15 February 2013

South Africa: Eastern Cape Education Department Delivered a Total of 99.9 Percent Textbooks - Mec Mandla Makupula

press release

It is with great pleasure to commence this briefing by confirming that currently as we speak, this department has delivered a total of 99.9% of all required CAPS textbooks (Grades 4-6, and 11) in our schools. In real terms, that translates to deliveries to 4 316 schools out of 4 321 schools that opted into the Department's centralised procurement. The five remaining schools that have not received any of their textbooks are:

King Williams Town's Gcinisa Primary School

Maluti's Mbizweni Junior Secondary School

Maluti's Mpharane Junior Secondary School

Mthatha's Nzwakazi Junior Secondary School

Uitenage's Braamrivier Primary School

The reasons for these non-deliveries are known and include late withdrawal from central procurement, absence of receiver/s to accept and acknowledge receipt of books even after multiple attempts to deliver, and returns to warehouse for one reason or another. All these are surmountable and are receiving attention.

Additionally, the national Department of Basic Education (DBE) delivered the following workbooks to public schools in the Eastern Cape:

Grade R

Home Language Grades 1-6

English FAL Grades 1-6

Mathematics Grades 1-9

Life Skills Grades 1-3

Natural Science and Technology Grades 4-6

In addition the DBE also delivered Grade 11 Mathematics and Physical Science. The grades 1-9 HL, English FAL, Life Skills and Mathematics Volume 1 workbooks were delivered by DBE at the end of November 2012. The delivery status is at 98.7% due to some returns for wrong languages on the data, merged schools, and closed schools.

The delivery of Volume 1, Grade R and NST DBE workbooks and Grade 11 Mathematics and Physical Science textbooks commenced at the beginning of the 2013 school year.

The delivery of grades 1-9 HL, English FAL, Life Skills, Mathematics, Grade R and NST Volume 2 DBE workbooks commenced on 28 January 2013 and will be completed by end of February 2013.

For any outstanding materials or enquiries, schools are once again reminded to once again contact the DBE workbook call centre 0861004357 or SMS 39864.

Our infrastructure programme is also moving ahead with deliberate responses to challenges and emergencies that beset some of our schools, in particular in Transkei where tornadoes and violent storms cause havoc on a regular basis during the summer months. The following table offers a summary of some of budgeted for work currently being overseen in the fourth quarter by our infrastructure unit:

DOE Maintenance & Emergency Repairs (44 schools) -R14.2million

DRPW -19 Additional Relocatable Schools (80 classrooms and 108 toilets) - R35 million

IDT -16 Hostels being repaired (out of total of 74 assessed & requiring work) - R43 million

Disaster intervention- R3.8 million

Additionally, in order to strengthen the unit's capacity to deliver on its mandate, 7 new appointments have been finalised and the appointees are already in their work-stations. They include:

One Architect

One Quantity Surveyor

Three Infrastructure Programme Manager

One Deputy Director

One State Accountant

Additional senior appointments are also in the pipeline and are being finalised. These include a chief director and two directors. Other four specialised posts for Electrical Engineer, Civil Engineer, GIS Professional and GIS Technologist have been referred to an employment agency as the initial attempt to recruit attracted minimal interest from prospective candidates.

The department is also taking steps to respond vigorously to Auditor General's opinion of the department, and has set up a dedicated audit intervention team. The purpose of this intervention is to set up adequate systems and operational re-orientation to ensure we create an enabling environment for a full unencumbered audit by the office of the AG. So far, in our initial assessment we have identified the following underlying causes of the problems, which are:

A very distributed Corporate Services infrastructure with varying levels of skills, office space and IT infrastructure;

An IT infrastructure that has been allowed to break down over a period of time;

Varying levels of management control;

Poor understanding of document management;

Inconsistent manual systems surrounding the transversal systems of BAS, PERSAL and LOGIS.

In order to respond to the above, there are four key focus areas that we are working on at present - to achieve by 31 March 2013:

Ability to retrieve complete employee files - we are centralising the files, sorting the files, obtaining all the un-filed documents and filing them where possible. Where it is not possible to file them in an employee file they will be filed in a controlled sequence.

Ability to retrieve complete payment vouchers - payment vouchers have already been centralised and being checked for completeness (i.e. do we have all the vouchers) and quality (i.e. have all the procedures that gave rise to the payment been followed?

That all transfers to schools are supported by proper Annual Financial Statements. The Annual Financial Statements give evidence that the schools are well managed and provide us with confidence that the transfer can be done safely.

Managing infrastructure (fixed assets) more effectively. Infrastructure generally comprises a relatively small number of large payments and follow a unique procurement process run by external implementing agents, we are checking that the processes have been followed and checking for misallocations of expenditure (between capital and current expenditure).

Achievement of these targets and focus areas would satisfy the objectives of the audit improvement plan and evidence compliance with the PFMA, Human Resource prescripts, Supply Chain Management Legislation and other requirements.

Another issue requiring attention in our province is rationalisation of our small schools in order for the department to achieve optimal utilisation of its resources. The idea behind the rationalisation project is premised on the following principles:

A large number of schools in the Eastern Cape are small and unviable for effective schooling and this results in a situation where it is difficult to resource these schools, from a human resource, material and physical infrastructure point of view, structure of the schooling system in the Eastern Cape is out of alignment both internally with schools in some parts of the province and with the rest of the country.

This is seen to contribute to poor learner achievements as learners from Junior Secondary Schools are ill-prepared for FET phase, as well as the fact that most Senior and Junior Secondary Schools cannot be adequately provided in terms of human resources.

In order to be able to respond adequately and effectively to this situation, the department has developed the following terms of reference:

To develop a Provincial Framework for the merger and closure of small unviable schools.

To develop a Provincial Framework for the re-alignment of the schooling sector in the Eastern Cape (both public ordinary and special schools) to be configured in line with the approved national model or prototype for the schooling system countrywide as approved by CEM.

Consult with stakeholders in line with provisions of S12A and S33 of SASA and facilitate the development of a Provincial Regulation on the Rationalisation and Re-alignment of the Schooling Sector in the province.

Facilitate the roll out of the rationalisation project within the context of the National Guidelines for Rationalisation as well as the approved framework for the configuration of the schooling sector

The public hearings for the roll out of the rationalisation program has taken place in 13 of the 23 districts(Mthatha, Ngcobo, Dutywa, Butterworth, Queenstown, Lady Frere, Mt Frere, Mbizana, Lusikisiki, Maluti, Graaff-Reinet, Cradock, Uitenhage.)

The department has established a Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) that is a stakeholder representative structure that guides the rationalisation process. The PCC has come up with a framework for dealing with the HR related issues and these have been presented to STANCO and recommendations subsequently endorsed in the PELRC.

An implementation plan is in place and all districts have been asked to establish District Implementation Teams (DITs) who will be inducted by the PCC. The 13 districts have made submissions in respect of their stakeholders and teams visited some districts where submissions for re-alignment were submitted to validate and verify the data with the DITs and do an in loco inspection where necessary.

The PCC is also currently doing troubleshooting in the districts where some stakeholders are not represented and thereafter all the DITs in the 23 districts will be inducted on a cluster basis. Thereafter the MEC resumes with public hearings in the remaining 10 districts. There are five districts where applications for re-alignment have been submitted for approval: Mt Frere, Lady Frere, Ngcobo, Lusikisiki, Mthatha

Most of the schools are ready for 2013 and the department is assisting with the smooth transition of the learners from JSS to SSS.

Districts have been asked to develop project plans to facilitate the process and report occasionally to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

Coming to the important issue of demand and supply of teachers, as an initial response to the reports of critical vacancies in our schools throughout the province, the Department has already, from the beginning of the year, re-appointed 2 187 temporal teachers. These teachers are already in the system. This step was meant to enable and take place simultaneously with the movement of the 6 781 teachers who are additional to establishment of some of our schools in the province. It has been extremely disappointing to note the extent of tardiness and downright obstruction of this process in the majority of our schools.

It is unacceptable that principals and school management teams have, to date, wilfully ignored a direct instruction from the Department, and that, only 1974 teachers have been identified out of 6 781. This amounts to insubordination and dereliction of duty. The acting HoD has issued instruction to our labour section to commence the process of identifying and preparing charges against all those deemed to be wilfully ignoring direct instructions.

Teachers in excess are urged to use this window of opportunity to approach their district offices and voluntarily identify schools with vacancies that match their skills profile. The department is currently considering various options at its disposal, including possible withdrawal of salaries for those teachers who continue to ignore the directive on movement of teachers in excess.

The department is also working hard to realise the court injunction on full re-imbursement of all schools that utilised school resources to fund employment of SGB teachers into substantive vacancies. 77 schools located in 5 districts have been fully assessed and will be reimbursed an amount of R18million by the end of the month. A second batch of schools will be re-imbursed early March.

The department is also currently in the process of establishing a Mathematics Science and Technology Academy at the GaliThembani Youth Development Centre in Queenstown.

The main purpose of the MST Academy is to provide in-service teacher training and support to teachers and subject advisors; and incubating and nurturing learners through extra-curricular Mathematics and Sciences programmes.

Currently, the academy is engaged in:

Training of 23 MSTE coordinators and 60 Dinaledi school teachers on the effective use of Mathematics and Science educational soft-ware in schools on the 22 to 23 February 2013.

Training of 79 MSTE coordinators, Mathematics and Physical Sciences subject advisors is to be conducted in conjunction with Education Professional Services on the 25 to 27 February 2013.

For FET Mathematics and Physical Science teachers there is:

A target to train 1200 Mathematics and Physical Science teachers from 500 underperforming FET schools with less than 50% overall pass rate in Mathematics and Science (EPS Directorate has already started the content trainings through a HEI, NMMU as a service provider in the training of three districts, Butterworth, Fort Beaufort and Libode).

Training of 70 (grade 11 to 12) FET Mathematics and Sciences Lead teachers from the seven education districts are to be trained on how to set high cognitive skills in Mathematics and Science question papers on the 22 to 23 February 2013.

Issued by: Eastern Cape Education

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