Honourable Chairperson

Honourable Minister and Deputy Minister

Honourable Members

And the People of South Africa

 

Our country is officially in the third wave of the global coronavirus pandemic. The third wave poses a lot of risk socially and economically. It also poses a risk the the education sector and how the department should approach this time of turbulence and uncertainty. More losses of time for teaching and learning in our schools would be tragic and will require significant efforts to cover the lost ground due to closure of schools last year.

 

One of the key policy priorities of the ANC in the sixth administration is the Early Childhood Development migration from the department of Social Development to Basic Education.

 

This is to ensure that the provision of education for the cognitive development of the children is done through Basic Education. This will support efforts of the department in ensuring that Grade R and RR are compulsory for all children to make sure that there are ready for Grade 1. When children are taught correctly at an early age, the prospects of academic excellence and progress is greatly enhanced.

 

Reading with meaning is one of the priorities of the department and in order to improve such learning outcomes, the foundation of every child is important.

 

The President in his SONA emphasised the ECD migration as a priority of the sixth administration because, when our ECD sector is effective and lays a good foundation, then our children will perform better when they get in the schooling system. This is a long term strategic imperative for the sector.

 

The ECD Migration will be conclude in April 2022. We urge the two departments to speedily confront the complexities of this migration and Basic Education should be prepared to take our ECD sector to a higher level of learning outcomes for all particularly the poor.

 

The departments target of increasing the number of 5-year-olds in Grade RR of 95% by 2024 is important to improve the preparedness of children before they start schooling.

 

The complexities in the sector will create a lot of challenges in transitioning to a comprehensive ECD sector which provides quality child care and teaching for all.

 

Maths and Science remain a key area of priority of the department as these subjects support the urgent demands of our economy in order to increase industrial production and innovation. In order to be competitive amongst other nations we need to continue to improve our science and mathematics learning outcome.The 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) indicated that there is progress that is been made in our education system. This is a positive indicator the opposition will never acknowledge.

 

Honourable members, poverty unemployment and inequality is endemic in our society. It is this reason the Basic Education department allocates significant resources to support two programmes which focus on alleviating poverty and supporting the poor. This is the National Nutrition programme which provides healthy food for learners addressing the problem of food hunger in our schools which impacts negatively on the learners performance. Thee department also provided meals during the pandemic despite the low uptake. Honourable members this demonstrates how the department prioritises the wellbeing and success of learners.

 

This budget Vote supports 19 950 schools which will be provided with nutritious meals on each school day.

 

Another aspect which mainly affect the poor and those living in rural areas is the fact that other learners stay in far flung areas from school. Other students would have to walk tens of kilometres to go to school which exposes children and the girl child to various safety risks and abuses. The National Scholar Transport programme is an important intervention by the department to address the problem facing many learners across our country.

 

Honourable Minister, one of the key policy areas we should begin to access and evaluate the impact of the Scholar transport as it relates to learners who travel too far flung areas whiles passing a number of schools next to their homes. This is also enabled by the right of the parent to place their learners in the school of their choice, subject to availability of space.

 

Learners drop out in our schools due to various reasons and the departments policies provide support for the wellbeing of learners so that they become focused in the education. Though the drop out in not extremely high, any leaner who leaves our education system should always be of great concern. We urge our communities and all political parties to continuously campaign and encourage our children and youth to be committed in their education.

 

The overall programme of the the department of school improvement is important to ensure that all our schools should be able to provide quality education with good performance outcomes. The fact that good performing schools are not just a reserve of schools in urban areas or schools with all ideal learning facilities, but our schools in rural areas and the townships also have high performance outcomes and metric results.

 

Issues of governance and management of schools is important to provide support for the functionality of our schools. School institutional Cultures are important, leadership provided by principals in our schools should hone a high level of discipline and commitment of learners to perform to the best of their ability.

 

We welcome the smooth running of School Governing Bodies across the country, our SGB’s should strengthen their efforts in developing and supporting our schools to improve their learning outcomes and to also ensure that school safety is on top of the agenda.

 

The African Nation Congress Supports this budget vote because in this vote lies a better future for our country and children.