Basic Education Budget Vote Speech for the 2019/20 Delivered by the Minister Angie Motshekga
16 July 2019
Honourable Speaker / Chairperson
Cabinet colleagues and Deputy Ministers present
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for the 2019/20 Debate on Vote 14 – Basic Education, which is delivered and debated in the context of what His Excellency, President Ramaphosa said during the State of the Nation Address last month that – “As South Africa enters the next 25 years of democracy, and in pursuit of the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP), we must proclaim a bold and ambitious goal – a unifying purpose, to which we dedicate our resources and energies. As we enter the last decade of the [NDP] Vision 2030, we must define the South Africa we want more clearly, and agree on the concrete actions we need to [undertake as a nation]”.
As we are building the future – yes the “new dawn” for South Africa, we recommit to building a solid foundation for a quality and efficient basic education system, from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to the Further Education and Training (FET) Band; and to contributing to the seven cardinal principles of the Sixth Administration, especially in relation to consolidating development.
Speaker, I must state upfront that the Basic Education Sector has progressed quite admirably over the 25 years of our democratic dispensation. It is no mistake that His Excellency, President Ramaphosa attributed the sector’s progress to a “silent revolution”. We however, are the first to concede that our achievements are accompanied by stubborn systemic challenges we continue to grapple with. I therefore, wish to encourage this House to read our Annual Reports and the 25-Year Review of Progress in the Basic Education Sector released by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation early this year.
Budget allocation, Vote 14 – Basic Education for the 2019 MTEF Period
I was heartened by the measures put forward by His Excellency, President Ramaphosa in the June 2019 State of the Nation Address, to put the country back on track, as far as economic growth is concerned. This will ease the pressures on the education sector, and create a better environment for educational improvement, which as we should all know, is a prerequisite for a healthy economy and society, and for our ongoing task of tackling the legacy of deep inequality in South Africa.
Speaker and the Honourable Members, allow me to highlight the following in relation to the Budget Vote 14 – Basic Education for the 2019 MTEF period –
The overall 2019/20 MTEF budget allocation for the DBE is above twenty four billion Rands (R24.5 billion) – an increase of 3.4% from the 2018/19 overall allocation.
The overall allocation for 2019/20 Condition Grants for the DBE is above eighteen billion Rands (R18.6 billion) – an increase of 4.9% from that of the 2018/19 financial year.
The overall allocation for 2019/20 Earmarked allocations and transfer payments is about three billion Rands (R2.8 billion) – an increase of 3.7% from that of 2018/19 allocation.
Speaker, it is important to note that 2019/20 MTEF budget allocation will strictly cover –
DBE programmes, such as administration, teacher education human resource and institutional development, curriculum support and monitoring, and educational enrichment services;
Schedules 4 and 7 Conditional Grants, including mathematics, science and technology; infrastructure delivery, HIV and AIDS, National School Nutrition Programme, learners with severe to profound intellectual disabilities, rural education assistants project, and the two new projects I have mentioned earlier; and
Earmarked allocations and transfer payments include Umalusi, the National Education and Collaboration Trust, the South African Council of Educators, and for the Second Chance Programme, workbooks, Early Grade Reading Assessment, as well as Information Communications Technologies.
Strategic realignment of the basic education sector
At the outset Speaker and Honourable Members, I must state that the 2019 ANC Election Manifesto enjoins us to prioritise Education and Skills Development, as we work towards universalising access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes, and improving the quality of primary education. During the 2018/19 Budget Vote Debate, I reminded this House about UNESCO’s global education agenda, Education 2030, as part of its Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. SDG 4 in particular, calls for an inclusive, quality and equitable education and lifelong opportunities for all.
We have translated the SDGs into our Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, which is designed to achieve the long-term vision of education as encapsulated in the NDP, Vision 2030. The NDP directs that “by 2030, South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved learning outcomes. Therefore, we all have a moral obligation to ensure that the social justice principles of access, redress, equity, efficiency, inclusivity and quality educational opportunities, are widely available to all citizens.
In our quest, as the Basic Education Sector, to implement the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC, the directives of the 2019 ANC Election Manifesto, and President Ramaphosa’s pronouncements during the February and June 2019 State of the Nation Addresses, we have identified eleven focus areas as strategic levers for the 2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). We encourage the Honourable Members to read our Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), Performance Plans and our detailed Budget Vote Speech provided in the DBE website. The eleven strategic areas we have identified for the 2019 MTSF are –
Priority 1: Improving the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, especially “Reading with meaning”, straddling the ECD to end of the Intermediate Phase at Grade 6, which should be underpinned by a Reading Revolution;
Priority 2: Immediate implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world; Fourth Industrial Revolution – ICT roll-out; as well as the introduction of Entrepreneurship, especially Focus Schools;
Priority 3: Collaborate with the Department of Higher Education and Training to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to teach literacy and numeracy, in particular reading; and promote the status to teach learners’ skills and competencies for a changing world;
Priority 4: Dealing decisively with the quality and efficiency through the implementation of standardised assessments to reduce failure, repetition, and drop-out rates; and introduce multiple qualifications, such as the General Education Certificate before the Grade 12 exit qualification;
Priority 5: Eliminate the digital divide by ensuring that within six years, all schools and education offices have access to internet and free data;
Priority 6: Urgent implementation of the two-years of ECD before Grade 1; and the systematic relocation of the responsibility for ECD from the Department of Social Development to the DBE;
Priority 7: Decolonisation of basic education through the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African History and national symbols to all learners up to Grade 12;
Priority 8: Cooperate with the South African Police Services and the Departments of Health, as well as Sport, Arts and Culture, to teach and promote school safety, health and social cohesion;
Priority 9: Complete an integrated Infrastructure Development Plan, informed by Infrastructure delivery and regular maintenance, which is resourced;
Priority 10: Increase the safety-net through pro-poor policies to cover learners who are deserving in programmes, such as ECD and Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN); and
Priority 11: Strengthen partnership with all stakeholders, private sector, and promote integrated governance, intergovernmental relations, and labour peace;
Speaker, the Deputy Minister and I, will provide details on the eleven priority areas identified for the 2019 MTSF.
Priority 1: Improving the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, especially “Reading with meaning”, straddling the ECD to end of the Intermediate Phase at Grade 6, which should be underpinned by a Reading Revolution
We have made a lot of progress in giving our children access to schooling, and ensuring that more children go on to complete Matric, and enter post-schooling opportunities. But we know that the only way we are going to see further improvements in these indicators, is by improving the learning foundations that children build in the early grades of primary schooling. Although there are various factors affecting high school children that may trigger dropping out of school, the evidence shows that the root cause of dropping out of school is inadequate learning foundations.
We also know that there is a clear link between educational outcomes and later life outcomes, such as access to jobs. Therefore, the only way that South Africa is going to achieve meaningful social and economic transformation, is by making sure that children across all of society, especially in poor communities, learn to read, write and do mathematics in the early grades, so that they are equipped to go on to further educational opportunities.
His Excellency, President Ramaphosa has set us a goal that “every child should learn to read with meaning by the age of ten”. The coordination of our Reading intervention is currently being strengthened; and we are paying particular attention to the teaching of “reading with meaning”. The time has come for us to work together to achieve this goal.
As the DBE, we are implementing the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme (PSRIP), which has already yielded very positive results in that, from its inception in 2016, it has reached more than 21 000 teachers, and more than 630 subject advisors; positively impacting and changing thousands of classrooms in our schools. Through the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme, a range of support interventions are brought together to improve the quality of teaching of Home Language literacy as well as English as a First Additional Language. This programme will expand the package of reading support that was found to enrich instructional practices, and have a measurable impact on reading outcomes through the DBE’s Early Grade Reading Study. The package includes daily lesson plans aligned to the curriculum, additional appropriate reading materials in the African languages, and coaching for teachers.
The Primary School Reading Improvement Programme will also expand the provision of reading assessment tools for teachers to use in informing individualised support to learners. We will be launching reading clubs, holding reading competitions, and doing book floods – all to spark the joy of reading in our children. We will continue to drive societal campaigns to get parents and communities, business and civil society more involved in the support of reading. South Africa must become a country of readers.
We are collaborating with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), in entrenching the Read to Lead Campaign with the National Reading Coalition, which we launched on 15 February 2019. We are also supplementing the technical work we are doing to support and improve instructions and learning through curriculum materials, instruction, and assessment. We will distribute materials for language and numeracy in the Foundation Phase on paper, and ICT devices to strengthen institutional practice.
A lot of work will also be done to support the teaching and learning of mathematics in the early grades. Last year, we launched a new framework for teaching mathematics with understanding, which will help teachers to better implement the curriculum. We are currently piloting the implementation of this framework, and will be expanding this support throughout the system.
Speaker and Honourable Members, we wish to report that the National Institute for Curriculum and Professional Development will be fully institutionalised within the 2019 MTSF, strengthening teacher development in the sector, and improving teachers’ capacity to teach reading in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases. We will more strongly link the curriculum delivery to professional development of educators through this Institute.
We are therefore committing that, by the end of the 2019/20 financial year, we will have adopted a National Reading Plan for Primary Schools, using evidence-based reporting tools for interventions. We encourage schools, parents and communities in the target areas, to actively participate in the reading movement to establish a reading culture in South Africa. We will actively establish partnerships and raise funds to support the reading movement. Reading Norms will be deepened to strengthen curriculum delivery, building on the norms already in use in African languages.
Priority 2: Immediate implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world; Fourth Industrial Revolution – ICT roll-out; as well as the introduction of Entrepreneurship, especially Focus Schools
Speaker, I am delighted to report that we have progressed quite well in the implementation of the Three-Stream Curriculum Model – namely academic, technical-vocational and technical-occupational streams. We are convinced that the roll-out of the three-stream curriculum model was definitely a step in the right direction, which resulted in the NSC Class of 2018 sitting for a cluster of three Technologies, namely the Civil Technology, comprising Civil Service, Construction, and Woodworking; the Mechanical Technology, comprising Automotive Fitting as well as Machining, Welding, and Metalwork; and Electrical Technology, comprising Electronics, Digital Systems, and Power Systems. In addition, the Class of 2018 wrote new subjects, namely Technical Mathematics, and Technical Science.
Research conducted by the University of Oxford, revealed that 45% of the current jobs, will disappear within the next 10 to 20 years; with many jobs becoming completely automated.UNESCO estimates are higher – that 65% of the current jobs will not exist in 15 to 20 years.Therefore, the need for the Basic Education Sector to refocus the curriculum towards a competence‐based approach, integrating the 21st century skills and competencies across the subjects; and the introduction of new subjects and programmes that are responsive to the demands of the changing world, is inescapable.
The current debates in our country, are influenced by the need to tackle the country’s glaring inequalities and the legacy of apartheid. In his inaugural 2018 SONA, President Ramaphosa emphasised the need to harness technological change to advance radical socio-economic transformation. The “schooling system therefore, needs to make optimal use of emerging technologies to strengthen teaching and learning, but also needs to consider how learners can be better prepared for technological change in society, and to help bring about radical socio-economic transformation”.
The President also underlined that “young people [should] be exposed to the world of work through internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship”. Some of this, should start already in school. Moreover, he reiterated that “the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses”, a position that underlines the importance of entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy.
Together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, we have begun to explore the streamlining of the qualifications and possibilities of utilising the General Occupation Certificate (GOC) that has been developed by the Quality Council on Trade Occupations (GCTO). The Council has been approached to solicit support for the occupational subjects offered in the TVET Colleges to be articulated in the 26 Technical-Occupational subjects offered in our Technical High Schools.
We have also begun the process of transforming our curriculum by introducing new and existing skills-based subjects. The plan is to establish National Schools of Specialisation or Focus Schools incrementally throughout the country in the medium- to long-term, to offer new and other skills-based subjects, which include amongst others, Aviation, Maritime, Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism, Arts as well as Mathematics and Science. We are incrementally establishing Technical High Schools and Schools of Skill, in line with the economic development zones. The aim is to ultimately have at least one such school per Circuit.
Speaker and Honourable Members, as we enter the first year of the Sixth Administration, we can say with conviction that we have brought Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and connectivity within the reach of our teachers and learners. Workbooks and textbooks are digitised for easy access. We have digitised approximately 90% of textbooks for high enrolment subjects – such as Mathematics, Physical Science, and Accounting; as well as 100% of workbooks and Graded Readers. We have developed the Grade R-3 Coding and Robotics curriculum; and the design of the Grade 4-9 curriculum is at an advanced stage. We will be piloting this curriculum from January 2020 in Grade R-3 and Grade 7.
To expand broadband and connectivity to schools for Learners with Special Needs, we, in collaboration with the Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), will provide 100 of the 453 special schools with ICT infrastructure and connectivity, as part of the Universal Service and Access Obligations (USAO) initiative. The ICT solutions will be determined by the categories of the disabilities in each school.
We are empowered to analyse and interprete data effectively and accurately. The South African School Management and Administration System (SA-SAMS) provides a solution for managing and collecting data received from our schools; and the Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System (LURITS) provides information regarding learners. We are therefore, ready to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution head-on.
Priority 4: Dealing decisively with the quality and efficiency through the implementation of standardised assessments to reduce failure, repetition, and drop-out rates; and introduce multiple qualifications, such as the General Education Certificate before the Grade 12 exit qualification
The NDP aims for a “World Class Assessment System”, involving “reliable measures of learning for every primary school”. We will conduct Systemic Evaluation at strategic Grades, by finalising preparations and technical standards for the administration of this standardised assessment, to enable national and provincial monitoring of learning outcomes. This assessment is currently being piloted; and its first cycle in Grades 3, 6 and 9, will be finalised by June 2020.
Work on the introduction of the General Education Certificate (GEC) will be accelerated. The field trial for the GEC at the end of Grade 9, is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020. A draft framework for the GEC has been developed. Assessment and examination modalities for the GEC are being investigated. The Technical-Occupational subjects have been packaged and submitted to Umalusi for approval.
Speaker, the Second Chance Matric Programme was designed to provide wider access to young people to attain a National Senior Certificate. This programme provides more opportunities to access Government programmes, post-matric studies, employment and skills development opportunities to young people. Through the Second Chance Matric Programme, we continue to provide support to young people, who are upgrading their Matric qualification, or who did not meet the requirements of the NSC, by providing them with access to quality resources and lessons with the intention of giving them a second chance in improving their lives.
Priority 5: Eliminate the digital divide by ensuring that within six years all schools and education offices have access to internet and free data
The Basic Education Sector views access to quality Learning and Teaching Support Materials (LTSMs) as critical for meaningful classroom engagement and improvement in learner performance. Hence, the sector has worked extremely hard over the years to develop and digitise State-owned textbooks, workbooks and Readers.
The sector has so far developed 128 State-owned textbooks for key gateway subjects in Grades 4-6 and 10-12, in collaboration with Siyavula and Sasol Inzalo. The content material is available electronically for provinces to print and deliver to their respective schools. We have also developed 594 Grades 1-3 Home Language Graded Readers and Big Books in all eleven languages. In addition to textbooks, the DBE continues to provide workbooks for the Grades R-9 learners in the public (ordinary and special) schools since 2011. From 2021 onwards, we will gradually increase from 34 available titles of the number of workbooks in interactive format.
Priority 7: Decolonisation of Basic Education through the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African History and national symbols to all learners up to Grade 12
Revision of the History curriculum (Grades 4-12): The reappointed Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on History has commenced the writing of a revised History curriculum, based on the Report developed by the MTT and submitted to the Minister a year ago. After broad consultations, the MTT will commence with the writing of new textbooks for History in Grades 4-12 that are in-line with the new curriculum. To prepare the system for the introduction of the new curriculum, rigorous teacher training will be carried out to prepare the system for the introduction of new History curriculum. The introduction of compulsory History will be phased-in from Grade 10 to 12.
The teaching and promotion of African languages: Speaker, Chapter 9 of the NDP: Improving Education,Training and Innovation, under the sub-heading – Curriculum, incentives, inclusivity andlanguageissuesrecommends that learners’ home language be used as a language of learning and teaching for longer; and English be introduced much earlier in the Foundation Phase. It is important to stress that the issue of language, is an emotive one. All South African languages are protected by our Constitution. We therefore, implore all South Africans to respect all languages, and avoid public spats that could raise the ire of those affected by such public spats.
There is a growing body of current research on African languages that confirms that the orthographies and the linguistic structures of African languages, are unique and different to the English language. As a result we have conceptualised reading methodologies that speak to African languages. The language issue, is a key factor that impacts on reading and literacy outcomes. The majority of emergent bilingual learners in South Africa, speak and learn African languages, which have different linguistic structures to English; and this impacts on the language transitioning within schools.
Speaker and Honourable Members, I am delighted to announce that the Council of Education Ministers overwhelmingly agreed to incrementally introduce Kiswahili in our schools. There is a high level of enthusiasm about this. Kenya and Tanzania have committed to assist with the training of educators and the development of appropriate learning and teaching support materials in Kiswahili.
Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) Grades 1-9: In 2017, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) approved the implementation of the IIAL in all schools not offering a previously marginalised official African Language. About 2 600 schools were targeted, and 82% of these schools are now implementing the IIAL. By September 2019, the number of schools implementing the IIAL will increase to 2 200 schools (85%). IIAL will be implemented incrementally from Grade 1 to Grade 7 by 2024.
By the end of 2019/20 financial year, we will embark on advocacy campaigns to gain a broad buy-in on the following critical issues – making History a compulsory subject; activating a Reading Revolution; defining the roles and responsibilities for ECD, and the introduction of new curricula (promoting 21st Century Skills and competencies, as well as the new ways of teaching and learning using new Technologies).
We are not oblivious to the reality that curriculum development, materials development, and intensive preparations to strengthen teacher development for the delivery of innovative new subjects, will complement the work on strengthening African Languages, in our schools.
Priority 9: Complete an integrated Infrastructure Development Plan informed by Infrastructure delivery and regular maintenance, which is resourced
The provision and maintenance of infrastructure, remains one of our key priorities as a Sector. To improve the delivery of infrastructure, we will be revisiting the delivery model for school infrastructure projects, to save on the cost of providing education infrastructure, and to improve contract management processes with our implementing agents and service providers. We will also be researching alternative funding modalities for the provision of school infrastructure, and to ramp up our maintenance programme.
We will also revamp the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS), with the cooperation of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); review the design of schools built – designs must be appropriate for instruction, learning and supervision; as well as be appropriate for the provision of digital infrastructure provisioning.
In collaboration with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the National Treasury, we have begun to review the organisational structure of the DBE to realign and reposition the entire Basic Education Sector and the DBE itself, to effectively and speedily respond to the demands of the “new dawn”. The sector must be able to implement with speed and effect the priorities identified for the sector, and address the challenges and weaknesses identified within the sector and by the Auditor-General of South Africa.
Priority 10: Increase the safety-net through pro-poor policies to cover learners who are deserving in programmes, such as ECD and Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN)
The flagship National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) continues to make a tangible difference in the lives of our children. Daily cooked nutritious meals are provided to over nine and a half million learners in more than twenty one thousand public primary, secondary and special schools, providing much-needed food security in our communities. As a key driver in stimulating the local economy, the NSNP provides business opportunities to about five thousand enterprises, the majority of which are Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs). Furthermore, about fifty six thousand volunteer food handlers are engaged. To strengthen their training in food preparation, hygiene and food safety, we are working on accrediting this training, through colleges, to sustainably build skills, and stimulate entrepreneurship through the nutrition programme
The DBE will partner with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to source basic commodities, such as maize, beans and vegetables, among others, directly from local small-holder farmers.
After the successful recent launch of the National School Deworming Programme, we are aiming to scale-up this programme, and strengthen its health education handwashing and hygiene aspects. Deworming ensures retention of maximum and essential nutrients necessary for learners’ cognitive development and participation in schools, thereby improving the health and education of our learners.
The DBE, through the Learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability (LSPID) Grant, will monitor capacity building for LSPID officials and teachers; outreach service support provided to learners; the management of selected schools and centre databases; and human resource provisioning specific to Inclusive Education. Through this programme, about seven thousand learners will have been directly supported by the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
Priority 11: Strengthen partnership with all stakeholders, private sector, and promote integrated governance, intergovernmental relations, and labour peace
Strategic partnerships with donors, organisations, foundations and the private sector will continue to be strengthened to fuel the DBE agenda of achieving its goal of improved learning outcomes in the sector. Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, we therefore commit that by the end of 2019, all DBE international and national partnerships, will be guided by our focus on improving learning outcomes, especially in the Foundation Phase.
His Excellency President Ramaphosa has outlined the direction that the entire education sector must take. Admittedly, we need all our partners on board to deliver the quality and efficient basic education system envisaged by our country. For this to happen, the Deputy Minister and I will be criss-crossing the country to ensure that all our partners understand our mandate, and the role they will play, as we work together towards an improved basic education system that we will all be proud of as a nation.
Yes, Mr President, we have heard your clarion call during the February and June 2019 State of the Nation Addresses. We are at work with our sister departments to ensure the strategic, systematic and phased-in relocation of the responsibility and leadership for ECD to the DBE. This will give effect to the decision to implement the two-years of compulsory ECD before Grade 1. In collaboration with our strategic partners, we will roll-out ICTs and connectivity to all our schools to meet the pressing demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
We are in the process of establishing national Schools of Specialisation, Technical High Schools and Schools of Skill to prepare the country’s young people for the skills and competencies of a changing world. We can assure South Africans that the Reading Revolution will be realised in our lifetime. We will eradicate pit latrines in our schools through the SAFE Initiative within the 2019 MTEF period. We will refocus our work as the Basic Education Sector to ensure that we actively play a role in re-building and renewing a capable and developmental State.
Speaker, the NDP states that “accountability is essential for democracy. There are several weaknesses in the accountability chain, with a general culture of blame-shifting. The accountability chain has to be strengthened from top to bottom”. We do concede that the quality and efficiency of the sector, cannot improve unless accountability is entrenched and strengthened right through the system.
In conclusion Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, let me thank the former Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty for his counsel, comradeship and leadership. Let me welcome our brand new Deputy Minister Dr Reginah Mhaule, who is not new to the Basic Education Sector. A word of appreciation to my Cabinet colleagues, the Chairpersons of the Education Portfolio and Select Committees and their respective Whips and Committee members, all Honourable Members of this House, Education MECs, Heads of Provincial Departments and their officials, our Director-General, Mr Mathanzima Mweli and his team, as well as officials in my office, for their counsel and unwavering support.
I am immensely grateful to all the learners, learner organisations, teachers, teacher unions, principals, parents, learners, SGBs, SGB associations, individuals, and our strategic partners – including the SACE, the ELRC, the NECT, the EDTP SETA, and the private sector, for their tireless work and cooperation to make the quality and efficiency of the basic education system a reality in the various parts of our country.
Last but not the least, I wish to thank my family for their unwavering support.
I thank you.
DBE: Elijah Mhlanga: 083 580 8275
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION