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budget in text11 May 2015 - With a 9% budget increase for the year 2015/2016, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will focus on repositioning the basic education sector for accelerated quality, equity and efficiency.

On Wednesday 6 May Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga presented the budget speech in the National Assembly in Cape Town. For the full text of the speech please click here. Below we have highlighted some of the topics that received special mention including the Grade 9 school exit certificate, the encouragement of reading and the budget allocation.

 

Grade 9 school exit certificate

The Department of Basic Education is developing a new school exit certificate for learners who battle with traditional academic requirements.

"Much more needs to be done actively to direct those learners who drop out or are at risk of dropping out of the schooling system on to an alternative pathway towards a technical, vocational or artisan career." said the Minister at a media briefing prior to the session in parliament.

The General Education and Training Certificate will be a new school certificate that allows Grade 9 school leavers to go on to study at a Technical Vocational Education and Training College. The Department says this exit certificate will help increase the number of artisans in the country and address unemployment and skills shortage.

It is not yet clear when this certificate could be implemented; the initial draft will have to be considered by various stakeholders including the Department for Higher Education, Umalusi and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the provincial MECs for Education before the final document can be published in the Government Gazette for public comments.

 

A reading nation is a winning nation

school libraryThe Minister plans to launch a 1,000 school libraries per yearThe Department takes up the theme of A reading nation, is a winning nation more seriously and wishes to mobilise all South Africans to take up this challenge in the name of uTata Madiba, who so cherished education. The Minister even encourages the members of parliament to be actively involved in this endeavour.

"International, regional and national research identifies that support for reading activities, and stimulation for the practice of reading and writing in all aspects of society and in our schools in particular, is crucial for deepening literacy and numeracy in developing countries. Getting young people to read and write for school, for leisure, and even in the world of work, is a critical aspect of the development of the social fabric of our country." stated the Minister followed by her decision to launch 1, 000 school libraries per year.

The Department is encouraged by the wonderful work done by NGOs in the field, communities and individuals who have volunteered to establish or refurbish school libraries and classroom library corners and calls on all communities, and in particular the youth, to donate time, books, and even space as well as basic furniture and shelving to support reading in schools in their communities.

 

Budget allocation

The overall budget allocation for 2015/16 for the Department of Basic Education is R21.511 billion. This is an increase of R1.821 billion (9.24%) compared to the previous financial period. Some of the budget allocations include:

 

Maths, Science & Technology
The Technical Schools Recapitalisation grant and the Dinaledi Schools grant have been combined and are now called the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) grant. This grant is intended to promote the teaching and learning of Mathematics, Science and Technology and has been allocated a total of R1.1 billion over the 2015/16 to 2017/18 budget periods.

The MST Grant will strengthen the implementation of the National Development Plan and the Action Plan to 2019 by increasing the number of learners taking Mathematics, Science and Technology subjects, improving the success rate of the learners as well as improving teachers' capabilities in teaching these three gateway subjects.

 

National Education Collaboration Trust
The importance of public-private partnerships is a prevalent theme of the National Development Plan; and it is also consistent with the President's call to make education a societal issue. To this end, the National Education Collaboration Trust will receive an additional R200 million, bringing the total allocation for the financial period to R326 million. This allocation is meant to leverage the partnership contributions from the private sector.

 

asidi schoolThe Accelerated Schools Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) so far has delivered 107 schoolsInfrastructure development
Close to R37 billion will be spent on infrastructure delivery, both through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), which so far has delivered 107 new schools, as through the establishment of an dedicated Infrastructure Delivery, Management and Oversight Unit to enhance school maintenance, development and provisioning.

This unit will comprise built environment experts and specialists with the requisite skills; to improve and monitor infrastructure, equipment and furniture provisioning in support of quality education. This unit must also get to grips with the crippling and unacceptable sanitation situation that continues to plague too many of the schools.

 

Teacher placement, deployment and development
A quality education system is reliant on the quality of its teachers. Every learner in every classroom needs to be taught for the required number of hours per day, by a qualified and competent teacher. To support teacher training, R3.094 billion will be awarded in Funza Lushaka bursaries over the 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial periods.

 

Curriculum and inclusion
This headline include amongst others:

  • The central procurement of LTSMs through a transversal tender. This will done in collaboration of the Office of the Central Procurement Officer in the National Treasury;
  • An allocation of R3.025 billion will go to the production and distribution of workbooks to all schools. These workbooks have proven to be essential learning and teaching resources and the Department will continue making these resources available. The workbooks have also been translated into Braille to benefit visually impaired learners.
  • The extension of the Annual National Assessments (ANA) to include Grades 7 and 8, thus covering approximately 9 million learners. The refinement and management, of the ANA has been allocated R528,632 million over the finance period.

 

In conclusion

Concluding her address the Minster said: "We have started the repositioning and realignment of my Department for more impact on implementation; and this will be finalised within the next quarter. With the results of a recent strategic review and reflection convened in the sector, and the various roundtables we have convened in a listening campaign, we have obtained valuable advice and shared information with strategic partners and organisations on levers that will enable us to perform better in order to achieve our sectoral goals and priorities."

 

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