The National Portfolio Committee on Education is meeting this morning to discuss the catch-up plan developed by the National Department of Basic Education. The Portfolio Committee allegedly rejected the plan last week on the basis that it was inadequate and did not sufficiently address the prejudice suffered by learners due to the lack of textbooks for over half of the academic year.
SECTION27 hopes that today’s presentation to the Portfolio Committee will address the following concerns:
1. Full implementation of the catch-up plan is dependent on complete delivery of textbooks. In terms of the court order of 17 May, this means that each learner has his or her own textbook for each subject. Many learners are still without textbooks and despite requests by SECTION27, the Department has failed to provide a date on which delivery will be complete. Have all the text books been delivered now or not?
2. The 10- point plan submitted by the Department lacks any sense of urgency. It is essential that clear timelines be included in the catch-up plan detailing what steps will be taken and when; keeping in mind the need for urgent measures to address and mitigate the harm suffered by learners. Are there timeframes? What are they?
3. SECTION27 maintains that there is a clear distinction between National Curriculum Statement (NCS) and CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements) and that this distinction must be recognized in assessing the extent of catch-up required.
4. The 10-point plan seeks to fit Grade 10 catch-up into an existing Grade 12 enrichment programme – this is insufficient and fails to recognize the extraordinary circumstances requiring catch-up for Grade 10 learners. Does the DBE agree that specific measures aimed at Grade 10 learners are necessary?
5. The Department has recognized that teachers require content knowledge support. How does the plan include support to teachers?
6. Extra tuition time for learners must be prioritised and detailed in the plan. Is it? How?
7. The DBE must provide a detailed budget, which sets out the costs associated with each aspect of the catch-up plan. What is the budget?
8. How will the catch up- plan be monitored and assessed?
The failure by the Department to treat this with the requisite urgency and to prioritise this catch-up is continuing to have a negative impact on learners and their ability to close the gaps in their syllabus before the end-of-year exams. We therefore hope these issues are fully addressed at today’s Portfolio Committee meeting and that the catch-up plan is implemented without further delay.
For comment, please contact:
Nikki Stein on (082) 528-7232 or firstname.lastname@example.org