SADTU Free State welcomes the Education Budget Vote

24 March 2016

The South African Democratic Teachers Union in the Free State has welcomed the Education Budget Vote for the 2016/17 financial year presented by the MEC Tate Makgoe on the 18th March 2016.

The increase of the budget from R11.815 billion to R12.060 billion confirms the commitment of the ANC government to education as an apex priority.

We noted, amongst others, the progress made in the establishment of the Career Guidance Services Unit to equip learners with the necessary skills to enable them to make informed career choices; the implementation of the strategy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) to ensure that children with barriers to learning access quality education on equal basis with other young people in the communities in which they live.

Whilst there is an improvement in the training of the Pre - Grade R Practitioners and the expansion of Grade R in primary schools and community based sites, the budget is silent on the improvement of conditions of service and the stipends/salaries of these workers. The upgrading of their earnings would be a morale and financial booster considering that these workers have families to support in the midst of high levels of poverty in communities in the province.

The MEC was eloquent on school sports and we are eagerly awaiting the roll-out to all schools in the provinces as the focus is concentrated in few towns. We were however perturbed by the release of the memo that was sent to districts and schools directing that "The SAFA Coordinators will therefore be expected to practice the overseeing role, technical assistance role, and reporting to SAFA. They will serve on ex-officio capacity in the existing Schools Football Committees."

This they did knowing very well that the matter is before the court. This will further cause confusion in schools and will affect the functioning of committees in providing school sports and in particular football.

We also welcome the allocated budget to support teacher development programmes. This will further ensure that the department will put in place the resolution of the Education Summit to prioritise and increase capacity of districts to support primary schools and teacher development. The School Management Teams, Subject Advisors and Circuit Manager will receive training to provide the needed support to schools, so said the MEC.

We are however concerned about the succession plan for the Deputy Principals to be trained as potential principals as we believe that this will temper with the Employment of Educators Act. As SADTU we will engage in discussions with the Department of Education to clarify the matter as we are of firm belief that all teachers who meet the requirement should be given a fair opportunity.

On safety in schools, we welcome the move to prioritise safety of all those in schools but we believe that the allocated budget of R757,000-00 is not sufficient to safeguard learners, teachers and other officials in schools. Our view has been that of employing full time personnel in schools especially those in crime driven areas.

With many schools experiencing overcrowding of over 40 learners and - in extreme cases - over 60 learners in a class, we noted the initiative in the development of school infrastructure where new schools and hostels will be built and some completed.

We are. however still convinced that the current PPN model should be reviewed in the interest of quality public education in our schools.

The MEC never uttered a word on the introduction and teaching of indigenous languages which is the cornerstone of promoting our heritage through our languages.

Monies budgeted for schools as allocations should be ring fenced to avoid the situation of inconsistent allocations which adversely affect the operation of schools.

SADTU in the province will monitor the implementation of all the education summit resolutions by the |Department of Education and will continue to play a supportive role as we subscribe to Quality Teaching and Learning campaign.

Issued by Provincial Secretariat
Mokholoane Moloi : Provincial Secretary: 076 811 2777
Sifuba Ntombizanele: Provincial Deputy Secretary: 079 691 7358