Monday, November 21, 2011

Transparency International trains education providers in South Africa after research shows schools are ill-equipped for financial management responsibilities

The Tembisa Township situated in the north east of Johannesburg will become the focus of a campaign improving financial management capacities of schools and promoting integrity organised by Transparency International.

The campaign is a response to research findings resulting from a three year research programme the organisation undertook in South Africa between 2009 and 2011. During the three-year programme, Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA), Transparency International found that public primary schools suffered from low levels of rule enforcement, with little, to no sanctions; and that little resources and equipment were dedicated for efficient management of school’s financial resources.

When calling principals’ offices in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West to enquire about the financial situation of their schools, the organisation found that most of the principals lacked detailed knowledge of their school’s financial management. This is particularly severe since there are schools that reportedly do not have bookkeepers in charge of the management of the school’s funds. Many principals indicated they had received their budgets late although not everybody understood that this might have resulted from the submission of inaccurate and delayed audit statements.

Transparency International wants to improve the financial management capacities of public primary schools and open up a dialogue on integrity, accountability, and transparency.  Together with a local education organisation and supported by the Gauteng Department for Education, Transparency International will train principals and members of the School Governing Bodies on their different roles, rules and responsibilities in the daily financial management of schools.

The organisation also started a public awareness campaign, Integrity is Ayoba, promoting the values of integrity, transparency and accountability among education stakeholders. Cartoon strips dealing with topic such as teacher absenteeism and parental participation, highlight the right choices and show the different education stakeholders how they can get involved in improving primary education.

With the support of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), the organisation gathered the principals and informed them about the concept behind the trainings on Tuesday. Transparency International hopes that the GDE or interested training organisations will take a leading role in conducting these trainings after a successful launch.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Teacher absenteeism remains a big problem

Times Live reports about the issue of teacher absenteeism today. Research has shown that only 41% of teacher's time is actually used in the classroom. The TISDA report research identified teacher absenteeism as one central obstacle in providing quality education in South Africa as well. Teachers who spend more time in the staffroom than in the classroom are to blame for the country's education crisis, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said. "There are monitoring tools that are there but principals are not utilising them. Actually some principals are not qualified to be principals and in most cases are found not to know what to do themselves. Effective schools are run by effective principals and an effective principal will not allow teachers to sit in the staffroom," Motshekga told the Newspaper.
The issue of teacher absenteeism falls under the broader context of quiet or silent corruption. Quiet corruption is broadly defined as various types of malpractice of providers that do not involve monetary exchanges and result in a failure to deliver public services of adequate quality that have been paid for by the government. Often, cases of quiet corruption go unnoticed. To increase quality of education, we have to tackle the issue. One approach often discussed is to pay educators according to their performance, hence this would provide an incentive for qualified teachers to actually go the classroom and teach. So far however, the teaching unions have provided such a rule from being passed.
Let's keep the pressure up and tell people about quiet corruption!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finally, we launched our report!

On July 27th, we launched our report Mapping Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa! After two years of extensive research, we were very happy to finally present our findings to the public. The event was held at the Protea Parktonian Hotel in Johannesburg and brought together officials from  provinces, schools, unions and civil society organizations. After an introduction of the work of Transparency International and a summary of our report, we were watching the TISDA Education video together, which covers the Cameroonian and South African programs. 

We were very happy to have representatives from the government as well as from civil society organizations joining us for the panel discussion.
Two of our panelists - Mr. David Makhado, education specialist from the Gauteng Department of Education (left), and Dr. Cas Prinsloo, Education Specialist from the Human Science Research Council

The panelists discussed some of the main issues identified in the report, such as:
  • the high percentages of teacher absenteeism,
  • lack of parent participation,
  • poor and unsafe infrastructure,
  • late budget allocations and
  • the lack of knowledge to govern and manage school resources and funds
The Good Governance Award was given to Lebowa Primary School, a small township school based in Sharpeville, Vereeniging, Gauteng. Lebowa Primary School was outstanding in its good government characteristics, i.e. the school was doing best among the 44 schools polled with regard to participation, accountability, transparency and integrity. The award was handed over by Letshego Mokeki and Helle Dossing to the School Principal, Mrs Moletsane and the Deputy Principal and one teacher. The school was awarded a netball and soccer ball and a further sporting equipment voucher of R1000 ($142, $1=7ZAR) from a leading sports warehouse to highlight their achievements and to define a role model for other schools. 
Representatives from Lebowa Primary School receiving the award
We are also very excited about the great interest media took in our event. Read yourself:

Monday, July 25, 2011

TISDA Education Research Report

Last year we sent out researchers across school districts in the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and North West. They asked parents, parent-teacher associations, teachers, school principals, and government education directors about the happenings on the ground of primary education. This survey was part of the Transparency and Integrity and Service Delivery Program coordinated by Transparency International.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Upcoming TISDA Report Launch

On Wednesday the 27th of July, we will launch the TISDA Research Report on corruption in the primary education sector in South Africa. The event will take place at the Protea Parktonian Hotel in Johannesburg. Government officials as well as representatives of Civil Society Organisations will be present to discuss the findings and implications of the report.