Programme Director ,
DHET, DST, and DBE Senior Management
Non-Governmental Organisations Leadership
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for coming to attend this very important gathering, the 3rd Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Roundtable. It is indeed a pleasure to have you all.
While acknowledging that much still needs to be done with regards to improving learner participation and success rate in MST space, there is no doubt that a considerable progress has been done since the last two MST Roundtables.
We have already established the MST Directorate at the Department of Basic Education to drive the sector improvement plan as discussed in the previous Roundtable discussions. The MST Directorate is now fully functional, and the MST Implementation Plan has undergone a rigorous review process.
Plans are also afoot to de-establish the Dinaledi and Technical Schools Conditional Grants and collapse them into the new combined and system-wide grant to be known as MST Conditional Grant. In this regard discussions with the Treasury are at an advanced stage.
We have also commissioned a special Big Fast Results Lab (Operation Phakisa) on MST to develop a long-term strategy in improving the teacher content knowledge on these subjects. Secondly, the MST Lab is expected to develop mechanisms to encourage greater learner participation. Finally, it will finalise a sector plan needed for systematic and increased success rate.
Besides systemic challenges involving resource provisioning, teacher capacity, monitoring and support, key amongst the findings of the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) was that provinces had no systematic plans for external support from or partnerships with the private sector or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). This often resulted in an avalanche of NGOs in schools whose involvement is not coordinated. Very often, these NGOs would identify schools without proper involvement and knowledge of the Department; they would speak directly to benefiting schools’ principals.
In this regard in August 2014 the Council of Education Ministers’ (CEM) made a directive that there should be better coordination of partnerships to ensure that optimal benefits were derived from such; and that partners should be directed to intervene in the priority areas.
The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) has thus been identified to play a central role in coordinating the partnerships.
On the same breath, organisations such as TeachSA will have a strategic role to play with regards to developing a comprehensive plan for teacher supply, utilization and development in an effort to enhance learner output with regards to participation and performance in MST.
This Roundtable is therefore intended to create a platform for information sharing as well as strengthening cooperation and collaboration with NGOs to improve learner participation and performance in MST.
Programme Director; the Outcomes of the 3rd MST Roundtable are to:
· Strengthen the National Mathematics, Science and Technology Strategy Plan to improve participation and success rate in MST;
· Provide a framework for the private public partnership for channeling resources to schools in conjunction with NECT;
· Provide a comprehensive plan for Teacher Supply and utilisation and development regarding MST programmes in collaboration with TeachSA; and
· Identify different platforms to utilise ICT to enhance participation and success rate in MST.
I am certain that you will collectively tackle these matters and indeed take the process of heighten activity around MST to the next level. I must apologise that I won’t be staying for the duration of today’s discussion. I have been deployed to assist the family of the late Minister of Public Service and Administration, Honourable Collins Chabane who lost his life this past weekend along with his two protectors, namely Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane.