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Media Release

6 June, 2007

Western Cape Education Budget 2007/08

Statement by Western Cape Education MEC, Cameron Dugmore

The Western Cape Education Departmentís R7,685 billion budget for the 2007/8 financial year, will be spent on developing human capital, to ensure that our youth acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes needed to develop their own potential and assist in placing our country on a sustainable and shared growth path.

Education continues to receive the bulk of the provincial funding with 37,12% of the 2007/08 provincial budget, up from 36,7%, or R7.115 billion the previous financial year - a growth of 8% in nominal terms.

The WCED provides services for 947,815 learners, 30,872 educators, 1,452 public ordinary schools, 70 schools for learners with special needs, six Further Education and Training Colleges at 39 sites, 112 Adult Community Learning Centres at 301 sites and 446 subsidised pre-primary schools, and a public service staff complement of 8,823.

The steady rise in per capita spending since 2002/03 reflects our commitment to quality public education. In this financial year the department is spending R6, 507 per capita on public ordinary school education. This is R445 more than the national average, and the third highest total in the country.

Quality education for every one of our learners will only be realised if we continue to direct resources in a manner that creates genuine equity and redress and when our educators, parents and learners place teaching and learning at the centre of their lives.

The greatest portion of the budget goes to the primary and secondary school system, including schools for Special Needs. Personnel are equitably allocated according to reported learner numbers, community poverty rankings and subjects offered. Norms and standards funding is allocated according to national poverty quintiles with the poorest quintile receiving, on average, six times more than the least poor.

In the context of the ongoing strike in the education sector it is very tempting to lose hope and become cynical. This we should not allow to happen. I believe there is a serious commitment from our government to bring relief to our teachers and it is critical that agreement is reached so that serious work can continue to implement much needed incentives which have been budgeted for.

In this process we need to respect the legislative framework and ensure that unacceptable conduct is condemned by all of us. Let us exercise the rights and freedoms we have won in a disciplined manner.

We are all aware of the impact of social pathologies in our classrooms, and the burdens these add to our teachers. I want to salute those teachers who prepare their lessons and inspire our children every day.

I salute those officials and SGB members who work in our schools daily giving support, guidance and strength to our schools. Schools like Hector Peterson and Langa High that quietly opened their academic year a week early; or iQhayiya High, which converted a 38% pass rate to 94% in one year, are shining examples of good leadership.

As we enter the last phase of curriculum transformation and as we enter the new era of a transformed WCED all of us must intensify our efforts to build quality education for our learners.

By doing this we will inspire hope amongst our young people that they have a role to play in fighting poverty and creating work. The challenges are formidable but I believe that with the resources in this budget coupled with strong partnerships with our communities, we will succeed.

Highlights of the 2007/08 Budget

Investment in people

R2,8 million has been assigned for a pilot course for school business managers. The first 65 trainees - officials and FET college staff - are already being trained as mentors. In January 2008 the first intake of 150 school administrative clerks will commence a one-year training programme. In total R16 million has been assigned over the MTEF period.

In 2006 a total of 1,875 educators were exposed to 38 different residential courses at the Cape Teaching Institute, especially in the fields of Literacy, Numeracy, Mathematics, Life Skills, Natural Sciences, Arts and Culture, Technology and Mathematical Literacy.

The WCED is offering induction programmes to newly appointed principals and deputy-principals, as well as courses to aspirant principals. We have budgeted R9 million for specific training programmes that will improve the leadership and management skills of 160 school principals, who will enrol for the first year of an Advanced Certificate in Education. An amount of R121 million over the 2007 MTEF has been specifically earmarked for the training of both teachers and principals.

An amount of R1,8 million is assigned to bursaries for Mathematics and/or Science students - ranging from R17 000 to R24 000 per annum for 4 years, repayable through one year's service for every year financed.

The National Department of Education has made substantial funding available to full time students in the fields of Languages, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Agriculture - including those who wish to teach in the Foundation Phase. These bursaries range between R35 000 and R40 000 per annum over four years.

Over the 2007 MTEF an additional amount of R809 million is allocated for personnel-related issues in education to: improve the level of remuneration of teachers; hire teaching assistants especially in the foundation phase of the schooling system; and to provide targeted incentives to teachers in critical subjects. R48,5 million is allocated to develop and introduce an improved salary dispensation for principals.

Redesign of WCED

There will be significantly increased support for schools from the new brand of circuit teams. Each group of 30 schools will have a dedicated team of curriculum advisers, special needsí education professionals, professional support for institutional management and for school-based management, a psychologist, a social worker, a learning support adviser, an IMG adviser and an administrative development adviser.

The total cost for funding the re-design is R159 million, including personnel, recurrent and non-recurrent costs. This will be phased in over a three-year period. The outlay in 2007/8 will be R50 million, which will allow for the filling of Senior Management Team posts and the initial resourcing of districts.

Literacy and Numeracy

In November 2006 the WCED tested 82,879 Grade 3 learners at 1,086 schools. The success rate for Grade 3 learners in literacy has improved from 39,5% in 2004 to 47,7% in 2006, an increase of 8,2%. This is an improvement of 12,2% over the three testing periods.

We are less happy with the results of the numeracy study, which reflects a decline of 6,3% from 37,3% to 31%. There are encouraging examples of some successes by schools in the most poor quintiles and we are studying these closely.

A major innovation was the appointment of 510 teaching assistants in 163 primary schools in 2006 to support teachers in Grades 1 to 3 in poor areas. Indications are that they are making a difference, and we have continued the pilot in 2007. In 2007/8 R16,8 million is dedicated to maintaining this initiative.

To date 210 teachers have been put through 18 hours each of Early Literacy training and 150 teachers have completed Early Numeracy courses. Six-hundred-and-eighty-seven (687) teachers and managers have been through three hours of training in the management and use of concrete teaching materials. The department has also provided support materials in the form of exemplar Grade R work schedules and CDs in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

A prominent feature of our strategy is the importance of family and community literacy. There are simple things that every family can do to improve reading, writing and arithmetic at home.

The provincial Language Transformation Plan to address issues of school policy around medium of instruction and languages studied is another major initiative. A teacher from each of the 16 project schools will commence with a funded ACE in 2007.

Access and redress

The number of no-fee schools will be expanded by 233 for 2007, by including both the poorest primary and the poorest secondary schools in national quintiles 1 to 3, bringing the total number of no-fee schools to 652. This means that parents of about 345,000 learners will not have to pay fees for their children from this year.

This represents 37,6% of all learners in the poorest schools, which is a considerable increase on the number of learners attending no-fee schools in 2006. Quintile 1 schools receive R738 per capita; quintile 2 schools R677 per capita and quintile 3 schools receive R554 per capita. Over the 2007 MTEF, R622,267 million is earmarked for the funding of the no-fee status schools.

R23 million will be spent on 98 scheduled maintenance projects at Quintile 1 and 2 schools throughout the province as part of the Quality improvement, development, support and upliftment programme (QIDS-UP), which is a focused response to improve academic standards through better teaching and learning conditions in these schools, by providing basic resources such as equipment, supplies, infrastructure and personnel development.

The WCED has identified 377 primary schools, which are located in quintiles 1 and 2. These primary schools are the feeder schools to 30 of the poorest secondary schools in the identified quintiles. In total there are 407 schools in the project for the 2007/08 financial year.

Our school building programme continually seeks to keep pace with population growth and to manage down the numbers in some of our over-populated schools. Twelve new school buildings will be completed during the 2007/08 financial year. They are: Samora Machel P/S, Smutsville P/S, Table View P/S, Khayelitsha No. 1, Khayelitsha No. 2, Delft N2 Gateway P/S, Dalebuhle P/S, Kuyasa P/S, Khayelitsha S/S No. 1, Khayelitsha S/S No. 2, Khayelitsha S/S No.3 and Khayamandi S/S. This will provide accommodation for approximately 13,200 learners.

Other projects include the building of school halls, the completion of additional classrooms and some maintenance costs. The budget allocation for this is R178,038 million with R30,7 million going to maintenance; R40 million to additional classroom backlogs in African communities; R80,2 million as the provincial infrastructure grant; and R25,5 million on normal works. A further R6 million is to be spent on emergency maintenance.

Twenty-eight (28) secondary schools serving historically marginalised communities, were converted into focus schools over the three years from 2005 to 2008 - in the fields of: Arts and Culture; Business, Commerce and Management; and Engineering and Technology.

R82 million for the period 2005 to end of March 2007 was made available to the 28 schools to be used for buildings, infrastructure, ICT equipment, LTSM, security, marketing and advocacy, human resource development, monitoring and evaluation. In addition to the normal establishment, 32 redress posts were also allocated to the schools.

The budget allocation for this financial year for the focus schools is R30 million. As part of the 2007/08 phase of the project, more emphasis will be on curriculum development processes, capacity and skills development and career opportunity programmes.

Investment in the future

Expansion of Grade R with 6,000 learners in approximately 200 new sites over the 2007 MTEF will be allocated R238,828 million, of which R52 million is for Grade R expansion in 2007/08.

The Department has committed R149, 573 million over the 2007 MTEF for Extended Public Works Programmes in the area of Early Childhood Development, to provide resource kits to ECD community sites, to increase the number of ECD practitioners, and to upgrade their skills levels.

The Adult Basic Education and Training programme receives an allocation increase of 10.54% in 2007/8, up from R23,571 million in 2006/7 to R26,056 million.

About R1,528 billion in total has been allocated, nationally, over the 2007 MTEF period for an adult mass literacy campaign (MLC). This will be done through partnerships with non-governmental organisations, adult basic education centres and volunteers.

FET colleges form a key component of the Human Capital Development Strategy of the Western Cape. In terms of the HCDS, the WCED plans to increase the number of students registered at FET colleges from 60,000 currently to 180,000 by 2014.

This year, the colleges introduced 11 new Vocational Certificate Programmes on Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the National Qualifications Framework. The total number of students planned is 3,428. According to the draft national funding formula, the estimated non-personnel/non-capital costs for delivering these programmes will be R25,050 million.

The national Department of Education has capped the class fees for these programmes and the estimated fee income for 2007 will be R12,142 million. A national loan/bursary scheme guarantees R9,5 million of this amount. The colleges are managing the financial aid schemes. It is further estimated that full paying students will cover the outstanding amount, with no loss to the colleges on the already capped class fees.

The allocation for FET increases from R264,527 million in the 2006/7 Revised Estimate to R309,637 million in 2007/8 - an increase of 17,05%.

School Safety

Our Safe Schools Project has a three pronged strategy: (1) focussing on securing the external environment of our schools by providing physical security; (2) working within the school environment to equip our learners and teachers with skills in regard to learner behaviour, conflict resolution and diversity management and (3), building partnerships and networks with the community, SAPS, NGOís and other stakeholders.

This year the allocation to School Safety is R14,190 million. Of this amount R5, 093 million is allocated to crime control interventions including access control and armed response. R5,746 million is allocated to crime prevention programmes driven by our EMDCís and our school clusters. The balance is set aside aside as a contingency budget which deals with issues such as victim support and vandalism. The Call Centre allocation is R560 000.

Work together towards targets

In the spirit of the Ministerís call to reject mediocrity, this year has seen a fundamental intervention in pursuit of quality matric passes in Western Cape schools. Just before the end of the first term, school principals, governing bodies and Representative Councils of Learners (RCLs) signed target-setting documents against standard templates for the first time ever.

After a process of analysis and consultation they have announced 2007 Grade 12 matriculation endorsement targets; matriculation pass targets; and targets in regard to numbers of learners successfully completing Mathematics and Science on both higher and standard grade.

We also want our schools to set targets to reduce the numbers of so-called "dropouts". Too many learners are leaving the system. If these learners drop out because schools over-emphasize the target of an exemplary pass rate at the Grade 12 level, then this is intolerable.

Although we can never expect a 100% retention rate from grade 1 to 12 and more learners who pass grade 9 should register at our FET colleges, too many of our learners with the potential to reach grade 12 are not making it.

We have assigned R1 million to help schools in the nodal zones of Khayelitsha and Mitchellís Plain meet these targets through after-hours classes and programmes.

To ensure service delivery we are amending the performance agreements of all WCED managers to ensure that they provide "adequate support" to our schools. If there is a proven failure to provide support then the performance bonuses of relevant officials will be withheld, or rank and notch increases may not be granted. Consistent failure may even lead to incapacity and/or disciplinary proceedings.

For full text and information, click  here  or  visit  www.capegateway.gov.za/education

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.


Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

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