Yet again, education will receive the biggest slice of the 2013 National Budget. The government promises to spend more than R23-billion to make improvements to school infrastructure as well as increase the number of no-fee schools this year. Of the country’s R1.06-trillion 2013 National Budget, R232.5-billion will go towards education.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan stated in his Budget speech that over the medium term, the Basic Education Department is expected to make use of its budget to boost numeracy and literacy, expand enrolment in Grade R and reduce the school infrastructure backlog.
R1-billion is going to be shared by the nne provinces to promote teaching as a career and increase the number of teachers. A furtherR700-million is going to be directed towards the technical secondary schools recapitalisation grant. “This will finance construction and refurbishment of 259 workshops and training of over 1 500 technology teachers,” Gordhan said.
The education infrastructure grant is vital to government’s plans of removing unsafe and poor quality school structures, The grant, in addition, supplements the infrastructure programme in provinces to accelerate the construction, maintenance and upgrading of new and existing schools.
Approximately R8-billion is going to be assigned to the school infrastructure backlog grant. The primary objectives of the grant is to be sure that schools have basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.
R24.6-billion for universities, colleges
The government will also increase the 2013 budget for higher education institutions. Spending allocation will increase from roughly R20-billion to R24.6-billion over the next three years.
Due to the authorities expectation of an increase in student enrolment at South Africa’s higher education institutions from 910 000 to 990 000 by 2015; Minister Gordhan announced that 2 new universities would be established in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. Construction will commence this year.
In recent times, government has increased substantially funding to assist students from poor backgrounds obtain tertiary education and vocational training.
The Student Financial Aid Scheme is expected to grant loans and bursaries to 288 188 students from poor backgrounds in 2013/14, up from just over 118 000 in 2008/9.
To increase access to basic education, the Budget notes the expansion of no-fee schools in South Africa to 20 688 by the end of 2012.