Contribution made by UDM Member of Parliament, Ms CN Majeke, in the National Assembly

Honourable Chairperson
Minister and Deputy Minister
Honourable Members

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) believes that the major intervention if any is to be made in the Basic Education Sector, must mainly be on
• School Leadership, Management and Governance;
• Teacher content and knowledge – knowledge of the subject matter / content;
• School Environment and
• Learner discipline – a culture of reading and writing

In this regard, we wish to make the following recommendations for further consideration and prioritisation by the Ministry as part of enriching the departmental five year strategic plan as well as the annual performance plan for the financial season 2014 /15. Some of these matters have been raised however; we strongly feel that they deserve to be lifted up in the prioritisation process.

In line with the DBE MTEF priorities, the critical activities and targeted outputs for the next five years, the department needs to:

• Improve the quality of early childhood education and primary schools including implementation of the foundation for learning campaign emphasising the promotion of language and numeracy.
• Conduct external test for all Grade 3 and Grade 6 learners every year and provide results to parents for further engagement and practical role to be played by parents.
• Investigate a system of effective evaluation of all learners based on the extent to which learner performance improve, with results influencing occupationally specific dispensation pay for teachers.
• Ensure that teacher unions have a formal and funded role in teacher development.
• Strengthen management capacity to ensure working districts and schools. This entails bringing in management capacity from the private sector, civil society and elsewhere in the public sector. Phase in a process of measurable improvements through targeting efforts selected education districts and dysfunctional schools. Use of infrastructure budget as an incentive for schools that deliver improved teaching and learning.
• We further welcome the decision to improve national – provincial alignment and efficiency of education expenditure, through amongst others, procuring textbooks nationally and allocating resources to improve district capacity and the use of conditional grants to ensure alignment.
• Develop a social compact for quality education. This will include a National Consultative Forum dedicated to clarifying the “non-negotiable” and performance targets for key stakeholders and the monitoring thereof.
• Mobilisation of communities at all levels should be given priority to raise awareness and participation in education issues. An example includes graduates assisting former/dysfunctional schools, corporate social investment, and party branch campaigns to clean up schools, supporting food gardens and encouraging young graduates to enter teaching.
• Implement poverty combating measures that improve the environment for learning and teaching, such as nutrition programmes, basic infrastructure for schools, and social support for children.

Thank you