Gauteng Education MEC, Matome Chiloane, has tabled his maiden vote for this financial year's budget.
Earlier this year, in an effort to address challenges within the education system, government is expected to spend around R1.4 trillion over the next three years for both Higher and Basic Education on learning and culture, as announced during the 2023 Budget Speech delivered by Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana.
This year, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) was allocated R31.8 billion which is an increase of 7% from last year’s overall allocation. Administration was allocated R538.8 million for this financial year.
Curriculum Policy Support and Monitoring was provided with a budget of R3.526 billion. The Teacher Education Human Resource and Institutional Development was allocated R1.508 billion.
Planning Information and Assessment was given a budget of R16.616 billion. Educational Enrichment Services was provided with a R9.594 billion budget.
Conditional grants were also provided with an overall allocation of R25.329 billion, which is an increase of 9.5% from last year’s budget.
Department Spokesperson, Steve Mabona, says that Early Childhood Development (ECD) is a "critical stage of learning", and therefore the Department has placed intense focus on improving Early Childhood Development.
We need to improve Early Childhood Development, make sure that our children, at an early age, are in a position to read for meaning, as we've seen from the study.
A study recently revealed that 80% of South Africa's Grade Four learners are struggling to read, with many unable to read for comprehension.
The 2021 results of the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS) were recently published and indicated that 81% of South Africa’s grade 4 learners are unable to read for meaning.
We are sure that in our ECD level, [that] we are teaching, not that children will be singing and sleeping; so we have improved. We took over from [the Department of] Social Development, it's one of our priorities.
South Africa's state of education has long been an area for concern, prompting government to develop and roll-out a National Development Plan (NDP), that aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. Part of the NDP is improving education in the country's schools.
Mabona added that in Schools of Specialization in the Gauteng province, the quality of education is being improved so that when learners leave the school environment, they are ready for the real world and real jobs.
We have what we call 'multi-certification', making sure that [for] all levels, there's a certificate that you've amassed in all the grades, so that by the time you reach Grade 12, you would've been enriched with about 12 certificates.
Regarding learners with disabilities in the Basic Education sector, Mabona and Chiloane have stated that these learners will not be excluded when it comes to learning.
Mabona says that for this particular area, the budget has been re-prioritized.
Each and every time, what we do is, we go back and review how many of those [Specialization] schools that we have that need refurbishing, those that were not up to standard. We had to introduce a new school, the biggest one in the country, where we spent a lot of money, and there are plans now for us to open a second one.
Gauteng 2024 school admissions
Chiloane has announced that the application period for these grades will open on 15 June and remain open until 14 July 2023.
This announcement comes after several parents expressed their concerns earlier in 2023 when the system failed to allocate placements for some learners in a timely manner for the current academic period.
Gauteng school applications for the 2023 academic year opened last year, and unfortunately, the process has not been smooth-sailing for parents and/or guardians applying on behalf of their children.
These frustrations are not a new occurrence amongst parents, as complaints have arisen every year since the introduction of the online application platform/system, even if they've applied on time along with all the necessary documents.
Mabona has stated that the Gauteng province has a capacity problem.
Many parents would not be in a position to afford private and independent schooling, so that compounded to our challenge of capacity. But we've been working very hard to make sure that we prepare for closing the gap, in terms of capacity.
With the online application process for 2024 set to open in mid-June, parents are urged to familiarize themselves with the requirements and procedures for successful enrollment.