Risks Management: Learners Without Valid Study Permits
A risk identified that can potentially lead to school penalties is a foreign or immigrant learner attending school in South Africa.
It has come to our attention that children without a valid study permit or visa are not eligible to attend a South African school, this includes children whose parents have temporary residency in South Africa. If the parents cannot produce a study permit when registering the child at a school, the school is legally not allowed to enroll the child.
On the Principal+ system we have recently launched Compliance tasks, this is one of the outstanding tasks that will appear if you have learners without indicated study visas.
SA School Act and Learners
The South African Schools Act of 1996, states that all children aged between 7 – 15 years old are required to attend school and that it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their children adhere to this. With regards to immigrant learners, parents first need to obtain a study permit or visa. The first step requires lodging an application with the Department of Home Affairs with all relevant documentation in place before they apply to a specific South African school.
The new immigration regulations announced in June 2014 altered the terminology to differentiate between temporary and permanent applications; temporary residence applications are now referred to as visas and permanent residence applications are referred to as permits. A study visa classifies the learner as temporary and only valid for a maximum of eight years at a primary school and six years at a secondary school. These visa or permits are limited to the specific school where the learner will attend during this period, if the learner needs to transfer to another school the parents will be required to reapply for a visa to another school.
Other Changes in Regulation
• A temporary residence does not automatically grant the child the right to school in South Africa.
• Children born to parents with permanent residency after October 2014 are not granted automatic permanent residence. Parents need to apply for a visa for their children to be legal in South Africa
• If a child is born after October 2014 parents must examine the birth certificate for a valid South African ID, if there is no ID number and they have not met the requirements they need to apply for residence for their child
Without a valid study visa a child may not attend school in South Africa. This is what raises concern as most schools are unaware of the risks when allowing a child to enroll. In addition to this, the law states that an illegal immigrant found on the property of any educational institution will be assumed to be receiving an education from or have been given permission to receive an education from the individual in charge of the property, which contravenes the Immigration Act and may result in a fine or prison sentence.
How To Handle Learners Without A Valid Study Visa
If you have learners who are currently attending your school without a valid study visa our advice is to inform the parent of this requirement and make sure they immediately apply to obtain one. To apply for a permit, parents can do the following:
• Complete the relevant study visa application
• Obtain an official letter of acceptance from the school
• Apply for learner medical cover for the full duration of the study visa
It is the responsibility of the Principal to provide various notifications to the Director-General for the duration of the applicant’s registration at their institution, as follows:
• Proof of registration to be provided as per the relevant legislation within 60 days after registration
• In the case of failure to register by the closing date, notice of this failure should be given within 7 days of the closing date
• Notice of de-registration to be given within 30 days
• Notice of completion of studies to be given within 30 days, as well as whether the applicant intends to further their studies at the institution
District Level Communication: Third Party Compliance
The following statements, highlighted below, are being circulated amongst schools regarding third party administration systems. Due to the uncertainty experienced by our clients we want to respond to these statements and share our view that is based on available legislation.
1. “The learner profile in SA-SAMS will be used to determine the exact number of learners that will be subsidised. This will be verified with the learner’s ID number. If the ID is invalid or missing the school will not be subsidised for the specific learner. This applies to all learners not only grade 12 learners.”
We will always ensure that our learner profile data is in the correct format and is compatible with SA-SAMS. To ensure that data is correctly exported by schools to SA-SAMS it is important that schools keep their data up to date and monitor learners with incorrect or missing ID numbers. We proactively train schools to utilise the GDE Extractor Tool as a process to identify non-funded learners. If a learner’s ID Number has been verified and validated, but still fail to validate in SA-SAMS it should be reported in writing to the Department of Basic Education in order for the school to be assisted by Home Affairs. Schools should not be penalized in these cases.
On the Principal+ system, you can refer to the new proactive Compliance Tasks under ‘My Home | Tasks’ that will reflect if you have missing ID numbers and direct you to those specific learners.
2. “Exam registration will only be done from SA-SAMS for the FET phase in future. If the school is not using module 12 in SA-SAMS to capture marks and subjects it will be very difficult for anyone to do this. No third party is compliant enough to warrant that your data is correct.”
In March 2017, we have completed the development for NSC (National Senior Certificate) data exported to the SA-SAMS database. We export the exact curriculum that has been set up by the school, therefore it is imperative that schools accurately capture the learner information on their system.
For example, when marks are captured on Assessment level the marks will export on that level.
The DBE now requires all schools to use the exact SA-SAMS curriculum on activity (assessment) level. We advise schools to also capture on activity level within Principal+.
We are currently in the process of introducing the SA-SAMS curriculum as an option to schools on the system, but we are concerned about the practicality for independent, private and special needs schools. We are awaiting confirmation from the DBE in writing regarding the use of the exact curriculum as on SA-SAMS as an requirement.
3. “The weightings of marks in SA-SAMS is correct according to CAPS and Circular 1 and circular 4 of 2017 for all subjects. The working mark sheets from districts that differ is the problem not SA-SAMS.“
SA-SAMS would be seen as the norm should there be an inconsistency in the excel mark schedules of the districts. Districts do require additional excel templates for manual completion, this is unfortunate as the system allows for the extraction of marks that have been exported into the database.
In order to assist schools in working more effectively with data and to comply with the DBE’s districts requirements we are creating a process to allow schools to export marks in a calculated and controlled way. The launch of the d6 education Compliance Data Handling Workshop has enabled schools to work more effectively with their data and we have already seen an improvement in the numerous reports created by schools to keep up with the district’s demands.
4. “The district will only accept SA-SAMS databases and schedules. It will have to be in electronic format and printed as only the printed version can be used for accountability purposes.”
This implies that only SA-SAMS must be used for submission, which is not true. The DBE has no policy in place that makes the use of SA-SAMS mandatory.
Marks are currently calculated and exported based on the school’s curriculum setup within the system. Mark schedules can be printed from the latest SA-SAMS version 17.2.0, but can also be printed from function 12.9.15.
5. “Progression and promotion will only be done in SA-SAMS and if your age, years in grade and phase is not correct it will not be changed later.”
This is supported within our Principal+ system and is based upon the school’s curriculum setup as well as the learner details captured by the school on their system. Moderation and/or condonation forms part of this process.
6. “There is more training planned but the DBE is adamant that they have given different stakeholders ample opportunity to attend training which they chose not to attend.”
As a third party, we have not received any invitation to attend training sessions provided by the DBE or relevant districts. We are proactive in setting up a meeting with the DBE to provide training for our team to enable us to effectively and efficiently assist our schools.
Other Relevant Communication
Please put systems in place to ensure your data is correct up to date and complete.
To ensure that the school data is correct, complete and secure in regards to the POPI Act we proactively update the development within our systems and aim to create new effective methods to assist our schools with the DBE requirements.
Third party users are obliged to report in SA-SAMS but none of the extracted databases could be used as the fields are not exactly the same as in SA-SAMS.
This refers to the curriculum format similarity. We are prioritizing the pre-population of the SA-SAMS curriculum within our system to give schools the option of selecting the format used by SA-SAMS. Other admin related information is successfully utilized in our exported databases for submissions in various provinces.
If your data is not submitted weekly to the GDE data warehouse and to the district it is not accessible and can not be reported to the minister.
It has recently come to our attention that schools need to submit a weekly attendance database at their respective district office. It is imperative that schools submit a monthly deployed database and term database online as well as to their district office according to the deadlines provided.
Compliance training currently equips schools to submit attendance online through the Valistractor to the DBE dashboard.
We hope the information provided in this newsletter helped to clarify the issues you have experienced surrounding and pertaining to the Department of Basic Education.
Please ensure to regularly attend departmental meetings and training to ensure that your school is updated, informed and educated. We appreciate all the information received from schools regarding the DBE. Please continue to do so by sending your updates and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report any form of threat or communication relating to the mandatory use of SA-SAMS, as no legislation or policy support this.