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Budgeting for improved education in South Africa

Spending on South African education will receive a high priority this year, with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocating more than R189-billion to the sector for 2011/12. This is up by 9.7 percent over 2010/11.

During his Budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town recently Minister Gordhan also announced an allocation of R8.3-billion to the Department of Basic Education for school infrastructure, while R1-billion goes to the funza lushaka teacher bursaries and bursaries for top students in natural science.

This allocation will enable the Basic Education Department to replace about 3 627 informal and unsafe school structures, especially in the Eastern Cape to address the lack of proper classrooms there.

More than R75-million would go towards strengthening oversight, monitoring and evaluation. This is for the national assessments in literacy and numeracy for all grades 3, 6 and 9 pupils, that will be conducted in all schools this year. More than 6.6-million learners have been budgeted for.

Improving South African education is high among the government’s priorities, with President Jacob Zuma earlier this month pushing the concept of “the three Ts” – teachers, textbooks and time – for basic education in the country.

To read the original article go to Chris Bathembu’s go to SouthAfrica.info by Clicking Here!

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Access to Education in South Africa has improved – Nzimande

Access to education has improved over the past 17 years, Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande said recently in parliament.

“Approximately 96 percent of children now gain access to school in South Africa,” Nzimande said during debate in the National Assembly on President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address.

Nzimande said that in 2009 the gross enrolment ratio for Grades 1 to 12 stood at 92 percent. In higher education the total enrolments was nearing 90,000, which means the throughput rate has been improving, although it still has a long way to go.

The biggest challenge identified by the Department of Basic Education [DBE] according to Nzimande is the improvement of the quality of education, while nearly all of the Department of Basic Education’s current interventions are aimed at achieving this.

Dr Nzimande cited the improvement of learning outcomes in Maths, Science and Literacy as the biggest priority of the department, which is in line with Zuma’s directive on the three Ts –teachers, text and time.

The “improved” 2010 matric results proved that the schooling system was on a much better footing, he said.

Minister Nzimande then focussed on Higher Education and said the Department of Higher Education and Training had made “significant strides” in the past year in the field of higher education and training to tackle the challenge of creating a post school system that was responsive to the needs of youths and adults.

The adoption of the National Skills Development Strategy had been the anchor of government’s intervention on the skills development front, according to him.

Nzimande emphasized that South African universities needed to be nurtured, and must continue to provide high quality teaching, research, innovation and community service activities and to progressively improve their capacities.

“But”, Nzimande said, “we are working to ensure that these universities become more accessible and place student interests at the centre of their activities.”

Assistance would be given to institutions that need special attention, like those in rural areas, to help them build capacity to provide quality education. Task teams are also working hard to prepare for the establishment of universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

To read the original Sapa article on NewsTime Click Here!

New UNESCO Report “The hidden crisis: armed conflict and education”

UNESCO has released the 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report, ‘The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education.’ This report analyses the devastating effects of conflict on education.

To download the report Click Here!

More South African pupils to have access to free education

From 2011 more pupils in South African schools will have access to free education, the South African Department of Basic Education announced recently.

This has been welcomed by Naptosa, but it also warned, that the system would now have to focus on the quality of the education provided. This observation is crucial since the current roll-out of no-fee schools has drawn sharp criticism for its failure to properly resource such schools.

To read more go to Tebeogo Monama’s article in the Sowetan by Clicking Here!

Education summit to tackle challenges in Africa

On 11 July, the South African President, Jacob Zuma, will host a special education summit. The event will mark the culmination of the ‘1 Goal Education for All Campaign’ – a partnership between Fifa and civil society organisations across the world. The aim of the campaign: to get the 72-million kids of primary-school age currently denied an education into decent quality schooling by 2015.

To read more go to Bua News Online by Clicking Here!

Also read Kevin Watkins’ article on the summit in Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here!

South African pupils too old for school?

A recent national household survey on Access to education undertaken by Social Surveys Africa and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) suggests that 10 % of pupils across all grades are three or more years outside the age-grade norm. Only 4% of children aged seven to 18 are not in school though.

This raises a question: if 96 % of our children are in school, why are our matric completion rates so dismal?  The survey showed that one of the reasons we have such high attendance rates for the ages seven to 18 is that learners take a long time to get through the schooling system. Just because you are in school at the age of 18 does not mean you are in grade 12.

To read more go to Sarah Meny-Gibert’ analysis in the Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here! 

To access the report of the Survey Click Here!

Motshekga unveils Master Plan for Education in South Africa

The South African Department of Basic Education has developed an action plan to co-ordinate and guide all interventions in the department in order to turn the education system around.

The plan, which will be known as Schooling 2025: The Department of Basic Education’s Action Plan, will provide long-term solutions to the challenges facing the department, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The plan will make provision for the monitoring of progress against a set of measurable indicators covering all aspects of basic education, including teacher recruitment and retention, learner enrolment and well-being, infrastructure, school funding, mass literacy and educational quality.

“The plan will establish key outcomes and performance deliverables for the entire education system, including the national and provincial departments.
“It will commit provinces and provincial education departments to clear, agreed-to outcomes and ensure that all in the system are accountable for attaining these outcomes,” Motshekga said.

She reiterated that South Africa’s learning outcomes continued to be unsatisfactory.

“All local and international assessments are agreed that far too many of our learners, especially African learners, do not perform at the required level.

“We have identified the underlying factors and we are determined to work systematically to resolve them,” said Motshekga.

She added that the adoption of an outcomes approach in implementing government’s priorities, announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address, will ensure that the work of government is measured according to outcomes.

“The outcomes approach enables us to set measurable targets and deliverables, against which we and South Africa can monitor our progress in addressing the challenges in education that remain.”

This article was obtained from BuaNews Online  and was compiled by the South African Government Communication and Information System.