The Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the performance of the Department of Basic Education for the 2010/11 financial year, dated 20 October 2011


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having considered the performance of the Department of Basic Education, reports as follows:


1. Introduction


1.1. The role and mandate of the Committee


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education is mandated by sections 55 and 92 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) to oversee the activities and performance of the Department of Basic Education and its statutory bodies. In fulfilling its statutory responsibilities, the Committee performs the following functions:


·         Monitoring and overseeing the Department of Basic Education in its day-to-day and overall performance.

·         Conferring with relevant governmental and civil society organs on educational matters in order to participate in the development of strategies and policies aimed at ensuring the quality and integrity of the education system.

·         Processing and approving legislation and international protocols and conventions relating to education in accordance with the Rules of Parliament and the Constitution.

·         Participating in national and international educational dialogues relating to education.

·         Conferring with the National Council of Provinces on legislation pertaining to education which affects the Provinces.

·         Engaging in various activities and programmes aimed at the development and delivery of quality public education to all South Africans.

·         Dealing with any other matter referred to the Committee by the Speaker or the National Assembly.


The Committee is further mandated to perform an oversight role by the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009. Section 5 of the aforementioned Act requires the National Assembly, through its Committees, to annually assess the performance of each national Department and submit Budgetary Review and Recommendation reports (BRRR) for tabling in the National Assembly. These reports are referred to the Committee on Appropriations for consideration when considering and reporting on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to the National Assembly.


This report provides the Committee’s assessment of the performance of the Department of Basic Education for the 2010/11 financial year to the first quarter 2011/12.


1.2. Processes followed by the Committee in arriving at this report


In compiling this BRRR, the Committee assessed the performance of the Department of Basic Education with reference to the following:


·         The strategic priorities and measurable objectives as set out in the strategic plan.

·         Expenditure trends drawn from the reports and notes of the National Treasury; the 2010 State-of-the-Nation address priorities; the reports of the Auditor-General of South Africa and the reports on the 2010 Budget Vote.

·         The financial statements and annual report briefings, in terms of Section 65 of the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 1999, which requires the Ministers to table the annual reports and financial statements for the Department and public entities before Parliament.

·         Departmental briefings, including quarterly briefings and the progress update on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.


1.3. The mandate of the Department


The Department of Basic Education derives its mandate from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) and several pieces of legislation, including the National Education Policy Act (Act 27 of 1996) (NEPA); the South African Schools Act (Act 80 of 1996) (SASA); other Acts and White Papers that guide the employment of educators, qualifications, inclusive education and quality assurance of curricula and assessment. The Constitution provides the overarching framework for transformation in education. According to the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution, everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education and further education, which the State, through reasonable measures, must progressively make available and accessible.


The Department is also guided by international protocols on education, particularly the commitments made in terms of the Education for All Declaration in Dakar and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which the country has ratified.


In line with its mandate, the Department has a vision of a South Africa in which all people will have access to lifelong learning, education and training opportunities, which will, in turn, contribute towards improving the quality of life and building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic South Africa. 


2. The Department of Basic Education’s Strategic Priorities and Measurable Objectives


2.1 Strategic Priorities of the Department


Education has been set as a key Government priority in the fourth democratic administration. The Department of Basic Education has been tasked to provide quality education for all South Africans. In the period under review, the strategic goals of the Department were centred on the “Schooling 2025: An Action Plan for the Improvement of Basic Education”. The Schooling 2025 Action Plan outlines the sector goals the Department intends to achieve. The two key goals and priorities as per the Schooling 2025 action plan are:


·         To increase the number of Grade 12 learners who pass the national examinations and qualify to enter a Bachelors programme at university from 105 000 to 175 000 by 2014. Linked to this is the aim to increase the number of Grade 12 learners passing mathematics and physical science to 225 000 and 165 000 respectively by 2014.

·         To increase the percentage of learners in Grades 3, 6 and 9 in public schools who obtain the minimum acceptable mark in national assessments for language and mathematics (numeracy) from current figures varying between 27% and 38% (depending on the subject and grade) to 60% by 2014.


The above sector priorities are learner performance based. They seek to improve on the current performance of learners particularly on the critical grades of learning and on the critical subjects and learning areas. As sector priorities, they have major influence in shaping the strategic direction the Department intends to take. The two sector priorities are supported by the following priorities:

·         All children will participate in Grade R by 2014.

·         All learners and teachers will engage in teaching and learning for the requisite number of hours per day.

·         Workbooks that can ensure that critical exercises and tasks are performed by learners and teachers will be distributed to all schools.

·         Standardised national assessments of the quality of learning will take place in all public schools.


The above priorities are a roadmap to 2014. The expectation is that there must be a steady increase in the achievement of such priorities so that by 2014 they are fully realised.


2.2 Measurable Objectives of the Department


The Department of Basic Education identified the improvement of the quality of learning in the basic education system as its over-arching goal. To achieve this goal, the Department set eight (8) key strategic objectives that defined its target areas in the 2010/11 financial year. These are:


·         Improved curriculum implementation by:

o        Removing certain administrative and reporting burdens and streamlining the existing curriculum for Grades R to 12 in order to create more time and opportunity for teaching and learning.

o        Releasing the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) per grade and learning area.

·         An integrated strategy on the assessment of learners:

o        Developing a detailed and integrated strategy on how the assessment in Grade R to 9 should be taken forward based on lessons learned from data emerging from assessments.

·         A new integrated plan for teacher development by:

o        Producing a first version of the integrated plan for teacher development.

·         Workbooks for Grade R to 9:

o        Distributing sufficient workbooks for learners from Grades R to 6 accompanied by teacher manuals.

·         Enhanced education management development capacity within the system:

o        Presenting a detailed proposal on enhancing education leadership, management, and governance capacity within the system.

·         The Schooling 2025 action plan:

o        Releasing a first version of the Schooling 2025 action plan.

·         Better reporting on the state of basic education:

o        Publishing the first Department of Basic Education annual report, setting the tone for the right approach for subsequent annual reports.

·         Promotion of the e-Education strategy through web-based access to education information:

o        Launching a new Department of Basic Department website.

o        Improving the availability of information to the education research community.


These goals were further articulated in the five programmes of the Department.


Adding to the above eight priorities, the 2010 State of the Nation Address outlined the following strategic priorities relevant to the Basic Education sector:


·         Reinforcing the Department’s invariable commitment to the basic fundamentals or non-negotiables in education, by all directly affected stakeholders, with a resolute expectation to both learners and educators to be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching seven hours a day.

·         Assessing all the 27 000 schools by officials from the Department of Basic Education and the findings to be recorded in an auditable written report.

·         Consolidating commitment by three educator unions: National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwys Unie (SAOU) to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) as from 2010.


The above priorities articulate the priorities as set out in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).


3. The Analysis of the Departments’ Prevailing Strategic and Operational Priorities


This section provides an analysis of the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year. The analysis of the 2010/11 cycle is undertaken as part of the examination of the Department’s Annual Report in Section 6.


3.1 2011/12 Strategic Priorities


The Department of Basic Education 2011-2014 Strategic Plan continued to articulate the over-arching goal of improving the quality learning and learner achievement. The key strategic priorities comprise the following: 


The over-arching goal of the Department as set out in the 2011/12- Strategic Plan is to improve the quality of learning and learner achievement[1]. This goal is complemented by Outcome 1 on the delivery agreement signed by the Minister ― Improved quality of basic education. The outcome is anchored by processes and actions outlined as the following four outputs:


·          Output 1: Improve the quality of teaching and learning.

·          Output 2: Undertake regular assessment to track progress.

·          Output 3: Improve early childhood development.

·          Output 4: Ensure credible outcomes-focused planning and accountability system.


The four outputs give effect to its over-arching goal of improving quality basic education particularly improving quality of learning and learner achievement. Many other activities and effort within the Department, provincial Departments of education, at schools and by all affected stakeholders should aim to support the realisation of the four outputs.


The 2011 State of the Nation Address amongst others, emphasised investing more on teacher training, especially in mathematics and science; focusing more on Triple T ― Teachers, Textbooks and Time; and tracking progress on the implementation of annual national assessments in literacy and numeracy that are internationally benchmarked, for grades 3, 6 and 9.  These priorities overlap with or give effect in one way or the other to the goal of improving quality of teaching and learning. The Department inculcated these priorities in its strategic planning. To realise the four outputs, the Department seeks to:

·       intensify teacher development;

·       provide learner support materials;

·       conduct Annual National Assessments in literacy and numeracy; and

·       Accelerate schools infrastructure delivery initiatives.


3.2 General Performance per Programme


Programme 1: Administration


This Programme covers the re-organisation of the Department of Basic Education, tax reconciliation of the Department of Basic Education, international co-operation agreements and the drafting of legislation.


Within this programme, and for the first quarter 2011/12 financial year, the Department achieved the following:


Organisational Matters:

·         Broad consultation on organisational structure was conducted.

·         Fifteen new appointees were inducted.

·         Forty-seven internships were implemented for unemployed graduates.

·         Twenty-six officials attended training/professional development activities.

·         Balances and submitted tax reconciliation were on time.



·         Drafted and assisted in the processing of legislation and regulations on the Education Laws Amendment Bill and NEEDU Bill.

·         Regulations implemented in terms of section 38A of SASA.


Global Partnerships:

·         The DBE hosted a delegation of senior officials from the Education Resource Centre in Nigeria on 21 May 2011.

·         Draft co-operation agreements with China and Serbia were developed and were expected to be signed later this year.

·         The DBE made a presentation, on its objectives and Action Plan 2014, to newly appointed ambassadors at a DIRCO function.

·         Proposed co-operation agreements were received from Egypt and Libya. These were deferred due to the prevailing political conditions in those countries.


Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring


The second programme, Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring deals with the development of curriculum and assessment policies for Basic Education and assists in monitoring the implementation of such policies. The programme has four sub-programmes namely:


  • National School Curriculum implementation;
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD);
  • Inclusive Education; and
  • Kha Ri Gude Literacy Project


The Kha Ri Gude project has been identified as a mass based programme that will recruit 41 000 volunteer educators and coordinators ― thereby contributing to poverty alleviation. This programme provides support in improving teaching and learning by ensuring that every child has a textbook on time; children access ECD; provide ICT in schools; and support Science and Mathematics initiatives.


Achievements include the following:


The Department developed and printed numeracy and literacy                Workbook No. 2 for Grades

1 – 6 in all official languages. A total of 86.9 per cent of learners received Volume 2 Grade 1-6 Language and Mathematics workbooks.

Screening of textbooks for Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3) and Grade 10 took place from 27 June to 15 July 2011 in preparation of the implementation of CAPS in 2012.


The National Guidelines for School Library and Information Services (2010) had been developed. Templates to cost the different areas of library provisioning were sent to provinces for their inputs. The costing plan was finalised at the HEDCOM meeting on 2 June 2011.


The Department analysed the 2010 National Senior Certificate Examination scripts in order to identify problem areas that could assist Grade 12 learners in 2011. This report was shared with PEDs and training institutions to ensure that teacher training in 2011 focused on these problematic areas. PEDs were requested to include these findings in their intervention programmes.


Programme 3: Teachers, Education Human Resources and Institutional Development


Programme three aims to promote quality teaching and institutional performance through effective supply, development and utilisation of human resources available within the Department. This Programme has crucial line items that prepare educators for efficiency in terms of professionalism and subject content. It covers teacher development; intensifying district support and Initial Teacher Training through Funza Lushaka bursary programme.


Selected achievements include the following:


The Human Resource Planning Framework that was approved would guide the teacher recruitment plans of PEDs over the medium- to-long-term.  Teaching posts were filled in May 2011 at a rate of 61.5 per cent. The annual target was 70 per cent.


The target of awarding 5 000 bursaries in the first quarter was exceeded, as 6 742 bursaries were awarded. This was due to improved administrative and coordination systems.


A total of 2 341 schools were visited by external Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) moderators during the first quarter for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the IQMS.  Provincial reports indicated that 41 611 educators participated in development activities in this quarter in Foundation Phase (FP) Literacy and Numeracy, and FET Mathematics and Science, Accounting and Technology.


Regular negotiations occurred in the ELRC. These included task team meetings to finalize instruments for the Teacher Performance Appraisal System (TPAS) for school and office-based educators; developing performance contracts for principals, deputy principals, circuit managers and subject advisors as part of the Education Management Service (EMS).


The support to schools by districts was the major focus of the period. A total of 58 District Improvement Plans were analysed (72 per cent) to determine the effectiveness of district support to schools. A two-day meeting on sign language was held to coordinate the training of educators and district officials of full-service schools.


Programme 4: Planning, Information and Assessment


Key issues for this programme included:


·         Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

·         Annual National Assessment (ANA).

·         Grade R Funding.


Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI):

The National Steering Committee was constituted and the first meeting was held on 19 May 2011. An implementation plan for the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative was approved by National Treasury, in terms of which 50 mud schools in the Eastern Cape would be replaced, 354 schools would be provided with sanitation, 188 with water and 231 with electricity.


Annual National Assessment (ANA):

The report on the first verification ANA at Grade 3 and 6 levels, on learner performance in both literacy/language and numeracy/mathematics, was released by the Minister on 28 June 2011. This report provided all education stakeholders with an accurate indication of the performance of the learners in these key areas and would inform the design and implementation of appropriate remedial programmes.


The results of the pilot study in Grade 9 mathematics and language to determine the baseline was expected to be available at the end of September 2011. Preparatory work, mainly preparation of relevant assessment instruments for assessing Grade 9 language and mathematics performance in 2012, was partially completed


Policy on Grade R:

Cost projections of different Grade R funding scenarios – to be used in support of securing additional funding for implementing an amended funding model within the revised Grade R policy framework - was completed and submitted to the Director-General. Further work has been done on the costing which will be circulated within the Department before finalisation.



Programme 5: Educational Enrichment Services


The aim of this programme is to develop policies and programmes in order to improve the quality of learning in schools. This Programme seeks to create a safe learning environment in schools and ensure an overall wellness of educators through multi-stakeholders partnerships which included:


  • The South African Police Services (SAPS)
  • Teacher Unions
  • Governing Bodies
  • Learner Representatives
  • Department of Health


Key achievements include:


Health screening of 32 289 Grade 1 learners was conducted during the 2011 academic year. Screening was conducted in Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo. A total number of 46 704 learners received health screening and other services (health education, treatment of minor ailments) through the Phelophepa Health Care Train outreach services.


Participation by the Department in the fifth SA AIDS Conference - and hosted a satellite session on the Draft Integrated Strategy on HIV and AIDS as well as exhibited the range of HIV and support programmes and materials developed by the Department.


Stabilisation of the feeding programme was achieved in the Eastern Cape through direct intervention by the national office of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). In April and May 2011, all provinces extended the NSNP to Quintile 3 secondary schools.


Promotion of the Bill of Responsibilities through the Department’s partnership with LeadSA was achieved on four radio stations. Classroom activities from the teacher’s guide formed part of the Primary Matters insert in Independent Newspapers’ daily newspapers. The training manual, "Values in Action” which promoted the practice of values, human rights and gender equality among School Governing Bodies and Representative Council of Learners, was developed and signed off by the Minister of Basic Education in June 2011.


Implementation of phase one of the Partnership Protocol between the Department and SAPS was completed by 31 March 2011. From April to June 2011, phase two commenced in KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Gauteng. Challenges regarding the implementation of phase two were experienced in Mpumalanga, North-West, Free State, Western Cape and Limpopo. Due to the non-implementation of phase one in the Eastern Cape, the Support and Intervention Plan was implemented from 6 to 13 June in four of the six mega-districts.



4. Analysis of Expenditure trends


            1st Quarter Expenditure Report for 2011/12 Financial Year


            Expenditure Trends


            At the end of the 1st quarter, the Department had spent R3.8 billion or 27.2 per cent of the total        available budget of R13.9 billion for 2011/12.  This is depicted in the following table:


Summary Table

Total budget

Actual expenditure to end of June

Percent of budget expended

Current Payments

                   2 136 878

               298 717


Compensation of Employees

                      325 554

                66 337


Goods and Services

                  1 811 324

              232 380


Transfers and Subsidies

                 11 025 277

           3 471 526


Payments for Capital Assets

                      705 979




                 13 868 134

           3 770 972



            The Department spent R298.7 million or 14 per cent of its current payments allocation. The slower   than expected spending was mainly reflected in goods and services where 12.8 per cent had been             spent. This slow spending was mainly due to:

·         Delays in the payment of the Kha Ri Gude project

·         Delays in the implementation of the Annual National Assessment for Grade 3, 6 and 9

·         Delays related to the work of the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU)

·         Delays in appointing a service provider to conduct the baseline study

            The Department’s budget was dominated by transfers and subsidies, which represent 95.8 per         cent of their budget. They transferred R3.3 billion or 31.5 per cent of the available R11 billion for             transfers which was in line with the approved projections. The Department had spent R729 000 or          0.1 per cent of the R705 million available budget for the payment of capital assets. The slow             spending was mainly in Programme 4, where the payment for the infrastructure backlog did not             take place as initially projected.


            Spending trends per economic classification


Economic Classification

Projected expenditure to end of June

Actual expenditure to end of June

Percent of budget expended

Compensation of Employees

77 848

66 337


Goods and Services

154 812

232 380


Transfers and Subsidies

3 480 674

3 471 526


Payment for Capital Assets

59 942




3 773 276

3 770 972




            Programme Spending


·         Programme 1 – Administration

            Spending was lower than expected in this programme where they had spent R59.9 million   or 19.9 per cent of the R301.7 million available funds. The deviation was due to delays in         submission of invoices by the State Information and Technology Association (SITA)     and the Department’s travel agent for Travel and subsistence.

·         Programme 2 - Curriculum, Support and Monitoring

            Spending amounted to R212.6 million or 11.6 per cent of the R1.8 billion available funds.     The slow spending was in goods and services where 11.7 per cent or R179 million of the         available R1.5 billion had been spent. This was mainly due to delays in the submission of     claims for payments related to Kha-Ri-Gude, the adult mass literacy campaign.

·         Programme 3 – Teacher and Education Human Resources Development and Management

            Spending was on track in this programme, where spending was R464 million or 89.9 per      cent of the available R521.9 million. The high percentage spent was mainly attributed to            the transfer to National Student Financial Aide Scheme (NSFAS) for Funza Lushaka      Bursaries for initial teacher development which was made in April.

·         Programme 4 - Planning, Quality Assessment and Monitoring and Evaluation

            Expenditure was slower than expected where 12.45 per cent of the budget was spent on     goods and services and only R18 000 of the R700 million of the available budget had been        spent on payment for Capital Assets. Spending was lower than expected, due to the delays       in the implementation of the Infrastructure Backlog Grant and the Annual National        Assessment for Grade 3, 6 and 9.

o        Programme 5 - Social Responsibility

            Just over 99 per cent of total expenditure in this programme was on conditional grant           transfers to provinces for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) and the HIV   and Aids Lifeskills grants. Overall spending was on track where R1.6 billion or 33.9 per          cent of the available budget had been spent. However spending was slower than expected           on goods and services where R1.3 million or 9.8 per cent had been spent. The low spending was             mainly due to delays in conducting the NSNP baseline study.


4. Analysis of the Annual Report and Financial Statements


4.1 The Department of Basic Education


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education considered the Annual Reports and Financial Statements of the Department of Basic Education and its relevant statutory bodies for 2010/11 from 11 – 18 October 2010 in Parliament. The 2010/11 Annual Report of the Department of Basic Education was the first report on the operations of the newly formed Department of Basic Education.


The annual report briefings served to acquaint the Committee with the progress of each unit in the Department and the named statutory bodies. This report includes an overview of the presentation made by the Department and its entities – with a focus on the achievements/successes, and challenges, performance per programme, human resource management and financial performance.


4.1.1 Performance per Programme


The Department had reported on the following five budget programmes:


Programme 1: Administration (Unspent – R 7. 670 million)


The programme focuses on pursuing African advancement and enhanced international cooperation in education; bilateral and multilateral cooperation; integrating and coordinating UNESCO activities in South Africa; drafting regulations and legislations; providing legal advice to the Department; and planning on behalf of the Department.


The Programme spent 97.1 per cent of the available funds. The under-expenditure was due to savings on compensation of employees due to the non-filling of vacant posts as a result of the reorganisation of the Department - as well as savings on transfer payments to UNESCO as a result of the favourable Rand/Dollar exchange rate.


            Key Successes:


            The programme recorded the following achievements:

·   Attended the first World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in order to assess progress towards the goal of expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education (ECCE).

·   Presented the 2010 Education for All (EFA) Country Report to the EFA stakeholders’ meeting.

·   The Minister visited the Washington DC to share good practices in the area of educational reform.

·   The Director General attended the UNESCO High Level Group on Education for All (EFA) on leading the development of a global general education framework.

·   The Deputy Minister attended a meeting that tracked the progress made by member states towards the achievement of six Education for All goals by 2015.

·   The Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) was processed.


            Key Challenge: Shortage of staff in the International Relations Directorate.


 Programme 2: Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring (Unspent: R 608. 945 million)


            This programme prioritised amongst others the expansion of Early Childhood Development (ECD)     opportunities; improve the quality of teaching and learning in Grade R – 12; improve access and   quality of education for learners who experience barriers to learning; support implementation of             curriculum; provide workbooks for Grade R – 9 learners; expand provision basic literacy for adults and be able to monitor and evaluate the delivery of such programmes; and provide appropriate        Learning and Teaching Support Materials for basic literacy programmes.


The Programme spent 54.7 per cent or R736.7 million. The slow spending was mainly in goods and services where 51.2 per cent or R620.1 million of the available R1.2 billion was spent.


      The under-expenditure was due mainly to:


·   Delays in procurement processes as well as the processing of payments in respect of the Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation Conditional Grant for the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.


Key Successes:


            The programme recorded the following achievements:

·   Early Childhood Development (ECD):

o        Data for all ECD centres had been captured by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Social Development (DSD) and was being analysed to provide more accurate information on Grade R coverage.

o        Fifteen thousand additional ECD resources kits were distributed to 81 district offices.

o        Embarked in a joint project with ETDP SETA to verify the number of ECD practitioners undergoing training as well as to evaluate the training programmes.


·   Curriculum Development Grade R – 12 and Innovation, especially the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS)

o        Fifty per cent of CAPS documents were sent to the publishers for the development of textbooks.

o        A project manager had been appointed to manage the LTSM project for the Department.

o        The criterion for textbook screening was developed.

o        Foundation Phase orientation for subject specialists on CAPS took place.

o        The FET and Foundation Phase Language CAPS were finalised and submitted to the publishers.

o        Forty CAPS for Foundation Phase and FET were edited and finalised.

o        Plans for Grade 10 CAPS training for district officials were made available.

o        A draft question and answer booklet on the CAPS was being edited to promote and inform key stakeholders about the CAPS process.

o        A total of 569 Grade R Foundation Phase toolkits in all official languages were uploaded in the Foundation Phase learning space on the Thutong Educational Portal.


·         Inclusive Education:

o        Grade 1 – 4 English and Afrikaans workbooks for numeracy and literacy were converted to Braille.

o        Grade 1 – 2 workbooks and a selection of Grade 10 – 12 textbooks were submitted to the printers for production.

o        Three of the five provinces who made provision in their budgets placed orders for assistive devices and basic learner packages for leaners with visual impairment. Other provinces will also budget for procurement.


·         A total of 2 600 primary schools received Sunday Times Storybooks for use in classroom libraries.

·         Numeracy and Literacy Workbook - Book 1, for Grades 1 – 6, had been distributed to 19 000 primary schools in all nine provinces.

·         A total of 583 200 learners (including blind and deaf learners) completed their final assessments.

·         Savings were incurred for the Workbooks project by using the in-house services of the Department for the design, layout, and development and Book 1 had been distributed. The second volume of workbooks was handed over to the printers but would only be finalised in the 2011/12 financial year.


Programme 3: Teacher and Education Human Resources Development and Management (Unspent – R 17. 086 million)


            The programme focuses on implementing an Education Human Resource Management       Information System; Revising the Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM)[i]; finalising discussions at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) on the revised instruments on    Teacher Appraisal with the intention to train all educators; visiting 8 000 underperforming schools     and 40 district offices to establish the quality of support rendered; developing a comprehensive   framework on the role of education districts; completing the development of the Integrated National     Planning Framework for Teacher Development; and increasing the number and quality of new     teachers through the Funza Lushaka bursaries.


            The under-expenditure was mainly due to:

·         Under spending on the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit project due to the process of establishing the new unit.

·         Savings on compensation of employees for the Integrated Quality Management System project due to the uncertainty as to whether the project would be extended or not.


Key Successes:


            The programme recorded the following achievements:

·   HR Connect project was completed in order to provide the system with reliable information and to provide an accurate indication of skills existing n the system and to identify the gaps.

·   The Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM) was amended.

·   A total of 7 160 schools were visited by IQMS moderators and they gave the required support on IQMS implementation; delivery of the curriculum; and have sensitised the Department on the lack of furniture, dilapidated buildings and vacancies in schools.

·   Thirty thousand applications for Funza Lushaka bursary were received, and 10 073 were funded from the first year of study through to Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with 1 842 qualifying at the end of 2010.

·   A guide on the organisation, roles and responsibilities of Education Districts was finalised.

·   A total of 1 488 principals were enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) in School Leadership.

·    The Policy on Learner Attendance was implemented.

·   The SGB Support Tool and the Annual Academic Performance Reporting Template were developed.


            Key Challenges: There were no key challenges reported for this programme.


Programme 4: Planning, Quality Assessment and Monitoring and Evaluation (Unspent: R 18. 407 million)


            This programme focuses on physical planning; national school assessments and examinations;      integrated education management system based on individual learner records; and National       Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU).


The Programme spent 88.4 per cent of their budget. The under-expenditure was mainly due to:

·   The decision to reschedule the Annual National Assessment (ANA) meant that the service provider contracted to conduct Verification ANA could only be paid in the next financial year.

·   Under spending in respect of the Education Management Information System project was due to late invoicing, as well as incomplete service delivery by the State Information Technology Agency regarding certain projects.


            Key Successes:


            The programme recorded the following achievements:

·   Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) was finalised and additional funds were made available.

·   There was an improvement in the conducting, management and administration of the National Senior Certificate examination and examinations in Mpumalanga were successfully implemented.

·   NEEDU was established and was in the process of refining mechanisms through which the evaluation and development of schools could be effectively undertaken.


            Key Challenges: The Department still faced capacity constraints due to the split of the former        Department of Education.



Programme 5: Social Responsibility (Unspent R 4. 814 million) –


This programme focuses on arts, culture and music education and training in schools; physical education; school sport; school feeding; knowledge and awareness of health promoting behaviours; identification and treatment of health barriers to learning; gender-related barriers; gender equality; human rights, social cohesion and national identity; and the quality of rural and farm schools.


Programme 5 spent 99.8 per cent of its budget. Over 99 per cent of total expenditure in this programme is on conditional grant transfers to provinces for the National School Nutrition Programme and the HIV and Aids conditional grants. The slow spending in this programme in goods and services, where R9.6 million or 77.6 per cent was spent, was mainly due to the delay in appointing a service provider to conduct a baseline study for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).


            Key Successes:


            The programme recorded the following achievements:

·   Through a collaborative partnership with the South African Police Services (SAPS), 9 000 schools in all nine provinces were linked to police stations.

·   Eight thousand safe school committees were established.

·   The evaluation of the Sport for Development project was completed.

·   Preparations for the establishment of School Sport leagues were completed.

·   The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) reached 8 125 695 learners in 20 250 Quintile 1 – 3 primary and Quintile 1 – 2 secondary schools.

·   A national campaign to create awareness of healthy lifestyles was accomplished with the successful hosting of the National Nutrition Week.

·   The Draft Integrated Strategy on HIV and AIDS, 2012 to 2016 was approved and opened the for consultation process.

·   The HIV and AIDS Life Skills Education Programme business plans for the provinces were approved.

·   The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) in schools strategy was developed and approved by HEDCOM.

·   The second draft of the National Strategy for the Prevention and Management of Substance abuse amongst learners was developed.

·   The school health screening programme was facilitated through the two School Health Weeks where 42 580 Grade 1 learners were screened.

·   Learner focussed guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse in schools was developed.

·   A draft strategy on the prevention and management of teenage pregnancy was completed.

·   Regulations dealing with learner pregnancy were developed.

·   A training manual on human rights and school governance was developed.

·   The Bill of responsibilities was developed.

·   Progress was made on the project on “Building social cohesion in school communities”.

·    Access and retention of learners in rural and farm schools was promoted.

·   Fourteen SASA Section 14 agreements were signed for the 2 641 public schools that were situated on private property.

·   Guidelines for functional school hostels were developed.

·   One hundred and four teachers, 16 district officials and eight provincial (except Western Cape) officials were being trained by the Centre for Multi Grade Education of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in multi-grade teaching.


            Key Challenges: There were no key challenges reported for this programme.


4.1.2 Human Resource Management


In the 2010/11 financial year the Department of Basic Education had 661 posts, with 612 filled and a total of 49 vacancies at a vacancy rate of 7.41 per cent. Programme 1, Administration had the highest vacancy rate at 16, 26 per cent. Furthermore, the Department had a vacancy rate of 23.07 per cent at Senior Management levels and 21.05 at skilled levels. The Department still faces capacity constraints in some programmes, particularly in Programme 1 and at senior level of management. The 23.07 per cent vacancy rate at strategic level may be a cause for concern and this has a potential of affecting the supervisory role within the Department. The staff turnover rate was minimal at 5.93 per cent. 


4.1.3 Report of the Auditor General


The Department continued to receive an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General (A-G). However, attention was drawn to the following:

·         Inadequate programme performance information.

·         The continued use of the Department of Education processes and procedures.

·         Under resourcing of the internal audit unit.


The Department reported some progress in addressing the above shortcomings. It has developed a Turnaround Strategy to ensure that they do not recur in future.


4.2 Statutory Bodies


4.2.1 Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi)


The Council is mandated to quality assure qualifications and standards, monitors and moderates learners’ achievement and issues certificates. The Council also evaluates whether providers of education and training in the sector have the capacity to deliver and assess qualifications and are doing so to expected standards of quality.








UMALUSI reported significant achievements with regards to its activities during the period under review. These achievements cover the areas of Quality Assurance of Assessment, Evaluation and Accreditation, Qualification, Curriculum and Certification, Statistical Information and Research.




In respect of Quality Assurance of Assessment there was a scarcity of suitably qualified people to serve as external moderators for NCV. Due to an unavailability of some moderators for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination there was an 88 per cent achievement on internal assessment. The ERCO examination board used a question paper that was not approved by UMALUSI. Assessment bodies did not submit evidence for prescribed samples or were not making available the required samples. There was no reporting on International Continuous Assessment (ICASS) on Further Education Training (FET) as indicated on the strategic plan.


In respect of Statistical Information and Research, the final research report with Higher Education South Africa (HESA) on international benchmarking was not reported on.


Umalusi also reported that it was using R 15m of its reserves of R 23m, to fund 2011/12, of which R6,4m would be used for renovations leaving the entity with R 2m earmarked for the Adult matric project over three years, thus leaving it without any reserves. Umalusi had proposed to the Department for a move from a Certification Fee model to a Quality Assurance Levy or increasing its baseline allocation substantially.  Umalusi had provided these options in its budget proposals - and should the increase in their baseline allocations not be available for 2012/13. Umalusi was left with no alternative but to dramatically increase certification fees to fund future years. The Department was considering raising the baseline allocation.


Financial Performance


The Independent Auditors to the Council gave an unqualified audit opinion, on completion of the examination of the UMALUSI financial statements. UMALUSI had sound internal Audit controls and it had reported on its predetermined objectives and in compliance with the PFMA (Act 1 of 1999) as amended. It is also good to note that there were no matters raised on compliance with laws and regulations and internal control.


4.2.2 Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC)


The primary business of the Council is to promote the maintenance of labour peace in the public education sector through the provision of dispute resolution (and prevention) services. To this end, the grievance and disputes of educators and officials were resolved through conciliation and/or arbitration. The secondary business of the Council involved promotion and maintenance of labour peace in the public education sector through the provision of consultation and negotiations between trade unions and the state as the employer, as represented by the Department of Education.

The Western Cape was the highest referring province in 2010/11 and KZN the highest referring province in 2009/10. The referral rate in these two provinces remained consistent. Mpumalanga and Northern Cape remain the lowest referring provinces.




The Council embarked on a number of programmes for commissioners – that would later be extended to include dispute practitioners and the presiding officers in all provinces. Of the 14 cases referred, nine cases were finalised. There were also significant achievements and progress with regard to the areas of facilitation, professional development, training, collective bargaining, allocation of shop stewards, lap-top initiative and QLTC.




The Council had not achieved its 30-day target for Conciliation during the 2010/2011 period mainly due to panelist capacity and DoE and unions’ capacity. The Council had not been able to meet the Arbitration target due to the fact that parties were represented by lawyers who were not readily available for dates. Other challenges included:

  • Verification of Basic Education Levies
  • Management of Surplus Funds
  • Generally recognised accounting practices
  • New reporting framework on performance information
  • Audit opinion on performance information

In respect of QLTC provinces complained of a lack of funds. Some provinces mentioned a lack of common understanding of the QLTC, with poor directives from the National Department – with many provinces struggling to get structures active and functional.


Financial Performance


ELRC has received an unqualified audit report. However there were several matters of emphasis raised by the Auditor General including:

·         The entity incurred irregular expenditure of R2 505 559.

·         There was a disclosure of R116 952 fruitless expenditure.

·         Some procurement prescripts were not followed.

·         No effective and appropriate steps were taken by the accounting officer to prevent irregular and fruitless expenditure.

·         There was insufficient exercise of oversight regarding financial reporting and internal controls.

·         No sufficient procedures were in place to prepare accurate and complete financial reports.


4.2.3 South African Council for Educators (SACE)


The South African Council for Educators (SACE) was responsible for the registration and professional development of all educators as well as upholding the ethics of the profession. The Council further advised the Ministers of Basic and Higher Education and Training and promoted research on professional matters.




SACE reported a number of achievements with regards to its activities during the period under review. These included the areas of registration of educators and the professional development of educators. The Council further exposed educators to the Code of Ethics and reviewed this Code.




The Council faced challenges in respect of the authenticity of the SACE Database. The Council failed to set, maintain and update registration standards, criteria and procedures by reviewing existing standards in line with the current challenges and international standards. In respect of the professional development of educators, the strategic objectives and targets in the mandate was not accurately explained in the annual report, strategic plan and the presentation made before the Portfolio Committee on the 23 February 2010. The Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system was not running in all provinces with only a committee of seven evaluators having been established. SACE failed to make available to all schools copies of the SACE Code of Ethics with at least 100 000 copies of study materials not produced. There seemed to be a perceived confusion of the specific role of SACE played in respect of the CPTD programme – and under whose authority it resided.


Financial Performance


The Independent Auditor gave an unqualified audit opinion, on completion of the examination of the SACE financial statements. However the following matters were raised by the Independent Auditor and the Audit Committee for SACE:


·         The SACE administration needed to improve its professional role.

·         The SACE administration must improve the management of performance. In particular, it should deliver on its commitment to align reporting with the approved strategic plan.  This was the second year running that this matter was raised. It was raised last year by the Auditor General that SACE’s “reporting of targets in some instances were not in line with targets and objectives set out in the strategic plan”.


5. Other Sources


5.1 Report on Millennium Development Goals


The basic education sector in South Africa was primarily responsible for the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2 and 3. MDG 2 thrusts for commitment by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to achieve universal primary education while MDG 3 sought the promotion for gender equality and empowerment of women by 2015.


In terms of the South African government’s development priorities, the focus on education was not only on access to education, but more on quality of education. The focal point was on a range of practical steps for attracting, retaining and teaching children including the provision of no fees for schools servicing poorer communities, up scaling school nutrition and feeding schemes and further allowing for free transport. The focus also included: improving access to Grade R; expanding the provision of infrastructure, facilities and learning resources at primary and secondary schools; and broadening access to specialist services for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN).


5.1.1 Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education


The Department reported progress in achieving this goal on the following three indicators: 

-          Net enrolment rate in primary education

-          Completion rates of primary education for 18 year olds

-          Literacy rate of 15 – 24 years old, women and men


Net enrolment rate - On the matter of the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in South Africa, the Department reported on the age level 7 to 13 or grades 1 to 7 which are the recognised primary schooling age. In this regard, it is significant that South Africa had attained almost universal access to primary education. The Department further indicated that the girls’ net enrolment rate in 2009 was higher at 98.8% while boys’ net enrolment rate was at 96.4 per cent.


Completion rates of primary education for 18 year olds - Completion rates of primary education and higher for those aged 18 years increased from 89.6% in 2002 to 93.8% in 2009.


Literacy rate of 15 – 24 years old, women and men - The Department reported that the functional literacy rate among 15–24-year-olds, which was based on educational achievement of up to Grade 7, had steadily increased from 88.0% in 2002 to 91.0% in 2009. It was further reported that the functional literacy level for female youths in 2009 was at 93%, slightly higher than their male counterparts who were at 89%.


According to the Department, South Africa was on track in achieving universal primary education by 2015. The concerning factor was that the Department’s survey showed that children completed primary schooling at an older age than expected and that class repetition was a challenge. In essence, the Department assured the committee that South Africa would achieve the goal of universal primary education well before the year 2015.


Learner outcomes however remained a challenge needing to be addressed. The results of the recently released 2011 Annual National Assessments (ANA) gave evidence that most learners did not acquire the skills and understanding that gave substance to the right to education.

In terms of the different levels of performance, over half of the total learners assessed performed at a level that indicated that they had clearly not achieved the competencies specified in the curriculum. In Grade 6, the results indicated that approximately 70% of learners fell into this category. At the top end (at least 70%), very few learners were able to achieve outstanding results. For instance, only 3% of learners in Grade 6 mathematics could be considered outstanding.

5.1.2 Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women


The target of Goal 3 was to eliminate the gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 and to continue doing so in all levels of education no later than 2015. The Department reported progress in achieving this goal on the indicator of the ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary schools. The Department reported that all education goals could be achieved well before the end of 2015.


5.2 Audit outcome of the Provincial Education Departments 


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education received a briefing from the Office of the Auditor-General on the audit outcomes of the Basic Education Sector and related entities for the year ended 31 March 2011.


       Audit outcome of Provincial Departments of Education for 2010/11



Audit Outcome




Eastern Cape



Free State















Northern Cape



North West



Western Cape




The briefing highlighted that the overall audit outcomes of the Provincial Education Departments performance continue to be unsatisfactory with 60% of the departments receiving modified audit opinions. Although there are improvements at some departments, this was a movement from category of modified audit opinion to another.  Limpopo and North West education departments moved from disclaimer of audit opinions to qualified audit opinions, while Mpumalanga progressed from qualified audit opinion to unqualified audit opinion. The Western Cape and Gauteng education departments have retained unqualified audit opinions.


The briefing further showed that unauthorised expenditure for the Sector for 2010/11 stood at R 959 million compared to the R 2.2 billion for 2009/10 (as identified by auditees). Irregular expenditure for the Sector for 2010/11 stood at R 1.2 billion (as identified by auditees) and R 4.3 billion (identified during audit). 


The main root causes of defective financial statements were poor key control monitoring by leadership, ineffective audit committee review, slow rate of filling of vacancies, vague action plans (lacking fixed timeframes), asset management and skills-sets of officials.


6. Committee Observations


6.1 As in the previous reporting period, the Committee commended the Department and its entities for continuing to receive an unqualified audit opinion in relation to the management of its finances. This suggested the existence of strong performance management systems at national level. To further enhance these management systems, the Committee expected the affected entities to work towards ensuring that the problem areas highlighted as matters of emphasis do not arise in future.


6.2 The Committee noted with appreciation that South Africa rated well on standard indicators of access to education and that the Department was advancing in many areas in giving expression to its mandate of providing quality education. The Committee supports the placing of the Department’s efforts into sustaining gains made in equity and access. It also welcomes inroads made in terms of planning to address the infrastructure backlog. 



6.3 Notwithstanding these significant achievements, the Committee noted the following issues and

concerns regarding the performance of the Department and its entities:


·         Members of the Committee remain concerned about poor performance of learners as one of the proxy indicators for measuring the quality of education

·         The Committee is concerned about the poor utilisation and supply of teachers in the system and would like to see greater progress made in resolving this challenge.

·         The Committee notes that government funding has significantly increased access to ECD opportunities and practitioner training. However, the conditions of service of practitioners at ECD at registered ECD sites remain a cause of concern.

·         The Committee is concerned about efficiency challenges regarding the distribution of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM), including workbooks. Some schools still receive insufficient workbooks or do not receive them on time.

·         The strategic objectives and targets for SACE were not accurately explained in the entity’s annual report and strategic plan. This restricted effective monitoring of service delivery,

·         The Committee noted that Umalusi was using its reserves to fund its mandate, including renovations, thus leaving Umalusi without any reserves.

·         The poor management of finances in several Provincial Education Departments as reported by the Office of the Auditor General continues to be a serious cause of concern to the Committee, as it impacts on service delivery. The Committee urgently requires that the parties involved update it on the impact of their intervention strategies to resolve this issue.

·         Efforts at improving learner outcomes continue to be severely constrained by the existence of overcrowded classes in many schools which impacted on class size.  

·         The Committee is concerned that the roll out of incentives for rural teachers is uneven across the provinces and may not have been sufficiently budgeted for in some cases.

·         There is a need for Sign Language to become an official language.


7. Conclusion

Despite the above mentioned concerns, the Committee is satisfied that the Department of Basic Education, together with its three entities, remained focused on ensuring that they deliver on the commitments made in their respective Strategic Plans during the period under review. The Committee is further satisfied that the Department and its entities are largely compliant with Treasury regulations and the PFMA. A strong foundation has been laid towards improving the quality of basic education.



Based on the observations made above, the Committee recommends the following:

(1)     The Minister for Basic Education should ensure that the Department:

  • Intensifies its targeted interventions to improve the quality and functionality of education if the goal of access to education is to be realised.
  • Continues to prioritise teacher skills development.
  • Makes representations to ensure that Sign Language becomes an official language in order to enhance quality learning and teaching.
  • Harnesses, expands and implements the accumulated knowledge, expertise and experience at some NGOs, private and public schools related to the effective implementation of the curriculum and the enhancement of the learning and teaching capabilities of teachers and learners.
  • Gives special attention to the reduction of actual class size in all schools by way of a further review of the National norms and standards in respect of class size.
  • Fast tracks the introduction of performance agreements for principals and deputy principals.
  • Together with Provincial Departments of Education deliver sufficient Learner Teacher Support Material, including workbooks to schools on time.
  • Together with Provincial Education Departments prioritise and scale up the roll out of motivational incentives for educators in rural areas particularly those teaching scarce subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Technology. The implementation of these incentives should be monitored closely to ensure that they have the desired effect. Sufficient funds should be made available for these incentives.
  • Updates the Committee as a matter of urgency on the nature and impact of interventions to improve the management of finances in affected provinces. It should follow up on this issue in collaboration with relevant committees of Parliament.
  • Ensures that the recommendations arising out of the recent review of the quintile system effectively eliminate inconsistencies in the current classification of schools and the consequent underfunding of some schools.
  • Gives special attention to the improvement of conditions of service of ECD practitioners.
  • Ensures that SACE pays special attention to its Strategic Plan and Predetermined Objectives as well as ensures that there is value for money and suitability of the purchase of its new building.
  • Report back to the Committee on the progress made in respect of infrastructure so as to ascertain whether they were reaching their targets.
  • Ensures there is the necessary capacity to continue the monitoring and maintenance of school infrastructure.
  • Ensures that the Committee received the necessary quarterly reports on progress in respect of ASIDI.


(2) The Minister of Basic Education should ensure that additional funding be provided to UMALUSI in order for the entity to effectively carry out its extended mandate.


The Portfolio Committee requests that it receives a written response to the recommendations alluded to within 14 days of the tabling of the report.




Report to be considered


[1] Department of Basic Education (2011)







Auditor General South Africa, (2010) Report on the audit outcomes of the provincial departments of education and related entities. Presentation to Parliament Portfolio Committee on Basic Education 13 October 2010. Cape Town, Parliament of South Africa.


Department of Basic Education, (2011) Annual Report 2010/11


Department of Basic Education, (2011) Strategic Plan 2010 – 2013


Department of Basic Education, (2011) Strategic Plan 2011 – 2014


National Treasury, (2011) National Budget and Expenditure Report