South Africa’s spending on education is growing with the help of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocating R207-billion to the sector for 2012/13, along with forecasts that this could possibly increase to up to R236-billion over the upcoming three years.
Gordhan explained that provincial education spending is most likely to grow by 5.9% over the next three years, from R169.9-billion this year to R183.8-billion in 2015.
Student financial assistance for no-fee schools
The government is going to also spend in excess of R18-billion of the money towards increasing learner subsidies for no-fee schools and broadened access to Grade R.
South Africa’s education authorities point out that learner overall performance in literacy and numeracy continues to be an issue, as revealed by the national assessment of grade 3 and 6 learners carried out this past year.
The assessments determined trouble spots in each school and made it possible for tailored interventions to be made, with R235-million put aside in the Budget for this purpose.
R850-million for university infrastructure
Approximately R850-million has been earmarked specifically for the improvement of the country’s university infrastructure, as well as student accommodation facilities.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which has assisted poor students at tertiary institutions with loans, will get in excess of R17-billion over the next three years.
A Green Paper on Higher Education, published earlier this year, contains commitments by the government to construct two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape to cope with the difficulty of space at the country’s tertiary institutions.
Despite the fact that he made no reference to the project in his budget speech, Gordhan did inform reporters that work was at this time at an advanced stage, stating that R300-million was provided in the fiscus for planning and design of the universities. Additional financial commitments will be made as the projects get off the ground.
Early childhood development programmes
An additional R1.4-billion is going to be invested over the next three years to help and support early childhood development programmes along with the implementation of the community-based childcare and protection programme throughout the country.
This will boost access to early childhood development from the current 500 000 to 580 000 children, with an emphasis on rural areas, with targets that more than 10 000 young adults will likely be employed resulting from the programme.