Human Development Cluster Media Briefing led by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga 18 September 2013
Welcome to the Human Development Cluster media briefing, which provides a progress report on the targets we set ourselves since the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 14 February 2013.
This Cluster leads three of the 12 Government Outcomes, namely:
- Improved quality of basic education;
- A long and healthy life for all South Africans; and
- A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
- The Department of Higher Education forms part of two clusters and will report under the Economic Development Cluster.
IMPROVEMENT IN THE QUALITY OF BASIC EDUCATION
The Cluster has made significant progress in improving the quality of basic education. Our education system is much more equitable and pro-poor than it was before 1994.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is a priority of the Cluster and has one of it outputs: Improve the quality of Early Childhood Development with two sub-outputs, namely Universal access to Grade R and Improve Early Childhood Development.
A discussion document outlining the basic tenets of such a revised funding strategy for funding of Grade R has been developed. This document is aligned to the conception in the National Development Plan that Early Childhood Development services should be linked to primary schools and that preschool enrolment for 4 and 5 year olds before Grade 1 should be made compulsory. Essentially the proposal is to progressively change the funding model applicable to Grade R to be in line with the funding model which is applicable to Grades 1 to 12. Funding has subsequently been made available by provincial treasuries for an increase in the appointment of the appointment of Grade R teachers in the outer year of the 2013 MTEF (2015).
Ladies and gentlemen, we have briefed extensively in the past months on the following issues:
- Clarification of the 30% pass rate,
- Alcohol and anti-substance abuse,
- High rates of teenage pregnancy amongst learners,
- Corporal punishment,
- Language policy at schools, and the
- Annual National Assessment.
We will further elaborate on following key areas of our reports:
The Annual National Assessments (ANA) continue to be an important diagnostic tool used to identify challenges in the Education system and address them in a scientific manner.
I can confirm, that within three years of implementation of the Annual National Assessments there have been significant improvements in the technical and administrative processes required for a credible assessment. A significant feature of this improvement was the involvement of international experts in reviewing and ensuring high quality of the assessment instruments.
Recently, for the 2013 Annual National Assessments, Grades 1-6 and 9 that took Language and Mathematics sat for mainstream tests in all official languages across provinces from 6 September. Monitoring of test administration, marking the tests, capturing and analysing data and reporting on the 2013 ANA verification will be done independently by a service provider.
We want the results to be utilised better to improve performance of learners. We are thus looking at the reasons for the slow improvement in the utilisation of ANA results.
The National Senior Certificate examinations’ overall pass rate has increased from 73.9% to 75.6%, which confirms that the Department of Basic Education is capable of attaining its targeted pass rate of 75% in the 2013 National Senior Certificate examination.
Preparations for the 2013/2014 examinations are underway. All 258 November 2013/March 2014 question papers are ready, 82 % externally moderated and approved by Umalusi.
We wish to mention that the reviewing of the Quintile System considers the phasing out of the use of the quintile system for purposes of schools’ Norms and Standards funding. The ranking of schools in quintiles would however still be used to inform aspects such as post provisioning, possible performance awards to schools, school nutrition etc. The review introduces a proposal to de-link a school’s allocation from its quintile ranking and distinguish between only two broad categories of schools i.e. no fee schools and fee paying schools on which to determine the structure and level of the school allocation.
This would effectively result in there being only two categories of schools for allocation purposes, i.e. No Fee Schools and Fee Charging Schools. The implementation of these proposals is however dependent on the availability and sourcing of funding.
Members of the media,
Let me update you on our Schools Infrastructure programme. The Strategic Integrated Project 13 (SIP 13) of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee represents the commitment of the Department of Basic Education in addressing the core infrastructure challenges enunciated in the National Development Plan.
SIP13 addresses the targets of the Department of Basic Education’s Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. The target areas for these two programmes comprise firstly, the nine provinces are targeting various types of projects that will address improving service levels, new schools, and existing schools with additional classrooms, science and computer labs, media centres, admin blocks, ablution blocks and libraries and secondly, ASIDI targets the eradication of mud/inappropriate structure schools and schools without access to basic services, where these services are to be introduced.
The Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI)
This programme is funded through a Schedule 7 conditional grant, the School Backlogs Infrastructure Grant (SBIG) and targets both the introduction of water, sanitation and electricity to schools lacking any form of these services, as well as the eradication of inappropriate structures.
We are implementing the programme at unsuitable schools. Many schools have reached practical completion and since July we have been handing over one school a week. The schools are state of the art and feature all the basic building blocks for quality learning.
Sanitation Projects: Sanitation projects include waterborne sewerage systems (it could be linked to the municipal system or it could be linked to a localised septic tank system) as well as Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Latrines where the structure and its workings adhere to the minimum standard as set by the Department of Water Affairs in regulation. As far as possible, the supply of sanitation is in accordance with the requirements of the guidelines for public school infrastructure. Currently there are 741 school sanitation projects nationally in various stages of project progress.
The Department has now gazetted for public comment the Norms and Standards for Basic Infrastructure in Public Schools with an intention to finalise them towards the end of the year.
Shortage of school furniture has been identified as one of the challenges that have a negative effect towards achieving the delivery of quality education to learners in schools. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Labour and Department of Correctional Services regarding the manufacturing and delivery of school furniture. Furniture is now dispatched to various schools across the provinces to supplement provincial provision.
The Education Collaboration Framework (ECF) was established the first quarter. The ECF is a civil society initiative aimed at increasing cooperation among the stakeholders involved in education improvement in South Africa.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe joined the Minister of Basic Education and representatives from civil society and business for the launch of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) in Pretoria on the 16 July 2013.The NECT is envisaged in the Education Collaboration Framework, in response to the National Development Plan, which takes forward Government’s commitment to prioritising education.
The Minister initiated a project called “Race to the Top” under the auspices of the ECF, as a holistic and urgent response to the National Development Plan. The project serves as a turnaround strategy for the education sector, whereby identified schools and district offices will be visited in order to collect information that will enable the Department of Basic Education to provide the required support to improve service delivery.
A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE FOR ALL SOUTH AFRICANS
The National Development Plan dictates that in order to realise a healthy life for all South Africans, we must eliminate the social factors that affect health and disease such as poor lifestyle behaviours. In order to address these, we need to strengthen the health care system, implement the National Health Insurance, build human resources in the health sector, prevent and reduce the disease burden as well as promote healthy lifestyles.
The public complaints carried by media so often confirm that quality of services in the public health system has to drastically change. The cost of private healthcare also has to be significantly reduced.
In Accordance with our desire to close the skills gap in hospitals and clinics a total of 102 new hospital CEO’s with the requisite qualifications, skills and expertise were appointed in January 2013.
To enhance the production of doctors in South Africa, the intake of medical students by academic institutions is rapidly being scaled up. A Public Health Education Fund has been created jointly with the private sector. The work done alongside the private sector, which resulted in the Social Compact, was one of the defining moments for effective collaboration on health.
Prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remains the cornerstone of efforts to combat HIV and AIDS.
The 2012 development indicators tells us that for the first time since democracy, there is evidence that South Africa is making progress in improving health status of the nation. Statistics show a gradual improvement in life expectancy from 2006 onwards, exceeding the heath sector target of 58.5 years by 2014.
Prevention remains the cornerstone of efforts to combat HIV and AIDS. As part of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) services, a total of 1,947,174 people aged 15-49 years accepted HIV testing in the first quarter. The set target for first quarter of 2013/14 was to conduct 3.25 million tests and the annual target is 18 million tests.
Male Medical Circumcision (MMC) is one of the key HIV prevention strategies implemented by the public health sector in South Africa. A total of 86,777 MMCs were conducted, against a quarterly target of 150,000. Although all 9 Provinces submitted quarterly data for this indicator, the data was for two months only. The annual target is 600,000.
A total of 142,863 new patients were placed on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), which exceeded the quarterly target of 125,000. The annual target is 500,000.”
A TB cure rate of 75,8% was achieved, which was higher than the 74,9 % attained in fourth quarter of 2012/13. The defaulter rate amongst TB patients with pulmonary TB was 5.9%, which was consistent with the quarterly target of 6% for 2013/14.
Further progress was made towards the integration of HIV and AIDS and TB services. A total of 86.7% of TB patients were tested for HIV against a quarterly target of 91%.
In our quest to improve the lives of our people, Cervical Cancer is at the forefront of our minds. According to research done by our own teaching hospitals, it affects 6 000 South African women annually – 80% of whom are African, killing between 3 000 and 3 500 women annually. Sexually active women are encouraged to visits clinics for annual pap smears for early detection.
A vaccine for HPV has subsequently been developed and approved and the Department of Health has rolled out the programme progressively, as part of our School Health Programme as from February 2014.
A total of 84.1 % of deliveries took place in health facilities under the supervision of qualified and skilled health care providers, against a quarterly target of 92%. The re-engineering of Primary Health Care (PHC), particularly the establishment of ward-based PHC teams, will enhance health promotion and awareness, and encourage more mothers to deliver in the public health services.
Follow-ups of newborns (post-natal care) and their mothers constitute an essential part of the continuum of care. A total of 76.1% of mothers received post-natal care within 6 days after delivery. This exceeded the quarterly target of 70% but we would like to reach 100%. .
Immunisation is an essential intervention to protect children against vaccine preventable diseases. During the first quarter of 2013/14, the national full immunisation coverage rate for children under the age of 1 was 85,2%, which was below the quarterly target of 90%.
The Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV Programme continued to reflect good trends. The proportion of baby Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests that were positive around 6 weeks was 2,9%. This slightly exceeded the quarterly target of 2.7%.
One of the significant services the health sector provides for most of our older persons is Cataract surgery to restore their sight. The annual target is to achieve a cataract surgery rate of 1,500 per million in six provinces. We wish our senior citizens a happy national Elderly week-starting 30 September worthwhile.
A strong Primary Health Care (PHC) service delivery platform provides an important foundation for the implementation of National Health Insurance. Key milestones were achieved towards the implementation of the three streams of the re-engineered PHC model, namely: establishment and deployment of District Clinical Specialist Teams; strengthening of School Health Services and deployment of ward-based Provincial Health Care Outreach Teams.
A total of 185 specialists were appointed into District Clinical Specialist Teams. These were: 38 advanced midwives; 8 anaesthetists; 34 family medicine specialists; 21 obstetricians; 18 paediatricians; 26 paediatric nurses and 40 PHC nurses.
With respect to the delivery of Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP), a set of revised indicators were introduced on 1 April 2013. A total of 3.85% (368 of the annual target of 9,666 schools) of the Quintile 1 and Quintile 2 schools were covered by the School Health Teams to provide services in accordance with the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP). This was significantly lower than the planned quarterly of 17.5% (2416 schools).
A total of 6.6% (8,072 of the annual a target of 80,400 learners) Grade 8 learners in Quintile 1 and Quintile 2 schools were covered by the ISHP. This actual performance was inconsistent with the quarterly target of 25% (20,100 learners).
The National Health Amendment Bill, which aims to improve the country’s health system, was approved by the National Assembly. This provides the legal framework for the establishment of an independent Office of Health Standards Compliance to promote and ensure quality assurance in the health sector.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Human Development Cluster encourages the culture of reading in our communities, which supports quality basic education and life-long learning.
With the remaining funds of the R1 billion provided to the Department of Arts and Culture in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the building of new libraries and the renovation of existing township libraries, more work was done.
- In the previous Financial Year, 14 new libraries were built and 37 existing libraries were upgraded.
- Books were given to many schools in Eastern Cape during the National Book Week which was held in the first week of September at the Red Location, Port Elizabeth.
- The National English Language Museum being built in Grahamstown is being done through Green Prescripts, one of the few Green Public Buildings in the country.
A large Community Library is being built for Mdantsane Township, East London, Eastern Cape, which will feature a mobile library service.
Coincidentally, the Heritage Month celebrations will culminate in a national Heritage Day, 24 September 2013, to be held in Mdantsane this year under the theme “reclaiming, restoring and celebrating our Living Heritage”. Mdantsane, the second largest Township in the country, is also marking its 50th Anniversary. Heritage Day comes a few months before South Africa marks 20 Years of Freedom in 2014. The celebrations will provide an opportunity for Government and all sectors of society to reflect on progress that has been made in realising our dreams for the people and the country.
In working towards the 20 Years of Freedom, Minister Mashatile together with Lead SA will launch Freedom Fridays on the 20thSeptember 2013. The purpose of the Freedom Fridays is to encourage South Africans to wear anything that expresses their pride of being South Africans and to use the opportunity to look at what has been done towards the realisation of our freedom and to profile the stories of the unsung heroes of our liberation movement.
The work of uniting the country and building the nation continues under Government’s Social Cohesion programme.Provincial Community Conversations have taken place in the North West Province culminating in a Provincial Summit held in July 2013. Presently Provincial Community Conversations are being held in KwaZulu-Natal and a Provincial Summit will take place later this year.
The Department of Arts and Culture has worked on transforming the heritage sector by establishing monuments, memorials and museums in honour of some of our liberation struggle icons from South Africa and the continent. These projects that promote a more inclusive heritage sector include:
The National Development Plan of South Africa recognizes Sport and recreation as playing a cross cutting role in health, education and nation building. Sport and recreation are also are vital in human development, especially at early childhood stage to ensure good foundation for learning and development. Hence the Department of Sport and Recreation and Basic Education reintroduced sport in schools in 2011-
On the 17 August 2013, the two departments of Sport & Recreation South Africa and Arts and Culture working together with other partners hosted the first ever Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day in celebration of the life and legacy of this world icon. Inspired by the positive values of UNITY, SACRIFICE & INSPIRATION which the former President stood for, on this day and for the first time in South Africa, FNB National Stadium hosted a Rugby and Football double-header followed by an music festival featuring both local and international artists.
The program attracted more than 52 000 people in the stadium, joined by more than 2,5million others who watched this historical celebration on Television. Rallying behind the battle cry ‘One Man, One Nation, One Celebration’, ‘this program succeeded beyond expectation in its objectives to promote social cohesion, nation building and global peace and to further raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as part of the commitment to keep Nelson Mandela’s legacy alive.
A fun day of walks for all ages and levels of fitness to be held at Fountains in Pretoria on Grandparent Day- 06 October must be replicated across the local government
Led by the SRSA, governments will continue partnerships with civil society to create feasible environment and infrastructure in communities to promote active lifestyles. We will work with formal and informal sporting clubs to organize events.
Some of the upcoming exciting events to participate in 2013 include Indigenous Games Festival in Tshwane as well 2013 World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, from November 13-15. The 2013 World Conference, which will be hosted by Sport and Recreation South Africa and the City of Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have provided you with the Human Development Cluster progress report. In pursuit of accountable and transparent governance, our objective is to inform the public of the progress made through you, the media. To assist you, we are available to respond to questions related to our report.