Basic Education Adjusted Budget Vote Speech for the 2022/23 Financial Year, Delivered Virtually by the Honourable Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, at the National Assembly, Cape Town
Honourable Speaker / Deputy Speaker
Cabinet colleagues and Deputy Ministers present
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the entire Basic Education Sector, we wish to thank the National Assembly for inviting us to table our 2022/23 Budget at this 2022/23 Debate on Vote 16 – Basic Education.
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, we must agree that making progress in the Basic Education Sector, requires a continual focus on our long-term targets, while we also address urgencies as they arise.
As we all know, the urgency of epic proportions, in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, has consumed much time, energies, efforts and financial resources since 2020. According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr Antonio Guterres, the pandemic represents a worldwide “generational catastrophe”, as children fall behind in their learning, and experience the general trauma of the disruptions.
One of the traumas suffered by children has been to lose their parents, care-givers, and teachers to COVID-19. The DBE’s ongoing monitoring through the PERSAL’s data, shows that as on 31 December 2021, around three thousand, three hundred (3 300) educators in just the public service, had succumbed to COVID-19 since 2020. This almost represents one per cent of (1.0%) of our workforce. We continue to pay tribute to the educators, as well as our education executive and management leaders, who lost their lives to COVID-19!
Speaker and Honourable Members, we in the Basic Education Sector, must thank our partners – from teacher unions, national governance associations, civic society, to the public and private sectors for ensuring that we strengthen the educational gains we had made during the 2020 and 2021 academic years, despite the devastating impact COVID-19 on our Sector. The Sector has worked hard at minimising the detrimental effects of the pandemic, while accepting that the damage done, is so deep that there can be no quick fixes, and recovery will take years.
Budget Vote 16 – Basic Education for the 2002 MTEF period
Madam Speaker and the Honourable Members, allow me to highlight the following in relation to the Budget Vote 16 – Basic Education for the 2022 MTEF period –
The overall 2022 MTEF budget allocation for the Department of Basic Education is above twenty nine billion Rands (R29.6 billion), an increase of 4.9% from the 2021/22 overall allocation. The breakdown of the budget by Education Programmes, is as follows –
- The allocation for Administration, has increased to five hundred and thirty five million Rands (R535 million) – an increase of 1.9% from last year’s allocation.
- Curriculum Policy Support and Monitoring has been allocated about three point three billion Rands (R3.3 billion), a decrease of 2.5% from last year’s allocation.
- Teacher Education Human Resource and Institutional Development received one point five billion Rands (R1.5 billion), an increase of 3.5% from last year’s allocation.
- Planning Information and Assessment has been allocated fifteen point four Rands (R15.4 billion), an increase of 4.6% from the 2021/22 allocation.
- Educational Enrichment Services has been allocated eight point eight billion Rands (R8.8 billion), an increase of 4.4% from last year’s allocation.
The overall allocation for Conditional Grants is twenty three billion Rands (R23 billion) – an increase of 10% from that of 2021/22 financial year. The specific allocations for Conditional Grants are as follows –
- The Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Grant, has been allocated four hundred and twenty four point eight million Rands (R424.8 million), a 2.9% increase from last year’s allocation.
- Infrastructure delivery – continues to be funded through the Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG), which is allocated twelve point four billion Rands (R12.4 billion), a 5.6% increase from last year’s allocation; and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), which is allocated two point four billion Rands (R2.4 billion).
- HIV and AIDS, whose purpose is to support South Africa’s HIV and TB prevention strategy, has been allocated two hundred and forty two point two million Rands (R242.2 million), an increase of 0.2% from last year’s allocation.
- The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has been allocated eight point five billion Rands (R8.5 billion), an increase of 4.6% from the 2021/22 allocation.
- The Learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disabilities receives two hundred and fifty five point five hundred million Rands (R255.5 million), an increase of 5.2% from the 2021/22 allocation.
- The new grant shifted from the Department of Social Development to the DBE with the ECD function shift, called Early Childhood Development Grant has been allocated one point two billion Rands (R1.2 billion).
The overall allocation for Earmarked Allocations and Transfer Payments is about three billion Rands (R2.9 billion) – an increase of 2.2% from that of 2021/22 allocation. The specific allocations for these funds are as follows –
- The allocation for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme has increased by 1.6% from last year’s allocation to one point three, two, nine billion Rands (R1.329 billion).
- Additional allocation of transfers shifted from Department of Social Development with the ECD function shift, are Ntataise with allocation of one point one million Rands (R1.1 million); Umhambo Foundation with two point one million Rands (R2.1 million); and South African Congress for ECD with eight hundred and eighty six thousand Rands (R826 000) for the 2022/23 financial year.
- The 2022/23 subsidy to Umalusi has increased by 2.9% from 2021/22 to one hundred and sixty two million Rands (R162 million).
- The National Senior Certificate Learner Retention Programme, also known as the Second Chance Programme, is allocated fifty eight point two million Rands (R58.2 million), an increase of 0.6% from last year’s allocation.
- The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) has been allocated one hundred and twenty point seven million Rands (R120.7 million) an increase of 2.6% from last year’s allocation.
- Workbooks, including Braille workbooks for visually impaired learners, have been allocated one point one, eight, six billion Rands (R1.186 billion), an increase of 0.8% from last year’s allocation. This amount increases to one point two billion Rands (R1.2 billion), when the Compensation of Employees (CoE) allocation is included.
- The South African Council of Educators (SACE) is allocated a subsidy of fifteen point five million Rands (R15.5 million), a decrease of 15.8% from last year’s allocation.
- Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) has been allocated eleven point one million Rands (R11.1 million), an increase of 11.6% from last year’s allocation.
- Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) – Operation Phakisa, has been allocated fourteen point two million Rands (R14.2 million) for 2022/23 MTEF, which has increased by 27.6% from the 2021/22 allocation.
Madam Speaker, the Basic Education Sector has successfully implemented a mass employment intervention through the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI); thus contributing significantly to the Government’s role of alleviating poverty, redressing the past imbalances, protecting livelihoods, especially among the most vulnerable people, especially among the youth, women and the people with disabilities. For both Phases 1 and 2 of the Initiative, in total, the Sector has managed to create five hundred and ninety-six thousand (596 000) job opportunities for young people, with a total budget allocation of thirteen billion Rands (R13 billion), since the 01st of December 2020 to date.
Strategic realignment of the Basic Education Sector priorities for the Sixth Administration
Speaker and Honourable Members, we must remind this House and the nation at large, about the six (6) Basic Education Sector priorities we had committed ourselves, in order to be able to continue laying a solid foundation for a quality and efficient education system, as well as to contribute in providing permanent solutions to the architecture of the education and training system of our country. We wish to remind this House that our Action Plan to 2024: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, with gives expression to the Constitution, the National Development Plan, as well as the continental and international conventions, continues to provide the moral imperative and a mandate to Government to make the social justice principles of access, redress, equity, efficiency, inclusivity and quality educational opportunities, widely available to all citizens.
Speaker and Honourable Members, I had requested our researchers to analyse the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our basic education system. I will briefly reflect on the outcomes of the research. The researchers agree that at the heart of out Sector, is LEARNING; and at the heart of improving learning, is improving reading in the early grades. They report that prior to COVID-19, we had seen progress in the reading abilities of children. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), reading in Grade 4, improved substantially between 2006 and 2016. Between 2011 and 2016, South Africa saw the second-fastest improvement among all PIRLS participating countries, after Morocco.
According to Professor Martin Gustafssohn, the research suggests that, by the end of 2021, the average Grade 4 learner, could read as well as the average Grade 3 learner before the pandemic. Therefore, there has been a loss of one year of learning. Put differently, we slid backwards in terms of our PIRLS progress by a few years. These losses are similar to what has been witnessed around the world.
Given these losses, and despite our best efforts in terms of our School Recovery Plan, we do not expect our PIRLS 2021 results will display any improvements, when released at the end of this year. If we do see improvements, we would welcome such, but we have to be realistic. Therefore, international assessment studies, such as PIRLS, but also the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), have played a critical role in monitoring progress in the past; and will in the years to come, help us to understand how effectively we are recovering from the negative effects of the pandemic.
Speaker, in the previous Budget Vote Speeches, reference was made to South Africa’s new Systemic Evaluation, which will supplement international monitoring of learning below Grade 12. The results of the 2021 Systemic Evaluation of Grades 3, 6 and 9, will be announced around February 2023.
A key question, is what effect the pandemic has had on learners dropping out of school? The DBE has paid careful attention to this, and has engaged with the various researchers. After initial conflicting reports, there is now agreement that initial evidence shows some half-a-million children, did not return to school when they should have, is not correct. This received media coverage in the middle of last year. The evidence we now have, and researchers are in agreement on this, is that there was no massive worsening of the dropout patterns, compared to what we saw before the pandemic. There have been some problems, such as Grades R to 1 enrolment, being around twenty-five thousand (25 000) lower than expected in 2021, due parents delaying first enrolment of their children. But, compared to the initial half-a-million estimate, this is a relatively small and a manageable problem.
The DBE has made public some of its own research on enrolment and attendance patterns during the pandemic; and will be releasing further analysis shortly. In fact, participation rates in schooling, rose during the pandemic. According to recently released enrolment data, there has been substantial growth in enrolments in our schools, beginning already before the pandemic, in 2019; and this growth did not slow down during the pandemic. In actual fact, enrolments increased by half-a-million between 2019 and 2021. This was mainly due to less learners dropping out.
The MTSF, requires us to pay special attention to expanding participation in technical subjects in Grades 10 to 12. The MTSF refers to these as niche subjects. Here, there has been progress, though we need to improve further. To illustrate this, between 2015 and 2021, the number of Black African and Coloured Grade 12 candidates, enrolled in the important technical subject, such as Engineering Graphics and Design, increased by more than fifty percent (50%), from around nineteen thousand (19 000), to around twenty-nine thousand (29 000). This growth continued into the years of the pandemic.
One of the ways we are ensuring that young people leave the schooling system with the knowledge, skills, competencies and certification they need, is through the introduction of the General Education Certificate (GEC) in Grade 9. The GEC is currently being piloted in two hundred and sixty-eight (268) schools nationally. In 2023, we will expand the pilot to sampled schools in all the seventy (75) Districts.
As indicated in our existing plans, we are committed to ensuring that all learners, have the learning and teaching support materials (LTSMs); they receive daily nutritious meals; they have access to psycho-social support; they are provided with the ICT equipment and connectivity that will prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution; and they are taught by teachers who feel they have a stake in the system, and receive support when it is needed.
The MTSF is clear that all public servants need to be accountable, within accountability systems that are clearly defined and fair. We have the required policy frameworks in place, including the Quality Management System, signed by the employer and all unions in 2019; and the provisions in the South African Schools Act around the academic improvement plans each school should produce. We have extensive monitoring of school-based assessments, through the Data-Driven Districts partnership, which now reaches around fifteen thousand (15 000) primary schools.
Basic Education Sector priorities for the Sixth Administration
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members, I had earlier reminded this House about our six Sector priorities. Because of time constraints, I will address two of these priorities, and the Deputy Minister will deal with the rest – time allowing. The first priority I wish to address, is that of ramping up Early Childhood Development (ECD), and the migration of 0-4 year-olds from the Department of Social Development to the DBE.
Madam Speaker, I can confirm that the Minister of Social Development and I, supported by our respective Departments, responded with haste and purpose to the clarion call made by His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, when he directed through the 2020 State of the Nation Address on the ECD function shift from the Department of Social Development (DSD) to the Department of Education (DBE).
I can report that the ECD function shift happened has seamlessly on 01 April 2022 – thanks to Minister Zulu and her team of managers, as well as the DBE team of managers. We wish to thank both the Portfolio Committees responsible for Basic Education and Social Development for performing their oversight responsibilities with distinction in this process.
The DBE is now in the process of crafting and implementing innovative strategies, to strengthen Foundations of Learning, looking at the continuum from birth to early grades in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases. A Service Delivery Model, which proposes the following five strategies for improving the quality of ECD in South Africa, has been developed –
- Curriculum-based early learning for all children from birth to 5 year-olds;
- ECD programmes for all children from birth to 5 year-olds;
- Training, education and development for all those working in ECD;
- Coordination of all ECD services in the country; and
- Developing a flexible funding and provisioning framework for ECD delivery.
In anticipation of the ECD function shift, the DBE embarked on the following critical projects –
- In collaboration with the World Bank and the National Treasury, the DBE implemented a Public Expenditure and Institution Review (PEIR), which determines the funding that is being spent on ECD by the different spheres of Government, and the different Departments on the prioritised ECD outcomes;
- The Thrive by Five Index baseline study was conducted, with the cooperation of First National Bank, Innovation Edge, USAID and ECD Measure, to assess the quality of ECD programmes in a nationally representative sample. The baseline study was launched to the public on 08 April 2022. In years to come, we will be able to monitor the quality of early learning outcomes, which is a critical input to the school education that follows; and will provide nationally representative early childhood outcomes data at three (3) yearly intervals; and
- The National Census of Early Learning Programmes, which was conducted in forty one thousand (41 000) ECD programmes, in collaboration with the LEGO Foundation. The data collected from the Census, will be used to map-out all Early Learning Programmes, in order to understand the full size and shape of the ECD sector; and to develop a national master list of ECD programmes, which will be incorporated into the Education Management Information System (EMIS) for ECD. The complete dataset, will also inform planning, resourcing and support to ECD programmes.
Madam Speaker, I must confirm that the DBE’s exposition I have just given on ramping up ECD, and its relocation to the DBE, took into account the resolutions of the 7th Basic Education Sector Lekgotla, which was held on around 26-28 January 2022 under the theme – “Equipping learners with knowledge and skills for a changing world in the context of COVID-19”. I encourage the Honourable Members and the South African public, to visit our website, where they can find our 7th Basic Sector Lekgotla resolutions.
Honourable Members, the second Sector priority I wish to report on, is that of the implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world in all public schools, particularly the Three-Stream Curriculum Model, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Entrepreneurship, Schools of Specialisation, Decolonisation of the Curriculum, amongst others.
Last year, I reported that the Coding and Robotics Curriculum for Grades R-3 and 7, and the CAPS for Occupational Subjects for Grades 8 and 9 have been developed and submitted to Umalusi for appraisal and quality assurance. I can report that this appraisal and quality assurance process is ongoing, including the appraisal of public comments received.
Speaker, I had also reported that we had introduced a new FET-level subject, Marine Sciences. We can now report that the first cohort of the learners taking this subject, will sit for the first NSC examination, which includes Marine Sciences. Siyaqhuba, asidlali!!
Honourable Members, we are continuing expanding the establishment of Focus Schools to cater for learners with special talents and aptitudes across a wide range of scholastic endeavours. These schools constitute a legislatively distinct category of public schools that offer a specialised curriculum, oriented toward eleven (11) learning fields, which include Agriculture, Maritime and Nautical Science, Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Technical Occupational disciplines – such as Electrical, Civil and Mechanical Technologies.
In addition to our detailed progress report we gave last year, we can further report that thirty-five (35) Occupational and Vocationally-oriented subjects, have been gazetted for public comment. The gazetting was followed in 2021 by the submission of these subjects to Umalusi for appraisal and quality assurance. Public comments have been received, and their infusion in the CAPS, together with the development of Learner Books and Teacher Guides, has taken effect; and this work was completed between January in March this year. In March this year, training manuals were developed, in preparation for the training of Subject Advisors and teachers in Occupational and Vocationally-oriented subjects.
During 2021, a costed Business Plan for the release of the EU Budget for the Three-Stream Curriculum Model, was approved by the National Treasury, for the release of the first tranche of nineteen million Rands (R19 million). This was a significant milestone that unlocked key activities of the Master Plan for the Three-Streams Curriculum Model.
Once again Madam Speaker, I encourage the Honourable Members and the public, to visit our website, for the resolutions of the 7th Basic Education Lekgotla on this cardinal priority.
Honourable Members will recall that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Development of History for Grades 4-12, had developed the History Content Framework for Grades 4-12, including the review of certain critical topics. The Task Team is currently engaged in a dedicated writing process, to sequence and package the identified content, and to ensure an alignment in terms of articulation, sequencing, progression, and conceptual development.
The next area Speaker, is that of the Incremental Introduction to African Languages (IIAL) strategy, which was initiated in 2013, to strengthen the teaching of previously marginalised African languages in our schools. The IIAL targets two thousand, five hundred and eighty-four (2 584) schools, that are not offering African languages.
We also strategically decided to expand the list of South African languages offered as Second Additional Languages in curriculum. The additional languages are the Khoi, Nama, San and languages, as well as the South African Sign Language (SASL). We are making inroads in this area.
Speaker, the introduction of Kiswahili Second Additional Language (SAL) in our curriculum, is still in the pipeline. We have signed an Agreement with Kenya, and we are in the process of signing another with Tanzania on the development of curriculum and the South African teachers in Kiswahili. Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have been far in piloting Kiswahili in Grades 4-6 in 2021-2023.
Speaker, given the demographics of our country, more than 80% of our learners, continue to learn in a language other their mother tongue. We must begin a serious debate on mother-tongue teaching and learning. Currently, learners learn in their mother-tongue until Grade 3, then switch to English or Afrikaans as the Language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT). Not doing so, will continue to contribute greatly to under-achievement. We must have a policy shift in this area.
We must acknowledge the interesting work currently underway in the Eastern Cape on teaching some gateway subjects across the curriculum in isiXhosa and SeSotho with positive results. The North West has realised the importance of delivering the CAPS in Setswana across all Phases and Grades.
Speaker, the Matric Class of 2021 has clearly demonstrated that with dedication, focus and resilience, the sky may not be the absolute limit. The number of qualitative and quantitative passes the Class of 2021 has attained, is an indisputable affirmation, that ours is a stable system on the rise.
The growth we continue to observe in the regional and international assessment studies, though not at the pace we want, is a further illutration of the system’s improvement. This year, we have introduced assessment studies in the system, which focus on assessment for, and of learning, as well as the system itself. All these endeavours are intended to equip learners with knowledge, skills and competencies for a changing world.
Madam Speaker, we must agree that the economic term “binding constraints”, refers to those constraints, when if relieved, could provide the largest response in economic growth. This is a useful way to think about education reforms at the present juncture; i.e., which constraints should specifically be targeted to give us the biggest qualitative and quantitative improvement in education! In other words, what are those non-negotiables in the Basic Education Sector that will elevate the system to the next level!
Historically, we have focused on educational input factors, such as equitable funding of public schools, infrastructure investment, pro-poor policies (school nutrition, learner transport, “no fee” schools), and many other input factors. These important interventions have contributed significantly to increased attainment of the social justice principles, namely, access, equity, redress, inclusivity, quality and efficiency; as well as the improvements in educational outcomes. These improvements in the quality of basic education are a large part of the reasons why more young people are staying in school longer; and are obtaining the National Senior Certificate after a full twelve year schooling cycle.
Speaker and Honourable Members, in our repeated calls to recommit to building a solid and resilient foundation for a quality and efficient basic education system, we have repeatedly presented national and international evidence that learning outcomes in our entire basic education system have been on an upward trajectory. However, we are mindful that the gains we have made, are currently threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research has revealed the deep-seated effects of COVID-19 on our basic education system and educational outcomes.
As we continue to build for the future, we must recommit to building a solid foundation for a quality and efficient basic education system, from ECD, through the Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phases, to the Further Education and Training (FET) Band. At all times, we must remind ourselves about what President Ramaphosa said in his 2019/20 SONA – that we must “reimagine and build the South Africa we yearn for, a South Africa of our dreams”.
Finally, we wish to thank our international partners, sister departments and their State institutions, business, and civil society organisations, for their professionalism and the variety of the roles they continue play. I wish to single out the SACE, Umalusi, NECT, our teacher unions, the national SGB associations, the principals’ associations, national organisations responsible for learners with special needs, as well as independent schools’ associations for their wise counsel and impeccable resilience.
We wish to thank the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, the Whippery, and the Honourable Members of this august House, especially our Chairperson and the Honourable Members of our Portfolio Committee. We cannot forget to acknowledge the MECs in the Council of Education Ministers and their respective Heads of Departments.
Finally, I wish to thank the Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule; the Director-General and his army of senior officials, the entire Ministry staff, and my family for their ongoing support and cooperation.
I thank you