School Readiness Programme
Gauteng Department of Education

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The mandate of the Department of Education is to provide quality teaching and learning in a conducive environment with adequate resources. A research conducted on the factors that affect quality teaching and learning as well as poor learner performance in institutions revealed: • lack of provision of adequate learner and teacher support material • lack of provision of adequately trained educators • Inadequate infrastructure • poor leadership, management and governance systems • lack of parental support • socio – economic factors • lack of adequate academic preparedness as well as school safety and discipline These challenges were compounded by reactionary approach and a lack of effective and efficient monitoring of the implementation of school readiness indicators. School Readiness Programme was initiated as a proactive approach to provide oversight for proper planning, implementation, budgeting, monitoring, tracking and evaluation of processes and systems. The programme is also implemented to ensure that key deliverables as well as activities for School Academic Terms are in line with the 9 Focus areas for evaluation, namely: Basic Functionality, Leadership, Management and Communication, Governance and Relationships, Quality of Teaching and Learning and Educator Development, Curriculum Provisioning and Resources, Learner Achievement, School Safety, Security and Discipline, School Infrastructure and Parents and community. Registration of learners in the township schools used to take place on the first day of reopening of schools in January, to the detriment of planning, resource provisioning and effective management. The introduction of this initiative assisted the Department, School Governance and Management, parents and learners to put systems in place in preparation for effective schooling on the first day of academic year. The process includes monitoring and supporting schools, among others: Learner Admissions, Academic Preparedness, Procurement and Delivery of Learner and Teacher Support Materials (LTSM), Furniture, School Environment, Human Resources etc.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
School Readiness Programme provides oversight through Monitoring and tracking to ensure schools are adequately resourced for effective teaching and learning to ensure: o All registered learners are in class, on time, learning with the necessary stationery and textbooks (LTSM) o All educators are in class, on time, teaching with the correct resources o One learner one tablet, one teacher one laptop, one class one smart board (ICT Programme) The concept is an on-going process that must lead to a positive state of predictability at all institutions. A process of conscientising Principals’ and SMT’s to be accountable for the state of readiness at their schools for effective teaching and learning.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
School Readiness Programme involves monitoring and tracking of quality education in all institutions on a quarterly basis. School Readiness Electronic Verification Instrument based on the 9 areas for evaluation is used to facilitate the process. The following strategies have been put in place to benefit poor learners and improve conditions in schools: Increasing Access to Schooling To address imbalances of the past and improve access to quality education. The Department declared 1 380 public schools as No Fee Paying schools to benefit approximately 1 186 384 learners. Online Admissions Application System The Online Admissions Application System allows parents to apply on time for admission of learners at schools from the comfort of their home or office, thus avoiding queues at schools while saving valuable time and resources. The Department established Help Desks in all 15 District Offices to assist parents and applicants without access to the internet. Admissions processes commences in April of the previous year to facilitate effective planning, resource provisioning and effective management. Learner and Teacher Support Material The Department put systems in place to ensure every learner has textbook per grade, per subject. All procurement requisitions are placed by June and deliveries to schools by October of the previous year. In line with GDE Pillar 6: ICT in Education, the Department is implementing E – Learning in targeted ICT schools and all E – Learning equipment and material are delivered by October of the previous year. School Nutrition Programme The School Nutrition Programme is one of the Poverty Alleviation Programmes that aims at improving punctuality, alleviate short-term hunger with a view to improve concentration as well as to general health and development of needy learners. A total of 1 431 254 learners in Quintile 1 – 3 no fee paying schools are benefiting from the programme. Scholar Transport The Department provides Scholar Transport to learners who travel more than 5km to school. This is aimed at improving learner attendance and curb late - coming that impact negatively on the learner performance. 102 090 learners are being transported across the province. The School Safety and Security Strategy A total of 6257 patrollers have been deployed to schools across the province to ensure safe environment for effective teaching and learning in schools. Patrollers received accredited training as Peace Officers which was offered by FETCs and funded by the Department of Community Safety. Furniture To address school furniture needs a budget of R90 million was approved in the 2016 /17 Financial Year to procure and deliver furniture to new schools, additional classrooms and backlogs at existing schools. Human Resources Provision – New Schools All new schools were allocated 500 teacher’s posts and 2 support staff posts namely 1 Administrative Assistant and 1 General Assistant. These schools are further issued with Post Establishments for the subsequent year based on the learner projections. 1250 Growth Posts were approved address admissions pressure and overcrowding. Infrastructure The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The School Readiness Programme was introduced to allow the system to move away from being reactionary to a predictability model that allows for more detailed planning for every New Academic Year. This was achieved through instituting various programmes / campaigns as part of the School Readiness processes namely: • Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) - Members of Executive Council Political School Visit Campaign – Annually (Support Orientated). This oversight visits to schools sends a clear message that GPG supports making education the apex priority. • Broad Management Team School Readiness Visit Campaign - Annually (Verification Orientated) • District School Readiness Verification – Quarterly Orientated) • School Capacity Audits - Annually(Verification Orientated) • Learner and Teacher Support Material, Furniture, Learner and Attendance Blitz – Annually (Support Orientated) The change in approach created a system that could focus on immediate needs for interventions by the respective Line-Functions and finding solutions that ensured schools could be 100% ready for the following Academic Year. To achieve the above, Head Office and District Office established Operation Centres with the sole purpose of identifying matters requiring attention. These matters are then escalated to relevant Line Function Managers for interventions to resolve the identified issues. The new approach of predictability within the system ensures that all the resources required are planned for and procured in the preceding year. This approach differs from the traditional approach of reacting to a need (Crisis Management). School Readiness campaign monitors and evaluates system readiness against the following Strategic Drivers: • Pillar 1: Curriculum and Assessment Development • Pillar 2: Teacher Provision and Support • Pillar 3: Leadership and Management • Pillar 4: Infrastructure Development and maintenance • Pillar 5: Planning, finance and resourcing • Pillar 6: ICT in Education • Pillar 8: School functionality including community Involvement Progressive approach ensures school readiness for teaching and learning from Day 1 of every term and new academic year. The Department changed the data management methodology from the outdated manual paper environment to electronic administration of instruments with the central repository for quick analysis and reporting (Digitalisation of the processes). This has improved the quality, accuracy as well as turnaround time for the school readiness reports required for management decision making.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Department established a School Readiness sub - directorate to provide oversight through monitoring, tracking and evaluation to ensure effective planning, implementation, budgeting and adequate resourcing. School Readiness Programme monitors the extent to which line functions within the Department implement various activities, projects and programmes that ensures provision of quality education to 3076 schools in different sectors: 1413 Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 668 Public Ordinary Secondary Schools, 128 Public LSEN Schools, 64 Independent Subsidised Primary Schools, 148 Independent Subsidised Secondary Schools, 6 Independent Subs LSEN Schools, 214 Independent Non Subsidised Primary Schools, 413 Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools, 22 Independent Non Subsidised LSEN Schools. Has been added – to validate relevance The Department has near universal access to education for the school-going age population. Access for both boys and girls is also close to equal. Learner enrolment in different sectors reflects: 2 047 714 in Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 107 571 in Independent Subsidised Schools and 171 780 in Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The School Readiness Process map outlines the implementation of the programme The School Readiness Process Map 1. VERVIEW & HISTORY OF THE PROJECT: The School Readiness Instrument is completed electronically by the relevant District Circuit Managers / Verification Team members and submitted via E-platform. Analysis and reporting on the findings is done centrally at Head Office. The establishment of Head Office School Readiness Operations Centre supported by similar 15 District Operations Centres ensures effective monitoring and tracking of all identified challenges. These matters are then escalated to line functions for intervention and speedy resolution. Communication is maintained between GDE and stakeholders such as SGB bodies, NGOs and private enterprise which lends additional support to the achievement of the strategic goals. The monitoring process adopted the approach of 80% support and 20% compliance. This approach improves performance and capacitates officials as opposed to punitive measures for non-compliance.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Public Ordinary Schools directorate in consultation with relevant head office Directorates, District Circuit Managers and Verification Teams, SGB bodies, NGOs and private enterprise which offers additional support to the achievement of the strategic goals are involved in the implementation of the programme GPG EXCO Members School Readiness Verification Members of the Executive Council conduct an oversight visit to monitor the overall readiness of schools on the day of re-opening as part of Government’s commitment to Education. These oversight visits to schools sends a clear message that the Gauteng Provincial Government supports: • Making education an apex priority, and • The President’s non-negotiables, namely that: • All learners are in class, on time, learning with the necessary stationery and textbooks; • All educators are in class, on time, teaching with the correct resources Broad Management Team School Readiness Verification and Support The BMT School Readiness Verification is conducted twice per year focusing on High Risk schools with the aim of supporting them to ensure readiness in the academic year Line Function Managers The Department conduct Head Office Operational Centre meetings with Line Function managers on a regular basis. The purpose of the meetings are to track, monitor and support to ensure that the identified challenges received from the ground relating to Admissions, New Schools, Special Schools, Infrastructure, LTSM, Furniture needs and deliveries, media queries, amongst others are escalated and tracked to closure. District Directors/ Circuit Management Teams District School Readiness Verifications are conducted on a quarterly basis. District Directors facilitate verification via the Circuit Management Teams. The teams complete the Electronic Instruments on-site and submit to E-platform Database via e-mail. The Department established the District Office Operation Centres with the sole purpose of identifying matters requiring attention, escalating them to relevant Line Function Managers and reporting on interventions and progress made to resolve the identified issues.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
ADMISSIONS The Department provides services to 3076 schools in different sectors: 1413 Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 668 Public Ordinary Secondary Schools, 128 Public LSEN Schools, 64 Independent Subsidised Primary Schools, 148 Independent Subsidised Secondary Schools, 6 Independent Subsidised LSEN Schools, 214 Independent Non Subsidised Primary Schools, 413 Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools, 22 Independent Non Subsidised LSEN Schools. The Department has near universal access to education for the school-going age population. Access for both boys and girls is also close to equal. Learner enrolment in different sectors reflects: 2 047 714 in Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 107 571 in Independent Subsidised Schools and 171 780 in Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools Learner Admissions Statistics The Department processed 331 624 admissions online applications for Grades 1 and 8. Of these 187 811 for Grade 1 and 143 813 for Grade 8 were all placed in public schools for 2017 academic year. INFRASTRUCTURE The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year, 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed.8419 LTSM The Department put systems in place to ensure every learner has textbook per grade, per subject. All procurement requisitions are placed by June and deliveries to schools by October of the previous year. In line with GDE Pillar 6: ICT in Education, the Department is implementing E – Learning in targeted ICT schools and all E – Learning equipment and material are delivered by October of the previous year. GRADE R / EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT The Department has 4634 Grade R registered sites accommodating 125 805 Grade R learners as at end of 2016. 204 new Grade R sites have been registered for 2017. HUMAN RESOURCE Post Provisioning 2017 – New Schools 500 CS posts were approved for the academic year 2017. All new schools have been allocated 2 support staff posts namely 1 Administrative Assistant and 1 General Assistant. All new schools have been issued with Post Establishments for 2017 based on the learner projections. Growth Posts 2017 A total of 1250 growth posts have been approved for 2017 academic year. Each district has been allocated 15 emergency posts from the approved pool to address the admission pressure in January 2017. FURNITURE To address school furniture needs a budget of R90 million was approved in the 2016 /17 Financial Year to procure and deliver furniture to new schools, additional classrooms and backlogs at existing schools. R58 million worth of furniture has been delivered to school to date. SCHOOL NUTRITION The School Nutrition Programme is one of the Poverty Alleviation Programmes that aims at improving punctuality, alleviate short-term hunger with a view to improve concentration as well as to general health and development of needy learners. A total of 1 431 254 learners are benefiting from the programme in 2017. SCHOLAR TRANSPORT The Department is providing Scholar Transport to 112 301 learners at 431 schools

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The table below provides challenges that were experienced during the implementation process and mitigation strategies thereof. Table 1: Challenges and Mitigations Indicator Challenges Mitigation Admissions • Undocumented Foreign Nationals seeking placement remain an ongoing concern • Learners are placed provisionally in line with the Admissions Regulation and Department of Home Affairs is consulted Infrastructure • Annual immigration into Gauteng causing a demand for additional spaces to accommodate applicants • • The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed. LTSM • There were 146 schools that were below 100% delivery • There were 13 Districts that were below 100% with the expenditure of LTSM funds • Districts monitor the schools and submitted updated daily delivery reports to Head Office and Letters were crafted to all 146 schools to account for the late deliveries • A letter indicating the commitment of outstanding funds has been sent to the affected schools Human Resource • 533 Funza Lushaka graduates graduates were being placed in teaching posts. The Department disseminated the list to districts to facilitate appointments Furniture The Department experienced an increase for demand of furniture requests from schools • A Furniture Audit was conducted in Public Ordinary Schools in Gauteng Province. The school furniture report was compiled based on the furniture needs identified. A database of quantified priority furniture needs per school per district was developed. • The Department spends a large percentage of its annual resourcing budget on procurement of furniture for schools to ensure that classrooms are adequately resourced for effective teaching and learning. Policy Compliance – Access, Equity & Redress Lack of Policy and Legislative implementation amongst education stakeholders due to lack of knowledge and understanding Training of SGB on policy development and implementation was facilitated by the district office. Infrastructure & Related Resource Needs Annual immigration into Gauteng causing a demand for additional spaces to accommodate applicants The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
ADMISSIONS The Department provides services to 3076 schools in different sectors: 1413 Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 668 Public Ordinary Secondary Schools, 128 Public LSEN Schools, 64 Independent Subsidised Primary Schools, 148 Independent Subsidised Secondary Schools, 6 Independent Subsidised LSEN Schools, 214 Independent Non Subsidised Primary Schools, 413 Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools, 22 Independent Non Subsidised LSEN Schools. The Department has near universal access to education for the school-going age population. Access for both boys and girls is also close to equal. Learner enrolment in different sectors reflects: 2 047 714 in Public Ordinary Primary Schools, 107 571 in Independent Subsidised Schools and 171 780 in Independent Non Subsidised Secondary Schools Learner Admissions Statistics The Department processed 331 624 admissions online applications for Grades 1 and 8. Of these 187 811 for Grade 1 and 143 813 for Grade 8 were all placed in public schools for 2017 academic year. INFRASTRUCTURE The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year, 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed.8419 LTSM The Department put systems in place to ensure every learner has textbook per grade, per subject. All procurement requisitions are placed by June and deliveries to schools by October of the previous year. In line with GDE Pillar 6: ICT in Education, the Department is implementing E – Learning in targeted ICT schools and all E – Learning equipment and material are delivered by October of the previous year. GRADE R / EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT The Department has 4634 Grade R registered sites accommodating 125 805 Grade R learners as at end of 2016. 204 new Grade R sites have been registered for 2017. HUMAN RESOURCE Post Provisioning 2017 – New Schools 500 CS posts were approved for the academic year 2017. All new schools have been allocated 2 support staff posts namely 1 Administrative Assistant and 1 General Assistant. All new schools have been issued with Post Establishments for 2017 based on the learner projections. Growth Posts 2017 A total of 1250 growth posts have been approved for 2017 academic year. Each district has been allocated 15 emergency posts from the approved pool to address the admission pressure in January 2017. FURNITURE To address school furniture needs a budget of R90 million was approved in the 2016 /17 Financial Year to procure and deliver furniture to new schools, additional classrooms and backlogs at existing schools. R58 million worth of furniture has been delivered to school to date. SCHOOL NUTRITION The School Nutrition Programme is one of the Poverty Alleviation Programmes that aims at improving punctuality, alleviate short-term hunger with a view to improve concentration as well as to general health and development of needy learners. A total of 1 431 254 learners are benefiting from the programme in 2017. SCHOLAR TRANSPORT The Department is providing Scholar Transport to 112 301 learners at 431 schools

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The table illustrates how different indicators assisted in improving integrity and diminishing corruption in the public service Table 2 : Indicators that reflect Integrity and Accountability Indicator Improvement of Integrity and Accountability Admissions • The Online Admissions Application System allows parents to apply on time for admission of learners at schools from the comfort of their home or office, thus avoiding queues at schools while saving valuable time and resources. • The Department established Help Desks in all 15 District Offices to assist parents and applicants without access to the internet. Admissions processes commences in April of the previous year to facilitate effective planning, resource provisioning and effective management Infrastructure The Department budgets for infrastructure needs annually, in order to address the high demand for space due to historic infrastructure backlog, admissions pressure and overcrowding in some schools. In 2016/17 Financial Year 22 new schools, 603 additional classrooms, 412 Grade R classrooms and 180 ablution blocks will be completed. LTSM • The Department put systems in place to ensure every learner has textbook per grade, per subject. • All procurement requisitions are placed by June and deliveries to schools by October of the previous year. In line with GDE Pillar 6: ICT in Education, the Department is implementing E – Learning in targeted ICT schools and all E – Learning equipment and material are delivered by October of the previous year. Human Resource All new schools were allocated 500 teacher’s posts and 2 support staff posts namely 1 Administrative Assistant and 1 General Assistant. These schools are further issued with Post Establishments for the subsequent year based on the learner projections. 1250 Growth Posts were approved address admissions pressure and overcrowding. Furniture To address school furniture needs a budget of R90 million was approved in the 2016 /17 Financial Year to procure and deliver furniture to new schools, additional classrooms and backlogs at existing schools. School Nutrition The School Nutrition Programme is one of the Poverty Alleviation Programmes that aims at improving punctuality, alleviate short-term hunger with a view to improve concentration as well as to general health and development of needy learners. A total of 1 431 254 learners in Quintile 1 – 3 no fee paying schools are benefiting from the programme Scholar Transport The Department provides Scholar Transport to learners who travel more than 5km to school. This is aimed at improving learner attendance and curb late - coming that impact negatively on the learner performance. 102 090 learners are being transported across the province.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
( Not Applicable)

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gauteng Department of Education
Institution Type:   Academia  
Contact Person:   David Makhado
Title:   Education Research and Knowledge Management  
Telephone/ Fax:   0113550560
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   david.makhado@gauteng.gov.za  
Address:   No. 6 Hollard Street ,Marshalltown
Postal Code:   2001
City:   Johannesburg
State/Province:   Gauteng
Country:  

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