Hon Chairperson, let me acknowledge my Cabinet colleagues that are here, MECs from provinces that have joined us, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for opportunity of
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 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, 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 do recommit to building a solid foundation for a quality and efficient basic education system, from early childhood development, ECD, to Further Education and Training Band; and to contribute to the seven cardinal principles of the sixth administration, especially in relation to consolidating development.
I must state upfront that Basic Education has progressed quite admirably over the past 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 that we continue to grapple with, and therefore wish to encourage the House to read our annual reports because we won't be able to go through the processes of what the challenges are and what the achievements are.
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.
Let me upfront just highlight the following in relation to the Budget Vote 14 of Basic Education for the 2019 MTEF period. The overall 2019-20 MTEF budget allocation for the Department of Basic Education is R24,5 billion, which is an increase of 3,4% from the overall allocation which was made last year. The overall allocation for Conditional Grants, which is money that goes to provinces, is R18,646 billion, which is an increase of 4,9% from last year's budget.
I also want to thank Treasury that this year, for the first time we are going to get an allocation of R59,5 million for the of 2019 MTEF period, through the general support allocation, for a new project planned called the Systemic Improvement of Language and Numeracy in the Foundation Phase. The first tranche of R26,8 million will be available in the 2019-20 budget.
We are also grateful for an additional allocation of R60 million for another new project, funded through the general support allocation, called Technology for Grade 7-9. The first tranche of R20,5 million is available for this year. So, the overall allocation for 2019-20 earmarked for transfers, which will be
going to different agencies is payments is R2,8 billion, which is 3,7% up.
I also want to make an important note about the 2019-20 MTEF budget. For instance, the Department of Basic Education programmes, such as administration, teacher education, human resources and institutional development, curriculum support and monitoring and educational achievements are covered. I thought I should do this because half the time that we present budgets, people say we didn't say anything about Aids.
I thought I should list all the programmes that are going to be covered by the budget. For instance, on Conditional Grants, which are going to go to the spending provinces, these include mathematical science, technology, infrastructure delivery, HIV and Aids, school nutrition and also a programme for learners with severe profound intellectual disabilities, for rural education and also for the two new projects that I have just mentioned.
There are also earmarked funds which include Umalusi, our collaboration with the National Education Collaboration Trust, Nect, SA Council for Educators, Sace, the Second Chance Programme workbooks, early grade reading as well as information and communication technologies.
At the outset, 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 programmes, ECD programmes, and improving the quality of primary education. We are directed, as I say, by your Sustainable Development Goal Number 4, SDG4, your Unesco programme - the global education agenda - Education 2030, but also by the AU programmes. We have translated all these policy commitments into our education plan.
Through that, we have detailed or identified eleven strategic areas that we will be focusing on. Priority 1 is going to be improving the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, especially, "Reading with meaning", straddling the ECD to the
end of the Intermediate Phase at Grade 6, which should be underpinned by what we want to have as a 'reading revolution'.
At Priority 2 will be the 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. At Priority 3 is collaboration 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.
At Priority 4 there is dealing decisively with the quality and efficiency of the education system; and introducing multiple qualifications, such as the General Education Certificate - those my age will know that this is the old Form 3. We say we also want to begin to pilot an exit certificate before Grade 12.
Priority 5 seeks to eliminate the digital divide by ensuring that within six years, all schools and education offices have
access to internet and free data. Priority 6 is the urgent implementation of the two years of ECD programmes that we have been talking about. Priority 7 is on decolonisation of basic education, amongst others, and many other programmes 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 seeks co-operate with sister departments like the SA Police Service, the Departments of Health, Sport, Arts and Culture, to address issues about school safety, health and social cohesion - to make sure that indeed our schools become safe places for our learners and teachers.
Priority 9 seeks to integrate our infrastructure programme and Priority 10 is to increase the safety-net through pro-poor policies that we already have on ECD and Learners with Special Education Needs, LSEN. Priority 11 will be to strengthen partnership with all stakeholders, because indeed we believe that it takes a village to raise a child and education is a societal issue.
So, let me quickly speak to all the different priorities which I have mentioned on 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'.
I can report that 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 are poor and inadequate learning foundations. Therefore, we are working very hard with the Department of Social Development and other relevant departments to make sure that we can ramp up the system from the bottom through an emphasis on ECD and your Foundation Phase.
His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, has also set us a goal that, "Every child should learn to read with meaning by the age of ten". The co- ordination of our reading intervention is currently being strengthened; and we are paying particular attention to the teaching of 'reading with meaning'. Hence, we have a new allocation this term, which will enable us to implement this programme.
As the Department of Basic Education, we are implementing the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme, PSRIP, which has already yielded very positive results. Through this fund, we will be strengthening the work that we have done in this area.
We are collaborating with other partners outside the department to indeed make sure that as South Africans we can promote reading in our homes and in our communities. We are 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 have done a lot of work will also be done to support the teaching and learning of mathematics in the early grades. It has been one of the areas where we have been continuously experiencing poor progress. 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 it throughout the system.
We wish to report that the National Institute for Curriculum and Professional Development will be fully institutionalised within the 2019 MTSF period; thus strengthening teacher development in the Sector, and improving teachers' capacity to teach reading in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases. We have strong links with the curriculum delivery to professional development of educators through this institute.
Immediately, we also are looking at ensuring that we make progress in the areas of 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 already 2018 in the National Senior Certificate learners sitting for a cluster of three technologies, namely: The Civil Technology, comprising Civil Service, Construction, and Woodworking; the Mechanical Technology, comprising Automotive Fitting and Machining, Welding, and Metalwork; and Electrical Technology, comprising Electronics, Digital Systems, and Power Systems. In addition, on the Class of 2018, new more subjects were written, namely Technical Mathematics, and Technical Science.
We know that and we have been part of international discussions, and this is confirmed by research study conducted by the Oxford University, which reveals that 45% of the current jobs, will disappear within the next 10 to 20 years; with a majority of the jobs or some of the functions being completely automated. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's, Unesco's, estimation is even higher than Oxfords' because they say 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 all subjects; and the introduction of new subjects and programmes that are responsive to the demands of the changing world, is inescapable.
We are working together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and 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.
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 the new and other skills-based subjects, which include amongst others aviation, maritime studies, 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, EDZs, The aim is to ultimately have at least one such school per circuit. 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. We have digitised workbooks and also have digitised some of the textbooks for easy access.
We have developed the Grade R-3 Coding and Robotics curriculum; and the development of 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. [Applause.]
To expand broadband and connectivity to school for Learners with Special Education Need, we, in collaboration with the Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, ICASA, will provide 100 of the 453 special need schools with ICT infrastructure and connectivity. The ICT solution will be determined by the categories of the disabilities in each school.
We are empowered to analyse and interpret data effectively and accurately. We have been working on improving our SA School Management and Administration System, SA-Sams, and our Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System, Lurits, which provides information regarding learners. We are therefore ready to tackle the fourth industrial revolution head-on. [Applause.]
On dealing decisively with quality and efficiency the NDP says we should aim at 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 in 2019 and its first cycle will be finalised not later than June 2020 for Grades 3, 6 and 9.
Chair I can see that I am under pressure for time. In order to 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.
On decolonisation of basic education, amongst others, I have mentioned that we are working hard promote African languages, South African and African history and national symbols. The ministerial task team, MTT, on history which has been reappointed, 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. We will be also going out to engage more South Africans around this subject because we think it is going to be important to have an ownership of that curriculum by engaging a number of people.
On teaching and promotion of African languages, indeed lots of work have taken place. Almost 80% of our schools were supposed to implement the teaching of African languages. We have already
done so. We are assisting the 20% which has met challenges in doing that. I thought I should raise that 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. They are necessary because the Constitution covers what the language policy is. Where we have difficulties, we have owned up as to why we are unable to implement or to develop especially African languages to the level that they can be subjects of teaching.
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 very 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 because it does impact on reading and literacy outcomes. I am also delighted to announce that as the Council of Education Ministers, CEM, we have agreed on the
teaching of Kiswahili. [Applause.] Kenya and Tanzania are helping us.
We also want to report that we are revising our delivery model for infrastructure to make sure that we can improve. We are also working very hard with the sector to make sure that the programmes of ECD and Learners with Special Educational Needs where we have received new funding are also strengthened.
I want to conclude - because I can see I am left with two minutes to thank His Excellence who has outlined the directions ... [Time expired.] Okay, I will complete in my remaining five minutes. I thank you. [Applause.]