Honourable Members and colleagues
Ladies and gentlemen,
Honourable speaker, we thank you most sincerely for this Debate on Vote 15, Basic Education.
Fellow compatriots, I’m humbled by your support. As men and women of South Africa, you’ve nurtured and jealously guarded children’s constitutional rights to education like the robin that lays and shields its eggs over time.
It takes honesty, maturity, clarity-of-purpose, and hard-work to build a new, equitable and uniform national system of education that’s envisaged in the progressive SA Schools Act of 1996.
Budget for 2013/14
Today we stand before this House to account and seek a fresh mandate for the 2013/14 programme on the strength of observable advances we have made, with the nation, over time, to build a better education system for a better life for all.
The overall budget for 2013/14 for the Department of Basic Education is R17.592 billion. Last year it was R16.344 billion. This is an increase of R1.248 billion. This confirms government’s commitment to education.
The budget allocation to Provincial Education Departments is R173.454 billion. It will reach R199.624 billion in 2015/16.
Umalusi is allocated R97.6 million in 2013/14 and will reach R112.7 million in 2015/16 to cover its expanded mandate.
Kha Ri Gude receives R549.7 million. This mass literacy campaign has reached over 2.9 million adults. To this we add R59.2 million allocated for EPWP: Kha Ri Gude, as a contribution to job-creation by recruiting and training volunteers.
Kha Ri Gude volunteers, comprise 44 monitors, 203 coordinators, 3703 supervisors and 38 407 volunteer educators, including 250 helpers for blind volunteers.
In this way, our Department contributes to the national effort to create jobs, end poverty and roll-back the frontiers of inequality.
Improved quality of basic education
The building-blocks for a high performing system are in place.
Improving performance across the system is a key objective of the education sector plan – Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. Improving performance is also at the heart the Basic Education Performance Agreement.
The key outputs in the Action Plan are consistent with priorities of the National Development Plan. Once Cabinet has finalised the Medium Term Strategic Framework that’s aligned to the NDP, we will revise our plans and priorities accordingly. This work has already started.
He who has a plan is a million times better than he who pokes holes in the plans of others, without a plan.
We’re attending to learner performance while addressing those systemic issues making it difficult for us to crack the system.
An amount of R25 million has been allocated in 2013/14 for the National Initiative to improve learning outcomes which will reach R40 million in 2015/16.
I will come back later on what this new initiative is going to be used for.
We know the challenges. We are therefore better placed to improve quality and efficiency while consolidating gains in access and equity.
School participation is nearly 100% for the basic compulsory band, the 7-15 year age-range.
Reports also show there are fewer out-of-school children and those who have dropped out. According to household surveys from Stats SA, we have 80 000 fewer children who were out of school in 2011 compared to 2009.
We plan to do more to improve retention and post-compulsory schooling options for young people. Communities should help as well because other reasons for learners ‘dropping-out’ are socio-economic, including teenage pregnancy, youth delinquency and inadequate parental control.
Census 2011 gave us good news also for education. It said the proportion of the population without any formal schooling decreased twofold from 17.9% in 2001 to 8.6% in 2011.
With education, comes critical skills, and out of these, come great prospects for absorption in the labour market, entrepreneurship, leadership and other economic opportunities.
Through government’s anti-poverty strategy we’re progressively removing obstacles inhibiting access to equal, quality education for all children, across the race, gender and class divide.
Over 8 million children, in more than 82% of public schools received free education, in non-fee paying schools.
The conditional grant for the National School Nutrition Programme has increased by R266.6 million in 2013/14, to R5.173 billion. It will reach R5.704 billion in 2015/16.
The HIV and Aids Life Skill Education conditional grant allocation is R213.5 million in 2013/14.
We will continue to improve access to quality early childhood development. Our 2011 monitoring results show SA has improved access from 39.3% in 2002 to 84.8% of Grade 1s.
All in all, in 2012/13 we had 12.433 949 million learners in over 25 000 schools. In line with the drive to build an equitable system, in 2013/14, we’re prioritising inclusive education.
Our interventions are bearing fruit
There’s progress on the 4 priority areas agreed upon in 2012/13 – CAPS, Assessments, Workbooks and Infrastructure. You know that a major setback was the time it took to complete delivery of CAPS-orientated textbooks for Grades 1 to 4 and 10 to Limpopo schools.
There’s evidence of improved learner performance, even in those districts we had said were underperforming, showing our interventions over time are bearing fruit.
We’ll therefore sustain our focus on these 4 priority areas. The 3Ts will remain on the agenda of quality teaching and learning.
Huge advances in matric
You did witness sustained improvement in matric exam results. This is a result of systemic interventions for strengthening and raising performance in all levels of the system.
The matric pass rate climbed to 73.9% in 2012. Our targeted growth, at 75% by 2014, is well within reach.
We’re on target to deliver 175 000 university entrants by 2014. In 2012, the number of Grade 12 learners who qualified for Bachelor’s studies rose to 136 047. It was 120 767 in 2011. This is an increase of 15 280 learners.
Members do you know that under this government, the number of learners who became ready for bachelors-level studies almost doubled over the last 12 years, from around 70 000 in 2000 to around 136 000 in 2012?
The number of passes in Mathematics, at 121 970 for 2012, is 17 937 more than the 104 033 of 2011.
And, the number of passes in Physical Science, at 109 918 in 2012, is 13 477 more than the 96 441 of 2011.
We’ve established a maths and science task-team to help further identify challenges in this area. In 2013/14 Dinaledi Schools are allocated R105.1 million.
Very encouraging news Honourable Members, the recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) bear testimony to our gains.
SA’s improvement in Mathematics, of 67 TIMSS’ points, between 2002 and 2011, or 7 points per year on average, is among the steepest seen by any TIMSS’ participant.
We’re leaving nothing to chance. We’ve completed a detailed diagnostic analysis of NSC results in terms of key subjects.
This has identified key subject deficiencies which will become the target of our intervention programmes in 2013.
The Ministerial Committee on the NSC will, inter alia, investigate standards and promotion requirements of the NSC, including the matter of matric results’ publication, a matter raised passionately with me by COSAS.
Moving to the curriculum, as stated last year, our continued focus is on the phased-in implementation of the revised Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).
In 2013 we moved to Grades 4-6 and 11. Grades R, 1-3 and 10 we covered in 2012.
I’m worried though about low levels of reading and writing in the Foundation Phase. This emerged in an audit of the Provincial Reading Programme we commissioned in February 2013. The audit report proposed the kind of support we must give to teachers and learners. Reading is the heart of learning.
Intermediate and Senior Phase CAPS were distributed in 2012 to prepare for implementation in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The Senior Phase CAPS orientation programme for provinces started on 8 March, and will run until 24 May 2013.
The Grade 12 CAPS orientation was conducted in all provinces between February and April 2013.
We will complete the process with a roll-out to Grades 7-9 and 12 next academic year.
In 2013/14, we will also increase focus on Technical Secondary Schools.
R220.9 million is allocated for the recapitalisation of these school, to improve facilities and equipments. This will assist in addressing skills shortages and joblessness.
The sign language curriculum has been completed and is being piloted in 2 schools (in the Western Cape and Gauteng).
We believe good grounding in a learner’s Home Language is essential. In 2014, a new policy will come into effect mandating the learning of an African language in all schools. This builds on work we’re doing to improve competencies in African languages.
We list among successes the progressive development of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12, a milestone since the days of the racialised, fragmented education departments.
Using Annual National Assessments (ANA) to monitor levels and quality of learning outcomes has taken root. We now have empirical evidence to use in planning further interventions.
In 2012, we administered Language and Mathematics tests to more than 7 million learners in Grades 1-6 and 9, in more than 20 000 schools.
The results show that while learner performance in Literacy varies from “satisfactory” to “good”, the same cannot be said about performance in Numeracy, particularly in Grade 9.
The particularly low learner performance in Mathematics at the Intermediate and Senior Phases justifies the steps we have already taken to focus on teacher professional development and provision of learning and teaching support materials at the higher school grades.
An allocation of R75 million to strengthen the existing programme has been secured for 2013/14 and will reach R160 million in 2014/15 and R167 million in 2015/16.
We have increased learner access to workbooks and coverage to improve literacy, numeracy and, importantly, reading.
The allocation for 2013/14 for workbooks is R859.3 million.
We have provided workbooks to all learners in Grades 1 to 9. Through savings from developing content in-house, we have expanded the scope to cover Braille workbooks.
Close to 24 million copies of Workbook 1 were delivered to 23 115 schools by November 2012, for use in 2013.
By 2013 around 114 million full colour national workbooks, which the Australian Council for Educational Research has confirmed are of a high quality, had been distributed to schools.
Feedback from the survey we conducted on workbook utilisation is also very positive.
In terms of national policy, it’s a key priority for every learner to have access to a minimum set of textbooks and workbooks.
In 2007, according to SAQMEC results, coverage was 45% for literacy and 36% for maths books. Our 2011 survey put us at 78% for literacy and 83% for maths. This is still unacceptable, we want to have every learner with a book in every subject.
Prudence in the deployment of resources is key to the national endeavour for equality and inclusive development and growth.
To address inequalities in education, we are therefore mindful of economic disparities resulting from apartheid education. This is a part of the rationale for centralising procurement of books.
The development of the National Catalogue of Textbooks for Grades 7-9 and 12 commenced in November 2012 and was completed in March 2013.
As we reported, the national catalogue for Grades 1-6 and 10-11 was completed and availed to provinces in 2012.
Going-forward, we will continue to improve access and utilisation of Learner Teacher Support Materials in all grades, and all subjects.
Honourable Members, this is an area of great concern which we have also paid serious attention to as a sector. Improved expenditure on infrastructure budgets, and the number of completed projects in the last financial year, are indicators of progress.
More schools received water, sanitation and electrification and many more continue to do so.
The Accelerated Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), together with the provincial infrastructure programme, constitute the backbone of both the Strategic Integrated Project 13 (SIP 13) and the National School Built Programme of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.
SIP 13 will also drive skills development and job-creation.
We want you to see synergy in infrastructure planning between national and Provincial Education Departments.
The benefit would be schools that are in areas where people live, sans dangerous bridges. Thus, we’re finalising a Comprehensive Infrastructure Investment Plan. We’re also working on partnerships with Departments of Labour and Correctional Services for the supply of school furniture.
We have developed plans to close once and for all the chapter on “potholes” and “hanging ceilings” in the classrooms.
The infrastructure allocation for 2013/14, to be transferred to Provincial Education Departments through the Education Infrastructure Grant, is R6.630 billion. Over the MTEF period, it will increase to well over R10 billion. Preliminary expenditure for 2012/13 for the Education Infrastructure Grant is at 96%.
An amount of R1.956 billion in 2013/14 will go to the Schools Backlog Grant, also called ASIDI. A further R3.170 billion for 2014/15 and R2.912 billion for 2015/16 have been allocated.
It’s also important to share ASIDI challenges affecting target achievement. These include the liquidation of some contractors and poor performance by others.
The Department monitors and manages Implementing agents through a technical unit we have established at national office.
We’re planning to replace 200 inappropriate schools, 132 are in the Eastern Cape, 30 in the Free State, 3 in KwaZulu-Natal, 3 in Limpopo, 5 in Mpumalanga, 1 in the Northern Cape, 1 in North West and 25 in the Western Cape.
These school projects are multiyear. We’re striving for 25% completion by end of 2013/14.
We will provide also sanitation to 873 schools, water to 448 and electricity to 369.
I thank the many South Africans who supported us in providing and maintaining school infrastructure. Schools in the Eastern Cape will never be the same again!
Those who had seen the new schools we built in the Eastern Cape, will agree they are state of the art institutions with fully-furnished libraries, labs and admin buildings. By end of May, we will hand-over the completed schools to the province so that they can pass them on officially to the people.
Quality teaching is key
Honourable Members, quality teaching is high on our list of priorities. Allow me therefore to repeat President Zuma’s consistent call to teachers, to be in school, in class, in time, teaching, at least 7 hours per school day.
As President Zuma had said in the 2013 State of the Nation Address, Education is an essential service. Its health depends on collective effort and bargaining in a climate that’s conducive.
That’s why we’ve engaged earnestly with organised teachers on contentious issues rendering it hard for the falcon to hear the falconer. And that is why it was very important for me that we should find an amicable way to resolve the two months long impasse we had with Sadtu.
The interest of the child will best be served where and when there is uninterrupted harmony within the system, and between key role-players.
When we lose sight of this fact, and mere instability is loosed upon the world, it is the child, the African child in particular, who suffers the most. Accountability is of paramount importance.
We are still to conclude a collective agreement with teacher unions at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) on a new integrated assessment instrument intended to improve performance of principals, deputy principals and teachers.
Reasons for the delay include unions’ request for more time to consult with members. We hope to implement the new system before end of 2013, as scheduled.
For the current year, the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) is allocated R39.7 million.
We’re on track on implementing the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development.
Through the Teacher Union Collaboration initiative, in 2012/13 teacher unions and their institutes implemented professional development programmes covering areas in which teachers needed support. It was reported that over 58 000 teachers benefited from these programmes.
In 2012/13 we completed an audit of the 114 district-based teacher resource centres, and developed norms and standards for such. We plan to make teacher centres vibrant hubs for teacher development activities at district level.
Working with PEDs, my Department has developed a National Education Human Resource Planning Framework, to manage, effectively, the demand, supply and utilisation of educators.
With support from UNESCO, the Department has commissioned a project to develop an instrument for evaluating the implementation of the post provisioning norms.
As a Department, we have a responsibility to monitor compliance regarding teacher attendance, punctuality as well as proper use of resources of the school.
We welcome the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission for the public sector, with teachers as a priority.
On the thorny matter of Teacher Laptops, the Department is currently working with SITA and National Treasury to finalise implementation systems and processes including modalities of using a centralised procurement mechanism. This has been an extremely frustrating, matter but we are doing all we can to bring it to finality.
On Funza Lushaka bursaries, that help us to attract new teachers for maths, science and languages, we resolved to increase the number of bursars to 14 400 in 2013/2014, at a cost of R 893.9 million. By the end of 2012, we had awarded approximately 11.500 Funza Lushaka bursaries.
NEEDU National Report: 2012
Honourable Members, the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU), an important element of our accountability system, is now fully functional.
Last Thursday we received from its CEO, Dr Nick Taylor, the Unit’s first national report for 2012 on the state of literacy teaching and learning in the Foundation Phase.
This independent evaluation provides evidence to support our proposals on the need urgently to remedy shortcomings in educational practice, eliminate barriers to quality education and develop the knowledge and professional capacity of educators.
We will engage NEEDU’s recommendations.
For 2013/14, NEEDU is allocated R13.4 million.
The Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit
The Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit we set up in 2011 was instrumental in the implementation of education policies and strategic interventions.
Like NEEDU, it has enriched our diagnosis of bottlenecks in the value-chain inhibiting the attainment of high learning outcomes.
In 2012, through visits to over 2000 schools, the Unit monitored and recommended remedial measures for the 2013 school readiness.
Thus the current year took off with minor glitches including in schools that we renovated and boasted teacher and learner morale as part of the 94+ Projects for Madiba.
Fellow South Africans,
Let me thank you for your support for heeding our call in 2012 to make the 94+ Projects for Madiba a resounding success.
Under the stewardship of the Delivery Unit, we attracted more than R40 million from our partners and society.
This benefitted 98 earmarked schools, with a further 415 schools adopted through the Nedlac Accord’s Adopt-A-School programme.
Strengthening Districts for better outcomes
The Delivery Unit worked with a select cluster of Districts to enhance the management and support extended to underperforming schools, in compliance with Section 58B of the South African Schools Act (of 1996).
The Unit has identified and promoted sharing of good practice among all 86 education Districts, through our quarterly Ministerial Meetings with District Directors.
Ten underperforming districts are being assisted through District Improvement Plans.
QLTC structures in some Districts have taken the vision of education as a societal issue to unprecedented heights, with members of the community taking charge of the supervision of extra classes in underperforming schools.
This is evidenced in the remarkable 19.8% jump in improvement in Libode (EC), where the Delivery Unit spent most of its time, stoking the fires of change and accountability.
In March 2013, we published a Government Gazette calling for nomination of individuals to serve on the National Education and Training Council. This Council will advise the Minister on policy for the development of the basic education system and the advancement of an integrated approach to basic education.
Eastern Cape Intervention
This brings me to the Eastern Cape intervention on which we were unfortunately misquoted in some media reports.
We think much has been delivered on those areas that gave rise to the Section 100 (1)(b) intervention.
We are considering steps towards a carefully planned handover to the Eastern Cape PED, a decision to be sanctioned by Cabinet, with proper consultation.
Also on Section 100(1)(b), we are pleased to indicate that we are on track on the intervention in Limpopo.
Care and support for learners
Coming to care and support for learners. I’m alarmed, like many others, by the recent upsurge of gender-based violence and heinous crimes against women and children.
We will step-up in every school the DBE-LeadSA Stop-Rape campaign that we launched with the President in March 2013. We will use schools to promote access among children to the full range of public health and poverty reduction services.
Key among our successes is the Integrated School Health Programme that will offer, over time, a comprehensive and integrated package of health services to all learners.
The target for the 2012/13 financial year was to provide health screening to 500 000 learners. I am pleased to report that this target, though modest, was exceeded. Over 650 000 learners received health services.
This year we will provide health services to 750 000 learners in Grades 1, 4, 8 and 10 as well as learners repeating grades in Quintile 1 and 2 primary and secondary schools. Services will also be extended to special schools.
Education collaboration Framework
To respond to the call made by the National Development Plan for inter-sectoral cooperation to improve educational outcomes, working with various partners, we have put in place an Education Collaboration Framework (ECF).
It follows a multi-stakeholder Education Dialogue convened in December 2012, wherein business played a key role. Annually, companies spend just under R3 billion on education.
The ECF will implement targeted programmes including district and systemic change interventions and innovation projects. This is an important development for the current year, and has the blessings of the President and stakeholders. A special education trust is being set up. I’ll provide details soon
I know this Collaboration will work. Since we signed the Nedlac Accord on Basic Education, our Department has entered into partnerships with over 100 private businesses.
I thank Deputy Minister Surty, Chairpersons of the Basic Education Portfolio and Select Committees and their respective members for support, education MECs, HoDs and our DG, Mr Bobby Soobrayan. We’re grateful to teachers, principals, parents, learners, SGBs, individuals, officials and staff members for advancing the nation’s educational goals.
We have enjoyed our productive collaborations with various ministries and will strengthen these in the 2013/14.
Allow me to acknowledge and pay tribute to my special guest, Princess Kgosana Sithole, 12-year old, from Tehillah Christian School. Princess has overcome her challenges and uses her feet to do everything, including excellent writing.
To round-off, there is good progress in respect of delivery in the current electoral mandate.
If we continue to improve at the speed we have done in recent years, the lives of ordinary South Africans will be fundamentally transformed and we will face a brighter future.
We are resolved, with provinces, to step-up monitoring and evaluation, to improve accountability, and enforce better planning for faster change.
I thank you.