SADTU welcomes the budget speech presented by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in parliament yesterday afternoon.

The presentation has again shown the President`s commitment to education as a powerful tool to confront challenges such as unemployment, poverty and inequality. The allocation which has been increasing since 2009 demonstrates his understanding of the role of both basic and higher education in the transformation of our society. It further demonstrates his commitment based on an understanding that apartheid education and management contained contradictions that required a sophisticated transformation paradigm. The paradigm needed an understanding that the disintegration of `apartheid`s hold on social co-existence is an ideological matter. Whilst apartheid education was not a living organism it possessed biotic properties of being organic, reproductive, mutative and adaptive to changing environments. It is for this reason that it needed to be disabled of its biotic nature.

As such, SADTU is a force that contributes towards the creation of an education system that is able to eliminate the main features of the apartheid education system. Our commitment to Peoples Education for Peoples Power is premised on our firm view that such eliminations should be organic and sensitive to the originative historical environment that templates South African educations provision.

We welcome the specifics on business and entrepreneurial development as well as the emphasis on job creation.

We welcome the fact that even though the economy is not stable due to the global economic crisis, our economy has managed to gain some growth even if it is lower than expected.

Some of what we noted includes the following:

  1. In 2007, 5 million learners had access to free education, this year the number has reached 8,8million; 
  2. The increase in the number of Grade R enrollment to 779 000;
  3. The free national school nutrition programme now reaches 8,7million children;
  4. The Funza Lushaka bursary scheme that target those who train to be teachers at universities, produced 3 950 graduates in 2013. However, the figure is not enough to fill the teacher shortage gap. We hope the recent opening of Colleges of Education will, in a few years’ time, all help to close the gap of teacher shortage.
  5. Allocation of R19,4 billion over the next three years to National Student Financial Aid Scheme is less than the estimation made by NSFAS that about R20 billion  is needed annually to provide financial assistance to students from low income families who are academically deserving.
  6.  We hope the 433 schools that will be rebuilt will bring to an end mud schools in our education system.
  7. The Fetsa Tlala initiative which aims to bring 1 million hectors of land into farming, by 2019 creating 300 000 jobs. The initiative will bring back subsistence farming into the fold and enable people to sustain themselves.
  8. The refurbishing of 500 rail coaches will help to ease congestion on our roads, But the figure is too little. More coaches should be put on our railway lines.
  9. The allocation of grants to support small and medium enterprises would require closer mentoring, training and monitoring of these businesses to ensure they succeed.
  10. The increase in social grants have a direct positive impact on the learning environment because our poor families are indeed able to send their children to school to further benefit from the free and compulsory education.
  11. We are hopeful that the minister of basic education will use competent and progressive personnel committed to education and not the current DG and his cult to provide for effective safety and security measures in our schools as well as the increase in the housing subsidy for teachers as professionals. The elimination of all disparities in education such as the traumatic disparities existing amongst the office based educators across and within province, career pathing for the school management teams including anomalies, the finalization of the salary structure, the demoralizing conditions of service for the ABET and ECD educators.