held in Cape Town
17 September 2007
The Council of Education Ministers met in Cape Town today.
A certificate for learners who complete Grade 9 has been under discussion for a number of years. Council today approved a process that will lead to the introduction of a General Education Certificate for learners who complete grade 9. Council noted that the number of learners in grade 9 is almost double that in Grade 12, and that the introduction of the new certificate will have substantial financial and personnel implications.
The Minister said, "I must emphasise that the aim of this government remains to provide educational opportunities for all. The GEC will not be a cul-de-sac, it will not be the end of the line for learners. We encourage all learners to either write matric, to go on to focus schools or FET colleges, or to explore other opportunities like learnerships."
Council heard presentations from a number of non-education sector parties, including the Scouts Association, which is celebrating its centenary this year, and Arcelor Mittal Steel, which has undertaken to build ten new schools using innovative technologies.
"We are most excited, and welcome the offer Mittal has made to us," said the Minister.
Council discussed the delivery of learning materials under the auspices of the national recovery plan, and heard reports from each province of their preparations for the matric exams.
"The plan is on track. I thank the majority of teachers who have been committed to making the recovery plan work", the Minister said. However the Minister also expressed dismay at the fact that some teachers had refused to be part of the recovery plan – placing their own interests above those of their learners.
Council heard a report on the occupation specific dispensation (OSD) that has been tabled for negotiations. This provides that as from January 2008 all teachers will be "translated" on to new salary scales. This adjustment alone will be between 1% and 40%, based on experience and level of qualification.
If agreed, most teachers will get between 1% and 5% from January 2008, in addition to the general 7.5% adjustment in July 2007.
Salary increments are currently 1% per annum, based on the IQMS. The new proposal is for a 3% increment every two years, based on an external evaluation.
The entry-point salary for teachers was R99 625; it is now proposed at R115 492. There is also now the opportunity for specialization. The maximum salary is currently R171 393; we are proposing R324 980.
Council then discussed various educational policies whose implementation lies at the heart of the successful improvement of learner performance in schools.
- A draft policy framework for the organisation, roles and responsibilities of education districts;
- A report of an institutional management service for principals of schools;
- The continuing professional teacher development component of the National Framework on Teacher Education and Development, and in particular, the criteria for teacher development activities, which will earn professional development (PD) points;
- The action plan for the mass adult literacy campaign;
- The Quality Improvement, Development and Support Programme (QIDS UP) that is based in 3,500 schools in all provinces. QIDS UP focuses on improving reading and writing, and on the management and leadership in schools based in poorer districts;
- The new textbooks that are being chosen for inclusion in the national catalogues for grades 11 and 12 in 2008.
A further range of issues were noted by the Council and they included the following: the number of no-fee schools for 2008; the presentation of the National Education Infrastructure Management System to Cabinet and to the President's Co-ordinating Council; the implementation plan for the recruitment of foreign teachers; the launch of the Ithuba Writing Project, a project that facilitates the writing and use of innovative texts in all indigenous languages; and a policy for the assessment of the National Certificate (Vocational).
Issued by the Ministry of Education
Enquiries: Lunga Ngqengelele
012 312 5538
082 556 0446