Sona: What has been done – Education

2012-02-11 16:48

Early last year, President Zuma promised to have textbooks and teachers available on time at public schools. Schools in most provinces appear to have received their textbooks, except for Limpopo, where a contractor reportedly failed to deliver on time.

The Eastern Cape was hard-hit by a teacher strike, which brought learning to a standstill at the beginning of the year. The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union mobilised the chalk-down to force provincial education head Modidima Mannya to resign. Although resolved this week, much learning time was lost during the strike, and there’s a long way to go before learning and teaching becomes the norm in most government schools.

Zuma also promised internationally benchmarked yearly assessments for pupils in grades 3, 6 and 9. Although the results were shocking – the pupils scored an average of between 28% and 35% for literacy and numeracy – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said they used the information to identify schools that needed support. More than 6 million pupils were assessed on numeracy and literacy skills last year.

President Jacob promised to exempt academically strong but poor students at further education and training (FET) colleges from paying fees. He also pledged to convert the final-year loans of qualifying university students into bursaries. Those promises were kept.

Department of higher education spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga said 163 904 students received government bursaries by mid-January. More than 118 000 students received funding for national vocation certificates at FETs, while more than 45 000 students received funding for technical education. More than R1.2 billion was spent on FET bursaries.

At universities, only qualifying students who graduated at the end of 2011 qualified for bursaries. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is auditing data on the number of bursary recipients.

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