More access for the poor

2011-04-04 00:00

WITH an increase of R6,38 billion to last year’s budget, increased campaigns targeting pupil pregnancy and drug use, as well as a focused fight against HIV and Aids are just some of the things the KZN Education Department will be tackling during this financial year.

Money will also be dedicated to boost infrastructure, the national school nutrition programme (NSNP), teacher development, as well as improving pupil achievement in mathematics, science and other gateway subjects.

The department received a total of R32,6 billion for the 2011/12 financial year when compared to last year’s R26,2 billion.

These figures emerged at a media briefing held by the department prior to MEC Senzo Mchunu’s budget speech on Friday.

R24 billion of this budget will go towards salaries.

In his speech Mchunu was upbeat about his department’s efforts in making education free and accessible for the poor. He said 80% of all public schools in the province are now no-fee schools. According to Mchunu, a 2010 snap survey revealed that pupil enrolment in the province reached 2 811 584. However, he admitted to journalists during the press briefing that there is no credible instrument to measure those pupils dropping out and their reasons for leaving.

Spending on infrastructure will this year be increased from R1,035 billion to R1,185 billion. According to Mchunu, the additional funding will come in handy as the department continues to be exposed to “inclement elements” such as natural disaster, willful damage to property and depreciation.

Mchunu said their efforts will also overlap into employing an integrated approach in dealing with social ills afflicting schools such as gangsterism, drug and substance abuse, teen pregnancy and general lawlessness.

He said R45 million will go towards effective and integrated systems of HIV/Aids prevention, care and support for both pupils and teachers.

The department has set a further R12,3 million to improve achievement in mathematics, science and technology.

Also, each pupil from grade eight upwards in secondary schools will receive about seven textbooks each. Each school will also receive science kits, mobile science laboratories in addition to 2 000 KZN teachers being trained in content knowledge in physical science, mathematics and first additional language.

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