Pretoria - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the integrated assessment instrument to improve the performance of principals, deputy principals and teachers is in its final stages of negotiation.
"... The process is underway at the Education Labour Relations Council to streamline the Integrated Quality Management System so as to improve the evaluation of educators' performance... this is done as part of a broad accountability process for the sector."
Motshekga, who was presenting her department's budget vote on Thursday, stressed that the education system was as good as its teachers, who were at the heart of curriculum delivery.
Good teaching, she said, was the key to unlocking excellence in learners, adding that continuous teacher professional development remained critical.
"Our call to teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day remains fundamental."
At national level, the department is overseeing the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development, which was launched in April 2011. For 2012/13, provinces have set aside over R3 billion for teacher development.
Motshekga said that an audit process to support the functionality of teacher resource centres would be conducted in 2012/13. This would include scoping for the development of new centres from the current 144 in the country.
In the period under review, a total of 5 962 principals and deputies have been through the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership and Management.
Motshekga also announced that the department had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with teacher unions to strengthen their capacity in teacher development so as to complement their efforts.
To improve their work in this area, she said they would attend to structural issues impacting on performance in the sector, like teacher supply and utilisation.
The overall vacancy rates over the selected months of reporting (January, May, July and October 2011 and January 2012) averaged 8.7%, 10.2% and 8.7% for principals, HODs and teachers, respectively.
Motshekga said they were working hard with the provincial education departments to ensure that all vacant posts in schools were timeously filled.
On matters related to the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU), Motshekga announced the appointment of the former CEO of JET Education Services and current member of UMALUSI Standards Committee, Dr Nick Taylor, as the new CEO of NEEDU as from 1 May 2012.
Taylor replaces Prof John Volmink.
An amount of R12.5 million has been allocated to NEEDU for 2012/13.
NEEDU evaluates the quality of support schools receive and more importantly, assesses and reports on the state of schools - in particular, the quality of school leadership and teaching and learning.
Other allocations in the 2012/13 financial year on earmarked amounts include R37.0 million for the Integrated Quality Management System and R21.7 million for Systemic Evaluation.