Govt to increase no fees schools by 60 percent

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pretoria - Government intends to increase no-fee schools by at least 60 percent this financial year, says Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

Speaking after a Special Council of Education Ministers Meeting on Tuesday, Minister Motshekga said the council agreed on a few draft policies, including declaring additional schools as no-fee schools, over and above the current schools.

Currently, there are about 15 000 quintile one and two schools which are situated in the poorest communities and have been declared no-fee schools.

A quintile is a national ranking method used by the department to measure how poor a school is, with quintile one being the poorest of all quintiles.

According to the department, parents who wish to be exempted from the payment of school fees for children at schools, should write an application and submit it to the school's governing body.

The minister said the council further discussed effectively utilising monies allocated to schools. "We will ensure that money is spent wisely and that no money is returned to the National Treasury at the end of the financial year," she said.

The meeting also proposed that school governing bodies should be funded to allow them to run the schools effectively.

The minister also briefed the meeting on the preparations for the meeting of President Jacob Zuma on 7 August, with 1 500 school principals from across the country.

This meeting is part of the commitment of the President in his State of the Nation Address to meet with school principals to discuss government's approach to turn all schools into thriving centres of excellence.

President Zuma will address principals on the importance of the "non-negotiables" in education - that teachers must be in school, in class, on time and teaching, with no neglect of duty or the abuse of learners.

President Zuma will also listen to the concerns of principals to ensure that all school heads become strategic partners in providing quality education to all children.