Govt to set school performance measures

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cape Town - As part of improving the quality of the education system, government will set performance measures to ensure that the "non-negotiables" are implemented at schools.

President Jacob Zuma said this during his response to questions raised by political parties in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

A Member of Parliament (MP) representing the African National Congress, Fatima Chohan-Kota, had asked how government was planning to effect the changes necessary to improve the quality of schooling.

The non-negotiables, as outlined by President Zuma, are that educators must teach, learners must learn, parents must provide support to their children and government must create a conducive environment for learning and teaching.

President Zuma said the Ministry in the Presidency responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation headed by Collins Chabane, together with the Department of Basic Education, was developing these performance measures.

"These performance measures will form the basis of performance agreements between the President, the Minister of Basic Education and MECs. The performance agreement will ensure that the non-negotiables relating to the department are catered for," the President told the MPs.

The department, he said, would develop an integrated plan to ensure that all schools have the necessary resources.

As part of active performance monitoring and evaluation, Mr Zuma said government officials would visit some schools unannounced to check if the non-negotiables were being adhered to.

"Teachers are required to be on time, be well prepared for all their lessons, teach for at least seven hours every school day and improve their own skills."

He said he would be engaging teachers' unions about some of their members teaching for less than half a school day.

He told MPs that research showed teaching at some schools was being carried out for just 3.5 hours a day. "This needs to change," he said.

According to the President, the achievement of quality education for all requires renewed purpose and action from education department officials, school principals, teachers, learners, parents and communities.

The President called upon each role player to make a commitment to a 'Code for Quality Education', which describes the responsibilities required of them.

Mr Zuma did not shy away from the fact that they were challenges currently facing the education system. He said all stakeholders in education needed to pull together to deal with the challenges.

"We do not dispute that there are challenges, however it needs a collective effort from all the corners of the society needs a commitment from all of us."