Education a priority in Gauteng

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Johannesburg - The provision of quality basic education remains the central priority of the current administration, Gauteng Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Tuesday.

“Education is the essential tool that helps us to respond to the societal needs of economic growth and social transformation,” said Nkomfe when tabling his Budget Policy Statement in the Gauteng Legislature.

Nkomfe announced several measures that are set to improve the conditions and raise the socio-economic profiles of learners from poorer backgrounds.

Among these was increasing access to education, which he said remained one their major objectives, as it also contributed to job creation. 

Nkomfe said education infrastructure was prioritised by setting aside an estimated amount of R5 billion over the three years of the 2013 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period for the construction, upgrading and maintenance of schools. 

The department would also appoint additional educators to ensure that the correct learner-teacher ratios are achieved for both primary and secondary schools.

“The total personnel allocation translates to R72.2 billion over the MTEF. Included in this amount is an additional allocation of R88.4 million and R196.6 million for the appointment of additional educators in Quintile 1 schools for the financial year 2014/15 and financial year 2015/16 respectively,” Nkomfe told the legislature.

Scholar transport will be extended to cover 57 000 learners in 2013/14. An amount of R1.1 billion over the MTEF has been set aside.

In addition, learners in no-fee schools will continue to be provided with healthy meals. An amount of R585.2 million in 2013/14, R640.5 million in 2014/15 and R679 million in 2015/16 has been set aside for this programme.

“This is our contribution to ensure that there is a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

About R311 million has been allocated to the Bana Pele programme for the provision of school uniforms to learners for the three years of the MTEF.

The Bana Pele programme responds to poverty afflicted children and offers an integrated package of services, including the provision of school uniforms while simultaneously empowering communities through job creation.

The Leaner and Teacher Support Material to support the implementation of the curriculum has been given R3.3 billion for three years of the MTEF.

Access to early childhood development (ECD) will be increased with the construction of partial care facilities as part of the 20 Priority Township Project (PTP) programme over the 2013 MTEF. The 20 PTP is aimed at providing and rehabilitating existing social and economic infrastructure in the previously marginalised 20 townships.

These facilities, according to Nkomfe, will be located in Mapetla, Soshanguve, Hammanskraal and Bophelong. Funds allocated to the programme amount to R916 million over the MTEF.

The Department of Education contributes a sizeable amount towards ECD, which translates to R635.6 million, R735 million and R923.2 million for the respective years of the MTEF. -