Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and gentlemen,
I thank you for the privilege to present our Budget Vote speech. This indeed affords the National Department of Basic Education a platform formerly to account for activities of 2011/12.
We will also present the department’s policy priorities and strategic response to key government tasks as outlined by President Jacob Zuma in the 2012 State of the Nation Address.
Budget for 2012/13
Minister Blade Nzimande did remind this House during the Budget Vote Debate for Higher Education that: “Education now constitutes more than 21 per cent of Government’s total allocated expenditure for the 2012/13 financial year”.
The consolidated investment in the basic education sector, encompassing National Office and Provincial Education departments, makes education an important driver of government’s transformation agenda. It is R179.834 billion.
The overall budget for 2012/13 for the Department of Basic Education – Vote 15 – has increased from R13.868 billion of 2011/12 to R16.344 billion. It’s an increase of R2.475 billion.
uMalusi is allocated R22 million for 2012/13 which will reach R83 million in 2014/15 to cover its expanded mandate.
On earmarked amounts, allocations for 2012/13 include R520.9 million for Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy campaign. This campaign has provided 1.6 million adults the chance to become numerate and literate in 1 of the eleven official languages. 648 522 learners were registered in 2011. Currently, 680 000 people are enrolled. The target is to reach 4.7 million adult learners by 2015/16.
This programme offers short-term work opportunities to 40 000 volunteers who are paid a stipend as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). For the EPWP: Kha Ri Gude, R51.5 million has been allocated in 2012/13 to contribute to job-creation, by recruiting and training volunteers.
Confidently we declare to the nation that further advances were made in pursuance of national educational goals. For 2012 and the second half of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), we will continue to use as an anchor Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 to consolidate our advances in transforming education.
This being the midterm of our office, I must share with the people where we are in discharging our constitutional mandate. There’s progress in spite of challenges. We’ve become more equitable and more pro-poor post-apartheid.
We’ve moved from the margin to the centre of learning over 12 million learners in about 24 365 public schools. Responsibly we’ve supplied for these future leaders, for whom together we’re opening “the doors of learning and culture”, no less than 365 447 educators and we have doubled Grade R enrolment from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 in 2011.
We are very encouraged by the fact that more young people are completing Grade nine, an increase from 80% in 2003 to 88% in 2010, with more young people completing Grade 12.
School attendance is close to 100% for the basic compulsory band, in the seven to 15 year age-range. Nonetheless, we’re concerned by the 2010 General Household Survey showing that just over 120 000 children in that band are out of school. We have requested provinces to look into this and address it.
On the other hand, the drop-out rate at Grade 10 and 11 is of great concern and we’re engaging as a sector on interventions for improving learner retention rates.
The percentage of Grade 12 learners who qualify for Bachelor’s studies has now increased to 24.3% placing us in good stead to meet the target of 175 000 by 2014. It was 23.5% in 2010, and 19.9% in 2009.
Given the link between poverty and education, free schooling and school meals are part of government’s pro-poor policies. The number of learners in no-fee schools exceeds our 60% target. This year, 69.3% of learners are in more than 20 000 no-fee schools. The threshold target allocation for no-fee schools for operational expenditure has increased to R880 per learner. The national per learner target amount for Quintile 1 schools is R960.
Total expenditure for school allocation on no-fee schools at the national target level is projected to be in excess of R7.7 billion. Informed by government’s anti-poverty strategy, the National School Nutrition Programme Conditional Grant has increased by R327.7 million in 2012/13, to R4.907 billion.
National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams
There is evidence of progress also in the pass rate of the Grade 12 National Senior Certificate. We must celebrate our achievements on the target of improving the pass rate by 10% by 2014. This target we set after the alarming pass rate for 2009, which was 60.6%.
In November 2011, we surpassed 70%. The 2012 supplementary exams have been completed and the results have been released. The overall pass rate combining the November 2011 and March 2012 examinations is now 72.7%.
This 72.7% is an increase of 12.1% on 2009 results. It places us beyond the 10% target we set for 2014. For this we say ‘thank you’ to all persons and officials who made this possible. Preparations for the 2012 NSC exams are on track.
We remain concerned about both quality and quantity of passes in math and science. Therefore we are implementing a new national strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education.
It reinforces Dinaledi Schools programme which has received a conditional grant of R99.7 million for 2012/13. This June, we will convene a Math and Science Indaba, with key education stakeholders involved in the teaching of math and science.
Concerns were raised about standards with the introduction of the new curriculum and we have given a fuller explanation on this matter in the packages given to members and our guests.
The high standards of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) can be attested to. Members, to obtain admission to university study for bachelors, with the old Senior Certificate, a candidate had to pass 4 subjects at 40% and 2 at 33.3%.
In the case of the NSC, admission to bachelor studies requires a pass in 4 subjects at 50% and the remaining subjects at 30%, provided that the home language is passed at 40% and the language of learning and teaching at 30%. The NSC requires a candidate to offer seven subjects, while the old Senior Certificate requires only six subjects.
From the above minimum requirements, it is clear that pass requirements are now higher. And here we are telling no lies and are claiming no easy victories.
We benchmark our question papers as a credible mechanism for ensuring our national question papers are internationally comparable and are of the highest standard and quality.
In 2007, question papers for 10 major subjects were evaluated by three assessment bodies, namely, Cambridge International Examinations, Scottish Qualification Authority and Board of Studies New South Wales.
There is consensus among these institutions, and Higher Education South Africa (HESA), that by international standards our question papers are well designed and assess what they purport to assess.
We have identified four priority areas for 2012/13. They influence and are influenced by the strategic imperative to make schools work, to make principals manage the curriculum, teachers to teach, and learners to read, write and count.
It is these four strategic interventions making more critical the support of this august House for the Basic Education allocation.
In addition to our on-going focus on the 3 T’s, we continue to focus on CAWI which stands for Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), Annual National Assessments (ANA), Workbooks, and Infrastructure. Through these programmes, we want to maximise learner performance, school by school and classroom by classroom.
As affirmed last year, the 2012 focus is on the prudent implementation of revised Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), starting with Grades 1 to 3 and 10. We have oriented 130 000 teachers and 2 810 subject advisors to the CAPS documents.Training will continue for the 2013 to 2014 implementation.
We’ve developed generic CAPS for languages which went for public comment and are currently used as a base document to version other official languages. The generic document will also be used for non-official languages.
In improving learner attainment, we have developed and are implementing: a National Strategy for Learner Attainment Framework for Grades R to 12; a Curriculum Coverage Monitoring Tool and a school-based Learner Attainment Improvement strategy.
A strategy on Early Childhood Development (ECD) is in place. We are finalising the 0 to 4 curriculum for all ECD sites and realigning resource packs with CAPS for Grade R. An audit of Grade R enrolment at ECD centres is underway.
We are poised to meet the target of full coverage for Grade R by 2014.
Annual National Assessments (ANA)
Our Annual National Assessments (ANA) monitor performance of learners in the critical foundational skills of literacy and numeracy. Following the baseline ANA conducted in February 2011, we have provided feedback to teachers. This has taken the form of reports and high-quality test exemplars. They should strengthen school-based assessment and deepen children’s competencies and confidence in tackling their work.
An allocation of R75 million to strengthen the existing programme and expand assessments to include Grade nine has been secured for 2013/14 and will reach R160 million in 2014/15. September 2012 is the date for the second round of ANA.
We will this year expand provision of Texts – a component of 3 T’s. In 2011 we have provided high-quality workbooks to 6 million learners. We have also conducted a survey of workbook utilisation.
This year, we have extended the National Workbook Programme to cover Grades seven, eight and nine. The allocation for the 2012/13 financial year amounts to R811 million for expanding distribution of workbooks to Grade nine learners.
In 2012, we are providing 54 million books to learners, at no cost to the parent or learner. This is history in the making and we are very proud of this achievement.
In line with our commitment to inclusive education, workbooks for Grades one to six were adapted and are currently being brailed. Grade seven to nine workbooks are also being adapted for Brailing.
We’re attending to concerns raised, including on thorny matters around packaging, delivery and quantities.
Again Chair, because concerns have been raised about this programme, we have provided a detailed response on its management.
With regard to textbooks, a national catalogue for Grades one to three and Grade 10 has been developed and distributed to provinces for procurement of core materials for schools.
A national catalogue for Grades four to six and Grade 11 is being developed and will be finalised in June and July 2012. The development of a National Catalogue for Grades seven to nine and Grade 12 will be finalised during the current financial year.
We have distributed 4 424 500 Physical Science and Mathematics supplementary textbooks to all Grades 10-12 learners in partnership with the Shuttleworth Foundation.
Through the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), we continue to do more to fast-track provision and improvement of school infrastructure. This programme has been given a further boost by being included in the work of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.
The total Education Infrastructure Grant allocation for the 2011/12 financial year was R5,498,300 billion. During adjustments, this budget was increased to R5,729,183 billion. Total spending on the adjusted budget as at the end of March 2012 is R5,254,316 billion or 92%. This spending is 12% higher than the 80% spending reported in 2010/11.
The total budget allocation for the Education Infrastructure Grant in the 2012/13 financial year is R 5,822,398 billion. This budget is R93,215 million more than the adjusted budget of 2011/12 and R324, 098 million more than the original budget.
Department has the following targets to meet through ASIDI: Eradication of 496 inappropriate structures; Provision of basic water to 1257 schools; Provision of basic sanitation to 868 schools and electrification of 878 schools.
Currently, 50 inappropriate schools are in construction for completion by end of this year and will be ready for occupation in 2013.
In 2011/12, 55 schools were provided with water, 115 with sanitation and 48 with electrification. Capacity challenges among our Implementing Agents and contractors have resulted in programme delays and these are being rigorously tackled.
We’re in the process of putting together framework agreements that are intended to provide to the sector more Implementing Agents, built environment professionals and contractors.
94+ Schools Infrastructure Project
In partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and other partners in education, on 10 April 2012 we launched the 94+ Schools Infrastructure Project as part of International Mandela Day.
We invite everybody to make this a success by supporting schools of their choice. Together we will and must unleash the greatest birthday wish for Madiba and sing in unity in celebration of this great icon of our time, come 18 July. “Take Action, Inspire Change. Make Every Day Mandela Day!” In this unique way, we will preserve his towering legacy.
Other key areas of focus
For 2012/13, and until 2014, we will invest more energy also on those critical areas influencing successful implementation of CAPS, ANA, Workbooks and Infrastructure and other priorities, including the following:
Our system is as good as its teachers. Teachers are at the heart of curriculum delivery. Good teaching is the key to unlocking excellence in learner performance. Continuous teacher professional development continues to be critical. Our call to teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day remains fundamental.
At national, we’re overseeing implementation of the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development that we launched in April 2011. For 2012/13, provinces have set aside over R3 billion for teacher development.
An audit process to support functionality of teacher resource centres will be conducted in 2012/13. This will include a scoping for the development of new centres. There are currently 144 teacher centres in the country.
In the period under review, including 2012, a total of 5 962 principals and deputies have been through the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership and Management.
We are excited to announce that we’ve entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with teacher unions to strengthen their capacity in teacher development so as to complement our efforts. To improve our work in this area, we will attend to structural issues impacting on performance in the sector, like teacher supply and utilisation.
The overall vacancy rates over the selected months of reporting (January, May, July and October 2011 and January 2012) averaged 8.7%, 10.2% and 8.7% for principals, Head of Departments (HODs) and teachers, respectively. With colleagues from provinces, we are working hard to ensure that all vacant posts in schools are timeously filled.
Accountability across the system is key. A process is underway at the Education Labour Relations Council to streamline the Integrated Quality Management System, to improve evaluation of educators’ performance. This is done as part of a broad accountability process for the sector. An integrated assessment instrument to improve performance of principals, deputy principals and teachers is in its final stages of negotiation.
National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU)
NEEDU (National Education Evaluation and Development Unit) is another element of our accountability system. We gazetted the NEEDU Bill in December 2011. We thank you for valuable comments received.
NEEDU is a very useful agency meant to help us evaluate the quality of support schools receive and more important, assess and report on the state of schools – in particular, the quality of school leadership and teaching and learning.
Dr Nick Taylor, former CEO of JET Education Services and current member of uMalusi Standards Committee, became new CEO on 1 May 2012. He replaces Prof John Volmink. For 2012/13, NEEDU has been allocated R12.5 million.
Other allocations in the 2012/13 financial year on earmarked amounts include R37.0 million for the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) and R21.7 million for Systemic Evaluation.
For 2012/13, the Funza Lushaka scheme has been allocated R671.9 million. We invite all South Africans to encourage young South Africans to select teaching as a profession of first choice.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Implementation of the Teacher Laptop Initiative is back on track with more teachers enabled to access this resource. Work on a new funding model, procurement and administration processes to strengthen the initiative is going very well and during the latter part of the year we will be making what we think is a very exciting announcement.
The good news is that broader plans on using ICT to enhance learning and teaching are gathering steam. Our department has developed, with the Department of Communication, a connectivity plan providing a comprehensive framework for achieving cost effective and efficient connectivity for all schools.
Director - Generals of the two departments and provincial HODs have signed the Telkom Masters Services Agreement on 27 March 2012 for Phase one Implementation of the Connectivity Plan for schools. The first phase will provide connectivity to 1650 schools.
In 2011, 2 334 schools were connected to the Internet for the purpose of teaching and learning, while 7 008 schools were using the Internet for administration purposes. The establishment of nine ICT resource centres, one per province, and sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation, is expected to accelerate training of teachers in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning.
Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit
As promised last year, we have established a Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit. With its strategic positioning, we were able to prioritise support for underperforming districts targeting schools and classrooms. By the end of the second quarter of 2011 we had reached 4 612 schools.
Under its first head, Mr Ronald Swartz, and later Mrs Palesa Tyobeka, the Unit is working with provinces to support the 18 underperforming districts in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. It is also monitoring implementation of District Improvement and School Improvement Plans.
To further improve district support to schools, in March 2012 we published for comment a Policy on the Organisation, Roles and Responsibilities of Education Districts.
One of major projects we have initiated is alignment of Provincial Annual Performance Plans to the Action Plan. We are hard at work to restore stability and service delivery in provinces under Section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution. These are Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
In order to reduce health and social barriers to learning, we’re working with the Department of Health to expand and strengthen school health services. The HIV and AIDS Life Skill Education Conditional Grant for 2012/13 is R208.7 million.
Through the Integrated School Health Programme, we aim to incrementally provide school health services to all learners over the next five years.
We continue to be concerned by different acts of violence affecting our children both inside and outside our schools and are very hopeful that through the Inter-Ministerial Committee established by Cabinet, work in this very important area will improve. More than 9 000 schools are linked to police stations. This year we aim to link an additional 9 000 schools.
There is great excitement within the sector with the renewed focus on school sports. In November 2011, we launched a new initiative on sport in education.
We’re receiving positive reports on sport taking place on Wednesdays as part of the Magnificent Wednesday that we launched in March 2012. Our children are being encouraged to develop in a holistic manner.
To infuse more life into the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod, we have trained a total of 359 adjudicators, 509 conductors, 82 data capturers and 15 programme directors, the majority of whom are educators.
The 2012 National Choral Eisteddfod will take place in July. About 230 school choirs are expected to take part. Members of the public are encouraged to attend this great event.
We will devote more time and energy to stakeholder mobilisation – a pillar of our transformation agenda.
A vital component of our strategy is working with partners in the private sector, higher education, non-governmental organisations, traditional leadership, interfaith organisations and broader society.
We will be using as a rallying point the April 2012 NEDLAC Accord on Basic Education and Partnership with Schools. This Accord, which was signed by government, organised labour, business and community constituencies constitutes yet another fundamental development in improving education.
In conclusion, education is rightly one of our greatest priorities. It is not a panacea for all social ills, but a public good with economic and social benefits. Centuries of inequality and neglect of schooling for black people in South Africa have had extremely negative effects. Not to acknowledge this is to be party to what Aubrey Matshiqi has recently called ‘apartheid denialism.’
This denialism erases the inheritance of inequality and highlights only the failures and sins of the new government. We build in this budget on significant gains in equity, efficiency and access to improve the education of all our people. But we do not for a moment underestimate the distance we still have to walk.
We take very seriously the resolutions taken at the conclusion of the African National Congress Education Policy Summit held on 12 to 13 April (2012). Among other things, it has noted systemic barriers, which I have alluded to, inhibiting the implementation of key strategic programmes for the betterment of the learning and teaching environment.
The Summit identified as outstanding barriers:
Monitoring and evaluation of performance of all officials, including educators, and the associated incentives regime;
Post Provisioning Norms, employment and deployment of educators;
Conditions of Service and annual bargaining processes;
Resourcing of Education (including infrastructure, capacitating governance structures, LRC and School Governing Bodies); and
The preparedness and capacity of government officials to effectively implement policies and applicable legislation aimed at maintaining a stable human resources and labour relations environment in the education sector.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Deputy Minister Surty, Chairpersons of the Basic Education Portfolio and Select Committees and their respective members for their hands-on approach, education MECs, our Director-General and HODs.
I would like to acknowledge Mr Mmipe George Mokgehle, winner of the National Teaching Awards (NTA) Lifetime Award, and Mr Nemduzivhadi Elias Mkhangeni, winner of the NTA Kader Asmal Award.
I thank all champions of Batho Pele in the system: teachers and their unions, principals and their associations, parents and School Governing Bodies and their associations, Learners and their Councils, and broader society. The young must learn and learn how to learn. They must be supported by all of us. Again we say: ‘Don’t point a finger, raise a finger up for education!’
Education is a societal issue!
I thank you.