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Department of Basic Education briefs Portfolio Committee on progress in the sector, 03 March 2015

The Department of Basic Education today briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on three key matters affecting the education system. Items under discussions included a report on the National Senior Certificate examinations, scholar transport and the preparations for School Governing Body elections. The DBE was accompanied by Umalusi and officials from the Department of Transport.

National Senior Certificate

 

Dr Rufus Poliah, the Chief Director for Public Examinations and Assessments at DBE, delivered a presentation on how the Matric examinations of 2014 had been conducted. He updated the committee on the progress of the investigations into group copying focusing specifically on KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Dr Poliah indicated that formal hearing had been delayed because the candidates were busy writing supplementary examinations. He said the formal hearings for the implicated matriculants would commence in the middle of March whereas Invigilators would appear thereafter.

 

Dr Poliah told the Members of Parliament that the Department had taken steps to improve the examination system and that new measures would be introduced this year.

Suren Govender, Chief Director for Curriculum Implementation addressed the Committee focusing on curriculum interventions that the DBE had undertaken.

 

He said the interventions arise from the analysis of the NSC 2014 results seeing that it was the first time learners sat for an exam in the CAPS-aligned curriculum.

 

Govender said learner support would become the key focus this time around starting at early childhood development right through to grade 12. He said the National Strategy for Learner Attainment focused on the nature of the support for the learners in a particular phase. The NSLA would address grade 12 learners who had been progressed, subjects in which learners were progressed, support programmes for progressed learners, support programmes for retained learners, measuring the impact of learner interventions through pre and post-tests as well as the impact of teacher interventions.

 

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi told the Portfolio Committee that despite the group copying in KZN and EC and other challenges that remain generally the assurance body was pleased with the manner in which the 2014 NSC examinations was administered.

Umalusi expressed appreciation also to all the relevant stakeholders’ inclusion whistle blowers who are striving to ensure that credibility and the integrity of the examinations are not compromised.

 

Scholar transport

 

The Department of Transport in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education developed a Draft Learner Transport Policy through a consultative process. The draft policy was approved by the Ministers of both departments. It was approved for public comment and the closing date was 3 December 2014. An interdepartmental committee was established to analyse and effect the comments.

 

Key policy areas include the location of the learner transport function whether it is transport departments in provinces or education departments, learner transport planning where both departments are responsible, learner safety and security as well as criteria for learner transport beneficiaries. 

 

The policy as it is states that beneficiaries for subsidized learner transport must be a needy learner from grade R to 12. The learner transport must be to the nearest appropriate school. Parental choice of school must not be subsidized. Priority must be given to learners with disabilities and primary school learners. All vehicles transporting learners with disabilities must adhere to the requirements and principle of universal designs.

 

Mr Elmon Maake from the Department of Transport told MPs that the challenges faced related to private contractors with roadworthy vehicles who were transporting learners.

Law enforcement has to take place also and this policy is developed in terms of the National Land Transportation Act as well as the National Traffic Act. This policy seeks to strengthen these two acts which already exist, particularly when it comes to operational issues.

 

Capacity at provincial level remains a challenge also which needed to be attended to urgently. The Portfolio Committee members raised various concerns related to the complexities of the learner transport and the dynamics involved in the implementation of the system.

 

School Governing Body elections

 

The Department of Basic Education is ready to administer the elections for school governing body members. The elections happen between March 6-28 in more than 24,000 schools.

Parents are urged to participate in the elections

 

 

Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga - 083 580 8275

 

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION

 

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 1/11/2016
Number of Views: 3112

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