Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 03:56:29 -0200
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ANC Information)
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Subject: Mayibuye - October 1995
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Implement school recommendations soon
By Blade Nzimande, ANC NEC member and chair of the ANC education study
in Mayibuye, Vol. 6, no. 6, October 1995
Recommendations to reform schooling should be implemented as soon as
possible, writes Blade Nzimande.
Three important developments in education took place in the past month.
These developments represent significant steps in our agenda for social
transformation and the attainment of equity in South Africa. We witnessed
the submission of the report of the review committee on organisation,
governance and financing of schooling, and the passage in parliament of the
South African Qualifications Authority Act and the Education Policy Bill
[see accompanying story]. All these developments have been the subject of
much controversy and vitriol over the past few weeks.
The report on the organisation, governance and funding of schools was
commissioned by education minister Sibusiso Bengu as a sincere attempt to
find the best way of eliminating the inequities and enormous waste of
resources - both human and material - that currently characterises our
education system. These inequities are in terms of our per capita funding.
It is unacceptable that in this democratic dispensation, the state still
spends five times as much money on a white child as it spends on a child in
the former Transkei.
There exists inequity in the ownership of schools by communities. With
their Education Renewal Strategy of the early 1990s, the National Party
ensured that they transferred state educational resources to white
communities, in the form of the model C and model A schools, before the
advent of a new system. This the NP did in an attempt to maintain white
educational privilege and to allow white parents to exclude other groups
from utilising these resources.
Not only did the review committee attempt to address these inequities, they
also offered the authorities a way out of the confusion. Instead of the
many categories of schools that we have at present, they are proposing two
types of schools - public schools and private or independent schools.
Placing all public schools in the same category will more adequately expose
the inequities that exist between schools and allow for the development of
common standards in terms of provisioning.
We welcome the proposal that all school communities be endowed with all the
same basic governance powers, with the possibility of acquiring additional
powers as capacity develops. We are especially heartened by the fact that
the report has as a component for capacity building in schools that in the
past had no governance powers. The most welcome proposal in as far as
governance is concerned is the report's suggestion on the composition of
governing bodies. This proposal accords with the MDM position on the
democratic governance of schools. If this proposal is accepted, then all
the important stakeholders in the schooling community would have an
effective say in the governance of education. We would strongly urge the
acceptance of the committee's proposals on the governance of schools by the
minister and the MECs for education.
The committee's proposals on the financing of education had to deal with an
aspect that had wide ranging ramifications. The inequities in funding of
education are so deep-seated that any proposed transformation had to take
into consideration various factors:
- The effect on national expenditure on education. This would determine
to what level you increase funding in the disadvantaged sectors or to
what level you decrease funding to the advantaged sectors, and the
speed at which we shall be able to attain equity and redress in
- The question of 'standards' will raise its head because any attempt to
attain equity and redress in spending, given the current fiscal
constraints, would entail significant reduction in spending on
education for the advantaged.
- The issue of additional resources, which will clearly be needed if we
are to attain equity, raises questions about user fees and the ANC's
commitment to ten years of basic free and compulsory education.
- The question of the redistribution of teaching and administrative
staff in schools, which accounts for 90 percent of spending in
education then rears itself, because equalisation in spending will
mean redistributing teachers from the over-supplied areas to where
there is a shortage. This has political and other implications.
The committee members have been prudent in the way in which they dealt with
the financing question. In my opinion, they have been too prudent. They
were so cautious that the proposals they make do not seem to address the
question in a satisfactory manner.
The first proposal they put on the table, the 'gradualist minimalist'
approach towards achieving equity, is aimed at causing the least discomfort
to the privileged sector. In fact if this approach were to be adopted, then
the inequitable dispensation in education funding would basically remain in
place, and equity would be achieved only in twenty to thirty years. It is
not surprising that this approach has found favour with the likes of the
NP, the DP, the Sunday Times and others of the same ilk. It is preposterous
to think that we would countenance the possibility of waiting another
twenty years before we have equity in education in this country.
The second proposal, their so-called 'equitable school-based formula'
adopts a more radical approach. This proposal is based on "the premise that
the achievement of per capita equity in the allocation of resources to
schools (and hence to all children) has to be a fundamental objective of
the process of educational transformation". This kind of logic cannot be
faulted, because the achievement of an equitable dispensation remains the
primary objective of our transformation agenda. In addition, the
constitution obliges the state to provide an equal basic quality education
to all. The fact that this option also makes allowances for funding for
redress purposes over and above the basic formula funding for disadvantaged
communities based on an index of need addresses the redress question
The possibility of instituting this kind of funding should be examined more
closely. Even though I understand the point that this form of funding would
require more sophisticated education management information than we
currently possess, I think the Ministry of Education should seriously
consider this proposal as a real option if we are serious about addressing
the inequities in education.
The third option proposed by the committee, the 'partnership funding
approach', suggests a partnership between parents and the state in the
financing of education. It suggests that for costs other than capital and
personnel costs, parents pay for the education of their children with
payments on a sliding scale with zero rating for a certain minimum category
I have serious reservations about this approach. Firstly, it seems to
represent a significant abdication of our commitment to free and compulsory
education for ten years. Secondly, given the extent of poverty in the
country, it might mean essentially exempting up to 70 percent of parents
from paying fees. If you are going to exempt that many parents, you might
as well not charge anyone.
On the whole the report represents an important step forward in our effort
to transform education in this country and I urge the minister to implement
the positive recommendations of the committee without delay. Prompt
implementation will ensure that we start the next school year on a sound
Blade Nzimande is an ANC NEC member and chair of the ANC education study
Teachers' three year strategy to improve schooling
To help the reconstruction of education in South Africa, Sadtu is
considering a three year bargaining strategy. Kate Skinner outlines its
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) is discussing within
its ranks a new three year bargaining strategy. This marks a major
departure from the union's ritualistic annual wage bargaining, often
characterised by conflict and confrontation. As part of its agenda to
reconstruct education and empower teachers it has outlined the following
bargaining themes: improvement of conditions of service for educators; new
salary grading; improved training; and time off and secondment for union
Sadtu believes that the massive exodus of well-qualified teachers from the
profession, particularly in understaffed fields like maths, science and
commerce, is due to uncompetitive salaries and poor working conditions.
Teachers are lured by lucrative packages from the private sector. On
average teachers earn substantially less than their counterparts with
equivalent qualifications and responsibilities in business.
Conditions of service
There are major problems with the teacher salary scale. For one thing, it
is qualifications driven. Other criteria such as level of responsibility,
level of teaching, experience and performance are largely ignored. This has
led to a qualifications 'paper chase' which has encouraged a situation
where teachers are more committed to their own studies than to those of
Also the discriminatory policies of the past have resulted in an
exceptionally broad salary scale with a ratio of almost 10:1 between the
highest and lowest salaries. The vast majority of teachers who earn less
than the average are unqualified or underqualified.
Average salaries are skewed in terms of race and gender because of the
historically uneven distribution of qualifications and post levels among
teachers. This results in african teachers earning 75 percent of the
average of white teachers, and women teachers earning 85 percent of the
average of male teachers.
The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) must undertake as a matter of
urgency the task of addressing these anomalies. The objectives should be
- achieve a living wage for teachers;
- eliminate disparities with the education sector;
- begin to de-link remuneration from qualifications and give due
recognition to performance;
- reduce the present categories to an acceptable number and flatten the
salary structure to reduce the apartheid wage gap;
- eliminate disparities between teachers and their counterparts in the
One of the most important service benefits in the public service as a whole
are the non-monetary service benefits. These include pension benefits, home
owner allowances and medical aid. The state's contribution however has not
kept in line with the rise in the cost of living. A key component of our
bargaining strategy must therefore be to secure favourable,
inflation-related service benefits.
Sadtu has recently won a major victory in terms of the home owner allowance
scheme - this has now been extended to all female educators.
One of the legacies of apartheid education has been the over concentration
of teacher training in the humanity and social science fields. This has led
to the overproduction of teachers in subjects like African languages,
biblical studies and history. This has contradicted the law of supply and
demand and has led to a situation of severe teacher unemployment.
The union's belief is that teacher training should now be geared towards an
overall strategy of building the economy and should thus be located within
the realm of economic growth and development.
Sadtu has thus called for a special 'training needs' task team to be set up
in the ELRC. Its brief should include to:
- review the status of teacher training colleges and make
recommendations towards their restructuring in order to ensure that
they meet RDP imperatives;
- review existing education and training curriculum and support
- make proposals on the education and training needs of educators;
- make suggestions on the structuring of development centres both at
national and provincial level.
Secondment and time off for union officials
By Kate Skinner, Media Officer of the South African Democratic Teachers'
The right of union officials to perform union functions while employed by
the state is recognised internationally. In South Africa many trade unions
have concluded agreements with their employers, which guarantee secondment
and time-off for union work. With the advent of unionism in the education
sector, there has been an increasing need for employer and employee
organisations to negotiate an agreement on this issue.
Sadtu has won this battle in the ELRC. A resolution says that time off will
be guaranteed to bona fide union officials to do union work during school
hours. But this will be built into the school timetable to ensure a balance
between school and union work. Union officials will retain their full pay
benefits and their leave days will not be interfered with.
In terms of secondment the state and employee organisation will determine
an effective mechanism to ensure that the interests of pupils are not
sacrificed. The period of secondment will be reviews after 12 months.
The primary function of seconded educators will be to ensure the resolution
of disputes in the ELRC; to give effect to collective bargaining; to assist
in the successful implementation of agreements; to provide teacher
organisations with administrative assistance; to participate in forums and
task groups and generally to coordinate the activities of teachers.
Kate Skinner is Media Officer of the South African Democratic Teachers'
Students committed to change in schools
Students in Cosas are proud of the advances made in education, but still
feel a lot has to be done. Mziwakhe Hlangani reports.
The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) believes significant strides
have been made in the struggle for a non-racial democratic education
system, according to Cosas national general secretary Tshilidzi
However, the organisation, which holds its annual national conference in
December, is concerned by some of the delays in passing important
legislation, particularly the National Education Policy Bill. The bill was
rejected by the National Party, Inkatha Freedom Party, Pan Africanist
Congress, Democratic Party and African Christian Democratic Party first
because they felt insufficient consultation had taken place around it, and
secondly because they thought some parts of it was unconstitutional.
Cosas, however, maintains that the bill contains the principles "we stood
for in the struggle for a non-racial education system".
The bill would give power to the Minister of Education to bring about
practical changes with the introduction of a framework for the free choice
of language systems, school level curriculum and school budget priorities.
Cosas believes the bill, which has been referred to the Constitutional
Court, needs to be passed as a matter of urgency. "If it is delayed until
next year a chaotic situation in schools will be inevitable," Ratshitanga
said. Although students were not properly consulted on certain sections of
the bill, the bill's limitations could be addressed and tremendous strides
made towards the long-term goals of students, he said.
The mass democratic movements should have expected that the NP would try to
delay the passage of the Bill since its positions had created havoc for
black children for many years, Cosas national president Songezo Jongile
"The NP will always strive to maintain the status quo. Their delay in the
process of change is the strategy that we will have to live with. This
designed to enhance their racist political strategies," he said.
The democratic government had done its best in practically removing the
NP's racist tradition of separate education systems. Cosas was committed to
ensuring the undemocratic system of education was defeated, even if it
meant prolonged mass action. The NP would never be allowed to maintain
certain privileges for the whites, he said.
"We applaud the review committee for its wide-ranging recommendations
calling for the total scrapping of the Model C schools and the
democratisation of private and public schools," the Cosas leaders said.
They said they still have a way to go in demonstrating their support for
the implementation of the recommendations. "The recommendations lay the
basis for fundamental practical changes. But the main thing is that we want
all schools to fall under the public sector because we have reservations
about inflated government subsidies granted to the private schools - some
which cannot deliver the real education. There is a need for redress and
equity in this regard," they said.
The report also identified racism, inequitable funding arrangements and the
lack of democratic structures in the entire education system as having
militated against the development of quality schools. It found that schools
lacked democracy because not all major stakeholders - teachers, pupils and
the broader community - were involved in the governance of schools under
the old system.
Cosas believes it is a waste of state funds to continue pouring vast sums
of money into some unscrupulous institutions: "There must be a way of
integrating private schools into the public."
Priorities must be given to public schools to redress imbalances, otherwise
the victorious struggles would be doomed to failure; Cosas had to ensure
that these victories were sustained.
Cosas rejects the Azanian Students Movement's (Azasm) call for the removal
of white teachers from African township schools. Azasm had "no history of
struggling for the democratic rights of the school students," Ratshitanga
Cosas maintains that the Azasm campaign is racist and it does nothing to
address black employment. White teachers in black schools constitute less
than five percent of teachers.
"It does not contribute to building a nation, while the mass democratic
movement is in the process of building one nation. Cosas took up the
initiative of fighting for the rights of black teachers and students, which
shows that Azasm's call is political opportunism. Its death is inevitable
since they do not have a constituency and their campaigns are not even
supported by the unemployed black teachers they purport to represent,"
On the abolition of corporal punishment, Cosas said the education minister
and MECs for education were in line with Cosas' view: "We support it
[abolition of corporal punishment] since it was a barbaric implementation
of responsibility and discipline. It should be remembered that through the
learning process the South African society has always linked corporal
punishment with discipline."
Teachers were not trained creatively on discipline, and there was no
scientific proof to show that corporal punishment was effective: "What we
are saying now is that the ministry should move in a responsible manner by
ensuring that all the educational stakeholders are on board to discuss
alternatives to corporal punishment, like the code of conduct for students
or disciplinary committees that would be representative of students and
teachers as well."
"The process [of transformation] is a tricky one and depends on
interpretation and the will to act speedily. We need to see that all
schools are transformed into public schools. Though we do not expect
funding immediately, the budget must be channelled into disadvantaged black
schools and the ANC ministers must press for the transformation of the
former white schools into democratic schools, accessible to blacks,"
"Let's redirect resources, though it can mean reverse discrimination
against the privileged schools. The emphasis should be on disadvantaged
schools. We need to plan priorities because this will frustrate the
aspirations of the community," he said.
Ratshitanga said a consultative relationship existed between the education
ministry and Cosas. This makes it easier for the student body to exert
influence on the ministry. Already this has brought dividends for the
disadvantaged schools, he said.
Cosas is also concerned about the number of reports of alleged sexual abuse
involving teachers and parents: "We are saying justice must introduce
severe criminal sentence against the perpetrators.
There is also a need to put in place a curriculum on sexual education as a
matter of urgency. It is important that justice be strengthened to wipe out
sexual abuse on children."
These and other issues of concern to the student body would be discussed at
their December conference.