FOREWORD BY THE MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (MEC) f o r e w o r d Education is central to the development and transformation of the Eastern Cape Province, and is critical in ensuring that the Province has the human resources that are required to meet its developmental goals. In this respect, the circumstances of the Province must inform and shape the development and transformation agenda of the Eastern Cape DepartmentofEducation, especially since some of these circumstances spill over into schools and affect their performance and viability. The statistical profile of the Eastern Cape in demographic, economic and educational terms, paints a disquieting picture of under-development, and if properly interrogated, tells a sad story of its history of inequity and disadvantagement. The government is set on an agenda to transform these circumstances, and the DepartmentofEducation must play its part. Since I assumed duty as MEC in May 2004, I realized that it was imperative to ensure that the strategic direction I am providing to the Department during my term ofoffice addresses the historical legacy, especially in the Transkei area. I therefore commissioned Imbewu to draft a document called, A Transformation Agenda for the Eastern Cape DepartmentofEducation2005 – 2014. The Transformation Agenda sets out a broad framework of realigning the EducationDepartment with its mandate for supporting development and transformation in the Province and this StrategicPlan captures how my Department intends addressing such development and transformation within the first five years. Furthermore the agenda is concerned, first of all, with the inherent inequities in educational provisioning, and the need to engender transformation in the availability of opportunities for a high quality of education for all. These opportunities will not be realized unless resources are efficiently and strategically managed, and unless the essential operational systems are in place to ensure enhanced performance of the Department. The Transformation Agenda constitutes my statement of policy intent in terms of the strategic goals 1 it outlines, seeks to foster an in-depth understanding of the circumstances which have defined the course of the Department over the last decade, and the challenges which must be overcome if its transformation agenda for the next ten years is to be realized. The key transformational issues affecting education are issues of access, unemployment, imbalance in employability among youth, the social issues affecting schools and society, and the role played by language and technology in promoting balance in opportunity and access to quality education. These are the issues that feed the agenda of transformation. This StrategicPlan takes these issues as its baseline and translates the strategic goals into strategic objectives, and assigns responsibility to the relevant Chief Directorates. This plan is also an expression of our commitment to participate in the other Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) priorities such as: Agrarian transformation and food security, including the comprehensive nutrition programme; Fighting poverty, which includes the Expanded Public Works Programme, the capital projects of the different Departments and HIV and Aids; Public sector transformation focusing on service delivery in the main social service delivery departments; Infrastructure development; Manufacturing diversification and tourism; and Human Resource Development. The latter seeks to address the skills shortages in Government, the educational programmes of Further Education and Training (FET), Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET), Early Childhood Education (ECD) and a comprehensive Human Resource Development (HRD) strategy and learnership programmes. 1 The Agenda refers to them as strategic objectives, but in terms of National Treasury prescripts they are actually strategic goals.