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Siza kuyitshintsha le Ntshona Koloni!
A people’s contract to provide the knowledge, skills and values for
Education Budget Speech delivered by Member of the Western Cape Executive Council, Cameron Dugmore, Cape Town, 22 June 2004
I would like to dedicate this speech to four young learners who have lost their lives in the second term. Keegan Philips from Mitchell’s Plain who died when a gate fell on him on his way from school. Lonwabo Madalo from Forest Heights High in Blue Downs who died when he stumbled into the road and was hit by a bus. Yolandi Melouw from St Paul’s Primary in George who died of Meningitis and Marlon Wildschutt from Swellendam Secondary who was stabbed to death last weekend.
I have shared the pain with their parents and want them to know that I will work tirelessly to ensure that all our students can realize their dreams, many of which were the same as held by their own children. We will only succeed in building our province as a home for all when our children can roam freely. To that vision, and the memory of these children, I dedicate this address.
It is an honour to stand before you today and deliver the Western Cape Education Department budget vote. I am humbled by the responsibility given me by my organization, the African National Congress.
On 14th April 2004 the people of South Africa and the Western Cape voted. They voted for a people’s contract to fight poverty and create work. The mandate is clear. In our province we voted for change and transformation. Our people have great expectations and even greater hope. At the same time they also want to work with this new provincial government and help us to bring about a better life. We cannot and will not fail them. Indeed, we are confident that the next five years will be the best for education yet.
Ons gaan die Wes-Kaap verander sodat ons provinsie ‘n tuiste vir al ons mense sal wees -Swart, Bruin, Wit en Indiër. Dit is ons visie. Siza kuyitshintsha le Nthsona Koloni. Men and Women. Young and Old. Disabled, Vulnerable. Poor and Rich. Those with barriers to learning. You are our concern. To reach this vision our task is to make Ikapa Elihlumayo work. I believe that often deliberate attempts to frustrate national policy, unnecessary and wasteful legal skirmishes and the unacceptable abuse of officials to pursue ideological battles have created disjuncture between the Western Cape and our national government. In the process, transformation and equity in education have been set back.
In short I believe that the needs of our poorest communities, African and Coloured in particular, have often been neglected and disregarded. Siza kuyitshintsha le Ntshona Koloni! We need to be passionate about serving every school – but we must be more passionate about equity – to make a real difference – we have to uncompromisingly commit to address the stark inequalities.
In this regard we require departmental officials and educators who fully embrace the vision of the Western Cape as a home for all and the strategy of Ikapa Elihlumayo. We need to accept also that our department needs to become more representative especially of women and African people. The premier has called for public servants who are committed to seamless government, Batho Pele and service delivery. I know that we have many Coloured, African and White officials committed to the Premier’s vision. I do not expect uncritical lap dogs for officials. But I want to say very clearly that those not committed to these values should in the Premiers words "speak to the SG about ways to leave the administration". Ons gaan die Wes-Kaap verander!
Mr Premier, as MEC for Education, I accept your challenge of providing the human resources for Ikapa. Speaker, our President has given clear instructions about what needs to be done in education before the end of the financial year in March 2005. No student learning under a tree; all schools to have access to clean water and sanitation. Recapitalising our FET colleges to ensure relevance to the needs of our economy. Our Premier has said that in the first 100 days the Usasazo School in Maitland will be moved to Khayelitsha and that 50 % of the schools with no electricity will be electrified.
I am pleased to announce that before the 100 days are up on 31st August the lights will be switched on at Seekoeigat Primary on 23rd July, Brackenhill Primary the next day on 24th July, Voorsorg Primary on 27th July and Boniface Primary on 28th July. Our Usasazo learners from Khayelitsha, who are currently being bussed to Maitland, will move into their new school on or before 31st August. Not only will this provide a proper learning environment but will save the department R3 million per year in bus transport. Before the 100 days are up we will present a strategy for the provision of water and sanitation to the 54 schools in our province currently without it. Practically all these schools are located on privately owned farmland. This we will do after we have met with Agri Wes-Kaap, Cosatu and other unions, Local Government, Public Works and Water Affairs
In all this work we will be guided by the president’s call for a partnership – a contract with the people of the province. This means that our department will take active steps to build this partnership in particular with learners, educators and parents. To this end we have decided to take active steps to build our social capital in education. There is no way we will be able to meet the challenges if we do not act together with our parents, learners and educators. I have asked the SG of Education, Mr Ronnie Swartz, to develop a strategy by the 31st of August which will outline the support our department can provide to ensure that we assist in the formation a Western Cape Association of Learner Councils as well as an Association which brings together all Governing Bodies in the province. This strategy will include a programme to proactively empower these structures.
However, education presents no simple challenge. Education accounts for the largest single slice of the provincial budget, and I am well aware of the awesome responsibility that this investment places on the Western Cape Education Department and myself.
The total education budget for 2004/05 is R5.466-billion, which represents 30.31% of the total provincial government budget. The slice confirms both the value we attach to education in this province, as well as the scale of the challenges we face in education.
The purpose of my address is to say how we plan to spend this money, and to indicate the 3 core priorities for education in the year ahead. I will also outline exactly which 100 day deposits we will be putting down in addition to the Premier’s directive to education. I will conclude by highlighting the transversal strategies, which will inform our work.
Before going into details, I would like to acknowledge and welcome the learners and staff of Ravensmead Secondary School, who are watching these proceedings via a video-conferencing system.
It was my pleasure to chat to them before this sitting, via this link-up, to learn more about what they would like to see in the education budget.
We decided to transmit these proceedings to the school to demonstrate the power of technology to provide access to education. They are watching these proceedings in their new computer laboratory, installed by our Khanya Technology in Education Project. Premier Rasool opened the laboratory on Thursday last week.
We also decided to speak directly to one of our schools, to acknowledge our most important people in education, the learners in the classroom.
Our awesome responsibility is to ensure that each and every learner acquires the knowledge, skills and values they need to lead fulfilling lives and to contribute to the development of the province and the county.
Western Cape as a home for all!
The bigger picture we are part of in imbuing our learners with the said capacities, is defined by iKapa Elihlumayo, which means, "growing the Cape" – our Provincial strategy to fight poverty and create work.
Education plays a crucial role in this process by developing the human resources we need to grow the Cape. At the core of this strategy lies what Premier Rasool has also called on all of us for, namely to provide a "Home for All". A home in the Western Cape where everyone can participate in the life of the province, and enjoy the benefits of what we have to offer.
However, the extent to which our people already call this Province "home", is marred by the stark realities of unemployment and an under qualified youth sector. About 26% of economically active adults are unemployed, only 18% of adults over 20 have matric, only 10% of these adults have a higher education qualification and over 21% of have no primary education or have not completed it. We clearly have much to do to ensure access to opportunities by all.
We find these statistics particularly sobering as we celebrate 10 years of democracy. While we can celebrate many successes over the past 10 years, we also acknowledge that we have a long way to go before we can guarantee homes for all in education.
However, building a home for all entails even more than only providing opportunities for our people to develop skills required by the economy and the labour market. It also has a lot to do with building unity between various communities and giving effect to the various rights and privileges of freedom and democracy enshrined in our constitution in all communities. This challenges remains critical, especially at this point in our national history when we celebrate the tenth anniversary of victory over apartheid.
We need to maintain this triumph of the African spirit and extend it to all our people. Education has a critical role in this regard.
Over the past 10 years, we have built the foundations of a new education system capable of taking us into the future. This has been a massive undertaking, and we must acknowledge all the hard work of teachers, principals and officials, on both the national and provincial levels, to make this possible. These foundations include policy and legislation, new education structures, a new curriculum for GET, since revised, and a new curriculum for FET. We have launched many programmes to support these changes, and we are constantly refining them to ensure effective delivery. Our task now is to build on these foundations, to build our human resources, to grow the Cape and provide homes for all in this province.
Meanwhile, the WCED has launched a wide range of activities to celebrate our 10 years of democracy. These will culminate in a major conference in October, when we will launch our Education Vision 2020 strategy.
I am also pleased to announce that a tender will be called for to compile a first Western Cape Schools Songbook, as part of our 10-years of democracy celebrations. The songbook will reflect the rich diversity of all population groups in the province. It will create a home where the rich textures and fibre of our people are continuously celebrated. I will also seek to boost community institutions where the study and practice of contemporary and classical music, art and drama are encouraged. Our goal is to entrench arts and culture within our curriculum.
WCED: core programmes
However, when we look the challenges we face in the eye, we see that our task entails the gathering, building and capacitating of the most important resources of our, and any society, namely its people, our human capital. Our department, the WCED has two, fundamental roles to play to drive human resource development in the longer term.
The first is to ensure that General Education and Training, or GET, provides the bedrock or foundation for all human resource development in the province. GET covers Grades R to Grade 9. Grade R is the reception year before Grade 1.
The second key role is to ensure that Further Education and Training, or FET, provides opportunities to further develop the knowledge and skills required for employment and economic participation. FET covers Grades 10 to 12 in schools and equivalent levels in FET colleges.
Facts and figures help to explain the big picture of education in the Western Cape. I’ll mention a few.
According to the interim results of our 10th-day survey in February, the number of learners enrolled in public schools grew from 933 662 learners in 2003 to 948 926 in 2004, an increase of 1.6%.
Over the past five years, there has been almost universal enrolment in Grade 1 and universal participation is maintained in the primary school. This is a significant achievement for a developing region. These learners attend 1 460 public schools in the Western Cape, taught by about 28 500 teachers. We employ more than 7 930 public servants. Also, the number of learners passing matric has increased steadily over the years, from about 25 000 in 1994 to 33 000 in 2003. We now need to increase the rate of growth, and we have set ourselves a target of 40 000 successful matriculants by 2008. However, learner enrolment also shows a dramatic drop off in enrolment after Grade 8.
We normally enrol about 80 000 learners in Grade 1, but only about 40 000 of these reach Grade 12. This means that only about 50% of learners who enrol in Grade 1 reach Grade 12. Those who drop out of school are mainly our poorest learners, which points to the work that remains to be done to fight poverty and create work. The WCED has a wide range of programmes in place to ensure access to GET, FET, and related programmes, including Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET), and Education for Learners with Special Education Needs (ELSEN), among others.
However, our biggest challenge in the medium to long term is to address the drop out rate in our high schools. The WCED implement four basic strategies to address this challenge, which include providing high quality learning programmes (Grade R) to all five year-old children in the Western Cape by 2010 and quality programmes to Grade 1 – 9 learners so that learners leave GET with the high level language and mathematics skills that are necessary to enhance their earning and learning opportunities.
We will also increase the number of the population of 16 – 20 year-olds enrolling for relevant FET programmes in schools and colleges that lead to employment or access to higher education and increase the number of learners who have access to purpose-driven ABET programmes.
At the same time we need to recognise that education in our province needs to address another critical founding pillar of an excellent human resource strategy, namely Early Childhood Development. What we find is that an emphasis on GET and FET without a simultaneous drive to support ECD, hampers our stride in educating learners – quite simply because they may lack a proper foundation. My real concern is what happens in the first 4 years of a child’s life. In fact we need to even start with many of our pregnant mothers who drink alcohol denying our own children, already from birth, the chance to develop their full potential. An intervention around ECD and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome will be referred to as part of the further 100 days commitment.
I would now like to highlight key aspects of the budget, and key features of major programmes, to illustrate how we plan to make the most of our budget in 2004/05.
I am pleased to announce that we have achieved the recommended split between personnel and non-personnel expenditure, by allocating 85% of the budget to personnel expenditure and 15% to non-personnel expenditure.
Our total budget for 2004/05 is R5.466-billion. Of this, we will allocate more than R4.6-billion to public ordinary schools. We will allocate about R350-million to schools for learners with special education needs, nearly R152-million to FET colleges, nearly R58-million to Grade R schooling, and nearly R22-million to ABET.
Our long-term plan is to provide Grade R education to all five year olds by 2010. While we have seen progress, the general consensus is that we have to do much more to prepare pre-primary children for school.
I have already met with a wide range of stakeholders with a view to fast tracking the recommendation of the HRD strategy developed by Dr Franklin Sonn, Minister Naledi Pandor and others to form a task group on ECD which should roll out ECD services to increasing numbers of 0 – 5 year olds. Just imagine what a united effort together with our colleagues in Social Services, Public Works, NGO’s and CBO’s and our thousands of selfless early childhood development workers, could make in the lives of thousands of our children over the next five years. This is the way to improve literacy and numeracy.
We are introducing the revised curriculum in stages, starting with the Foundation Phase in 2004. Training for Foundation Phase teachers in 2003 was a great success, and we are hoping to repeat this success when we train about 7 500 Intermediate Phase teachers during the July holidays this year, along with about 1 000 school principals.
We will also continue with diagnostic testing of learners in Grades 3, 6 and 8, to identify problems early with a view to corrective action.
The department has introduced 100 books in every primary school classroom, setting aside 30 minutes every day for reading, to encourage learners to read at least 100 books a year, and we are supporting numeracy teaching by providing schools with specially designed maths and science education kits.
Learner performance in mathematics, science and literacy continues to present a major challenge. The WCED has developed strategies to improve performance in these subjects across the board in the province. These strategies include teacher training, developing teaching and learning support materials, diagnostic testing and special interventions.
The latest measures include the following our new Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology, which opened its doors for the first time this year. Almost all the learners are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The department will also provide in-service training in July for 140 teachers in mathematical literacy, for Advanced Certificates in Education (ACE), and we are investing R1-million this year in bursaries for 50 education students who will become mathematics teachers. I would like to acknowledge the fantastic work of the Paarl Governing Body Association who have secured learnerships for maths and science matrics at SGB’s. They are helping to set up maths and science clubs in their schools.
Furthermore, we have increased the number of Dinaledi maths focus schools this year from six to 10 and our department provided special maths education kits to Foundation Phase classes last year, and will now provide these kits to Intermediate Phase teachers. The Foundation Phase covers Grades R to 3, while the Intermediate Phase covers Grades 4 to 6.
We even plan to introduce a compulsory half-hour in primary schools every day that will emphasise mental arithmetic and mental agility, to match our compulsory half-hour reading periods.
We will also seek to provide a wide range of subject options for learners in FET at schools, supported by the necessary equipment and infrastructure.
WCED officials have contributed significantly to the new national curriculum for FET in schools, and we are working with our colleagues across the country on plans to implement the curriculum, starting in 2006. The WCED has developed an innovative, multimedia-training programme based on a CD, videos and manual, to train teachers on Outcomes-based Education in FET.
You will find a copy of the CD in your budget speech folder, so that you too can explore what OBE in FET is all about. I ask our MPL’s and MEC’s to read the CD and then donate it to a school in your constituency. It is another good example of the way in which the WCED is applying technology to improve education.
Meanwhile, the WCED is continuing to explore ways of improving the matric pass rate in the Western Cape, and to increasing the number and quality of matric passes. Our interventions include the Learning Schools Project, which has succeeded in reducing the number of schools with matric pass rates of less than 60% significantly. We are now raising this threshold to 70%.
We will be launching a range of projects in the coming months to support skills development, especially in the nodal zones of the Western Cape earmarked for special attention.
We are looking at ways of accommodating more ELSEN learners in mainstream schools, in line with national inclusive education policy.
We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of young people referred to our Special Youth Care Centres, reflecting an increase in the number of youth in conflict with the law, as well as increased demand for Schools of Skills.
Earlier this year, Khanya was listed as a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge, the world’s leading competition for ICT projects designed to offer a social service. Khanya was the only project in Africa to receive this recognition.
Other ICT projects include Dassie, which pursues the same objectives as Khanya in FET colleges, our eCurriculum project, to develop digital content and delivery systems, and various web-based services, via our web site, WCED Online. Interesting ICT innovations include the use of Geographic Information System software, or GIS, by our Research Directorate, to map data, to add a new dimension to planning. My dream is that GIS software is made available to our geography students. At my first meeting of the Council of Education Ministers the Council approved the White paper on e-Education. It will now go to our national cabinet. This is a major advance and amongst other things promotes the Presidents call for the use of open source software.
Our Telecommunications Project completed the process of linking 99.9% of our schools to the Internet last year.
The province is building three new schools in 2004 to meet growing demand, followed by another nine schools in 2005. While this building programme will go a long way towards relieving pressure on our schools, there is no guarantee that it will cater for all of our needs.
We have to think outside the box, and come up with innovative solutions involving all role players.
In the coming months, we will explore all options, including making the most efficient use possible of our buildings and available land. In this regard I will be working closely with MEC Skwatsha to fast track the sale of well-located school land. Further announcements will be made at a later stage.
Features of rural education include large numbers of small primary schools. In the past, many of these lacked the most basic amenities.
In September last year, the WCED finalised a Rural Education Plan that will guide the continued provision of education in rural areas. This includes merging and integrating schools. We cannot tolerate a situation where "apartheid education" continues in some of our towns. Many in this province have resisted the creation of non-racial education. It cannot be delayed any longer. My experience in Porterville last week convinces me that the majority of our people are prepared to walk this road with us. This plan will be implemented within two years.
Principles of the plan include providing transport strictly according to rule, and not to support segregation by carrying learners past existing schools. At present we provide transport to poor learners who live more than five kilometres from their nearest school. This inherited policy has unintended consequences. Mindful of the financial implications and the need for equity, I am glad to announce that we will review this policy. My appeal is for stakeholders to join us in finding creative ways of transporting our learners. This will include working with Department of Transport to strengthen public transport in the metro and rural regions of our province. For example, if we are able to fast track the building of a high school in Gansbaai we will save hundreds of thousands of Rands as learners currently travel to Hawston, Bredasdorp and Hermanus.
Quality assurance, accountability
Steps to assure quality include programmes for systemic evaluation, school self-evaluation and Whole School Evaluation. The department introduced Performance Management in 2003. Plans to introduce a new Quality Assurance Directorate are now well advanced.
Linked to the drive for quality assurance, are various projects to ensure effective schools and public administration of education.
Our Education Management and Development Centres, or EMDCs, are now in their third year of operation. Their aim is to bring management and development support closer to schools. I believe our EMDC’s are a critical part of building our schools and therefore need to be properly strengthened and resourced.
The department has introduced Workplace Skills Development and Service Delivery Improvement Plans and the number of Section 21 schools continues to grow in the province. Schools can apply for Section 21 status in terms of the South African Schools Act, once they have the capacity to manage their finances autonomously. Here again the private sector has offered their assistance.
In April this year, we launched our new Call Centre, to improve service delivery to our staff, and to accommodate our Safe Schools Call Centre in a state-of-the-art facility.
Health and safety
The WCED took over the Primary School Nutrition Programme from the provincial Department of Health in April this year. The programme plays a crucial role in improving conditions for learning by ensuring that our poorest primary school learners are not trying to learn on a hungry stomach. I have met with stakeholders in the food security sector. We are determined to ensure that education plays a key role in extending the nutrition programme and seeking sustainable ways to inculcate a "culture of agriculture" in our schools. In this way we will fight poverty and create work.
Our Safe Schools Programme continues to ensure safe school environments, by working with schools and social partners on countering gang violence, theft, vandalism and drug abuse, and by providing a supporting hand to those experiencing abuse.
Our latest challenges include the scourge of "tik-tik", the drug sweeping the Cape Flats at the moment, and changes in gang strategy to attract the youth. Help is never far away, via our Safe Schools Call Centre, on 0800-45-46-47.
iKapa Elihlumayo projects
These basic programmes lie at the heart of our strategy to develop human resources needed to "grow the Cape", in line with iKapa Elihlumayo. Over and above these programmes, we are also investing funding from the iKapa Elihlumayo budget, on special projects that will contribute significantly to meeting our objectives.
These projects include our recent assessment of the reading and numeracy skills of Grade 6 learners, as part of our ongoing programme to identify problems early, with a view to taking remedial action. They also include a well-integrated series of programmes to prepare the ground for FET in schools in 2006. The FET certificate will replace the Senior Certificate in 2008. For the first time next year, we will encourage Grade 9 learners to choose between FET in schools, or in FET colleges.
Our colleges are increasingly fulfilling their task and become the platforms from where we are launching the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in the public and private sector.
However, it will take some time to ensure that we provide quality education for all through our core programmes. Our budget of nearly R5.5-billion this year reflects the scale of this investment.
Nevertheless, we have identified a range of initiatives that we can implement in the next 100 days that represent our deposit for further improvements in education in the long term. These investments aim to add velocity and momentum to our drive in education. They include the following:
Partnerships continue to play a vital role in ensuring the success of education and to build the social capital of the province. The work of Safe Schools is a case in point. There are many others. I am keen to develop social contracts with partners on all fronts during my term of office. This includes our learners and parents.
We will work closely with civil society and the private sector on all fronts, as well as with our colleagues in national, provincial and local government, on innovative ways of improving education in the province.
Towards the future
I have identified many of the programmes and projects we are engaged in the short to medium term, that are covered by the 2004/05 budget. We are also mindful of the long-term future of education in the province.
The WCED, led by Ron Swartz, the Head of Education in the Western Cape, has held an extensive series of consultations over the past eight months to thrash out the long-term vision and strategy for education the Western Cape.
Participants have focused in particular on how to ensure administrative excellence, human capital development and school and district effectiveness. Their efforts will culminate in the Education Vision 2020 conference in October.
The conference will play a key role in providing direction for the next 10 years of education in the Western Cape.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of our partners, in government, civil society and the private sector, who are doing so much to support and further the cause of education in the province.
I’d also like to thank Mr Swartz, our managers and officials on every level for all their hard work in support of education in the field. I would like to say a special word of thanks to our teachers, principals, lecturers and institution heads, without whom education couldn’t take place in our schools and colleges.
Thousands upon thousands of our learners, who are now contributing to society in many different ways, owe you a very special debt of gratitude, as we all do. You are all contributing to building a "home for all" in the Western Cape, and for this, we thank you.
I thank you.
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