W Cape improves textbook access for learners

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pretoria - Within the next three years, every child from Grade 1 to 12 within the Western Cape will have a textbook in every subject he or she is taking.

Presenting the department's R13.332 billion budget for the 2011/12 financial year on Wednesday, Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant said the department continues to believe in the primacy of textbooks for all learners.

In addition to the norms and standards of allocations to schools, an amount of R129 million has been allocated to textbooks, with the budget expected to rise to R147 205 000 in 2012/13. 

"We have already broken new ground by ensuring that all learners in Grades 2 to 7 have a mathematics textbook and have also provided relevant readers to 258 primary schools who serve poorer communities," Grant said, noting that an amount of R385 700 000 will be spent on textbooks over the next three years.

Acknowledging the value of teachers and a need to improve their skills, R91 million has been allocated to train provincial teachers. 

However, Grant warned that unlike previous years, there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach.

"There will be differentiated training for those teachers in need of urgent assistance and value added training for teachers from top performing schools," he explained.

In assisting poorer schools, where parents cannot afford to pay for school fees, an amount of R41 million has been allocated to assist schools for fee exemptions. 

"We will do everything possible to minimize the administrative load required to apply for such funding and I am confident that these funds will help at least some schools most in need with the financial challenges that they confront," said the MEC.

Over 3 900 additional learners are also expected to receive education at 19 schools, as more than 171 additional mobile units were delivered to these schools last year to alleviated alleviate overcrowding.

Through the provincial classroom expansion plan, 112 classrooms have either been built, or are being built to improve access to schools.