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TTP17MATRICS20-19-09-2012-13-09-11-161-28 February 2014 - On Wednesday Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that, as in previous years, the education sector will get the highest share of government's consolidated expenditure – 20% or R254 billion. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years, growing to a budget of over R293 billion in 2017.

The budget will be used to increase access to schooling and improve infrastructure in schools, which serve nearly nine million South African children, Minister Gordhan said, adding that government will build 433 new schools over the next three years.

Post schooling education and training accounts for about 21% of the total education spending, with R21 billion set aside for university subsidies and R19 billion for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for bursaries and loans.

Provincial education departments also receive a big portion of the budget to pay teachers' salaries


More funds for NSFAS

On Wednesday, Minister Gordhan said the allocation to the NSFAS will increase from R5.1 billion poured into the scheme last year, to R6.6 billion in 2016.
This will increase the number of Further Education and Training bursaries to 292 000 and will assist over 236 000 students to attend university in the next three years.

In his speech, the minister noted that access to free education had increased sharply since government introduced no-fee schools in 2007. Today, 60% of schools do not charge fees - up from 40% five years ago.
According to the Budget Review, five million children had access to free education in 2007. This year, the number increased to 8.8 million.

In recent years, there has also been a sharp increase in the number of children who attend Grade R. The national school nutrition programme now feeds 8.7 million children.

The Department of Basic Education's long term plan to improve the quality of education focuses on literacy, numeracy as well as science and languages.

The Funza Lushaka bursary scheme for students wanting to teach in public schools is intended to increase the number of qualified teachers. Last year, more than 3 000 graduates qualified for placement in schools in 2014.

Through the National Education Collaboration Trust, government, business, labour and civil society will pool resources and work together to restore schools and improve education outcomes in the period ahead.



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