Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has welcomed progress made in the North West section 100 (1B) intervention.
Motshekga, her deputy Enver Surty and North West Education MEC Sello Lehari welcomed the report given by Administrator Nkhono Johannes Mohlala at a meeting held in Rustenburg on Wednesday.
“The Minister was pleased with the immense progress reported in many areas of section 100 (1B) intervention into the North West Department of Education and Sports Development.
“Engagements and analysis have been completed with each branch in the department, and focus is now on interventions to address specific problems identified. There has been significant progress made in terms of curriculum coverage, especially in some schools that were affected by service delivery protests,” said the department.
The section 100(1) (b) intervention in the provincial department, which the Ministry and Department of Basic Education are responsible for, includes several intervention areas such as ensuring sound and accountable financial, fiscal, budget, supply chain management and human resource management.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the province announced that it has finalized plans for spring camps, which will ensure learners get additional tutoring during the spring holiday period.
The delivery of machinery and equipment to technical schools is now underway, and the province will also be converting two schools into specialised agriculture focus schools. This process has already started.
Progress has also been made in relation to the implementation of the planned activities for ensuring the procurement and timely distribution of learning and teaching support material (LTSM) ahead of the November 2018 deadline.
This, the department said, is critical as LTSM is the largest cost driver after the compensation of employees. To date, 91% of textbook orders have been placed, and delivery of stationary is underway for the coming academic year.
Human Resources challenges
Human resource challenges have been a huge concern for the intervention team. However, immense progress has been made in this area as well.
The processing of 31 critical posts (subject advisors and education specialists) has been completed with the assistance of a human resource team from the national office.
Among others, 73 senior education specialists, 29 deputy chief education specialists and one district director have been appointed.
In addition, 146 principles and 158 deputy principal posts have also been advertised.
The department said this will assist in bringing much needed capacity.
A team has been established to audit appointments made during 2014-18, supported by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA),” said the department, adding that the provincial department is making progress towards full implementation of the new organogram.
Engagements with the unions in the education sector regarding the implementation of the new organogram have already begun and steady, positive progress is being made in this regard to ensure the buy-in of all stakeholders.
A focus on addressing issues relating to infrastructure procurement, litigation, scholar transport and school feeding is yielding positive results.
Auditor General concerns
“There are still some challenges that persist, however. These include progress in addressing irregular, unauthorised, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure matters raised by the Auditor General of South Africa [AGSA] being slow due to a lack of capacity in the department. However, key vacancies in the budget office have since been filled.”
Out of the R1.1 billion irregular expenditure raised by AGSA, R343 million relating to procurement of LTSM has been identified for clearance.
Internal Audit is also currently investigating the root cause of the AGSA findings in order to ensure they are thoroughly addressed.
“The Minister, Deputy Minister and MEC indicated that they were pleased with the steady progress being made in key areas of education delivery,” said the department. – SAnews.gov.za