Budgeting for improved education
23 February 2011
Spending on education remains high on South Africa's priorities, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocating more than R189-billion to the sector for 2011/12, up by 9.7 percent over 2010/11.
Delivering his Budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Gordhan also announced an allocation of R8.3-billion for the Department of Basic Education to tackle the challenge of school infrastructure, while R1-billion goes to the funza lushaka teacher bursaries and bursaries for top students in natural science.
The R8.2-billion windfall will enable the Basic Education Department to replace about 3 627 informal and unsafe school structures. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshegka said a large chunk of the money would go to the Eastern Cape to address the lack of proper classrooms there.
Motshegka said that more than R75-million would go towards strengthening oversight, monitoring and evaluation. The national assessments in literacy and numeracy for all grades 3, 6 and 9 pupils, announced by President Jacob Zuma last year, will be conducted in all schools this year, and more than 6.6-million learners have been budgeted for.
The three Ts
Gordhan said that more than R24-billion would be added to South Africa's education and skills spending over the next three years, and that this was expected to rise from R190-billion next year to R215-billion in 2014.
Improving education in South Africa is high among the government's priorities, with President Jacob Zuma earlier this month pushing the concept of "the three Ts" – teachers, textbooks and time – for basic education in the country.
The three Ts, Zuma said, were motivated by his administration's desire to see teachers and textbooks being at schools on time and teachers in class on time and teaching for at least seven hours a day.
Backlogs in infrastructure, low levels of achievements in literacy, mathematics and science, and insufficient qualified teachers are among the challenges the government has been battling to address.
This is despite a 16 percent increase in spending in education and skills development over the past two years.
The government says provincial education spending is expected to grow by 6.5 percent over the medium term, from R143.2-billion this year to R171.2-billion in 2014, mainly due to growth in compensation of employees.