Mahlubandile Qwase’s 2010 Eastern Cape Education Budget and Policy Speech
Honourable Members of the Legislature
Senior Officials of the Department
Ladies and Gentlemen
The year 2010 is, to say the least, an important milestone for our country. I know that foremost in your minds when I said that, you immediately thought of the Soccer World Cup, which is today only 78 days away! I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say how proud we all are of the tremendous strides that have been covered, that have brought us to the brink of what will be the biggest spectacle in the world to date!
Other than the Soccer World Cup euphoria, in the past few weeks we have all been witnesses to the reverence and accolades that have been heaped on our foremost statesman and international icon, uTata uNelson Mandela, when we remembered that day in 1990, when he finally walked out of Victor Verster Prison a free man after over 27 years of incarceration. That important day also triggered a huge repatriation programme that finally brought home thousands of our compatriots who had dared to take on the apartheid juggernaut, and had prevailed.
We invoke this memory, not only in their honour, but to also remind ourselves that the hopes and aspirations that permeated our country then, still remain largely unfulfilled. The majority of our learners who mostly populate our rural and township schools are also worthy of our consideration, and should therefore be at the forefront of our reconfigured agenda for this cycle of delivery.
The National Government has, quite rightly, decided that “Quality Basic Education” will be the number one priority out of 12 Strategic Priorities for the period up to 2014/15, and under the theme: Working together to improve the culture of teaching and learning. This has served to further endorse the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC), launched in October 2008 by former Education Minister Pandor, as the overarching framework for all education programmes in the Department.
In terms of the broader policy context QLTC, the Foundation for Learning Campaign and Skills Development are the critical pillars that have been identified for this new term of office. The fundamental premise for the QLTC is specific non-negotiable responsibilities expected of all role-players in education. Flowing directly from that would be an outline of all the improvements that will be implemented in the roll-out of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS).
The key message I want to get across today is that this year is The Year of Action focusing on implementation, as the President declared. President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address that an outcomes approach has been adopted in implementing government's priorities. As Minister Motshekga said yesterday these performance outcomes are politically determined positions of government to achieve greater and more focused development. The outcomes approach enables us to set measurable targets and deliverables, against which we and South Africa can monitor our progress in addressing the challenges in education that remain.
The time for recriminations and rhetoric is over; our country and our people now clearly expect us deliver on all the good will and resources that have been expended on us over the years. We are duty bound to effect credible improvement in the quality of teaching and learning in our Public Schools serving, especially for the African child, as the Minister of Basic Education, Comrade Angie Motshekga has also implored us to. We need to give our learners hope that officials and teachers are committed to helping them realise their potential and so lay the foundation on which they can achieve a better quality of life.
The Department will embark on a very critical initiative to deal with the root cause of poor learner performance in literacy and numeracy; the project is called Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual Education, dedicated personnel are now in place to drive that project. Preparations are currently being made to ensure full-scale implementation of this initiative in January 2011. Part of the work that is currently underway includes the review and development of language policies.
It is going to be very challenging as we have to deliver on our mandate in a situation where state revenue is dwindling due to the effects of the global economic crisis. In addition, the Department is confronted by a particular challenge where a sizable amount of the 2010/11 budget will have to be used to off-set accruals from the 2009/10 financial year, and where personnel expenditure has increasingly been eroding what is available for non-personnel items. The situation is really very dire for the 2010/11 financial year since the projected personnel to non-personnel expenditure is 84:16 compared to the national norm of 80:20.
The Department will, as per our strategic plan, continue to pursue the following educational outcomes in the next five years:
(We still have learners in Primary Schools, but more so in Secondary Schools who are not attending school. The Constitution states that all children have the right to basic education.)
(Although great strides have been made towards equity in educational opportunity and achievement some children still are deprived due to their race, gender, disability, geographical location and socio-economic status.)
(Basic education plays a key role in the skills development pipeline of any country. It is, therefore, imperative for the Department to ensure that schools make the required contribution in this regard.)
(Quality improvement in education entails ensuring that learners can read, write and count at the level generally accepted as the norm internationally.)
(It is critical to have proper procedures, processes, systems and an organisational structure in place that facilitates service delivery.)
(This is a Public Finance Management Act requirement.)
(Education is a societal matter and key in the transformation of society through the inculcation acceptable values and of human rights.)
The following are the key issues that the Department and I will be focusing on in the 2010/11 financial year, which are key to achieving the said educational outcomes:
Let’s now briefly sketch the service-delivery context: The quality of teaching and learning in about 80% of our schools is below par. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, such as:
Learner Attaunment Improvement Strategy (LAIS)
This programme still remains the focal point through which the Department coordinates its multipronged intervention, and therefore ameliorates some of the structural deficiencies that bedevil our system of curriculum delivery. The LAIS Programme of Action for 2010, jointly developed by the management, officials, Social Partners and stakeholders is designed to provide a clear plan for total learner performance improvement, school management renewal and professional development of education managers and educators. This year it has further been strengthened by the development of an additional instrument in the form of the Master Plan for Total Learner Performance and School Management Improvement and its concomitant programme of action. The Master Plan concretely sets out definitive plans for the improvement in the delivery of learning and teaching incorporating the roles and responsibilities of all components in the chain.
A budget of R98.2 million has been set aside and will be funding the following focal areas:
Rationalization of Schools
After a series of consultation with stakeholders, the rationalization of schools project will now be advocated through public hearings at District and School levels. A budget of R1.8 million has been set aside for this purpose.
Grades 10 – 12 Intervention
An amount of R4.3 million is set aside for the end of the year Grade 11 common examinations. This initiative seeks to ensure that quality papers and memoranda are set, and that the learners promoted to Grade 12 meet the assessment policy requirements.
Radio lessons conducted by subject experts have assisted a number of learners as they are given an opportunity to interact with the expert. In addition to the educational programme slots offered to the Department an amount of R5 million has been set aside for this purpose.
An amount of R9.45 million has been set aside for the other 27 subject specific interventions like the promotion of Agricultural Sciences, Career Guidance EXPO, Africa Day and public speaking for learners in Grades 10 – 12.
Common Examinations: Grades 3, 6 & 9
The critical challenge faced by the Department of Education in relation to very low levels of literacy and numeracy remains an urgent matter that needs to be addressed. As an immediate response to this challenge an amount of R9, 459, 664 has been set aside for the roll-out of common examinations for Grades 3, 6 and 9.
Supporting National Curriculum Statement (NCS)
Implementation (Grades R – 12)
R 12.5 million has been set aside to support the implementation of the NCS in districts. These efforts will focus particularly on support in terms of the national minister’s announcement of the review of the implementation of the NCS.
Provincial Mathematics, Science and Technology (MSTE) Academy
In addressing the scarcity of skills in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Technology, an academy will be fully operational this year. A budget of R15 million has been allocated for this important initiative. Within the ambit of the Academy, accredited courses in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Technology will be offered in collaboration with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The Academy will also offer in-service training for teachers to address the content gaps by exposing them to current topics and new concepts, orientation of newly appointed teachers, enrichment programmes and incubation of ’bright spark’ learners. It will also function as a resource centre for Mathematics, Physical sciences and Technology kits and DVDs for teachers and learners.
Furthermore, the Department will be entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States of America Embassy in order to:
Literacy and Numeracy
The Improvement of learner performance in Literacy and Numeracy as part of the Foundations for Learning Campaign will remain a priority programme. To this end the following budget has been set aside at Head Office:
In the FET Band, English First Additional Language (FAL), has been prioritised because it also the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) for the majority of learners. An amount of R565, 500 has been set aside for this. In addition, an amount of R863 650 has been set aside for the promotion of Indigenous Languages in Grades 10 – 12.
To promote reading in the Foundation Phase, 230 primary schools will be provided with library material at a cost of R5 million. Teachers from the recipient schools will be trained on the management and integration of the resources in teaching and learning. In addition, R4.5 million has been set aside for the provision of newspaper supplements to schools.
Recapitalisation of Technical High Schools
Of the 100 Technical High Schools approved for recapitalization nationally, 31 are from the Eastern Cape. The recapitalization seeks to address building and refurbishment of workshops, provision of tools and equipment, teacher training and monitoring and evaluation. The recapitalization will be funded through a conditional grant for 3 years. The allocation for this year is R9.549 million.
The Department will this year, in concert with the Department of Rural Development, institute a feasibility study to identify schools that can be transformed into Agricultural Schools, to respond to the province’s agrarian reform programme. Emphasis will be on schools located in the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities.
School Furniture and Equipment
Shortage of school furniture in our schools remains a menace to the school system. To build up on the gains of the previous year in addressing this challenge the Department has set aside R60 million for school furniture and R10.6 million for the purchase of equipment for Technical and Agricultural High Schools. This is far from being adequate compared to the need, however, the department will incrementally provide for these much needed resources over the MTEF.
2010 World Cup Educational Programmes
In addition the Department of Education will continue to play an active role in creating awareness and enthusiasm for 2010 World Cup, particularly for learners in rural areas. R1.5m has been set aside for programmes like:
Human Resource Development
For uniform co-ordination and delivery of all professional development, all training and capacity building programmes have been centralized in the Educational Leadership Institute and the following shall be prioritized:
The Department has lifted the development of Human Resources as a priority, based on the integrated, functional training programmes for educators and non-educators in all its institutions.
The Skills Development Fund apportioned to the Department will be utilized to provide for:
The entire Peer Education Programme will be reviewed in order to fully address current social issues affecting schooling, e.g. Teenage/learner pregnancy, substance abuse and the prevalence of abortion. The programme targets 800 school with a specific emphasis on 355 schools that have recorded a learner pregnancy rate of more than 10%, as indicated by statistics from EMIS. This intervention will be done by inter-departmental and District-based Support Teams in the affected schools and will be funded from the conditional grant to the extent of R10 million.
School Nutrition Programme
The beneficiaries of this important poverty alleviation intervention have increased from 1,376,617 in 2009/10 to 1,426,900 in 2010/11.
The Department has increased the budget From R486.695 million in 2009/10 to R702.936 million in 2010/11, funded from Conditional Grant. The main focus is mainly to comply with the national norms with respect to the following:
The programme of implementation of Inclusive Education is being enhanced by the infusion of more funding that will enable practitioners to support educators of learners experiencing barriers to learning. The mobilization of out of school learners and their screening for placement in relevant types of schools has also been the focus of this programme.
Furthermore, R82.9 million (R39 million of this amount allocated from a conditional grant) will be utilized for all infrastructure upgrades for this programme, with 8schools benefiting in the form of new structures and renovations. R14 million of this amount will go towards upscaling of mainstream schools for them to be able to cater for physically challenged learners.
There are 114, 374 learners currently benefiting from this programme utilizing the allocated R231 million budget. In the 2010/11 financial year beneficiaries will increase to 116, 096 and budget will increase to R384 million.
A new Scholar Transport Tender has been advertised and is scheduled to be implemented in July 2010
The management of the Scholar Transport service will be improved by the verification of routes that enables the Department to render the service in a more cost-effective manner. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Department of Transport (DoT) to ensure effective and efficient management of the programme. DoT is providing technical support on an agency basis.
Human Resource Planning and Provisioning
In its bid to continue to improve learning and teaching in schools by ensuring provision of adequate human resources at school level, the Eastern Cape Department of Education has increased its school-based educator post basket for the 2010/11 financial year by 4, 007 posts (5,8%) at an additional projected cost of R701.6 million.
The highlights of the increase include the following:
Notwithstanding the 5.8% increase in the educator post basket the Department is still facing serious challenges in respect to the provisioning of human resources in schools. The Department will gradually address the placement of additional educators during the 2010/11 financial year in consultation with organized labour unions.
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (SA-SAMS)
The Department is implementing the School Administration and Management System in our schools. This innovation will enable us to collect and store both our school and learner data for proper planning and resource allocation. It will also make it possible for the system to track and account for the movement of learners between Grades R and 12 from one school and province to another through a Learner Unit Record information Tracking System (LURITS).
Through a total budget of R1.3 billion we shall address the following:
In order to address the persistent challenge of mud structures, a Provincial strategy was developed between the ECDoE and Provincial Treasury, with a view to secure additional funding for this purpose.
Further Education & Training Colleges
The Department of Higher Education and Training has established a Transfer Oversight Committee (TOC) and 6 National Task Teams. In turn, the Provincial Department has formed duplicate task teams to deal with transitional matters.
International Parterneships and linkages
Colleges have forged constructive partnerships with following International partners:
Adult Basic Education & Training
A new salary structure has been approved and concomitantly, the conditions of service for Abet educators have significantly improved. The budget has increased from R161.297 million 2009 to R299.269 million in 2010.
Early Childhood Development
Enrolment for Grade R has increased from 141, 181 in 2009/10 to 151, 786 in 2010/11. A new conditional grant has been approved to the amount of R27.586 million and is earmarked for the provisioning of Grade R facilities.
In order to ensure an integrated approach to the doubling of the pre-Grade R enrolment by 2014, the Department intends to review the current Memorandum of Understanding it has with Department of Social Development to include District Municipalities.
I have pleasure in tabling the Departmental budget for 2010/11:
1, 666, 259
Public Ordinary School Education
18, 830, 716
Independent School Subsidies
Public Special School Education
Further Education & Training
Adult Basic Education & Training
Early Childhood Development
Auxiliary and Associated Services
22, 679, 786
The Department and I are truly committed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our public schools. We intend to increase the Grade 12 pass rate by 10% to 60% at the end of the 2010 academic year. All involved in the rendering of education services are enlisted to pull out all stops and walk the talk by ensuring that these targets are achieved.
Since the majority of our learners come from rural areas, we have a responsibility and duty to improve the provisioning of education in such areas with a view to contribute meaningfully to Government’s Rural Development Strategy. We also need to contribute to the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods, and we commit ourselves to do exactly that.
The Department is also committed to ensuring that we alter our audit status through a rigorous adherence to the improvements brought about by the Audit Intervention team, the assistance and leadership of the Provincial Treasury, and the able stewardship of the office of the Auditor General.
Linked to the changes mooted by our audit intervention exercise is the ongoing endeavor to streamline and strengthen our supply chain management processes, improve our financial management systems, and in the process overhaul our human resource management in order to normalize the strained relationship with some of our internal clients. In the same vein, the process to review our service delivery model is ongoing as we seek to achieve reorientation that will improve the quality of our interface with the district offices as we enhance our circuits into key delivery sites.
This will all be in response to our commitment to mainstream good governance throughout the Department, particularly enabled through the utilization of requisite performance management instruments, monitoring and evaluation.
I am also delighted to inform you that the Eastern Cape Education Advisory Council launched in 16 April 2009 is now giving meaning to our endeavour to institute critical partnerships with Civil Society. It is made up of 14 members from across the spectrum of education stakeholders. I thank them for their contribution in policy critique and general advisory services. A budget has been allocated and a fully fledged Secretariat will be in place this year.
I want to thank the people of the Eastern Cape for their contribution in shaping and communicating their expectations through the highly successful Education Summit and the LAIS conference that was held in March and December 2009 respectively. We commit the Department to implement all the resolutions with the resources available to Government.
In acknowledgement of the wishes and goodwill of the people of the Eastern Cape, I have no doubt that through the leadership and guidance of our Honourable Premier, and a dedicated and collegial Executive Council, we will strive and work hard to put our people first, as we seek to unleash the undoubted potential of this beautiful province.
Furthermore, I extend a word of appreciation and thanks to the executive and the rest of the team, for daring to believe, and sharing in my dream, that indeed it is possible to effect change to the norms and culture of doing things in this Department. There is still much hard work and dedication required of us all in this cathartic journey of rediscovery, our people and our nation expect nothing less than a restoration of glory and torchbearer status that this province once stood for. The hard work and contributions of all Education stakeholders, but more so that of the thousands of dedicated educators and learners in our schools must be acknowledged with sincere gratitude since some of them achieve the impossible under very difficult circumstances. I sincerely wish to thank our social partners without whom we cannot achieve our plans and targets.
I also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation and acknowledgement of the immense role played Prof. Ramedzi Harry Nengwekhulu, who once again, heeded our call in our time of need, when we desperately needed his steady hand and experience. I’m sure I speak for everyone in the Department when I say you will always have a home in the Eastern Cape Department of Education.
Last but not least, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to my family, for standing by me, enduring my numerous absences that come with territory, and for being my pillar of strength. I continue to depend on them for spiritual and emotional sustenance, and I plead with them to allow me to draw on their reserves of strengths, support and comfort. Remember the theme for Education: the theme: Working together to improve the culture of teaching and learning, since Education is a societal matter. All stakeholders need to put shoulder to the wheel, because Education is one generation’s contribution to those that follow and the primary client and beneficiary of any educational enterprise is society (Kaufmann, Herman and Watters, 2002).
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
Thank you so much