R165 billion for educators, FET Colleges and new school initiatives 5

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced an allocation of R165 billion to the Basic Education and Higher Education departments for the next financial year. This is up by more than R17 billion as compared to the previous year.

A further R2.7 billion will be made available to the Department of Basic Education for the roll-out of workbooks in all 11 official languages to help raise numeracy levels in Grades 3, 6 and 9.

Delivering his maiden Budget Speech in the National Assembly, Gordhan said while government spending needed to be kept in check, education remained the number one priority in the country’s fiscus.

The R2.7 billion funding is expected to assist the Department of Basic Education address serious challenges in the schooling system.

These include findings that South Africa’s numeracy and literacy levels for school children were unacceptably low despite a high level of spending in education over the past 15 years.

Challenges within the system include poor management, inadequately trained teachers, insufficient time for tasks and a lack of basic resources in poor schools.

Low levels of achievement in science, mathematics and languages have also been identified.

The workbooks in schools will help teachers to map out clear plans and guide effective use of the curriculum.

An annual R28 million is being provided for national assessments of literacy and numeracy for Grades 3, 6 and 9.

These assessments, announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address last week, will measure performance and allow educators and parents to make the necessary interventions to enhance performance. This is to prevent more dismal matric failures in some schools.

Further Education and Training colleges will receive R12 billion and a further R1.3 billion has been set aside to improve salaries of educators in the sector over the next three years.

Government says it will also use the R12 billion to promote higher training standards to meet the requirements of a changing economy while also addressing the lack of training in certain skills areas.

South Africa’s lack of skilled labour is said to hamper economic growth as twice as many students are enrolled in universities as are enrolled in vocational colleges while in many other countries this ratio is reversed.

Existing skills training programmes are often inadequate to support the needs of individuals and the economy.

Allocations to higher education institutions have grown from R7.1 billion in 2001/02 to R15.3 billion this year.

An additional R1 billion is provided over the next three years to increase subsidies to universities while R5.6 billion will go to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Spending by provincial education departments is also expected to grow by 8.1 percent per year to R162 billion over the next three years to ensure the system responds to the educational needs of all learners.

Full coverage on the Budget available on the Skills Portal website.

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5 thoughts on “R165 billion for educators, FET Colleges and new school initiatives

  • Catherine Anne Robertson

    I couldn’t agree with Gitta and Jim more, and Des has come up with some real actions that can be implemented. And yes, Jasper, you’ve picked up on the disillusionment of people who so badly want to make a difference, but there doesn’t seem to be some co-ordinating body to manage the funds in a properly planned and well thought out way. We keep throwing money and ideas at things but we really haven’t made that much of a difference in all these years. It is time that we started doing something that will help the people who really need it – teacher education, insisting that children can read, write and do basic calculations at schools, ensuring that the training at FETs meets not only the requirements of articulation into higher education, but also the workplace; ensuring that the workplace has people trained according to skills needs (investing and not only reacting to incentives) and not trying to go it alone – they do not have years of pedagogical training and holistic training (including lifeskills, communication and numeracy) must form part of workplace learning – and to start using real, qualified teachers who have spent years training how to do it (not just a quick fix 3-day once off with an impressive PoE in faciltitator, train the trainer, assessor, moderator etc.). I really do believe most of us are on the same songsheet and there have been some remarkable successes – we just need a director to ensure that the influence and effect is wider and synchronised to benefit the people in SA who need it most!

  • Jasper Coetzee

    I am on the one very worried that our reactions are so negative, but then on the other hand one realise that those reactions are simply due to the facts of the experience of the last 13 years. I like Gitta’s spirit. It is time that something real is done. Money alone is not going to produce the results, but money plus a will to succeed plus the ability to succeed might do the trick. We are available to serve our country and train people and we have the will and the ability, but mostly we are flatly ignored.

  • Des Squire

    I felt very proud listening to the Minister who delivered his speech in such a professional and controlled mannner. There’s a lesson there for many. All in all it is a great budget and augurs well for the future. On the issue of education it is great so much has been allocated the problem is how will it be used – will it be used or abused?
    To get back on track all parties need to ensure we deal with and spend money on current issues in order to take care of future requirements in the light of global developments.
    We need to get the education, training and skills development effort working for the good of those involved – the beneficiaries.

    Personally, I would advocate the following
    The re-opening of all teacher training colleges as we had in the past
    The training of all teachers based on GET and HET subject matter and train them properly at the re-established training colleges.
    Make use of ex teachers and those who took early retirement as school inspectors. (Inspectors were feared and revered in the past) This is what we need again. There is no point in appointing anyone as an inspector who does not understand education.
    While I appreciate the need to educate in home language, I feel the printing of books in all 11 languages is a waste of good money (2.7 billion??) We can’t provide work books at present even in one language.
    Finally teachers must teach and those who have not yet realised what their vocation is and what it entails must get out of teaching. There should be no place in our schools for lack of committment, poor attitude and most certainly “no striking teachers”

  • Catherine Anne Robertson

    Well said, Isaac! Wonderful news? When are we going to stop talking and start doing? We have been saying repeatedly that schools do not have textbooks, we have a critical skills shortage, the average age of our artisans is 58 (it’s most probably 65 by now!), we need to alleviate poverty, we need to do something about our training programmes etc. On and on and on we go! We just can’t seem to do anything in a co-ordinated, well planned, holistic way. It’s a bit here and a bit there; changes are made and then changed again. We just can’t settle down and stick to something and make it work. What great work has the minister done? Do we really believe that that small amount allocated will address the poor teacher salaries? Heaven knows, I wish that it really were good news, but I am tired of nothing really changing for the better as politicians gain political mileage with their pronouncements! Has anyone ever consulted the people on the ground to ask what we really should be doing? Well, no-one’s talked to me!