Honourable Chairperson

Honourable Minister and Deputy Minister

Honourable Members

And the People of South Africa

 

The department of Basic education is entrusted with a critical mandate for our nation. Educating children and the youth is a foundation and cornerstone of developing a country and to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of its people. The cognitive development of children is honed by their education, hence the quality of education contributes in the learning outcomes. This is why the African National Congress has placed Education as an apex priority of government to address the inequality in education and to improve the quality of education for all. This is important due to the centrality of quality education for human capability Development. The inequalities in our education system due to its history of the two education systems during apartheid one been privileged for white people and the other underprivileged for black people.

 

Closing the inequality gap has been a key priority of the ANC government in order to enable all South Africans equal opportunities through opening the doors of learning and culture.

 

In this month of the youth let me also remember they're 1976 generation who fought against bantu education. Their struggles where not in vain as we today have schools across the class divide been top performing.

 

Many of our learners and schools in rural and township schools today have the resources to pass their grades with quality performance.

 

The Basic Education Budget vote responds to the various challenges facing our society and the education sector. The fact that we have made progress in many areas does not mean that we have realised the education system we want for the country . This is because the inequality in the sector continues to exist and those who are impacted are the poor and black in the main.

 

The coronavirus pandemic laid bare the the backlog in closing the gap of basic services such as water and sanitation. The pandemic also exposed how the sector requires more infrastructure development as many schools have less infrastructure capacity.

 

The learner teacher ration target should be the standard we attain in order to enable quality teaching and learning.

 

Access to digital devices is also skewed amongst provinces and schools. During the hard lockdown , learners from privileged back grounds had digital devices to continue learning whiles the poor did not have any. The department of Basic Education had to develop a multi modal approach in order for learning to continue, through radio, tv and workbooks delivered to learners.

 

This is an are the department should focus in expanding access to digital devices and connectivity in our schools.

 

The changing world of the6 Fourth Industrial Revolution requires digital skills.

 

Despite the difficulties of the pandemic we must commend the department for supporting schools to continue learning under the pandemic during a period of a lot of unknowns and during the current conjuncture. It requires leadership and commitment from all public sector workers and we salute the department for this. The impact of learning loss due to closure of schools has a severe impact on the learner in the long term. This impact is estimated at 74% for the year 2020. This is the impact of school closures for learning. Recovering the loss time is as good as not possible as the period of schooling has not been extended and not even under consideration due to its ripple effect on higher education and market skills demands.

 

We also welcome the matriculant outcomes of 2020 Honourable Minister because they demonstrate the correctness of the decisions taken by thee Cabinet in ensuring that schools are reopened.

 

Theres been numerous adjustments and reductions in the Budget Vote. This will impact the infrastructure programmes as previously budgeted.

 

The department is still continuing with the Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative to eradicate the mud schools and schools with inappropriate infrastructure. The Aside programmes also addresses issues of water and sanitation.

 

For the financial year 2021/2022 the ASIDI programme will build 21 new schools and provide 1000 schools with sanitation facilities at the tune of 2.3 billion.

 

This is not the only infrastructure programme in Basic Education as our provincial department also spend significantly on. Infrastructure from their provincial allocations and the infrastructure grant managed by the national department.

 

The education infrastructure grant is allocated 36.7 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.

 

This is to realise the Medium Term Strategic Framework to:

  • Eradicate learning under the trees through the Department of Basic Education

  • Eradicate mud schools through the Department of Basic Education

  • Eradicate the sanitation backlog in schools

 

One of the issues which have led to a great financial loss for the department is the vandalism which we saw during the year 2020, this is an issue all social partners working with law enforcement agencies. This school infrastructure are properties of the community and should be protected for generations to come. Another impediment in the sector is the disruption of construction works by groups of business forums which do not follow procurement processes to provide services yet they want to provide the services.

 

Local economic development is an important imperative of distribution of income across the country but local contractors should follow due processes. National and Provincial departments should ensure that procurement processes take local economic development into consideration, this will avoid the disruptions which are negatively impacting delivery of infrastructure resulting in funds been returned due to lack of spending. This delays economic development.

 

One of the recent social ills which affects learners is bullying in our schools. This was placed in the public through the incident of Lufuno Mavhunga who ended up taking her life due to the humiliation she endured. There are many other learners who are bullied in our schools. It is important honourable members that we make sure the department continues to address this issue systematically.

 

Incidents of sexual harassment and rape in our schools should disturb all of us in this house and society at large. Perpetrators of such acts should not be allowed no where near the education system even at an administrative level away from schools. If we are to build a society which embraces values of human dignity , such persons should not be allowed in the public service. Gender Based Violence and Femicide is the second Pandemic as described by the President. We should unite against this social ills which are a manifestation of patriarch.

 

Our Basic education curriculum should focus on this aspects to ensure we embed the values enshrined in our constitution.

 

Honourable Members, our education system should not only respond to the the current material conditions but it needs to adapt to the changing world of production. The Fourth industrial revolution is going to significantly change production and economic activities. The future will surely be more technological and digital based. The President in his State of the Nation Address spoke of the introduction of coding and robotics in our education system to prepare our learners for the current emerging skills need and a future of technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain technologies and other inventions.

 

The only constant thing in society is change itself. The conditions in which I grew up as a child and the conditions the youth of the 80’s and 90’s grew up in is are also different. Our children today unlike us grow up in a period wherein the flow of information is rapid. The advent of internet and the expanded access to digital technologies have meant that our children are already able to use cellphones, play games in the internet.

 

This means that we need to expand access to connectivity and digital devices. The department has to adapt its educational content to respond to this changing conditions and to teach learners on how to use the internet as different cyberbullying and adult content is easily accessible in the internet.

 

The department entities such as the South African Council of Educators and UMALUSI have been allocated budgets which supports their mandate. These entities are critical in supporting the education sector and the department to ensure the quality of teachers and they're conduct and the quality of the education standards. The South African Council of Educators should be supported to ensure that all teachers reported for sexual harassment and other abuses are processed in an efficient manner as this acts impact learning and psychosocial stability of students in our schools.

 

The teacher Development programme by the department is commendable through the Funza Lusaka bursary scheme which provides support for many students who are absorbed in the department with a 86% absorption rate. The department will be awarding 11 500 bursaries. This is a welcomed intervention for the current and future needs of our education system.

 

The African National Congress supports Budget Vote 16 of Basic Education. In order to create a National Democratic Society, we need to educate our society to build such a democratic , egalitarian society which does not discriminate another's on the basis of race and class.