MEC tables education budget

2017-06-21 06:00
Martha Bartlett   Photo: Christiaan Cloete

Martha Bartlett Photo: Christiaan Cloete

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The Northern Cape Department of Education’s total budget for 2017-’18 is R5,8 billion, of which R808 378 million is alloca­ted to the various conditional grants administered by the department.

The budget vote was tabled by Martha Bartlett, the MEC for Education in the Northern Cape, on Wednesday (14/06) during a house sitting of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature at the chambers of the Frances Baard District Municipality.

The budget includes the newly-created conditional grant for learners with profound intellectual disabi­lities.

In her budget speech, the MEC made a commitment to using this investment to ensure that all the department’s programmes were underpinned by an overall focus on sustained improvement in learner outcomes from Gr. R to Gr. 12.

An amount of R653 million will be allocated to administration in a striving for effective and efficient governance within the department, working towards improving planning, internal control systems, monitoring and reporting.

An amount of R223 million has been allocated for the No Fee school policy for the 2017-’18 financial year, which will benefit a total of 189 601 learners.

The budget has significantly increased from R212 million from the 2016-’17 financial year.

A further allocation of R10 million will benefit an estimated 20 000 learners that will be exempted from paying school fees.

Elaborating on the budget breakdown, Bartlett highlighted that 73% (R4,1 billion) of the total departmental budget for the 2017-’18 financial year goes to public ordinary schools education.

This programme constitutes the core function of teaching and learning, where the main focus of the programme continues to be on teacher and learner support for the realisation of overall improved quality of public basic education across the grades.

An amount of R1,1 million is being invested by the department in the 2018 school governing body (SGB) general elections.

“This investment will, amongst others, cover advocacy and training of everyone who would be involved, including officials, teachers and parents or guardians, with launching and conducting the ­elections,” elaborated the MEC.

The 2017-’18 budget for six independent schools is R9,1 million and is expected to grow to R10,2 million by the 2019-’20 financial year.

The schools will continue to be monitored to ensure compliance with policies.

The public special schools education programme budget increases from R116 million in 2016-’17 to R140 million in the 2017-’18 financial year.

“This substantial increase in the overall budget is attributed to the newly- established conditional grant for learners with profound intellectual disabi­lities.”

An amount of R99,26 million is allocated for early childhood development (ECD), aimed at the provisioning of quality ECD services in both public and community-based sites in the province. The programme further strives towards ensuring that those who enter Gr. 1 are well-prepared for school.

The department further allocated R11,8 million within 2017-’18 for emergency projects within the Pixley ka Seme District in order to address the identified sanitation challenges.

An amount of R142 million is allocated towards examinations and education-related service that mainly goes to the administration of both internal and external examinations.

A total of R180 million is allocated for the national school nutritional programme, which is constitu­ted by R161 million from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) conditional grant and R19 million from the equi­table share allocation.

According to the department, an additional 56 354 learners in quintile four to five schools also receive a daily meal through the equitable share.

“Through this programme, we are able to provide a decent meal to 205 525 learners in quintile one to three schools through the conditional grant,” added MEC Bartlett.

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