Media release

Human Development Ministerial Cluster media briefing

17 February 2012

17 February 2012

Chairperson: Minister of Basic Education, Ms Matsie Angelina Motshekga, MP
Deputy Chairperson: Minister of Health, Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, MP

Deputy Ministers
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

Welcome to the Human Development cluster briefing. In his State of the Nation Address, The President pointed to steady progress in health and education and underlined the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The cluster provides comprehensive life-long programmes for quality education and healthy lives. We place emphasis on a growth path that includes Africans, women and the youth as a reiteration of our dream in building a winning nation. The cluster reports on progress achieved and plans to reduce inequality and support employment in relation to three of the 12 outcomes identified by this administration’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), namely:

  • a long and healthy life for all South Africans;
  • improved quality of basic education; and
  • a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

Despite challenges, there is progress in education. The system is more equitable and pro-poor than it was before 1994.

We have built a relatively stable schooling system that has extended the right to basic education to over 12 million learners in about 24 365 public schools and employ no less than 365 447 educators.

Current achievements include that in less than three years ahead of the 2015 target, we’re set to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals on expanding access to education. As the President has reported, we have doubled Grade R enrolment from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 in 2011.

More young South Africans are completing Grade 9, from 80% in 2003 to 88% in 2010, and more, as you know, are now completing Grade 12 according to the 2010 household survey.

The percentage of Grade 12 learners who qualified for Bachelor’s studies has now increased to 24.3% placing us in good stead to meet the target of 175 000 set for 2014.

Free schooling and school meals are central to our pro-poor policies, to maximise access and roll back poverty.

Currently, over 8 million learners in over 80% of public schools benefit from the no-fee school policy. Over 90% of schools in Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape are no-fee schools.

As the President has acknowledged, we have achieved a lot through dialogue with teacher unions. The Triple T’s of Teachers, Textbooks and Time, on which the President called for focus in 2011, will benefit from well-informed and well-prepared teachers. We are already implementing the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development.

We are also using specialist teams comprising our best teachers and educators from higher education institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure quality teacher development.

A process is underway at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) to simplify and streamline the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) the system we currently use to evaluate educators’ performance, as agreed at the ELRC in 2003.

Once agreed, another instrument – the Teacher Performance Appraisal – will replace the existing IQMS.

Processes are being finalised to evaluate principals and deputy principals inaugurating a new era of performance agreements, accountability, sound school management and the accruing benefits of quality teaching and proper use of time.

As part of the President’s commitment in 2011, we can report that we completed the curriculum review process. At the heart of this has been the need to promote and improve curriculum implementation and learning outcomes. This year, the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) are being introduced in Grades 1 to 3 and 10. We’ve trained teachers and developed learning support materials for successful rollout. We will support and monitor implementation.

In 2011, we provided targeted intervention in all underperforming schools, with 4612 visited by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

Again as was promised in 2011, we have indeed made progress on the provision of learning and teaching support materials. In 2011, we provided high-quality workbooks to around 6 million learners. Some 24 million books were provided in all South African languages and in 2012 the national workbook programme has been extended from Grades 1 to 6 to Grades 7, 8 and 9 this year. 53 million books are being distributed to learners, free of charge.

The 2012 State of the Nation Address was spot-on on the matter of infrastructure. It is one of the formidable constraints that are making it the harder to deliver on the mandate of providing educational services to the nation’s children in an environment that is conducive for learning.

There is progress since we started implementing the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI). In the 2011/12 financial year, we provided 1 648 classrooms; 316 sanitation blocks; water to 63 schools; electricity to 540 and fencing to 96 schools. In this period, 7 new schools were built. Contractors have been appointed for the construction of 49 schools in Lusikisiki, Libode and Umtata regions. They have seven months to complete all 49 schools.

Contractors have also been appointed for the provision of water and sanitation to 88 schools in the Eastern Cape and 78 in the Limpopo province and KwaZulu-Natal has started implementing 88 projects of which forty eight are in construction stage. Other provinces are also engaged in school infrastructure projects, including Gauteng and the Free State.

In line with the imperative to make education a societal issue, , in 2011 we adopted the NEDLAC Accord on Basic Education (2011:4), with organised labour, business and community representatives, this year we have prioritised the March 2012 School Governing Body elections.

I take this opportunity to invite Members and our people to play an active role in making this process a success.

As you know, we have maintained a consistent increase in the pass rate, a positive development that the President also highlighted. The pass rate now stands at 70.2%; I will be meeting all provincial MECs and HODs next week and would want them to tell me why we can’t take it up to 75% this year.

Chair despite the fact that we are made some progress in 2011 in terms of physical science matric passes, we’re are continue to be concerned about the number and quality of passes in both Mathematics and Physical Science, particularly given the specialised and technical skills our country needs for the drive towards industrialisation, economic growth and sustainable job creation hence the strategy in place designed to improve performance in maths and science performance.

To continue with our programme to improve on quality and efficiency we are using the Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 to up our performance, ensuring that the value-chain through which the system is expected to deliver quality learning and teaching is working optimally.

We have initiated a process of linking the Action Plan to Provincial Annual Performance Plans for better alignment, with detailed attention to 2012/2013, and the rest of the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF).

We have a national strategy for improving literacy and numeracy. It will help us improve school performance and the learners’ ability to read, write and calculate.

Through this strategy, we hope to address weaknesses shown by ANA 2011 and to tackle other deficiencies, including in areas of resources management, school and district management, accountability and monitoring.

Our Planning & Delivery Oversight Unit will support districts, particularly low performing districts. With provinces it will assist in developing credible plans for school improvement. In line with the Planning Commission’s proposals on improving school functionality, we will send teams to the 15 districts that performed under 60% – 11 in the Eastern Cape, one each in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

Working with provinces, we are hard at work to restore stability and service delivery in those provinces that are under Section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution – Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Regarding Limpopo, we are grateful for improvements in the last two years, in National Senior Certificate (NSC) results. We are working hard to ensure that this good work they are doing is not hampered by current financial and supply chain management problems. Regarding the Eastern Cape as the President has said, we are attending to that situation, and have enlisted the support of partners to turn the situation around.

We commit once more to the nation that our approach of business unusual will continue into 2012 and beyond. Working together we can do more to improve quality of basic education. Don’t point fingers, raise them up for education!

You will know that the cluster is concerned about the limited career guidance services available in the country for African youth in particular. To assist learners, the Department of Higher Education and Training established a multi-channel Career Advice in partnership with the South African Qualifications Authority. A helpline run by SAQA responds to 1 000 calls per month, while a Website/internet presence reaches 72 000 users per month and will be expanded.

We are equally worried about the availability of higher education and workplace opportunities that will be explored for matriculants. Whilst we know that electricians are desperately needed by the economy, especially within the local government sector, a key challenge continues to be finding workplace experience opportunities for learner artisans to enable them to gain the experiential learning required to obtain a trade certificate. To this end, the recent National Skills Accord between government, business and labour is a major breakthrough as it includes a commitment by business to absorb Further Education and Training college graduates.

To expand access to institutions of higher learning, the Department of Higher Education and Training released the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training in January, which is now the subject of public consultation. It sets out a vision of an expanded higher education and training system, progressively moving towards free education up to undergraduate level for the poor.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) eradicates financial need as a barrier to higher education opportunities. The allocation for NSFAS increased from R3.3 billion in 2010/11 to R5.5 billion in 2011/12. In 2011, the final year a financial support programme was introduced with R752 million being allocated to this programme. As at 30 September 2011, R753 million had been claimed, covering 23 453 students. Those who are successful and graduate will have their NSFAS loans converted into bursaries. In 2011/12, R1.235 billion was allocated to the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Bursary Scheme. 122 911 students are being supported with bursaries and loans.

Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape will commence within the 2012/13 financial year. Further, the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) system supports alternative avenues for skills development. Part of the Department’s strategy to increase access to programmes leading to intermediate and high-level learning has been through expanding access to Artisan Development Programmes, Vocational Programmes, Post Matric Programmes and Skills and Learnerships. 105 specific occupations will now be identified as artisan trades in South Africa. This list will be published in the Gazette as is required by Section 26B of the Skills Development Act.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is also geared to move on the country’s skills needs in line with government’s broader developmental agenda. The massive infrastructure programme requires the cluster to be responsive to the human resource needs of all these huge projects. To this end, the Human Resource Development Council has established Provincial Councils, 9 working groups and has made progress in strengthening and supporting further education and training (FET) colleges, expanding access, producing intermediate skills and professionals, academics and stronger industry-university partnerships in research and development.

A total of 30 117 unemployed learners and 19 192 workers have entered learnerships, while 11 335 learners entered the artisan training system (indentured artisans), with 8 102 learners already passing and obtaining their trade certificates. In 2011, 8 898 FET and universities of technology graduates were placed in workplaces for experiential training. In addition, 4 191 students were placed in workplaces whilst studying. The National Skills Accord has begun adding even more impetus to workplace placements.

The National Skills Fund has allocated R 200 million to enable students with historic debt to obtain their certificates. The closing date for applications was 31 January 2012, and applications are currently being processed, with data expected to become available towards the end of February 2012.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is geared to move on the country’s skills needs in line with government’s broader developmental agenda as expressed in the New Growth Path, the National Development Plan and the recently released Post School Education and Training Green Paper. The massive infrastructure programme announced by the President calls on the Department to be responsive to the human resource needs of all these huge projects.

A national skills fund project called “National Rural Youth Service Corps” (NARYSEC) has been initiated to recruit and develop youth between the ages of 18 – 35 years to be trained as para-professionals in rural areas.

In order to successfully address its human capital development (HCD) shortfall, South Africa requires high-level skilled human capital. To this end, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is developing the Human Capital Development (HCD) Strategy, which focuses on research, scholarship and innovation to increase the number and improve the equity profile of honours, master's and doctoral graduates and postdoctoral fellows.

The primary intention is to promote science and technology through a range of programmes, including the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) and centres of excellence (CoE), encouraging the production of a new generation of researchers, supporting emerging researchers, and supporting and maximising the output of actively established researchers.

In the 2010/11 financial year, although research chairs constituted on average about 1,45% of the number of South African authors, they were on average responsible for approximately 4,3% of publications in the ISI journals, which is almost three times their percentage by number; this demonstrates the efficiency of the initiative.

The number of supported students through the Centres of Excellence (CoE) programme grew from 401 in 2008 to 476 in 2010. At one of the CoEs – the Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis – a study into the relationship between male circumcision and reduction of new HIV infections revealed that, in South Africa, male circumcision could prevent 6 million new infections and 3 million deaths in the next two decades.

The Department of Science and Technology has also, through a number of initiatives, such as the National Science Week and the Science Centres, continued to support and promote science awareness and engagement programmes. In this regard, the National Youth Service (a Presidential-led project that inculcates a culture of service by supporting youth to participate constructively in nation-building activities) and the National Research Foundation Internship Programme (a skills-development initiative) collectively provided up to 789 graduates with workplace experience over the past MTEF period (2008/9 – 2010/11). This inter alia increased their chances of employment.

At least 175 905 people participated in 2008, while 204 174 and 252 775 people participated in the 2009 and 2010 National Science Weeks, respectively.

The National Research and Development Strategy has identified priority science missions, taking advantage of South Africa’s geographic position. These were strategically identified as palaeontology, marine biodiversity, Antarctic research, astronomy and basic science disciplines.In 2012/13 the Palaeoscience Strategy, which is meant to guide the development of Palaeosciences and Archaeology will be finalised and an implementation plan developed.

A long and healthy life for all South Africans: Outcome

Most of us in this room will know that health has been identified as one of the key priorities for this administration. To this end, a number of key focus areas are worth mentioning in this regard: HIV and AIDS and TB, non-communicable diseases, quality of services in our hospitals and Infrastructure for health.

We note the President’s encouraging statement last week on progress we are making in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We however remain focused on strengthening our efforts in the fight against this epidemic which continues to be a huge public health challenge confronting our nation. In December last year we launched our national strategic plan (NSP) on HIV and AIDS and TB which outlines in clear practical terms the road ahead as we respond to this challenge. What’s different about this new plan is that it sets out clear targets and how we should achieve these.

The call we continue to make though is that of having citizens develop the culture of annual testing as this will go a long way in helping us win the battle against HIV and AIDS.

Infrastructure has been identified as key in the delivery of quality services in our country. Most of us are aware of the poor state of many of our facilities due to ageing and poor maintenance of this infrastructure. What is not clearly obvious is the fact that this lack of infrastructure curtails our capacity to produce adequate health workforce. In our infrastructure projects we are looking at dealing with these two problems. Hence the President mentioned the refurbishment of nursing colleges and homes to increase out capacity to produce more nurses. In this case we have targeted 122 colleges and 49 of them are already in this process since last year.

Teaching hospitals infrastructure projects including the new medical school in Limpopo which will be part of the mega-infrastructure projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) mentioned by the President last week. Maintenance backlog projects will be announced in due course.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

NCDs continue to be a serious public health challenge facing us. In his State of the Nation Address the President drew the attention of the nation to this scourge which is mainly caused by life-style choices.

At the centre of all this is the critical issue of PREVENTION. Already, work is being done in the areas of regulating salt and trans-fats in food. These two are well known as key causes of many of these diseases.

This year we are going to be tightening the space in the fight against tobacco products and alcohol consumption. We have to deal with the scourge of alcohol advertising where this is projected as a product bringing success.

Quality of care in our facilities continues to be a huge challenge facing us. In recognition of this fact, a number of initiatives are underway to deal with this problem. Just two days ago the Minister of Health appeared before the health portfolio committee to brief them on the bill on the office of health standards compliance which is aimed at improving quality in our facilities by an enhanced oversight role. In preparation of this, 20 inspectors have been trained and they will start mock inspections on 1 April.

Parallel to this, audits have been conducted in our facilities. To date 3 336 have been completed out of 4 200. Just this week a team of 40 health experts have been trained to prepare them for the facilities improvement. We will start with four districts and 214 facilities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape.

We all have a role in creating a South Africa that truly belongs to everyone who lives in it. A vital pillar of our strategy is working with partners towards social cohesion, including those in the private sector, organised sport, education, NGOs, traditional leadership, inter-faith organisations and broader society.

Through initiatives of the Department of Arts and Culture we create space for dialogue such as the community conversations initiated in all the provinces as part of social cohesion programmes, through supporting public discussions in the annual African Women Writers' Symposium, the Oral History Conference, and various creative sector conferences planned for 2012, as well as public awareness campaigns during National Archives Week and National Library Week. We are making strides in encouraging a culture of reading, writing and debate. The Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme funded by the Department of Arts and Culture will launch its first batch of publications in March 2012.

In the course of this year, the Department of Arts and Culture will embark extensively on a the Social Cohesion programme as part of the ongoing efforts towards building a South African nation that is non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous one.

The Departments of Arts and Culture and Basic Education, respectively, will strengthen the programme of placing a South African flag in schools and all public institutions. The departments will also ensure that the National Anthem of South Africa is sung in all schools throughout the country.

In the course of this year the Department of Arts and Culture will launch a programme of National Icons. This will be about individuals that have made an enormous contribution in the liberation of our country. Preservation of our history will go a long way in educating generations to come about our history, where we come from and where we are going as a nation.This, we will do as part of our programme to educate the people of South Africa about our national symbols. We encourage every citizen to have a South African flag in their homes. Citizens are encouraged to have copies of the constitution and continuously educate themselves about our heritage and be proud of being a South African.

Sport remains a key component in attaining social cohesion and national unity in South Africa. The country will once again send a multi-coded team to go and compete at the Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in London later this year. Having learnt from past mistakes, Government, the sport and business sectors, have improved their support for our athletes to ensure that our flag is hoisted high among the community of nations.

The Sport and Recreation Indaba that took place on 20 and 21 November 2011, engaged in robust debates that led to the adoption of the first-ever master plan for South African sport. Key outcomes of the Indaba were the formulation of the National Sports Plan, which amongst other deliverables has the appointment of the Commission/Committee to Monitor the Implementation of the Transformation Charter and Score Card.We also pride ourselves with the Launch of the National Sport Volunteer Corps, which brings together sport legends, former players/athletes, sport administrators and ordinary South Africans who have a passion for sport to serve the country.

On 4 November 2011, Sport & Recreation Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, announced the Ministerial Committee of Enquiry relative to the investigation into the affairs of Cricket South Africa. The Committee completed a series of oral hearings on 27 January 2012, where various people gave oral evidence to the Committee, towards returning the sport of cricket to its original glamour. The Minister of Sport and Recreation is expected to be presented with the Final Report by the end of the month of February. The Minister wishes to thank all South Africans for responding to the call to make written and oral inputs to the Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Human Development Cluster values your support as the media. “Working together we can do more”.

Penny Ntuli
Chief Director: Human Development Cluster Communication
Cell: 076 794 9120

Statement issued by: Human Development Cluster

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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