Gordhan: ‘Budget again gives special priority to education’

2014-02-27 00:00

THERE has been almost a 100% increase in pupils who attend schools for free over the past six years, while pre-school attendance has also almost doubled within four years, said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan yesterday.

Delivering his 2014 Budget speech in Parliament, Gordhan said five million pupils had access to free education in 2007 and that this number had reached 8,8 million in 2014. The total for pre-schoolers has increased from 544 000 in 2009 to 779 000 this year.

At the same time, almost nine million pupils are receiving food through the national school nutrition programme.

The Funza Lushaka bursary scheme supported 3 950 graduates who qualified as teachers.

Gordhan said the National Education Collaboration Trust, government, business, labour and civil society will pool resources and work together to restore schools and improve education outcomes in future.

The next few years will also see a major increase in financial aid to students. Gordhan said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will increase from R5,1 billion last year to R6,6 billion in 2016/17. This will result in an increase in FET college bursaries to 292 000.

Gordhan referred to a letter he received in which Dashen Shivambu from Polokwane wrote: “I would like you to put more money on the table for higher education as more funding is required.”

Improvements in education are critical, said Gordhan. “So the 2014 Budget again gives special priority to education.”

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