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South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No 84 of 1996)

National Norms and Standards for School Funding (NNSSF)

Part 2

5. The School Allocation

 

85) This section describes the rights and obligations of schools and the state with regard to the school allocation that is granted by Government on an annual basis to public ordinary schools. This section also describes the hostel subsidy.

 

86) This section relates to public ordinary schools only. 'School' in this section must be taken to mean "public ordinary school".

 

Key terms

 

87) The following terms have particular importance with regard to the school allocation.

 

National poverty distribution table (or the 'poverty table').

A table, provided in this policy, that describes the distribution of national poverty across the country.

 

National quintile for public schools.

One of five groups into which all South African public ordinary schools are placed, and where the grouping is according to the poverty of the community around the school. Quintile one is the most poor quintile, quintile two is the second-poorest quintile, and so on. Each national quintile encompasses one-fifth of the learners enrolled in public ordinary schools. In this policy, 'national quintile' means 'national quintile for public schools'.

 

National quintile for learners.

One of the five groups into which all South African public ordinary school learners are placed. The national quintile for any learner is always the same as the national quintile for the public school in which the learner is enrolled.

 

National table of targets for the school allocation (or the 'targets table').

A table, provided in this policy, that lays down the per learner monetary targets for the school allocation in terms of national poverty quintiles.

 

Resource targeting list.

A list of schools in a province with schools ranked according to poverty of the school community. Schools should be sorted from poorest to least poor on this list.

 

School allocation.

An amount allocated by the state to each public ordinary school in the country on an annual basis in order to finance non-personnel non capital expenditure items.

 

School allocation budget.

A provincial budget used exclusively to finance the school allocations in the province.

 

School poverty score.

A score attached to each school that reflects the degree of poverty of the surrounding community.

 

Introduction

 

88) The school allocation is intended to finance key inputs other than personnel and buildings in the education process. Key examples of inputs for which the school allocation is intended are textbooks, stationery and non-educational items such as cleaning materials and electricity. Such inputs are necessary if educators and other personnel in schools are to perform their functions properly. The school allocation is therefore an important instrument supporting Government's commitment to fulfilling the state's Constitutional obligation to provide education.

 

89) As there is a history within South Africa and in other countries of school fees being used to cover the items targeted by the school allocation, Government regards a school allocation that is adequate for at least the poor, as a key lever for ensuring that households suffering the effects of poverty enjoy schooling that is adequately funded by the state. A distributional approach that favours the poor in this regard is in keeping not only with Government's Constitutional obligation to redress the imbalances of the past, but also with South Africa's commitment to various regional and international agreements to combat poverty through increased access to quality education.

 

90) Government sees the school allocation as a key means of empowering school communities, and realising democracy at the level of the school. It is important for the local level to participate in decision-making relating to what non-personnel inputs to purchase for particular schools. For this reason, Government supports the gradual transfer to the school level of decision-making powers relating to the school allocation. This must obviously occur in a controlled manner, in accordance with the important Sections 19 to 22 of the SASA, and in such a way that public funds are not squandered, and are spent in a manner that fully supports the national curriculum.

 

91) Government will determine the level of the school allocation, and optimise the translation of the school allocation into resources that schools can utilise, on the basis of five key considerations:
a) The rights of learners with regard to schooling.
b) What the minimum basic package of school inputs is in order to make quality education a possibility. With regard to this consideration, Government acknowledges that in striving for equity in education, there is a need to spend more on education for the poor, and that the basic minimum package may vary with factors such as socio-economic context.
c) Prices of goods and services required by schools.
d) The distribution of income and poverty in the country, including the greater ability of certain communities to make private contributions to the schooling process. With regard to this consideration, it is recognised that the poor in South Africa are not all equally poor, and that it may be necessary for the state to deal with the problem of poverty differentially.
e) The overall budget of Government.

 

Background

 

92) A school allocation for South African public ordinary schools was established through the 1998 publication of the National Norms and Standards for School Funding. It was first implemented in 2000 by PEDS, and represented a major innovation in South African school funding both in terms of financing systems and pro-poor resourcing.

 

93) During the period 2000 to 2003 major lessons were learnt with respect to the pro-poor school allocation. On the side of implementation, lessons were learnt regarding the required management training for schools, the required financial accounting systems, and the importance of understanding how best to use the allocation in the interests of school improvement and the support of the curriculum. On the side of policy, it became clear that though the 1998 policy was fundamentally correct, certain policy improvements were needed. In particular, inter-provincial equity emerged as a key policy concern. Two major assessments, in 2001 and 2003, focusing specifically on the school allocation were conducted. Moreover, in 2003 the DOE published an assessment of the overall system for the resourcing of schools. This assessment led to the 2003 Plan of Action: Improving access to free and quality basic education for all. These documents are milestones in our building of a post-apartheid schooling system, and they strongly inform this amended policy on the school allocation.

 

Inputs that may be covered by the school allocation

 

94) This sub-section describes which items may be covered by the school allocation. The description is not intended to be unnecessarily restrictive or prescriptive. Nor does the description exclude the use of state funds other than the school allocation for the items mentioned. Instead, this description should guide the state in determining the level and distribution of the school allocation, and schools in determining the utilisation of the allocation. This sub-section does not in any way place the state under the obligation of ensuring that the cost of all the items listed here should be fully covered by the school allocation, given that the list covers the range of possibilities, and not a set of core items.

 

95) In general, the school allocations are intended to cover non-personnel recurrent items and small capital items required by the school as well as normal repairs and maintenance to all the physical infrastructure of the school. Moreover, the school allocation is primarily and exclusively intended for the promotion of efficient and quality education in public ordinary schools.

 

96) The following list provides examples of items that the school allocation may cover, and a categorisation of these items. It should be noted that the items are mentioned serve as examples, and do not constitute all the possible items. The definition of a capital item is as per Treasury regulations (currently, any item exceeding a value of R5,000 per item is defined as a capital item).
i) Learning support materials (LSMs), including textbooks, library books, charts, models, computer hardware and software, televisions, video recorders, video tapes, home economics equipment, science laboratory equipment, musical instruments, learner desks, chairs. (These items, and the ones under (ii) to (iv) below, would typically support the SASA Section 21(c) function.) This category is subdivided into capital items and non-capital items.
ii) Non-EM equipment, including furniture other than learner desks and chairs, paper copier machines, telephone sets, fax machines, intercom systems, equipment for connectivity within the school and to the Internet, hardware tools, cleaning equipment, first aid kits, overalls for cleaners and ground staff, sporting equipment, electrical accessories. This category is subdivided into capital items and non-capital items.
iii) Consumable items of an educational nature, including stationery for learners.
iv) Consumable items of a non-educational nature, including stationery for office use, paper, cleaning materials, petrol, lubricants, food.
v) Services relating to repairs and maintenance, including building repair work, equipment repairs and maintenance, light bulbs. (These items would typically support the SASA Section 21(a) function.)
vi) Other services, including workshop fees, TV licences, Internet service providers, school membership of educational associations, postage, telephone calls, electricity, water, rates and taxes, rental of equipment, audit fees, bank charges, legal services, advertising, security services, public or scholar transport, vehicle hire, insurance, copying services. (These items would typically support the SASA Section 21(d) function.)

 

97) In view of the fact that schools are not equally subject to the legacy of apartheid inequities, population increases and unexpected calamities, the DOE and the PEDS must pursue resourcing mechanisms other than the school allocation in order to deal with the following shortages of the items referred to in paragraph 96:
a) Shortages of LSMs and equipment where the shortage is clearly and directly linked to historical expenditure inequities.
b) Shortages of LSMs and equipment, and in particular shortages of learner desks, learner chairs and textbooks, where the shortage is clearly and directly linked to a recent and significant increase in the enrolment of the school.
c) Urgent building repair needs which are clearly and directly linked to historical expenditure inequities.
d) Shortages resulting from calamities such as fire or floods.
e) Start-up resource requirements linked to the approved introduction of new grades into existing schools, or the establishment of completely new schools.

 

98) Nothing in this policy prevents PEDs or SGBs from devoting funds derived from the school allocation towards needs described in paragraph 97, if this is regarded as being in the interests of education in the school, and if this occurs in accordance with the general policy governing the school allocation. An SGB may, for instance, approve the use of the school allocation for urgent building repair needs arising out of a natural calamity. A PED may establish a system whereby schools are reimbursed at a future date for utilizing funds from the school allocation for non-intended expenditure of a non-personnel nature. Such a system of reimbursement must be transparent and treat all schools equally. Schools do not have an automatic right to this type of reimbursement outside of, or in the absence of, such a system in the province.

 

99) The school allocation may not be used to cover the cost of personnel and new buildings.

 

The resource targeting list

 

100) This sub-section describes the 'resource targeting lists' that PEDs must maintain as a basis for the pro-poor distribution of the school allocation budget. The resource targeting list is a list of all the public ordinary schools in the province, sorted from poorest to least poor. The principle is followed that, ideally, communities are best served by the schools closest to them. It is precisely for this reason that the preferential public funding of schools in poorer communities is regarded as a priority for Government. However, exceptions to this principle are also contemplated in this sub-section.

 

101) The PED must assign to each school a school poverty score that will allow the PED to sort all schools from poorest to least poor. The principles governing the determination of the school poverty score are the following:
a) The score should be based on the relative poverty of the community around the school, which in turn should depend on individual or household advantage or disadvantage with regard to income, wealth and/or level of education.
b) The score should be based on data from the national Census conducted by StatsSA, or any equivalent data set that could be used as a source. The beneficiaries of the school allocation, for example schools or districts, should never be the source of the data, in order to avoid undesirable incentives to distort information.
c) The derivation and calculation of the score should be sufficiently comprehensive to provide a reasonable measure of the relative poverty of the school community. However, it should not be the intention to incorporate the complete range of poverty indicators in the score. The score should moreover be constructed to be as transparent and generally understandable as possible.
d) The basic methodology behind the score should be national in order to promote a pro-poor funding framework that treats equally poor schools equally, regardless of the province they find themselves in.

 

102) The following steps should be followed in the determination of the school poverty score:
a) Each school must be linked to a specific geographical area that can be considered, for the purposes of these determinations, the catchment area of the school. Where Census data is used, the geographical area would be the set of enumerator areas or place names closest to the particular school. Different levels of the schooling system, for example primary schools and secondary schools, would be dealt with separately, The DOE may determine precise rules for this step after consultation with PEDs.
b) Variables from the data set relating to households or individuals must be selected to inform three different indicators of poverty: income; dependency ratio (or unemployment rate); and level of education of the community (or literacy rate). The DOE may change this set of indicators after consultation with the PEDs.
c) Variables from the data set, and the indicators of poverty, must be weighted, for the purposes of arriving at a final poverty score for each specific geographical area, corresponding to each school. The DOE will determine the weightings that should be used.

 

103) The Provincial Departments of Education must, as a first priority, aim to provide schooling to communities in quality schools that are geographically accessible for learners. Linked to this priority, is the imperative to ensure that preferential school funding in poorer communities translates into effective interventions and optimal combinations of inputs that assist in combating historical disadvantage. However, PEDs may deviate from this principle, and may deviate from the school poverty score methodology described in paragraph 102, in the following circumstances:
a) There are inadequate places in local schools, and the PED has determined that the community should make use of schools at a distance from the local community.
b) The PED has requested parents to make use of a school other than the local school, where the local school is suffering severe and temporary problems relating to, for instance, the quality of teaching and learning.

 

104) The exceptional circumstances referred to in paragraph 103 may permit the use of an approach other than the one described in paragraph 102 in order to determine a school's poverty score. In particular, the provision that it is the poverty of the community around the school that should be the determining factor, might be waived. Where a PED has determined that learners should attend a school other than the local school, the PED could, for instance, expand the community of the receiving school so that it included households from the community from which learners originated. Any deviation from the approach described in paragraph 102 must be effected transparently, and uniform criteria must apply to all similar deviations within the same province. PEDs must register deviations in a provincial register that provides details on each deviation, including the justification for the deviation. Such a register must be available for scrutiny by the public and monitoring authorities such as the DOE.

 

105) A school may apply to the PED for a deviation of the type described in paragraph 103 to be effected for that school, where the school believes that it warrants special consideration. PEDs must establish transparent and fair procedures for dealing with such applications from schools, in line with paragraph 104.

 

106) A school may dispute the correctness of the poverty score assigned to it through representation to the Head of Department, PEDs must establish transparent and fair procedures to deal with such queries regarding technical accuracy. These procedures should not exceed six months in duration.

 

107) PEDs must on an annual basis, subject to the availability of new data which is sufficiently reliable, consider reviewing the poverty scores of schools and/or the poverty ranking of a school and make the necessary adjustments to effect equity. Those allocations of schools negatively affected by any such changes should be changed in a phased manner.

 

The determination of nationally progressive school allocations

 

108) This sub-section describes how PEDS should use the resource targeting list, the table of targets for the school allocation (the ‘targets table’) and the national poverty distribution table (the ‘poverty table’) to determine the school allocation for each school.

 

109) The following ‘table of targets for the school allocation’ or ’targets table’ establishes target per learner amounts for the school allocation. Column A provides the percentages that underlie the pro-poor funding approach. For example, the first national quintile (or one-fifth) of learners should receive 30% of funding, which is six times more than the 5% of funding which should go towards the least poor quintile. Column B specifies the target per learner school allocation amount in rands for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Column B furthermore specifies what the average per learner target value would be for the country as a whole. The ‘no fee threshold’ amount appearing in column 6 indicates the per learner amount that Government considers minimally adequate for each year. For 2007, the no fee threshold is set at R554, and for the following two years inflationary increments have been calculated to give R581 and R605. Column C indicates the maximum percentage of learners in each national quintile that could be funded to the no fee threshold level. Column C provides an indication of both the possibility of adequate resourcing without school fees, and the percentage of learners which could be exempted from the payment of school fees, given the existence of fees. For example, in 2007 in national quintile 5, if school fees were used to finance the needs of 78% of learners, then 22% of learners could be financed through the state‘s school allocation, in other words 22% of learners could be fully exempt from the payment of school fees.

 

109A) Funding of small schools

PED’s to top-up funding to small schools* of not less than the national fixed amount of R21 000 (for 2010) as indicated in table 2 below.   The top-up funding takes into account the total per learner allocation to a small school.  The PED may provide more than the national fixed amount if its budget allows.  Where a small school is located on private property it is recommended that the PED provides additional funding for lease or rental of the property.

 

Figure 2. The targets table

 

National table of targets for the school allocation (2010-2012)

 

 

2010

2011

2012

 

A

B

C

B

C

B

C

NQ1

NQ2

NQ3

NQ4

NQ5

30.0

27.5

22.5

15.0

5.0

R855

R784

R641

R428

R147

100%

100%

100%

67%

22%

R901

R826

R675

R451

R155

100%

100%

100%

67%

22%

R943

R865

R707

R472

R162

100%

100%

100%

67%

22%

Overall

100.0

R571

89%

R602

89%

R630

89%

No fee threshold

R784

R826

R865


Small schools: National fixed amount


R21 000


R22 113


R23 152


Source: Amended National Norms and Standards for School Funding

[2011 and 2012 figures inflation adjusted – CPIX inflation – National Treasury: Budget Review]

 

* A small school is defined as a school with a total allocation of less than R21 000 per annum (for 2010) based on its learner enrolment and allocation per leaner.  This applies irrespective of the national quintile of a school.

 

110) The table appearing in paragraph 109 covers the school allocation targets to the year 2009 only. The Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, will release targets relating to years beyond 2009, and may change previously released targets, depending on circumstances. The Minister would publish in the Government Gazette, on an annual basis, the new column B targets for the new outer year. For instance, in 2007 the Minister would publish the column B targets applicable to 2010. This is to promote predictability and better medium term planning in the schooling system. Changes to previously released targets could be made to deal with factors such as unexpected changes in the inflation rate. The Minister may revise the distribution between national quintiles contained in column A. The Minister may revise the no fee threshold amounts, after consultation with the Minister of Finance. Revisions should occur on the basis of emerging research into the costs of schooling in different socio-economic contexts, changes in the socio-economic profile of the country and the overall budget of Government. The Minister will release for public comment a report on the methodology employed whenever the no fee threshold is altered, and will take into consideration the ensuing comments. The Department of Education must actively promote research that can inform optimal school allocation budgets, and an optimal distribution of this budget. Should research into costs, in combination with imperatives around equity, efficiency and compulsory schooling, indicate a need for a no fee threshold that is differentiated by grade, the Minister may implement such differentiation in the targets table.

 

111) Considering that poverty is unevenly spread across South Africa, and that it is Government‘s intention to establish targets that treat equally poor learners equally, regardless of the province they find themselves in, province-specific poverty data should be taken into account. The following ‘national poverty distribution table’ or ‘poverty table’ should be used by PEDS in determining how the target table in paragraph 109 finds expression in each province. For example, Eastern Cape must consider the national quintile 1 target to be applicable to as many schools on the resource targeting list as it takes to cover 34% of learners, starting from the poorest school. The national quintile 2 target would be applicable to the following schools on the resource targeting list, up to the point at which the next 26% of learners would be covered. The national quintile 5 target would be applicable to only as many schools on the non-poor end of the resource targeting list as it takes to cover 11% of learners. The data in this table is based on household income data supplied by National Treasury.

 

Figure 3. The poverty table

 

National poverty distribution table

 

National quintiles







 

1

(poorest)

2

3

4

5 (least poor)

Total

Eastern Cape

34.8%

21.6%

21.0%

11.6%

10.9%

100%

Free State

30.8%

14.9%

20.1%

18.8%

15.4%

100%

Gauteng

10.5%

11.4%

27.4%

27.2%

23.6%

100%

KwaZulu-Natal

24.2%

18.8%

25.6%

17.3%

14.1%

100%

Limpopo

34.0%

22.3%

24.9%

11.6%

7.2%

100%

Mpumalanga

16.7%

20.2%

29.8%

19.9%

13.5%

100%

Northern Cape

26.3%

17.7%

21.6%

14.8%

19.6%

100%

North West

22.7%

15.2%

30.5%

20.5%

11.0%

100%

Western Cape

6.5%

8.0%

23.1%

27.7%

34.6%

100%

South Africa

20.0%

20.0%

20.0%

20.0%

20.0%

100%

 

112) The Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, will review the national poverty distribution table on an annual basis and, when necessary, will publish updated versions of this table in the Government Gazette.

 

113) In order to calculate the target school allocation for each individual school for the following year, the PED must multiply the relevant per learner target from the targets table by the enrolment of the school in the current year. For example, a school serving 100 national quintile 2 learners (defined as such according to the criteria laid out in paragraph 111) in 2007, would have a target school allocation of 100 multiplied by R711 or R71,100, in 2008.

 

114) Each PED must, as part of its ongoing MTEF budgeting process, calculate the school allocation budget implied by the national targets, and compare this amount to the actual school allocation budget amount available in the MTEF budgets. If the target amount is not equal to the actual amount, one of the following sets of procedures should be followed:
a) If the actual amount exceeds the target amount, the PED must ensure that, as a minimum, each school receives the school allocation implied by the national targets. A PED may use the difference between the actual amount and the target amount to create a smoother distribution, or a continuous curve, so that less abrupt per learner funding shifts occur between one school on the resource targeting list and the next. However, such smoothing should not result in any school receiving less than the target per learner amount applicable to that school.
b) If the target amount exceeds the actual amount, the PED and the DOE, in collaboration with the National and Provincial Treasuries, must jointly devise a plan for attaining the targets in the earliest possible year. This plan must include details on how, in the interim, the actual budget will be distributed across the national quintiles. Such a plan must prioritise the attainment of targets in quintiles 1 and 2, and for learners in Grades 1 to 9.

 

115) Each PED must provide a recommended breakdown of the school allocation, for each school, according to the three Section 21 functions of SASA that imply expenditure and according to the breakdown provided in paragraph 96. This breakdown should be communicated in all official letters to schools indicating what their school allocations are. The three relevant Section 21 functions are restated here, with some comments:

Section 21(a) of SASA: To maintain and improve the school’s property, and buildings and grounds occupied by the school.

Section 21(c) of SASA: To purchase textbooks, educational materials or equipment for the school.

Section 21(d) of SASA: To pay for services to the school.

It should be noted that though school hostels are mentioned in Section 21(a) of SASA, funding of school hostels is dealt with in the next section of this policy, titled ’Hostel costs’.

 

116) In addition to the breakdown referred to in the previous paragraph, and apart from the financial directions issued in terms of Section 37 of SASA, PEDs may determine other conditions governing the use of the school allocation where this is deemed necessary for the promotion of better school management, The other conditions would apply to all schools, whether they have SASA Section 21 functions or not. All these conditions must be communicated to schools in the official letters referred to in the previous paragraph.

 

The school allocation and accountability

 

117) The effective implementation and monitoring of the school allocation requires timely provision of accurate information by the DOE, PEDs and schools. This sub-section explains key obligations in terms of information provisioning and accountability, and provides some important timeframes.

 

118) The DOE must provide the Minister with sufficient data and research to enable the Minister to publish, in the Government Gazette, school allocation information (as described in paragraph 109) for the next three years, by 1 August of each year. Moreover, by this date, the Minister should publish information on what quintiles or parts of quintiles will comprise no fee schools in the following school year, in terms of paragraph 157, and Section 39(7) of SASA.

 

119) PEDs must process enrolment data, school poverty data (as described in paragraph 101), provincial budget data and the school allocation data released by the Minister in order to determine provisional school allocations for each school for the next three years. The provisional school allocations for the next three years must be communicated to schools by 30 September of each year. This communication must include information on which national quintile individual schools find themselves in, what the national per learner target amount applicable to that national quintile is, what the rationale is for the national targets published by the Minister, what the national no fee threshold is and what calculations were performed by the PED to arrive at each school's school allocation amount, PEDs must furthermore submit to the DOE the data and calculations used to arrive at the provisional school allocations for each school, so that the DOE can be in a position to monitor policy compliance, make inter-provincial comparisons, and advise PEDs of national best practice. The submission of the information to the DOE must occur by 30 September.

 

120) By 30 September of each year, MECs must publish in the provincial Government Gazette the entire resource targeting list for the province. This list must include, as a minimum, school EMIS numbers, names of schools, the poverty score of each school, and the national quintile in which each school is situated. The list must also include SASA Section 21 functions allocated to each school in terms of paragraphs 125 to 130. If the national determination, in terms of paragraph 161, of the finalised list of no fee schools has occurred, and a formal communication to the MEC has occurred in this regard, the provincial resourcing targeting list should specify which schools are no fee schools. It is important that MECs and PEDs should not release any information on no fee schools that deviates from the national list. PEDs must furthermore make all of this information available to the public and schools on an ongoing and updated basis through a medium such as the Departmental website.

 

121) Due to the fact that the school year and the Government financial year are different, the final school allocation for any school year can only be determined during the course of the school year in question, after the Provincial Legislature has approved the budget for the PED. The final school allocation for the current year must be communicated to schools during the two weeks following the finalisation of the PED budget by the Provincial Legislature. In order to facilitate proper planning, PEDs should strive to ensure that the final school allocation communicated to schools in terms of this paragraph deviates as little as possible from the provisional figures provided on 30 September of the previous year.

 

122) The DOE, PEDs and schools must report on the usage of the school allocation, and the DOE and PEDs must furthermore report on the determination of the school allocation, within their respective annual reports. Reports produced by schools must explain how the spending of the school allocation supports the school development plan, quality education and learner performance. The DOE and PEDs must also produce analyses and proposals on how the school allocation can further enhance education delivery, including school effectiveness and learner performance. Analyses must moreover be produced on the impact of the school allocation on general socioeconomic transformation, including black empowerment amongst manufacturers and suppliers of school materials. These analyses and proposals must be widely disseminated to encourage public debate and participation.

 

123) The DOE and PEDs must work with National Treasury and its provincial counterparts to ensure that the charts of account governing PED and school finances support the implementation of these norms. In particular, it must be clear from PED accounts what non-personnel non-capital expenditure on schools was occurring outside the framework of the school allocation, for instance in terms of paragraph 97. Furthermore, school accounting systems should allow for differentiation of expenditure according to SASA Section 21 functions, and any other required classifications, partly in order for the provisions in paragraph 140 below to be implemented.

 

124) The DOE and PEDs will collaborate to ensure that every school in the country has a set of policy implementation manuals and tools relating to the school allocation. This set must include, for example, the policy documents themselves, explanatory manuals, and tools for educating the school community about the purpose of the school allocation. Materials must be available in all official languages. Materials applicable to all provinces will be made available on the website of the DOE. The DOE and PEDs must design and roll out training programmes in the use of the policy implementation tools.

 

The list of Section 21 status

 

125) This sub-section deals with the SASA Section 21 functions that may be allocated to schools by the Head of Department, and the maintenance by the PED of the list of Section 21 status used for determining mode of resourcing to schools with respect to the school allocation.

 

126) The SASA makes provision for public school governing bodies to become progressively more responsible for managing aspects of recurrent expenditure. Section 21 provides that, subject to the Act, a School Governing Body may apply in writing to the Head of Department to be allocated any of the SASA Section 21 functions.

 

127) The HOD must approve a governing body's application for Section 21 functions, conditionally or unconditionally, unless the SOB does not have sufficient capacity to undertake the functions effectively.

 

128) A MEC may determine that some governing bodies may exercise one or more functions under Section 21, even if they have not applied for them. This is permitted only if the governing bodies have the capacity to perform the functions effectively, and there is a reasonable and equitable basis for allocating the functions to them. (Section 21(6) of the Act).

 

129) In order to guide the actions of the MEC, the HOD and an affected SGB, it is necessary to establish an objective test of governing body capacity in terms of Section 21 of the Act. DOE, in consultation with PEDS must, therefore, devise a managerial capacity checklist, for approval by the HOD. The checklist will include items relating to the capacity to handle and account for public funds, the capacity to meet ongoing contractual obligations to suppliers of goods and services, and the ability to make financial decisions that are educationally sound. The criteria used in developing such a list must be transparent and public.

 

130) Each PED must maintain a ‘list of Section 21 status’ containing all public ordinary schools in the province. This list must specify the Section 21 status of each school on the list, in other words what Section 21 functions have been officially allocated to each school. All the Section 21 functions of SASA, including additional functions introduced through amendments, must be considered in the list of Section 21 status. The list must be updated each time functions are granted to or withdrawn from school, and must be easily accessible to the public. The number of schools with one or more Section 21 functions is expected to grow as more schools acquire the requisite capacity.

 

Resource transfer procedures where SASA Section 21 functions have been allocated

 

131) This sub-section deals with the resource transfer procedures relating to the school allocation, where SASA Section 21 functions (a), (c) and/or (d) have been allocated.

 

132) Schools which, according to the list of Section 21 status, have been allocated one or more of the three SASA Section 21 functions, will receive a single transfer in accordance with their national quintile, their enrolment, the national table of targets for the school allocation, and the SASA Section 21 functions that have been allocated to the respective schools. A recommended breakdown into cost categories, in terms of paragraph 115, must accompany the transfer. If a school has not been allocated all of the three SASA functions in question, the transfer will only include funds for the allocated functions, determined in terms of paragraph 115.

 

133) School governing bodies that have been allocated the relevant SASA Section 21 functions may carry out their own procurement and may deal directly with suppliers and contractors for the relevant budgeted items in accordance with standard procurement procedures, the financial directions issued in terms of Section 37 of the SASA and paragraph 116 of this policy. They must keep documents as evidence of correct dealing with such suppliers and contractors, and records of how the materials and services were used, and produce such documents or records at the request of officials from the PED and for audit purposes.

 

Resource transfer procedures where SASA Section 21 functions have not been allocated

 

134) Although it is Government’s aim to improve school management capacity, and to make the assumption of Section 21 functions possible across all schools in the country, Government also recognises that this is a long-term task, and that the system will continue to include many schools without Section 21 functions, or so called non-Section 21 schools, for many years. It will therefore continue to be necessary for the DOE and PEDs to work together to improve the systems and procedures that resource non-Section 21 schools with respect to the school allocation.

 

135) There is no single solution for the resourcing of non-Section 21 schools. Many different approaches are pursued by PEDs, and a number of different improvements to current practice have been proposed. A common approach is for PEDs to procure resources in bulk for schools, relative to the size of the school allocations, and to manage the delivery of items to schools. This approach can involve varying degrees of determination by the schools regarding what resources are procured. Where this approach is pursued, it is important for schools to receive adequate information regarding the monetary value of the resources they receive. This need will increase with the establishment of national targets for the school allocation, as school communities will in many cases have a clearer idea than before of what the size of the school allocation is. The DOE and PEDs must collaborate to improve accounting systems that can provide schools with the required expenditure data.

 

136) The DOE and PEDs must continue to explore innovative solutions to improve the resourcing of non-Section 21 schools. Joint control by schools and the PED over individual school accounts, or special district-level accounts, must be considered. Moreover, solutions whereby the PED pays suppliers from whom schools have ordered goods should be considered. The aim should be to develop the capacity of the school to determine its own resource mix within the policy framework, to ensure that goods reach schools on time, and to combat the inefficient utilisation of resources, as well as excessive prices for school inputs. These aims should be pursued within the overall policy intention of a pro-poor school allocation, as expressed in this policy.

 

137) PEDs must take adequate measures to ensure that expenditure occurs according to school budgets within the relevant MTEF financial year, where SASA Section 21 allocations have not been allocated. This is in view of the fact that Provincial Treasuries generally do not allow the roll-over of funds from one financial year to the next. In this regard, it is important that non-section 21 schools should not be disadvantaged relative to those schools that receive the transfer in terms of paragraph 132. In order to facilitate the purchase of, for instance, equipment, which may necessitate some saving from one year to the next, PEDs should explore budgetary solutions that allow schools to plan upfront for such expenditure without necessitating roll-overs at the Provincial Treasury level.

 

138) Schools with some, but not all, of the SASA Section 21 functions (a), (c) and (d) must be resourced on the basis of this sub-section (paragraphs 134 to 138) and the previous sub-section (paragraphs 131 to 133).

 

138A) Providing operational funds to no fee schools

 

a) Criteria for providing operational funds to no fee schools
i) All no-fee schools should annually, in accordance with the applicable prescripts of the PFMA and its regulations and any Treasury practice notes be provided with an allowance from their total school allocation for the year in order to be able to defray day-to-day operational, non-personnel expenditure. This will include those day-to-day, non-personnel expenditure to support the effectiveness and efficiency of the administrative, management and curricular programs of the school.
ii) In accordance with Section 21(6) of SASA the MEC shall by notice in the Provincial Gazette determine that governing bodies of no-fee schools be allocated the function to administer and utilize the operational funds for day-to-day operations in accordance with the provisions of Section 21(1)(e) of SASA.
b) Determination of the amount for operational purposes
i) The amount of the allowance for daily operations to be made available to schools must be determined by the Head of the Department.
c) Providing schools with details of operational funds allocated
i) The provisional and final communication on the school's allocations as guided by Paragraphs 119 and 121 must, where applicable, include details of the amount of the allocation for operational funds and what the operational funds can be utilised for.
d) When and how should schools receive the operational funds
i) The allowance must be paid to schools so that they are functional throughout the year.
ii) The transfer payments for operational funds must be in accordance with the provisions as set out in paragraph 121A.
e) Reporting on the use of the operational allowance by the schools
i) The PED must clearly inform the schools that the funds are for their daily operations and that it is a portion of their total school allocation for the year.
ii) The PED must provide the schools with procedures and policies for recording and reporting on the use of the allocations as well as the timeframes for such reporting which schools need to comply with before they may receive their next allowance for operational purposes.

 

 

Financial controls where Section 21 functions have been allocated

 

139) Schools which receive the school allocation as a monetary transfer into the school fund must administer this money in accordance with the SASA. The PEDs must ensure that the financial management directions issued to all schools in terms of Section 37 of the SASA are adequate, and that schools comply with these directions.

 

140) Schools must be guided by the breakdown in the school allocation determined in terms of paragraph 115. PEDs must monitor compliance with, and deviations from these breakdowns. Where schools spend substantial amounts of private income, in addition to income from the school allocation, PEDs must ensure that total expenditure according to the breakdowns is at least as great as what was determined in terms of paragraph 115. In particular, PEDs must promote adequate expenditure on educational items, and strive to ensure that the SASA Section 21(c) function relating to educational inputs is not under-funded. Schools that deviate from the PED determined breakdown, must have justifiable reasons for doing so, and should only under-budget for the educational items relative to the recommended breakdown after consultation with and approval from the PED. Where PEDs observe substantial deviations from the recommended breakdowns in the school allocation, in particular deviations where the educational inputs suffer and proper schooling is consequently placed at risk, PEDs should seriously consider implementing SASA Section 22, dealing with the withdrawal of SASA Section 21 functions.

 

Transition and commencement issues

 

141) This sub-section contains recommendations regarding the transition from previous to new policy imperatives with respect to the school allocation.

 

142) It is important that in the planning around the school allocation, all the various items linked to this fund, as described in paragraphs 95 to 99, be taken into account. For example, if utility charges had been excluded from the school allocation in the past, it would be important for these items to begin to become included.

 

143) The resource targeting lists of the PEDS should undergo a gradual transition with respect to the new policy imperatives. Poverty scores according to the new methodology should be determined during 2007. However, changes in the position of schools on the resource targeting list, in particular movement from one national quintile to another, should be phased in over some years. It should be noted that this principle of gradual change should apply even without changes to the methodology, as the relative poverty of communities does not remain static.

 

144) In the interests of stability, the implementation of this policy should not result in any school receiving a smaller school allocation in nominal rand terms than it did in the past, or than it was promised for the future.

 

145) The amended policy provisions relating to the school allocation become applicable from 1 January 2007.

 

Hostel costs

 

146) Records. Schools with hostels must keep a separate account for all recurrent costs associated with hostels, and a record of the number of learners staying at each hostel. Such accounts and records will be subject to unannounced audits by officials of the PED.

 

147) Hostel fee. The school must charge each learner staying in the hostel a hostel fee equal to the average running cost per learner in the hostel. No blanket cross-subsidisation of hostel costs from fee income is permitted. However, if the SOB wishes to exempt particular learners from hostel fees, it may do so by recording the necessary book-keeping transfer.

 

148) Hostel subsidy. The PED must, in turn, set aside a budget item for hostel subsidies. These hostel subsidies are not a part of the school allocation referred to in paragraphs 85 to 145. Schools with hostels will be paid pro rata out of this budget for each of their learners
a) whose transport time to the school is greater than 11h hours;
b) if there are no available school places near the learner's parents' place of residence; and
c) whose parents cannot afford the per-child hostel cost.

 

149) The PED may adjust these criteria in order to ensure that the subsidy per learner is meaningful, while recognising that this may decrease the number of learners thus covered, requiring a tightening of the targeting criteria.

 

150) Subsidies for hostel costs incurred by learners with special education needs enrolled in ordinary public schools will be provided by the Provincial Education Department in accordance with the overall funding approach used for such learners.