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Media Release

2 October, 2007

WCED Redesign to strengthen support for schools, teachers and learners

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has started implementing a new departmental structure designed to improve service delivery to schools and to ensure quality education for all.

The WCED has completed the first phase of a redesign process by appointing senior management responsible for implementing the new structure over three years. The new senior management team reported for duty on 1 October 2007.

The redesign project represents the first stage of the Human Capital Development Strategy (HCDS) for the Western Cape, which involved investigating whether the WCED has the capacity to implement the HCDS.

The HCDS is a cornerstone of the provincial government's growth and development strategy. The WCED has the core mandate of the provincial government for human capital development in the Western Cape.

The provincial Cabinet approved the new macro-structure of the WCED on 12 February 2007 and the micro-structure on 28 August 2007.

Key features of the new micro-structure include strong circuit teams, led by a Circuit Team Leader. The teams will include curriculum advisors for GET, special needs education (SNE) professionals, and IMG and school business management advisors.

District FET curriculum advisors will work across circuits. SNE professionals will include psychologists, social workers and learning support advisors.

The fact that we will allocate the bulk of the resources to the districts and circuits, confirms our commitment to provide quality education to all our learners. The allocation is based on a 25:75 split, where districts receive 75% of the resources, and head office, 25%.

Our plans include the following:

  • We plan to increase district staff by 69% to make it easier for districts to bring support much closer to schools where support is needed the most, and to improve the quality of education provided by these schools.
  • We will improve the capacity of districts and circuits to support and develop institutional management and governance (IMG). We are reducing the number of schools per IMG advisor from about 26 to about 15.
  • We are increasing the capacity of districts to provide curriculum advice by 24% and special needs education by 16%.
  • We are improving capacity for handling labour relations issues on the district level, and we are introducing a new post for strategy and support in the districts.
  • We are establishing new posts for Circuit Team Leaders, who will manage multidisciplinary teams with skills ranging from management, governance and administrative advice to special needs education and all levels of general education and training. Further education and training advisers will work across circuits.
  • We are establishing new posts for School Enrichment Coordinators, to assist schools with managing sport and cultural activities, as well as dedicated staff to coordinate the integrated quality management system.
  • We are paying special attention to early childhood development (ECD) and adult education and training (AET). We will increase the number of posts for ECD curriculum advice at district level by 700%, from one per district to eight.
  • We are increasing the number of curriculum advisers based in districts for the Foundation Phase (Grades 1 to 3) by 96%, from 25 to 49, and the intermediate and senior phases (Grades 4 to 7) by 69%, from 52 to 88.

The increase in the number of Foundation Phase advisors will make it possible to pay even greater attention to improving the literacy and numeracy skills of learners in Grades 1 to 3. We are hoping that this will free time for teachers and Learning Support Teachers to attend to other barriers to learning.

The increase in the number of intermediate phase advisors will correct a perceived bias towards support for the senior phase and further education and training in schools.

The increase in the number of social workers based in districts will help to address social issues that confront so many of our learners in poor communities, which prevent effective teaching and learning from taking place. The increase in the number of assessment coordinators will make it easier to manage assessment in each district.

The above steps are following extensive investigation and discussion with stakeholders on how to develop a structure that will bring development support much closer to schools.

We have just concluded the first phase of senior management team restructuring to implementing the microstructure over the next three years.

The new team reported for duty on Monday 1 October 2007, following an intensive interviewing and appointment period, in July and August. We were impressed by the high calibre of the applicants, from among existing staff and from other centres.

Their enthusiasm for the project and their wish to join the WCED reflects the high regard that many in the broad education community have for the department and the confidence they have in our efforts to implement the Human Capital Development Strategy for the Western Cape.

To reiterate what we have said before, the points of departure for the redesign of the WCED have been that:

  • The circuit is the most critical unit of organisation for delivery to education institutions
  • The district is the most critical unit of organisation for management, and
  • The head office is the most critical unit of organisation for policy, coordination, monitoring and evaluation.

The new SMS is now responsible for implementing the second phase, the micro design, which will bring development support much closer to schools via districts and strong circuit teams.

The Redesign project represents the first stage of the Human Capital Development Strategy (HCDS) for the Western Cape, which is a cornerstone of iKapa Elihlumayo, the provincial government's growth and development strategy.

The Redesign project has identified the kind of support our schools, colleges and other learning institutions need to ensure quality education for all. The Provincial Cabinet approved the macro organization on 12 February 2007.

The WCED has increased the number of branches in the macro structure from three to four, to improve capacity for well-informed, well coordinated strategic planning and policy development, while also restructuring existing branches to ensure a sharper focus on key services.

We have also increased the number of districts from seven to eight, to match municipal boundaries and to facilitate coordinated planning with other spheres of government.

Services provided by the new branch, Strategy and Planning, will include research, centralized management information, policy coordination, planning and quality assurance.

The branch, Curriculum Management, will provide centralized capacity to develop and coordinate curriculum development and support for general and further education and training, as well as the growing functions of assessment and examinations.

The branch, Institution Development and Coordination, will bring together the reporting lines of eight education districts and the province's six FET colleges, and will provide management and governance support to both schools and colleges. The branch includes a Special Needs Education Directorate and an Operational Support Directorate, to manage large-scale infrastructure projects and programmes.

The branch, Corporate Services, is responsible for managing both human and financial resources. Directorate names refer to human capital, to reflect the WCED's special responsibility as a lead department responsible for human capital development. The branch includes a directorate for departmental human capital development, including the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute, which will provide one of the main human capital development facilities for the WCED.

We are circulating an introduction to the senior management team, to give an idea of where they come from and what they will be doing in the new macro structure of the department.

We have announced previously that we will require R160-million a year to implement the redesign project, which represents about 1.5% of the overall budget of the WCED. But I believe the return on this investment in the form of improved quality of support will far outweigh the costs.

We could argue that we should be spending this amount on schools. We need to bear in mind that we have been increasing expenditure on schools every year for the past five years, while neglecting support structures. The time has now come to improve support to schools to ensure a better quality of education for all.

For further information on the redesign project and the new management team, click here.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za or Paddy Attwell: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za..


Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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