Newsletter 230 - School Development & Improvement Planning 2006-2009 - PART 5

The main purpose of this manual is to provide school principals with a GUIDE to School Development and Improvement Planning (SDP), PRESCRIBE SDP, provide for a MINIMUM STANDARD in SDP and finally to STANDARDIZE SDP.
SDP is the process and outcome of the sum-total School Annual Planning (SAP) and School Improvement Planning (SIP).
School Principals, as school managers will agree that planning is not an option, it is a necessity.
School Development and Improvement Planning (SDP) in the short, medium and longer term is not going to be without its challenges. Principals are mindful of the many dangers and loopholes of
? Over planning
? Trying to get the balance right between management, leadership and planning
? Making planning a living part of the processes of management and leadership
? Ensuring that planning is always appropriate and relevant to the context
? Getting the balance right between theory (thinking of planning) and planning (just doing it)
? What and how to prioritize … making difficult choices because there is only so much that the organization can do within the limited time
? Insufficient planning.

Let me paint principals a bold picture of the landscape or context that will inform planning for the next three years. These I have categorized as namely


Politics and politicians will always overshadow our every move we make … and rightfully so. As a country in transition and in transformation officials ought to be reminded that politicians are the elected representatives of the South African public. The current relationship between politicians and administrators is sometimes stressful and not always pleasant, polite and cordial. Politicians and administrators have different roles and functions and the relationship ought to be healthy and based on mutual trust and respect. Failing which will have a disastrous impact on parties and on service delivery. As much as politicians demand of administrators to be responsive to every wish and promise of service delivery they make to the public, it must be recognized that officials could, if they so choose, find many ways of undermining politicians and their objectives. Ways of which they (the politicians) do not even know exist.

Currently, the “re-engineering” or redesign of the of the Western Cape Education Department is being implemented … yes colleagues another wave of major structural and systemic change. The thinking at Head Office is to bring the WCED in line with the rest of the country in the following important ways namely … change that I am very excited about
? Establishment of districts
? Greater autonomy to districts to make important decisions … decentralization and devolution of power and authority
? Restructuring existing Education Management and Development Centres (EMDC) and the establishment of Districts in line with existing political and administrative boundaries namely local government sub-councils, wards and suburbs … and yes this will have an impact on existing circuits at the EMDC
? This will allow for greater collaboration between and amongst various Departments –a multi-disciplinary approach. This may also result in politicians calling administrators to greater accountability.

The National Minister for Education, Naledi Pandor, is committed to the following changes in education (the draft has already been published and submitted to parliament)
? Defining the poverty status of schools in line with national norms
? Declaring the poorest two quintiles no fees schools
? Review Norms and Standards allocations to schools
? Defining a minimum funding level for school
? Compensating poor schools which are not asking school fees
? Regulating that School Governing Bodies nominate three candidates for a post the appointment to be confirmed by the Head of Education in line with certain prescripts
? Placing the burden on schools to establish whether a non-paying parent qualifies for exemption before handing over to lawyers and collection agencies
? Regulating that homes may not be lawfully attached for outstanding school fees
? Drop-out of learners
? Learner discipline – by currently reviewing the Code of Conduct for Learners
? Inspectorate for education
? District development
? Education Laws Amendment Acts

Provincially, the then Minister Cameron Dugmore has committed himself to the following changes and foci in Education;
? Numeracy and Literacy
? Drop-out rate of learners
? Science and Mathematics
? Improving Service Conditions of Educators
? Learner tracking system
? Defining when a school is full … capacity of schools
? Reducing class size.

Some of the views of the new Provincial MEC Yousuf Gabru
? There is no mass exodus of teachers as reported in the media
? Large number of teachers are demoralized
? Administration overload on teachers distract them from teaching
? He will consider a think-tank to investigate whether these claims are justified
? We need to get teachers to get on with the job of teaching
? Research has indicated that the most important aspect is prepared and competent teacher
? Our education system not good enough
? SADC – we don’t measure up with our peers
? Comparing, the better schools – their results too are not good enough either
? W-Cape – we are satisfied and boastful with averages – if we de-aggregate – results very bad
? Performance across ex-Departments – poor – historical context
? We know Grade 3 & 6 results are shocking
? We must and have to plan for success – we don’t have option in the matter
? “New” economy has changed – we now have a knowledge economy
? Cant afford not to raise the bar – otherwise we remain insignificant at the tip of continent
? “Back to basic” – do not like the phrase but you get the picture
? What happens in the classroom?
? We need to focus on this with much more vigor
? Teachers are the strategic interface – their job is critical job
? Highly skilled job and nobody appreciates this – teaching with huge challenges
? Accept the challenge and win
? I would like to talk to teachers – the same message
? Most important –their job is very complex and difficult
? Give socio-economic context of some – their job is more difficult
? Teachers – we must accept the challenge
? And we have to win
? As government we need to make sure that schools in poor communities must work
? Not easy – difficult job but we must succeed – we can succeed – together we can make miracles
? Unite around a common purpose

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