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Minister-Angie-Motshekga"In the next 5 years more aggressive, radical changes and appropriate interventions will be made to turn the education system around" said Minister Angie Motshekga17 July 2014 - With a 12% budget increase for the year 2014/2015, the Department of Basic Education  (DBE) will consolidate the achievements so far and strengthen the quality, efficiency and accountability in the provinces, districts and schools.

On 15 July Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga presented the budget speech in the National Assemblee in Cape Town. The full text of the speech can be found here. Below we have highlighted some of the topics that received special mention including teacher development, textbooks and the e-Education strategy.

 

Focus and way forward

The Minister reiterated the Presidents reminder during his State of the Nation Address, that, as we enter the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society, we have to embark on radical socio-economic transformation. This must be done in order to push back the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, and this change can only come about with far-reaching interventions.

The focus for the Department of Basic Education for 2014 - 2019 is consolidating achievements made so far and then driving home the theme of improvement on quality and efficiency throughout the entire schooling sector with a renewed emphasis on curriculum coverage, and the need to strengthen quality, efficiency and accountability in the provinces, districts and schools.

"In the next 5 years more aggressive, radical changes and appropriate interventions will be made to turn the education system around," Motshekga said. 

The Minster confirmed that both the National Development Plan (NDP) and the ANC Manifesto will guide the DBE's programmes. The medium to long-range plan elaborates the work to be done between now and 2030.

The NDP states that education is a means to building an inclusive society and providing opportunities for South Africans to realise their full potential. It further says that education provides the tools to people to solve their problems. The DBE is very encouraged to note that the President confirmed that the ruling party continues to rate basic education as the apex priority for this government.

 

Budget

The overall budget for the DBE has increased by 12% from R17, 592 billion in 2013/2014 to R19,680 billion. The budget allocation to Provincial Education Departments is R186,147 billion and will exceed R200 billion in 2015/16.

The Minister also announced budget allocations to the following organisations:

Umalusi, the council for quality assurance in general and further education and training, is allocated R107.4 million in 2014/15 and will reach R112.7 million in 2015/16 to cover its expanded mandate.

The National Education Evaluation Development Unit (NEEDU) continues to do important work for the Department and is allocated R14.2 million for 2014/2015.

The mass literacy campaign Kha Ri Gude receives R634.9 million. This campaign has impacted the lives of millions of people. R62.2 million has been allocated particularly for EPWP: Kha Ri Gude, as a contribution to job-creation by recruiting and training volunteers.

 

Teacher development

Worcester principals 2Training taking place in Worcester, Cape Winelands district,  in one of the 40 VodacomTeacher Centres  Everything to do with teachers from their conditions of service, their recruitment, deployment, utilisation and development including their general professional development and conduct occupies a high position in the DBE's list of priorities, according to the Minster. The DBE and Department of Higher Education and Training, through various bilateral engagements and initiatives, are working together to strengthen this very important area of work.

The Funza Lushaka Bursary scheme for teachers has increased from R424 million in 2010/11 to R893.9 million in 2013/14, when 14 500 bursaries were awarded.

South African Council for Educators in collaboration with the DBE is currently phasing-in the implementation of the Continuing Professional Teacher Development Management system. This is done according to the three cohorts starting with Principals and Deputies in this year, HoDs in 2015 and Post Level 1 Teachers in 2016.

The Department has reviewed the current Integrated Quality Management System, in consultation with teacher unions, and developed a revised instrument the Quality Management System for school based educators. For the current year, the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) is allocated R42.2 million.

The inclusion of Grade R teachers in mainstream and the impact this will have on the post provisioning model and their conditions of service is currently being researched.

In partnership with Vodacom, 40 Teacher Centres across the 9 provinces have been equipped and connected. Thirty-one of these teacher centres were equipped and connected in the last financial year. In this financial year, Vodacom will further equip and connect 20 new teacher centres. This means that a total of 60 teacher centres will be fully digitised by the end of this financial year.

 

e-Education strategy

The e-Education strategy plays a central role in improving accessibility, inclusivity, quality and efficiency across the education system.

Together with the Departments of Communication, the DBE has developed a Broadband Policy for which a consultation process is now underway with provinces. Detailed plans for the implementation in 2015 will be announced after this process has been finalised.

The DBE has reformatted the existing workbooks to be interactive so that they can be accessible via electronic ICT devices.

 

Textbooks

Over the past years the DBE has expanded access to learning and teaching material. R7, 7 billion has been spent on the roll out of textbooks for the implementation of CAPS. This academic year the sector will be moving towards one textbook, per learner, per subject.

The DBE itself has developed, printed and delivered 204 million Grade R to 9 Language and Mathematics workbooks to 24,000 public schools, twice a year since 2011 and will continue to do so in the coming years.

Low retention and retrieval of these valuable resources has had a negative impact on the provision of a textbook for each learner per subject at the commencement of the school calendar year. Budgets provided in the provincial education departments for the 2014/15 financial year and beyond will have to be used to provide top-ups for damages, non-return and shortages.

In a move towards a more rational and cost-effective approach, Motshekga annoounced that the DBE will decrease the number of titles per subject listed on the national catalogue from eight to a single core textbook.

 

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