_: In the main, the National Executive (Cabinet) intervened in terms of section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution in the five line function departments in Limpopo, including the Limpopo Department of Education, to normalise and stabilise the systems and operations.
It is gratifying to observe that we are beginning to see positive results in this regard and to report emerging success in the following areas:
The budget and cash flow management and controls.
Payment for services legitimately procured within the prescribed timeframe.
The provision of systemic solutions to reduce the huge Compensation of Employees budget.
Strategically managing the high vacancy rates at the school and circuit levels.
Creating accountable and sustainable procurement and delivery processes for learning and teaching.
support materials for 2013 and beyond (LTSMs).
Transfers of funds to schools in terms of the national norms and standards for the funding of schools.
The provision of cost effective and accountable scholar transport, school nutrition, and infrastructure
Developing credible, reliable and replicable datasets, both for learners and employees.
The Department of Basic Education reiterates that the textbook procurement and delivery processes for the 2012 school calendar year was dogged by challenges.
We were able to procure and deliver ordered textbooks to schools, which it must be emphasised, were procured from learner datasets made available by the Limpopo Department of Education.
Despite the procurement of more than 1.3 milllion books that were ordered according to the learner database, schools continued to report high levels of shortages. After verification of the reported shortages of about 500 000 books for grades 1, 2, 3 and 10, supplementary orders were immediately placed.
Another challenge arose from publishers who established monopolies on the supply graded readers for grades 1-3 by charging the State an amount of R57 million when the State was able to procure the same quantities from the government printing works for R500 000.
Thanks to the innovative thinking of our officials who managed to provide cost-effective solutions. We can now confidently say that the shortages reported by the individual schools are being addressed.
As part of the recovery programme to make up for late delivery of textbooks, the Department has developed a comprehensive catch up programme for Grade 10s. The programme has been developed with the participation of subject specialists and schools.
During the minister’s consultative meetings with the principals in the province, it was accepted. It also is humbling to note that teacher unions in the province have committed themselves to ensuring that it is effective and implemented.
An enrichment programme will also be rolled out for the Grade 12 learners, so that learners are properly prepared for the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. These programmes will also include supplementary materials on newspapers as well as radio programmes on national and community radio stations.
The procurement processes for the 2013 school calendar year are well underway. We have been assured by publishers that stocks ordered for the 2013 school calendar year will be delivered to the central warehouse in Polokwane in time to enable us to be ready for the 2013 academic year.
We are confident that in 2013 the grades (Grades 1 to 6 and 10 to 11) in which the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) are implemented will have full coverage of textbooks; and in 2014, all the grades (including Grades 7 to 9 and 12) will have the full complement of textbooks for the full implementation of the CAPS. We wish to thank the National Treasury for providing the necessary financial resources and support.
The Limpopo Department of Education is making progress in addressing the big Compensation of Employees challenge. This is thanks to all who are involved in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC).
We started the year with more than 4 000 temporary educators in the system. Through the strategic implementation of Resolution 01 of 2012, we were able to match more than 1 800 teachers with the profiles of vacant posts. These temporary educators are now permanently absorbed in these posts.
The process is ongoing, and we are pleased about the results. Also of importance in this area, is the fact that we are putting a closed advertisement for 336 principals’ posts, which will be filled as soon as possible.
Schools cannot be normalised and stabilised without stable leadership at the level of principals. Following this process, we will be focusing on capacitating the circuits, to ensure that the management layer close to our delivery point of our core functions, is properly resourced and capacitated.
I wish to conclude by thanking all principals who attended the consultations I had convened last month. The level of engagement during these consultations, confirms that the delivery of basic education in Limpopo is in committed and conscientious hands.
I have promised principals that I will do whatever it takes to make their work a joy to marvel at, and this I am still committed to do. I have instructed my officials to coordinate a consultative meeting with school governing bodies in Limpopo, as not doing so, will exclude one of the most important social partners in our quest to normalise and stabilise the systems and operations in the Limpopo Department of Education.
May I take this opportunity and wish all the Grade 1 to 6 and 9 learners, who will be sitting for the 2012 Annual National Assessment (ANA) in a few days, the best of luck? It is through benchmark tests such as ANA that we can monitor the progress we are making in improving the numeracy and literacy competencies of South African learners.
Equally important, let me wish the Grade 12 Class of 2012 the best of luck in their end-of-year examinations. You have spent 12 years of your lives in the schooling system, make that count.
We would like to thank all the South Africans who responded to the President’s call of making Education a societal issue. South African business has been helpful and supportive of our pursuit to deliver quality basic education. I’m particularly humbled by the response of the publishing industry to ensure full coverage of CAPS aligned textbooks in all grades.