President Thabo Mbeki
President of South Africa
16 October 2000
Dear Mr President
This report is the third of my quarterly reports to you. The main purpose of these reports is to brief you on
progress in relation to specific strategic objectives that we have set ourselves in taking the project of
education transformation further. Even though each of these reports has a specific objective and focus,
there is an intended element of continuity between the reports as we seek to assess whether or not we are
achieving the intended cumulative gains in turning around the crisis in education that I expounded upon in
my Call to Action released on 27 July 1999. The content of this report ...view middle of the document...
In presenting this report, I am conscious of another important purpose of these quarterly reports. The
follow-up strategies to be constructed on the strength of the analyses presented will assist in achieving
common purpose across the system about the most important tasks for the next quarter. In this way we are
able to focus our collective efforts and establish a basis for improved accountability.
This report is presented in two parts. The first part contains an analysis of key themes that emerge from the
information obtained during the visits to Provinces. Each of these themes organises the analysis, while at the
same time, serving to delineate priority areas for follow-up in the next quarter. The second part of the report
presents, in collated form, information obtained on progress with the implementation of specific Tirisano
Prof. Kader Asmal
Minister of Education
PART ONE: KEY THEMES THAT EMERGED FROM THE ANALYSIS OF THE STATE OF EDUCATION
There is clear evidence of emerging good practice
I am very reassured that all Provinces have made progress in implementing strategies aimed at addressing
some of the most intractable problems in the system. My officials were able to observe at first-hand some of
the very innovative and promising strategies that are being implemented in the provinces. There are also
activities in provinces that are aimed at addressing the very basic problems that contribute to making
schools dysfunctional. Some of these relate to ensuring that schools start on time and on the first day of
term; teacher absenteeism is reduced, time-on-task is improved and that effective management takes place.
In this regard, there are very promising indications of involvement of MPs and MPLs in supporting schools
and mobilising parents. Education Departments have also achieved some improvements in the level and
regularity of professional support provided to schools. However, there is still much that needs to be done to
improve that capacity and effectiveness of district-level support to schools. This matter is discussed in more
Effectiveness of institutions for governance, administration and implementation
The delivery of education for all except Higher Education (which is the sole competence of the Department
of Education) is predicated upon a set of legislation, policies, institutions and procedures that give effect to
co-operative governance. The creation of a functional link between national norms and standards, on the
one hand, and implementation (delivery), on the other hand, represents the central aim of these
The effectiveness of this link varies across provinces. There are instances where the effectiveness of delivery
is less than satisfactory due to shortcomings in the effectiveness of this link. These shortcomings are evident
in various elements of these arrangements.
I have found that in many provinces the institutions and relationships that link...