Big spend on education

South Africa’s spending on education continues to grow with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan today announcing an allocation of R207 billion to the sector with projections that this may rise to up to R236 billion over the next three years.

Delivering his Budget Speech in Parliament, Gordhan said provincial education spending was expected to grow by 5.9% over the next three years from R169.9 billion this year to R183.8 billion in 2015.

Government will further spend over R18 billion of the money towards boosting learner subsidies for no- fee schools and expanded access to Grade R. Authorities say learner performance in literacy and numeracy remained a challenge as shown by the national assessment of all Grade 3 and 6 learners conducted last year. The assessments identified problem areas in each school and allowed for tailored interventions to be made with R235 million set aside in the budget for this purpose.

About R850 million has been set aside towards improving the country’s university infrastructure including student accommodation facilities. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which has helped poor students at tertiary institutions with loans, will receive more than R17 billion over the next three years.

Also, a Green Paper on Higher Education, released earlier this year, further makes commitments by government to build two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape to address the challenge of space at the country’s tertiary institutions.

While he made no mention of the project in his speech today, Gordhan did tell reporters earlier that work was currently at an advanced stage pointing out that R300 million was provided in the fiscus for planning and design of the universities. Further financial commitments will be made as the projects get off the ground.

A further R1.4 billion will be spent over the next three years to support early childhood development programmes and implementation of the community-based childcare and protection programme. This will increase access to early childhood development from the current 500 000 to 580 000 children with a focus on rural areas with expectations that more than 10 000 youth will be employed as a result of the programme. – BuaNews