Mkonyeni lauds education budget

2014-08-14 00:00

PLEASE can I have some more?

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Peggy Mkonyeni welcomed the education budget of R39,446 billion yesterday but said it would be inadequate “to address the historical backlogs of the period prior to 1994” though it would be able to “fund education in its current form”.

Mkonyeni said her department’s needs grow faster than the “historical growth” of the budget and that both the education and finance portfolio committees conceded that “real educational needs far outweigh the budgetary inputs”.

Despite budgetary constraints Mkonyeni said her department was “determined and committed … to implement radical educational programmes” and that her department was still able to “ensure that no child is unable to access basic education because of poverty”.

DA provincial education spokesperson Mbali Ntuli said the challenges facing the education department were “tough” but “not insurmountable”.

Ntuli acknowledged the merits of the “many good interventions currently underway” but said that a look at previous education budgets showed “while intervention areas have been identified, plans are not being implemented”.

Ntuli also called for a system of accountability to be instituted, both for management and teachers. “If interventions are to be real people must be held to account.”

“Lower performing teachers must be reskilled … or removed from the system.”

Mbali also called for the MEC to tackle the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu). “It is far too strong in this province and exercises political power.”

She said the MEC should not pretend they are a “benevolent, well-meaning teaching organisation” but must demonstrate she is not a “puppet of Sadtu”.

• Stephen.Coan@witness.co.za

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