Statement of the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Education, Health, Science and Technology on the discussion document towards the 4th ANC National Policy Conference
On the 12th of March 2017 the African National Congress launched the nine 2017 Policy Discussion documents towards the 5th National Policy Conference to be held from the 30th of June to the 5th of July 2017.
The ANC stated at the launch that
“… the principal objective of the ANC releasing its discussion documents is to enable all members of the ANC, at all levels of the organisation, to review the implementation of policies adopted at the 53rd National Conference, to assess their adequacy and to propose areas for policy review or new policies towards the 54th National Conference, to be held in December 2017”.
The above makes it clear that it is only the National Conference of the ANC that considers reviewed policies, resolves on policies and programmes; and thereby effectively adopting policy as the official policy of the ANC.
Today the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Education and Health, which comprises of four sectors, namely Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, Health; and Science, Technology and Innovation, is presenting to you ANC Policy discussion document No. 5 for debate and consideration. We remind you all that education and health are priorities for the ANC and the country; and that Science, Technology and Innovation is a critical catalyst of social and economic development the world over.
This policy discussion document provides the framework for in-depth discussions and assessment of the work done over the last five years by the Subcommittee and each of its sectors.
The discussion paper presents recommendations to the National Policy Conference of policies and programmes that the ANC and country must pursue to achieve Radical Socio-economic Transformation, and thus inclusive economic growth, over the next five years.
A SUMMARY OF THE POLICY DISCUSSION PAPER OF THE SECTOR
The discussion document is an account of the performance of the sectors of the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Education and Health, namely Basic Education; Higher Education & Training; Health; Science, Technology and Innovation.
Secondly, it ensures that there is continuity of political thought, analysis, plans and programmes between discussions of the 4th National Policy Conference held in 2012, the 53rd National Conference and those taking place now towards the 5th National Policy Conference and the 54th National Conference. It contains a review of decisions that have been taken since the 53rdNational Conference, including relevant decisions of all NEC meetings, Alliance Summits, resolutions of the ANC Leagues and recommendations of the 2015 NGC.
Thirdly, it is an assessment of implementation of ANC resolutions and decisions, including integration of these into the implementation of the NDP Vision 2030 as our national plan for eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality. It has identified policy gaps and proposals to remedy these in each of the sectors.
Fourthly, the report of each sector is structured to communicate action in response to ANC resolutions and Manifesto directives, government policy context; key decisions made between conferences; reports on the implementation of specific projects and programmes in line with resolutions of the ANC from December 2012 to date; reports on the impact on society of implementation of ANC policies and programmes; and policy gaps.
ANC Subcommittee on Education, Health, Science, Technology and Innovation
All sectors of the Subcommittee have heeded the call for urgency of implementation that was made at the close of the 53rd National Conference; mobilised all necessary resources to achieve the goals and priorities set out in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 translating all ANC directives and resolutions into government plans and aligned to the NDP 2030. However, sectors did not continuously identify gaps in the NDP for purposes of policy and planning.The structures of the ANC and the entire Congress movement have been and are encouraged to actively participate in the activities of the Subcommittee. This entails, amongst others, attending meetings of the subcommittee.
The ANC Subcommittee on Education, Health, Science, Technologyand Innovation has ensured that Provincial Subcommittees have been established and are active at provincial and regional levels.The ANC NEC Subcommittee has not completed the consolidation of policy of each of its sectors, as directed by resolutions of the 53rd National Conference.
Science, Technology and Innovation
The Science, Technology and Innovation sector provides strategic leadership and coordination of the National System of Innovation. The principle of mainstreaming Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the ANC, government and the private sector has been adopted.
Despite efforts of the STI sector to get adequate finance and increase the capacity of the National System of Innovation, it has not reached the target of 1,5% expenditure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or at least the investment equivalent to African Peers by 2017. The Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has remained stagnant at 0.73% for past two assessments periods of the national R & D Survey. This is mainly due to the unavailability of funds. Business Research & Development (R&D) funding has been on the decline since 2008. The Science, Technology and Innovation sector is exploring innovative ways of resolving this.
Science, technology and Innovation programmes which are important for economic growth are being pursued;led by researchers in science councils and centres of competence. These include projects such as SKA, the HySA Fuel Cells, Titanium Beneficiation, Manganese Precursor Development and the Fluorochemicals Expansion Initiative. The STI sector is involved in focussed and successful initiatives needed for science and maths teacher training and learner engagement opportunities.
The sector is also working on acquisition of better funding and has put greater focus on programmes aimed at increasing the number of post-graduate students. The sector prioritises programmes aimed at effecting positive changes in the demographic profile and higher retention of researchers, especially women and Blacks. It also prioritises the provision of research tools to the academia.
The Basic Education sector has continued to improve access and inclusivity. As a result, the country has more people leaving school with a National Senior Certificate entering colleges and universities.The sector’s highly successful programmes include ECD and Grade R; the introduction ICTs in schools through Operation Phakisa; the introduction of the three-stream curriculum model of academic, technical-vocation and vocational-occupational streams; the introduction of ICT- resourced teacher development centres; and the roll-out of the learner improvement and attainment strategy.
In ensuring that there are improvements in the resourcing education and procurement, the sector has adopted a centralized approach in the procurement of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM), particularly stationery, textbooks and workbooks to schools.
The sector is providing effective and impactful health and social programmes, including psycho- social services, deworming, and HPV Vaccination against cervical cancer. This is done in collaboration with the health sector.
To ensure that school infrastructure is dealt with urgently and in an integrated manner and that inappropriate school infrastructure eliminated where indicated, the sector has adopted an Integrated Development Management System (IDMS). This is being used in all infrastructure planning, management, delivery and oversight to make infrastructure delivery uniform and integrated in the country.
The Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign is one of the sector’s Programmes of Excellence. This programme has reached and changed the lives. It has created working opportunities. It received recognition awards national and internationally.The Subcommittee has resolved that the country continues using the programme as it had had a dramatic impact on illiteracy.
The sector is finalising the National Policy for Grade R to make Grade R compulsory through the adoption of the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill.The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results show that South Africa has achieved the largest improvement in learning outcomes between 2002 and 2015 in Mathematics, and Science though from a low base, which is the best improvement among all countries that were assessed in 2015.Despite the TIMMS improvement, there are concerns about low numbers of success in maths and science subjects.
The sector is concerned with and is actively implementing programmes that deal with challenges of poor learning outcomes; high drop-out and repetition rates, particularly in Grades 9-12; social challenges such as teenage pregnancy; bullying in schools; drug and substance abuse; violence, corporal punishment and health-related challenges such as TB and HIV and AIDS; and procurement challenges related to LTSMs, infrastructure and school furniture; the mergers and closures of small unviable schools, and the eradication or phasing out of multi-grade schools. The sector is also focused on resolving challenges of strategic, administrative as well as professional and governance leadership and management in the different layers of the sector; management and administrative lapses; and continuing with the programmes to strengthen literacy and numeracy levels, especially in the lower Grades. The sector is working on strengthening the unit on the evaluation of teaching.
Higher Education and Training
The Higher Education and Training sector has introduced a newly structured national student financial aid system to enable fee-free education from 2014 onwards, as directed by conference; and consolidated the infrastructure requirements with estimated costs to expand the post school education and training system linking this to and coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Council (PICC).
The policy on free higher education to all poor undergraduate level students has not been formally adopted as yet and is still a subject of subject of discussions; and has not finalised the policy on community service for all students which is due for implementation by December 2017.
The Health sector has reactivated programmes to ensure that the District Health System (DHS) is functional in all provinces, as a practical step of strengthening Primary Health Care (PHC); gazetted the White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI) for public comment in December 2015. NHI Pilot sites have been activated to prepare the health system for implementation of NHI; and work on the establishment of the NHI Fund has been progressing steadily and the White Paper on NHI has been finalised waiting for endorsement by Cabinet.
The sector has performed extremely well in its programmes against HIV and AIDS resulting in fewer deaths and increased life expectancy, reduced overall mortality in the country; dramatic reduction of maternal mortality;considerable drop in mother-to-child transmission; reduction in child and infant mortality and a decrease in TB mortality due to successful ARV treatment.
The sector has instituted game changing interventions such as GeneXpert testing and has evidence of TB disease burden declining. It is however concerned about TB remaining the primary underlying cause of death in South Africa.
Policy and programme recommendations for debate and further development
Proposed policy and programme changes and recommendations focus mainly on injecting more energy into implementation in the ANC and in government, where government serves as the ANC delivery tool or mechanism.
ANC Subcommittee on Education, Health, Science and Technology
The ANC Subcommittee on Education, Health, Science, Technology and Innovation recommends that the ANC policy cycle should be increased from five (5) years to at least ten (10) years.
Science, Technology and Innovation
The Science, Technology and Innovation sector recommends that the ANC ensures that government and business are incentivised, encouraged or compelled to use and increase their uptake of locally produced technologies; ensure that government provides increased support for post graduate funding for poor students to increase South Africa’s research capacity; review post-graduate funding to improve race and gender retention of researchers;and adopt policies that promote the recognition of the prevalence of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in their daily lives and that these serve to encourage learners in schools, students at colleges and universities and workers in every sector to invent new technologies and products by analysing and learning from those imported and used everywhere.
The Basic Education sector recommends that the ANC develops policies and take active steps to prevent of vandalism at schools and to protect all public property, for example health clinics, community halls and college or university infrastructure; develop policy on schools to provide for a focus on talent development, for example the development or establishment of public schools for talented or specially gifted learners; and ensure that increased numbers of young people are supported to enter technical and vocational education, with a special focus on mobility from school to college and university.
Higher Education and Training
The ANC believes that it is important for government to ensure that the location of institutions allows for seamless articulation and mobility and coherent implementation of government’s human resource development strategy, where specific attention should be given to professional colleges in fields of study such as nursing and agriculture.
The Higher Education and Training sector recommends that the ANC develops policies to clarify the nature and role of the entire college sector that comprises Community Education and Training (CET) colleges, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and other colleges for specialised purposes such as agriculture, nursing, emergency care, policing and teaching; provide clarity on programmes offered by all colleges, especially TVET, CET, teachers’ training colleges and nursing colleges; promote increased quality of learning and teaching in the college sector;
The sector further recommends that the ANC ensure that the sector accelerates and completes the opening of professional colleges to increase training in agriculture, nursing, and teaching; ensure that the sector finalizes and put into operation the model for free higher education for poor students and increased support for families that cannot afford higher education costs by 2020 as the process of ensuring free higher education for all students from poor families; ensure that the sector develops incentives and funding to increase number of young people entering scarce skills programmes; ensure that the sector finalises the framework for regulating higher education fees and redesign funding formula for the college and university sector; ensure that the sector implements the Central Application Service (CAS) by March 2018 and implement across the PSET system by 2020; and put in place policies to facilitate an increase in retirement age of academic staff.
The Health sector recommends that the ANC ensures that the health sector continuously strengthens measures to improve the quality of care delivered by health practitioners in the public and private sector; draft and promote policies to curb medical malpractice, high costs of medical insurance and litigation against medical malpractice; adopt a policy for the country to eliminate on or before 2027 all vaccine-preventable diseases which have existing vaccines with proven efficacy; and ensure that the revitalisation of Military Health infrastructure, including acquisition of heath technology, adds to economic growth through jobs created by this activity.
The Subcommittee on Education and Health is satisfied that this policy discussion paper is a fair and objective review of the implementation of policies adopted at the 53rd National Conference; a good assessment of policies and programmes. It is also content that it has evaluated the adequacy of all ANC policies in each sector; proposed areas for policy review; and tabled new policies in each sector in the context of radical socio-economic transformation and inclusive economic growth.
The ANC is satisfied that all sectors have made good progress in implementing resolutions of the 53rd ANC National Conference; the ANC is on track to achieve most of its goals of implementing its plans by December 2017; every sector has tabled recommendations to close policy gaps; and these will contribute to the realisation of radical economic transformation.
The ANC is confident that this discussion paper is facilitating engagements with the masses of our people, members and supporters of the ANC and various stakeholders; thereby contributing to the festival of ideas that the ANC announced when it launched these discussion papers earlier this year.
The ANC is once more calling upon its members and supporters and all the people of South Africa to take interest in education, health, science, technology and innovation as these are central to social transformation.
We, in the ANC, have noted with appreciation that South Africans from all walks of life are engaging enthusiastically with policy issues raised by the ANC in its policy papers. You and the masses of our people are therefore called upon to further engage in discussions of issues raised in this policy discussion paper on education, health, science, technology and innovation. We are confident that this paper will be further enriched.
It is critical that you submit your contributions and valuable inputs to the ANC via email, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and ANC website addresses that are listed and will be made available on this programme. Further contact details for submissions are: “Attention: Education, Health, Science, Technology and Innovation” at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairperson of the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Education and Health On behalf of the African National Congress