In the latest budget speech, Education and Culture definitely got the biggest win this year. This integral department will continue to receive the largest share of South Africa’s budget, with an allocated R262.4 billion in the next financial year. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has made public that most of the budget will be used to pay teachers. Another R30 billion has been allocated to building new schools and maintaining existing infrastructure.
“An additional R2.8 billion is added to the School Infrastructure Backlogs grant to replace pit latrines at over 2,400 schools,” said Mboweni, in line with an undertaking by President Cyril Ramaphosa to eradicate pit latrines which have caused the deaths of several children over the past few years.
Our Minister of Higher Education, Naledi Pandor was of course, ecstatic at this announcement. What this means for South Africa’s education sector is that teachers will be able to grow in their personal development skills. There will be more teachers that are appointed based on quality and skill set, which means that the foundation phase that is such a critical development stage for learners, will have the force behind it to give learners the support they need to succeed in higher education.
The onus still lies on learners to do their absolute best and study hard, as there are certain conditions attached to bursaries. Mboweni said that over the medium term, government will spend R111.2 billion to ensure that 2.8 million students that come from poor and working-class families, have the opportunity to obtain their qualifications when the time comes to go to university and college.
The government is also rolling out a maths and science grant, while the governor of the Reserve Bank is driving a very ambitious fintech programme in an attempt to prepare South Africans for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Although we are still a long way from where we need to be, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we are slowly but surely growing into our proudly South African potential.