Failing Gauteng ANC propping up VBS Mayors

Both the Mayors of Merafong Local Municipality, Cllr Maphefo Letsie , and the West Rand District Municipality, Cllr Boyce Maneli, remain in their positions despite the fact that these failing, ANC-run municipalities illegally invested in excess of R100-million of public funds with VBS bank. This despite the fact that in both Limpopo and the North West, dozens of Mayors were fired over the same matter in the last week.

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy, who also serves on the NEC and NWC of the ANC, has been deflecting holding anyone accountable on these matters since the DA first raised it with her in early 2018, and has continued to avoid pronouncing on the matter, insisting on awaiting the outcome of a drawn out, protracted forensic investigation.

Premier David Makhura has steered clear of addressing the VBS matter altogether. Creecy and Makhura have a constitutional obligation in terms of section 139 of the Constitution, when local governments flout the law, which they are refusing to exercise.

It appears that the failing Gauteng ANC have a deeply entrenched culture of protecting their own members at all costs – the Gauteng ANC refused to remove scandal ridden Quedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa from their PEC until the ANC NWC requested these individuals resign. Creecy and Makhura seem determined to prop up and protect VBS mayors and dozens of dodgy ANC members in Gauteng in order to protect their own positions and internal ANC constituencies for party political reasons, at the expense of the people of Gauteng – even if it means neglecting their constitutional duty.

A DA government in Gauteng will not hesitate to hold VBS mayors to account, and exercise all constitutional obligations afforded to a provincial government to achieve this. Only a DA government in Gauteng will be able to cut the systemic corruption that the ANC has created in Gauteng’s local municipalities and deliver change that will ensure public money is invested in speeding up service delivery in these failing ANC municipalities.

The DA will be tabling questions to both MEC Creecy and Premier Makhura in regards to their failure to act on their VBS mayors when other Provinces have fired their VBS mayors.

DA calls on ANC to explain Gauteng Legislature Study Tour to repressive North Korea

by Ashor Sarupen DA MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is alarmed to learn that the Gauteng Legislature is paying for two ANC members to attend a study tour to North Korea.

The trip is being arranged without informing any other parties and it appears that the Legislature is paying for this trip in absolute secrecy.

The DA has learnt that at least one of the ANC MPLs attending is the Deputy Chairperson of Committees, Mike Madlala.

North Korea is one for the most repressive states in the world, with an atrocious human rights record, and is under global sanctions for its nuclear programme.

The DA cannot understand what the ANC wants to learn from North Korea in a legislative environment, unless this involves the creation of a one-party state.

A study tour to North Korea is a massive waste of taxpayer’s money and the only lessons to be learnt are how to repress a population, run forced labour camps and insolate yourself from the international community.

If this is the real direction the ANC wants to take South Africa, then all South African’s should be deeply concerned about the future of our constitutional democracy.

The DA will be using internal legislative processes to hold the ANC accountable for this flagrant waste of taxpayer money.

DA urges Gauteng e-government department to secure citizens data, streamline processes

Speech by Ashor Sarupen MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on e-Government

This speech was delivered in the Gauteng Legislature during the 2018/19 budget debate for the Department of e-Government.

Madame Speaker,

The 2018/19 budget for the department of e-government demonstrates several significant improvements that make Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) as a whole more effective and efficient.

Since 2014, I have consistently raised the importance of broadband as a driver of economic growth, and furthermore, the impact that technology can have on making government more accountable and responsive to the needs of citizens.

In our current, fiscally constrained environment, technology also offers significant efficiencies in costs.

The department, in the new financial year, is resolving the issues that prevented us from supporting this department’s budget. Specifically, we are glad that our comments on the following have been headed:

  1. A uniform cloud service for all departments, with significant cost savings and government departments finally not working in silos on this;
  2. Savings being realised from voice-over-internet protocol reducing internal telephony costs. Government should never be paying a private provider to place a phone call to itself in the era of digital infrastructure;
  3. The department will provide an end to end solution in rolling out Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) connectivity, including local area network installation.
  4. A single online presence for GPG and GPG applications all accessible on a single site.

LAN installation in particular will finally allow GPG to benefit from the GBN and hopefully begin to digitise its administrative functions as well as its services.

Our qualified support for the department this year is based on the fact that the APP and budget addresses these critical areas that have been severe bottlenecks.

However, the GPG is still plagued by the following problems when it comes to e-government:

  1. Many functions are still undertaken in a silo mentality – citizens should not have to collect information from one arm of government to give it to another;
  2. Government does still not have a single view of the citizen and consolidate citizenry data;
  3. Departments have inconsistent ICT maturity, and no common standards, leading to wildly varying costs and complexity;
  4. The State Information Technology Agency still lacks the capacity to support the ambitions and strategic plan of the department, and the relationship between the department and SITA will require political acumen to achieve the targets set by the department.

Furthermore, major data breeches have exposed citizens here and abroad to significant risks in relation to their rights to privacy, to the point of facilitating identity theft and fraud.

The recent data leaks from the local portal, as well as the deeds registrar, have exposed the personal details, including ID numbers and home addresses of millions of our citizens.

Additionally, we have recently learnt that while the online school enrolment system has managed to prevent 99% of cybersecurity breeches, the rest of the Department of Education’s systems have not been audited for nor protected from attacks.

I suspect the same is true for most departments and their associated private service providers.

As we further move into this brave new digital world, we must ensure that all systems are built from the ground up with a focus on preventing data breeches and denial of service attacks, and ensure that we protect the information of private citizens.

The department cannot resolve these issues on its own, and it will be a testament to the skill of the MEC if she is able to get everyone on the same page to achieve this.

If, in this new financial year, the MEC is able to get SITA, GPG departments, agencies and local governments to co-operate on the goals of the e-government department, then it will be on the road to success.

Our support, MEC, is qualified on you both achieving what you set out to do this year, which I have raised consistently since 2014, as well as addressing the concerns we have raised today during the course of the year.

The DA is not the party of no, we don’t oppose for the sake of opposing, we will lend our support to this budget vote. But, this is not a blank cheque, it is a cautious leap, and we hope your team will not disappoint us.

Gauteng School Enrolment System faced 767 cyber attacks

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education

The DA is concerned about the state of cybersecurity in the Gauteng Provincial Government after learning that the Online School Enrolment System faced 767 critical cyber security incidents over the past two years, and a total of 1370 incidents over the same period.

Most concerning is that overall, the number of incidents has increased over 2200% from 57 in 2017 to 1312 incidents so far in 2018 alone. This was revealed in a written reply to questions tabled by the DA.

The cyber attacks on the school enrolment system included malware, code injections, buffer errors, information disclosure, anomaly, access control and SQL injections, of which 99% were reported to be blocked by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) firewalls.

Most concerning, however, is the fact that the Gauteng Department of Education has not audited its systems beyond the Online Admissions System for cyber security vulnerabilities, meaning that its other systems may be vulnerable to data breeches.

The data of South African citizens is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks on private and public systems, and the fact that only the school enrolment system appears to be protected in the Gauteng Education Department is a cause for major concern.

The DA will be tabling further questions to each Gauteng government department about whether it is keeping our citizens’ data safe and proposing measures to secure government databases.

The DA believes that the state, as the custodian of tremendous amounts of data on individual citizens, has the highest responsibility to protect their citizens from the risks that come with data breeches, such as identity theft.

Collapsing Rand West Municipality fails to pay R210 million Eskom debt

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education

The DA is shocked to learn that the Rand West Municipality, like many ANC-led Gauteng municipalities, is struggling to pay R210 million owed to Eskom as of 30 April 2018.

This was revealed during a sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature this week, by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Uhuru Moiloa.

Rand West is the latest municipality to join Emfuleni, Merafong and Mogale City in neglecting to pay Eskom. With the last three municipalities collectively owing Eskom an estimated R500 million.

If urgent and decisive action is not taken, the outstanding Eskom debt by ANC-run municipalities in Gauteng will reach R1 billion.

Eskom has threatened to disconnect municipalities that are failing to meet their financial obligations for the supply of bulk electricity.

The ANC in Gauteng had previously committed to having its government pay its bills, but now a fourth municipality under its control is in severe arrears with Eskom.

The ANC is incapable of holding their Mayors and office bearers to account, which allows them to run their municipalities into the ground.

The DA will be holding a picket outside the Rand West municipality tomorrow to highlight this gross mismanagement, as well as the illegal investment of R81 million by the municipality with the VBS Mutual Bank.

The people of Gauteng have the power to positively change the province, by voting for a DA-led government that will always prioritise service delivery, job creation and stop corruption.

MEC confirms that live ammunition was used on protesting learners

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

In response to oral questions in the Gauteng Legislature, Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane confirmed that SAPS used live ammunition on children at Thuto-Kitso Technical School in Fochville on the 16th of May 2018.

According to the MEC’s responses, the SAPS was not authorised to use live ammunition, and the situation only escalated when SAPS called in back-up, at which point learners were aggravated and some SAPS officers from the K-9 unit used live ammunition on protesting learners for throwing stones in their direction.

One learner was shot with live ammunition and hospitalized, but survived the ordeal.

The learners were protesting due to a lack of technical teachers at the school since the beginning of the year, as well as a reduction in the number of teachers in the school. The school continued to offer subjects for which they did not have teachers, and a lack of communication from the district meant these learners were without teachers up to their midyear exams.

The learners resorted to a protest after consistently being ignored by callous officials at the Department of Education.

It is ironic that the ANC condemns the abuse of children in society while denying children their right to education and then shooting them for demanding their rights. The use of live ammunition in this case was unwarranted, unacceptable and had the potential to descend into another Marikana situation.

The MEC has indicated that an investigation and discliplinary action are under way. The DA will be following this process closely and tabling follow up questions to fight for the rights of learners to quality education


by Ashor Sarupen and Khume Ramulifho

Country Background and Context

Algeria, a north African country, is the largest country in Africa by territory, after the South Sudan declared independence from the Sudan. Algeria is bordered by the Mediterranean on the north, on the west by Morocco and Western Sahara, on the southwest by Mauritania and Mali, on the southeast by Niger, and on the east by Libya and Tunisia.

The present boundaries were set during the French conquest of Algeria in the nineteenth century.

Algeria is divided into 48 wilayas (provinces). Each wilaya has a wilayat (provincial council) headed by prefects appointed by the president and 1,539 local authorities. The Director of Education for each wilaya administers the plans and operations of the schools.

The combined Arab-Berber people comprise more than 99 percent of the population (Arabs approximately 80 percent; Berbers 20 percent), with Europeans less than one percent. Islam is the official state religion, with Sunni Muslims numbering over 98 percent of the population.

Algeria was annexed to France in 1842, after which the French started colonizing the entire country. The French colonists wished to be ruled by the home government rather than by military authorities, and a very close connection with France developed, whereby Algeria came to be regarded as an integral part of France, with representatives in the French parliament. Assimilation, however, was never complete and Algeria enjoyed considerable autonomy.

The colonial authorities imposed a policy of cultural imperialism intended to suppress Algerian cultural identity and to remold the society along French lines. Local culture was actively eliminated, mosques were converted into churches, and old medinas (Arab cities) were pulled down and replaced with streets. Prime farming land was appropriated for European settlers. White French settlers controlled most of the political and economic power, and the indigenous peoples became subservient.

Algerian independence came in 1962 after an eight-year war. A national assembly was elected and a republic was declared. Three years later, a military junta overthrew the government and ruled for 10 years before new elections were held. The National Liberation Front (FLN), the sole political party in Algeria, was a party of primarily secular socialist policies.

The post-independence policy of Arabization that included replacing French with Arabic as the state language. After independence, free and compulsory education was guaranteed for all. School enrollment rose from 850,000 in 1963 to 3 million in 1975.

In 1992, democratic elections were cancelled just as the militant Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)was headed for a landslide victory. The president resigned and handed power over to the military, which led to a civil war between the government and the Islamic fundamentalists. The FIS laid siege to the secular government. The death toll was placed at 45,000.

The right to form political parties is guaranteed, provided such parties are not based on differences in religion, language, race, gender, or region, and regular elections are held. In reality, the military controls the state and the civilian government has limited power, with the ruling party having been in power since independence and the president having been in office since 1999. The country was awash with propaganda promoting the military and the ruling party.

The Algerian Government has social intervention programmes. These include amongst others:

  • Scholar Transport
  • Nutrition program
  • Text Books
  • Medical Services i.e. eye glasses
  • School uniforms including sport gear etc.


Findings on the Education System in Algeria

History of the Education System

Since gaining independence in 1962, education has been a high priority for Algeria; the country has always committed a substantial proportion of its resources to the education sector – one of the highest proportions in the world, estimated to be 7.5% of GDP. More than 10 million Algerians currently attend school (28 per cent of the population).

From 1984 to 2013, the number of students doubled from 5.1 to 10.1 million and spending on education rose from 20 billion Algerian Dinars to 1,260 billion.

In 2003, a new general law governing education triggered a reform of the education system which involved reorganizing educational structures, reworking teaching methods and revising school programmes around a framework in order to ensure quality of learning, with the objective of improving quality outcomes. Social support systems (integrated with other departments such as health) are integrated into the education system to ensure that disadvantaged citizens have equal access to educational opportunities. The reforms implemented since 2003 was driven by politics: public and international criticisms of national education on the lack of quality and efficiency initiated drastic changes. Two major projects were launched as part of the reform process: reformed school curricula in the form of skills and textbooks, which was the cornerstone of the generalization of the reform and adapting the competency-based approach that focuses on a pupil (learner-centered) rather than on the teacher during the teaching and learning process. In this approach the pupil is trained to act and build knowledge by himself (to seek information, to organize, to analyze situations, to develop hypotheses, to respond to problem situations and evaluate solutions based on acquired knowledge). It aims at making learning more concrete and operational, geared towards meeting the demands of the local labor market.

Marshalling resources into the education sector has contributed to a major reduction drop in illiteracy (from 75 per cent in 1966 to 22 per cent in 2008). The net school enrolment rate of 6-16 year olds went from 88.3 per cent in 2006 to 92.9 per cent in 2013 with full parity between boys and girls. In 2013, the population aged 6-16 was estimated at 6.95 million children (3.55 million boys and 3.4 million girls). Out-of-school children aged 6-16 therefore represent a population of 494,000 including 252,000 boys and 242,000 girls. In 2006, the population of 6-16 year olds was estimated at 7.6 million children (3.88 million boys and 3.72 million girls). The number of out-of-school children aged 6-16 was reduced by almost a half between 2006 and 2013. The Algerian education system is therefore characterized by high rates of school enrolment and rapid growth in numbers for the different educational cycles, resulting in students staying in school for longer.

Private Schooling in Algeria

In 1976 and private schools were abolished, and only permitted again in 2004. The private sector is small and there has not been very significant growth. There are now 136 private schools in Algeria, but their impact is limited by high fees and the fact that more than half of them are located in Algiers.

Only 0.5% of primary and secondary pupils receive private school education. Other private institutions have been permitted to offer only the state’s Brevet de Technicien Supérieure (BTS), but have to some extent circumvented this limitation by offering, in partnership, the diplomas of foreign institutions. Only one serious project for a private university is in the tightly controlled pipeline.

Projected growth in private education in Algeria, particularly accessible private education for lower and middle income households, are anticipated to be key to improving education in Algeria, according to OECD and WEF reports.

Structure of the School System

The curriculum is delivered over 13 years of schooling, in four distinct phases. Phase one is a single year of school readiness at age 4-5, or pre-school (a global standard in line with ECD recommendations by the world economic forum). School readiness programmes such as a year of pre-school has been implemented to combat the dropout rate in later years, as well as combat illiteracy in adolescents and adulthood. The implementation and management of effective ECD has allowed Algeria to reduce the illiteracy rate for its population over age 15 to 20%, while reduced school drop-outs to 50 000 per annum (in stark contrast to the South African figures). This reduction in negative indicators in later years, and its link to pre-schooling is driven by the fact that engaging young children from a very early age in cognitive, social, and emotional developmental activities is directly correlated to success or failure in later years of schooling. Parental engagement and stimulation in early years through communication, games, and reading is essential for early childhood development, and where this is not adequately done due to poverty or poor education levels amongst adults, it is essential that these tasks, along with socialization of children in a structured environment with qualified educations help them prepare children for more structured school learning. Some 63% of Algerian children aged four to five are enrolled in state run pre-schooling. To this end, Algeria noted a drop in the number of primary school children (due to changes in the population demographic distribution) and in 2010 introduced a preparatory class for five-year olds in public primary schools.

The second phase of schooling is, grades 1-5, is delivered to learners aged 6-11, at the end of which, all learners write a common primary school-leaving exam. This use of standardized testing allows for the system to identify gaps in the outcomes of the system early on, allowed for corrections to happen in middle school in order to ensure that the system meets key outcomes in literacy and numeracy, as well as identify underperforming schools and teachers at an earlier phase than the South African system.

Phase three involves four years of middle school (grades 6-9), at which point mandatory education ends at grade 9 with another set of standardized, school leaving national exams. The graduating certificate here is entitled Bulletin d’enseignement Moyen or Middle School Certificate. During this time, scientific and technical literacy is the main objective of the system and close connections between schooling and work informs the system.

At this point, point learners are streamed, based on academic performance, into one of two streams – a further three years of academic high school leading to a Baccalaureate (similar to the South African matric certificate) which allows the learner entry into academic tertiary education. The success rate for the 2016 baccalaureate exams was 49.47% – students are given the opportunity to repeat subjects through the distance learning system or by remaining in the formal system, and results are not massaged to promote a high pass rate at the expense of the quality of the passes. The second stream is into three years of vocational and technical education, which is steadily harmonized to meet the needs of the market and industrial players in Algeria, ensuring employability at the completion of vocational and technical education. The vocational system does not preclude entry into the university system, however, but does ensure that less academically inclined learners are equipped to enter the job market without the need for tertiary education.


Classical Arabic is the compulsory language of instruction in the Algerian schools. French is taught from the third year onwards, it is also the language of instruction for advanced mathematics and science courses. English is taught from the first year at middle school. Students can also learn Spanish, Italian or German at secondary level. The Tamazight language (Berber language) became a national language registered in the Algerian constitution, thus since 2005, it was studied at primary, middle and even at the secondary school.

The main objective of pre-board education is the integration of the child, gradually, into the school environment through attractive and appropriate games to introduce him to the first elements of reading, writing and calculation and to develop his practice of language through communication situations induced by the proposed activities and games.

The purpose of primary school is to help children to master the basics of reading, writing and numeracy. Moreover, its aim is to promote the development of personality in pupils and to create good habits by training them in community life.

The aim of fundamental  education is to equip students with essential learning to develop their identity in harmony with social, spiritual, ethical values and traditions arising from the common cultural heritage, to embrace the values of citizenship and the demands of life in society, to develop their sensitivity and to sharpen their aesthetic sense; their curiosity; their imagination; their creativity and their critical thinking to understand the living and the world and to learn to observe and solve problems.

It is divided into general secondary education that consists of five specialties: the exact sciences, the sciences of nature and life, humanities and letters, literature and living language, and religious sciences. The technical secondary education includes the following specialties: electronics, electrical engineering, mechanics, public works and construction, chemistry and accounting techniques. General secondary education and technical secondary education vary in the following specialties: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, management, and economics. The orientation of pupils in the first year of secondary school towards the technical or general specialties of secondary education is done at the end of the year according to their wishes and their results.  The end of schooling is marked by the baccalaureate exam. The secondary schools aim at consolidating and deepening the knowledge acquired in the different disciplinary fields, developing methods of analysis; synthesis; reasoning and taking responsibility, having an openness to foreign civilizations and cultures and to accept differences and to coexist peacefully with other peoples and preparing pupils for the pursuit of further studies or higher education.


Algeria’s scores and rankings in the WEF Africa Competitiveness Report  are disquieting. While its positions on secondary (52nd/144) and tertiary (74th/144) enrolment are very good against the other countries of the region, the same cannot be said of its quality measures.

On “Quality of the Education System” it ranks 131st/144, ahead only of Egypt (139th) and Libya (142nd), and behind Tunisia (68th) and Morocco (105th). On “Quality of Science and Maths Education”, it stands 129th, on its management school, 131st, and on the extent of staff training, last of the five countries at 142nd/144.

The reform initiative begun in 2003 has not been entirely successful. It has “failed” – according to a report issued by the CLA (the Council for Secondary Schools in Algiers), an independent teachers’ union, in March 2013 – or it “wasn’t fully implemented” according to SNAPEST, the CLA’s official counterpart. CLA’s grievances include the assertion that “pupils don’t master the three academic elements (reading, writing and arithmetic)” and the statement that 70% of maths teachers report pupil levels as “low”.

Their demands are for smaller classes, the extirpation of ideology in the classroom, reform of the curriculum, opening schools up to “universal knowledge”, encouraging children’s self-expression and – interestingly – “a return to technical education”.

In early 2014 widespread teachers’ strikes over professional and salary demands paralysed education for over a month, as they had in 2009 and 2010, with a claimed 65% teacher participation (9.3% according to the Ministry of Education). As noted above, the WEF’s assessment of the overall system quality, and its contribution to national competitiveness, is still not high.

In an attempt to improve outcomes in the teaching and learning of English, the British Council has been involved with the Ministry of Education in work on the teaching of English. In 2014 this was embodied in the very ambitious SEEDS programme, a comprehensive strategy for blended learning/training at all levels of the schools education system.

In 1990 80% of primary schoolchildren completed (87% male, 74% female), though only 33% achieved the BEF certificate. By 2011 93% completed, with more girls (94.6%) than boys (91.1%). Figures for 1999 show that only 55% of the cohort actually then progressed to secondary education. But by 2011 this figure had reached 97.7% (100% of boys and 95.3% of girls).

Promotion from primary into middle school is by assessment, and many fail at the first attempt: the pass rate in 2010 was 66.4%. The repeating of whole years is common (arguably another French cultural legacy), and accounts for the high gross enrolment figures. At the end of the second cycle, grade 9, a progression certificate is issued, permitting progression to secondary school for those who succeed – 66.4% of pupils in 2010.

Progression from secondary school to university through the final school leaving exam leaves a lot to be desired: in 2012 only 35% of students reached the pass mark on the first sitting, with another 9% passing on the re-examinations at the end of the summer. The attrition rate of pupils at all levels is a major concern, with at least half a million students leaving the system unqualified each year.

Algeria has not taken part in TIMSS, PIRLS or PISA exercises making quality comparisons difficult. Girls dominate educational enrolment at all levels above primary (99.5%:95.7% Gross Enrolment at secondary; 37.7%:25.4% at tertiary 28. Education is clearly seen as an instrument of empowerment, a route to personal betterment in a society that is still fairly traditional in many aspects. Dropping-out of education is a predominantly male phenomenon. But this is regionally different: in the rural south, where dropout rates are anyway higher than on the coast, girls represent a higher proportion, withdrawn by their families for domestic and agricultural duties.

And despite higher female participation rates, the imbalance of employment outcomes in favour of men is remarkable. The figures for women are higher than those for men at each level, the discrepancy grows significantly, to 10.3 percentage points for secondary completers (17.2% for females, against 7% for males) and 19.9% for graduates (33.3% against 10.4% for males).29

Furthermore, the unemployment rate for women with university degrees is 20–30% higher than that for men in all disciplines.

In 2009 there were 24,600 schools at all levels, and 370,000 teachers; and the Ministry intended the addition of 3,000 primary, 1,000 middle, 850 secondary and 2,000 boarding schools (crucial for the education of children from remote rural communities) over the present five-year plan period.14

The recruitment of qualified teachers and continuing education is a fundamental vector of the quality of education, teachers able to transmit the values of human and humanist values enshrined in the national of law 2008 are essential.

ICT in Schools

Algeria is encouraging and fostering the use of ICT to enhance the development process in general and the development of the educational system, paving the road for an ICT policy framework along with an implementation strategy.

The government has placed weight on the development of ICT-related human resources. Considering the globally emerging knowledge and information society, Algeria has formed a committee in charge of defining the elements of an Algerian national information society strategy. It is anticipated that the committee will work on creating synergies among the different sectors in the area of infrastructure, training, and research as well as information systems and ICTs.

The committee will identify a national ICT working group, which will be charged with formulating short-, medium-, and long-term action plans for ICT.

The government is committed to set forth a policy for the integration of ICT within the educational system. The reform of the educational process and inclusion of ICT with a set structure was formally included in the country’s formal ICT policy in June 2002 with an allocation of three billion dinar.

The Ministry of Education is working on building the infrastructure for enabling the ICT environment. All secondary schools were equipped with computer labs (15 computers: 10 for students, five for teachers) connected to the Internet through ADSL, and 30% of this foundation had Internet access via cable modem.

Half of the middle schools have adopted ICT as an integral part of the educational programme. In the case of the primary schools, the ICT policy remains limited to the administrative process and teacher training. The existence of computer labs at primary schools remains subject to local contributions and donations by parents and community members.

All universities have computer labs and Internet access for faculty, students, and administration in addition to the availability of digital libraries. Each university has its own ICT policy to accelerate the educational process and offer better learning opportunities in virtual universities and with distance and open learning. Within the framework of enhancing the level of ICT penetration and usage in education, the government has signed a number of agreements with international organisations. For example, UNESCO is undertaking a number of initiatives for the proper integration of ICT in the Algerian education system, and the Japanese government has provided funding for teacher-training programmes totaling to USD$750,000.

There are a number of initiatives that have been adopted in an attempt to improve the quality of teaching and learning. The related strategies, under the heading of e-learning, were set forth to:

  • Promote the development of e-learning resources
  • Facilitate public-private partnerships to mobilise resources in order to support elearning initiatives
  • Promote the development of integrated e-learning curriculum to support ICT in education
  • Promote distance education and virtual institutions, particularly in higher education and training
  • Promote the establishment of a national ICT centre of excellence
  • Provide affordable infrastructure to facilitate dissemination of knowledge and skill through e-learning platforms
  • Promote the development of content to address the educational needs of primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions
  • Create awareness of the opportunities offered by ICT as an educational tool to the education sector
  • Facilitate sharing of e-learning resources between institutions
  • Integrate e-learning resources with other existing resources

In Algeria all education institutions deliver the same ICT curriculum as designed by the Ministry of Education. However, the plan is to integrate ICT within the different subject matters to enhance learning and education. It therefore becomes a process of learning through the use of ICT rather than learning about the technology.

In Algeria the programme of ICT training for teachers has been limited to basic information, with most receiving 30-60 hours of training. Although 100% of secondary teachers and 60% of middle school teachers received the basic ICT training, this has to date very little impact on the quality or method of delivery of education in the classroom.

Major training components:

  • Basic ICT training: basic operations, Windows-based software, e-mail, and Internet
  • Intermediate training: classroom applications, Internet for teaching, and e-mail as a medium for communication and collaboration
  • Advanced training: development and creation of educational software, on-line classes, telecommunication, e-mailing, development of interactive Web sites, production of multimedia presentations, producing creative work

Programmes and teacher training is still limited to basic ICT training with no connection or relevance to integration into the educational process. Professional development and ICT programmes lack connection with content and curriculum development in a manner that allows for proper implementation of reform. The disconnection among the different development programmes impedes proper impact and progress.

E-learning, Distance Learning and Blended Learning

Distance learning, in the form of e-learning, is provided to the entire population of Algeria, from middle school through to the completion of high school. This allows for blended learning as classroom teaching is augmented with e-learning.

The distance learning system has undergone various incarnations – from books in the postal service, to video tapes, to CDs and now to a fully online system. This system is monitored in real time to ensure sufficient capacity to meet the demand load for users on the system.

The e-learning system is fully interactive, with full time tutors available to guide learners, answer questions and facilitate where needed or where material is not well understood. A dedicated departmental office (OFFICE NATIONAL D’ENSEIGNEMENT ET DE FORMATION A DISTANCE), based in Algiers, focuses on this function, from which the data center is run, as well as where tutors are based, and materials are generated in conjunction with the education department.

Learner Profiling

An innovative tool to improve quality is the Algerian system is the creation of individualized learner profiles based on psychometric analysis, which is then tied into blended learning using both distance and contact learning at middle and high school levels.

Learner profiles determined how best learners learn (self-learning, group learning, experiential learning, etc.), allowing teachers to direct their efforts at an individualized level, and further allowing a customized experience on the blended learning system.

Learner profiles power personalized learning through data that informs a competency-based education system. Competency-based environments encourage ownership over learning and allow students to have flexibility in how they learn, how they demonstrate learning and advancing at a flexible pace and according to their own needs.

Advantages of this system are:

  • Learner profiles encourage student ownership
  • Learner profiles encourage anytime, anywhere learning
  • Learner profiles encourage personalization
  • Learner profiles allow for portability across systems
  • Learner profiles facilitate demonstration of college and career readiness

Legal and Constitutional Obligations

The principles governing the Algerian educational system are stipulated in the Algerian Constitution, in particular Article 53, that education is an inalienable right.

The school system is characterized by the centralization of programs, methods and schedules. However, the management of institutions and staff is decentralized. Law No. 08-04 of January 23rd 2008, laying down the National Education Act, enshrines the right to education through Articles 10, 11, and 12:

Article 10: The State guarantees the right to education for all Algerians and Algerians without discrimination on grounds of sex, social origin or geographical origin.

Article 11: The right to education is embodied in the generalization of basic education and in the guarantee of equal opportunities in terms of the conditions of schooling and the pursuit of studies after basic education.

Article 12: Education is compulsory for all girls and boys aged 6 to 16 years.

The past few years have also seen the use of regulatory tools to step up enrolment rates. Year-long expulsions of pupils from schools have been banned, and a system of fines was implemented in 2010 for parents who do not ensure that their children attend school. For the 2015/16 school year, approximately 8.1m students were enrolled in primary, middle and high school education.

Recommendations and conclusion

  • The Algerian e-learning system is replicable in South Africa as a way to augment teaching and provide leaners with additional resources at minimal costs – this should be further explored from a policy perspective for blended learning as an avenue to improve outcomes in schools.
  • Learner profiling allows for more effective teaching and should be further explored for policy development.
  • ICT in education needs to be more effectively rolled out starting with a strategy, as the devices themselves are just enabling technology – it’s not an achievement to distribute technology, teacher training is essential and must be based on a co-ordinated strategy – this should be an area for political exploitation in Gauteng.
  • The need to inculcate the culture of community ownership of schools including facilities and equipment,
  • School environment must be safe and secure, ensure cleanliness.


Algeria’s education system, while plagued with similar problems to South Africa, and while criticized for its quality, achieves better outcomes than South Africa, particularly in STEM. The homogenous nature of Algerian society means that many lessons are not cross-compatible, but ideas around blended learning, learner profiling and ICT in education provide policy and political opportunities for the DA to explore and exploit.

DA concerned about allegations of sexual harassment at Equal Education

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Spokesperson on Education

The DA is calling on Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi to launch a probe into the impact of alleged sexual harassment claims against Equal Education (EE) on Gauteng schools and if any Gauteng learners were affected.

The DA further calls on the MEC to audit all NGOs working in Gauteng schools to ensure that they vet all employees and ensure they do not hire anyone accused of sexual harassment and are sensitized to working with young and impressionable children.

Last week allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against three employees of EE of which one has since resigned.

If the allegations prove to be true, we appeal to the MEC to suspend EE’s work in Gauteng schools.

These allegations are serious as EE does a lot of work with young impressionable school children and we cannot allow our children to be mentored by sexual predators.

Sexual abuse especially amongst female learners is rife in our communities and it is therefore distressing that such allegations have been made against high ranking members of an organisation that highlights these issues.

In the Western Cape where the DA governs we have requested that EE stop all its operations in schools in the province while investigations are pending.

DA condemns alleged use of live ammunition against protesting learners

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance

The DA calls on both MECs for Education and Community Safety, Panyaza Lesufi and Sizakele Nkosi- Malobane to urgently investigate the allegations of the use of live ammunition by police against the protesting learners at Thuto-Kitso Technical School in Fochville this week.

The DA strongly condemns these allegations and if the MECs fail to investigate, the DA will call on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to do so.

The learners were protesting due to a lack of technical teachers at the school since the beginning of the year.
For far too long, the learners have been complaining to the department demanding that technical teachers must be recruited, however their plea received no response.

The learners resorted to a protest as they believed that this was the only way to ensure that their voices were heard.
It is disturbing to learn that the district official called the police to the school to assist and that the police used both live ammunition and rubber bullets against the protesting learners.

It is alleged that one learner was injured during the protest and was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
Learners have the right to education which includes access to teachers in all subjects. The Gauteng Department of Education is denying our learners their basic right to education by failing to recruit technical teachers at this school.

The DA will also be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain why the Department has not yet recruited technical teachers for this school and when will they be recruiting.

Come 2019, learners across the province will experience Change; the DA will ensure safe learning environments which prioritize a learner’s right to education.

122 schools investigated for fraud since 2014

by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Spokesperson on Education

The Gauteng Department of Education has investigated 122 schools for fraud or financial mismanagement since 2014, according to written responses to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the DA.

 Of the 122 cases investigated, 42 (34%) are still a work in progress, dating all the way back to 2014, 46 (38%) have yielded disciplinary charges, while a minority of just 34 cases (27%) were deemed to be unfounded.

 The Gauteng Education department has shrouded the details of these cases in secrecy, stating that they will not disclose how many individuals were involved in fraud or mismanagement, whether or not there were teachers, principals or SGB members involved. The department instead stated that they have disbanded SGBs where there have been problems without indicating specifics.

 More worryingly, the department further declined to indicate what amounts of money have been involved in these cases, stating that they will only disclose this when all cases are finalized.

 It is worrying that the Gauteng Education Department is refusing to be transparent about financial mismanagement in schools.

 The DA will be tabling follow up questions asking which schools were involved as well as demand the amounts and if teachers, principals and SGB members are involved in fraud with public money that is meant to be spent on our learners.

 The DA will fight for transparency against a Gauteng Department of Education that shrouds its work in secrecy.