Honourable Minister and Deputy Minister
The quality of education of a country has a relationship to the prospect of economic development. Beyond the economic aspect, education is a right in the Bill of Rights in our constitution. It is a right which enables the creation of equality to opportunities to participate in the economy. Socially education and learning and knowing is the only way humans can self reproduce.
This Budget Vote on Basic Education is a critical vote if we are to realise the society our constitution seeks to create. Our education is an important component of creating a National Consciousness on the values and principles enshrined in our constitution and the objective of creating a National Democratic Society.
Many of our social ills such as Gender Based Violence and Femicide, abuse, racism , and sexism require education as a contributing factor to change social behaviour.
National Consciousness is important for the nation as it enables an understanding to respond to the challenges which face our society which is mainly the triple challenges of poverty unemployment and inequality.
House Chairperson, as the ANC we send our condolences to those who have lost their lives in duty due to the pandemic, we also salute the commitment of our teachers and sector stakeholders.
This budget vote responds to the vision outlined in the Ready to govern document of the provision of free and compulsory education been based on equalising the per capita expenditure between black and white education. This will be done within a framework which ensures that resources are redistributed to the most disadvantaged sectors of our society, in particular, women, rural and mentally or physically disabled children.
Distribution of resources by the democratic government response to the development gap amongst our schools has been one of its milestone. Addressing inequality in our society requires the redistribution of revenue collected by the state to better the conditions of the poor thus addressing poverty.
The narrative of the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters on government not closing the infrastructure and resource gap is unfounded and not based on evidence. Contrary to the narrative by the opposition which is oppositionist illogically even on matters of progress of the nation, the balance of evidence demonstrates the the significant progress made.
We today have the top performing students coming from your most rural areas and schools in rural areas and township have laboratories and other educational facilities which only existed in schools in urban areas or schools designed for the privileged minority.
The department will also be piloting the implementation of robotics and coding which should enables dynamism of our learners in this global political economy which is based on competition.
Reading. Is one of the areas of learning which needs to be strengthened. The weakness of reading with meaning by the age of 10 impacts negatively on the cognitive development of the learner. The strengthening of ECD will contribute in decreasing this weakness. The sustainable and effective pedagogy to improve reading is through building a reading culture in the country.
A reading nation is more conscious and free. If we ensure schools have libraries, and children are taught reading books at a young age , this will positively contribute to improving reading with meaning. This does not only apply to learners at lover grades but all grades. Critical thinking skills are developed through reading and exposure to various knowledges.
The comprehensive development of children and youth is important. The level of sickness related to obesity and other health ills can be decreased through ensuring our schools have adequate sporting facilities. This is good for the wellbeing of the student. Psychosocial support is an important service our schools should be linked to. Abuse in our society is prevalent such that our society doe note effectively react to act of abuse when they simmer.
The ANC resolved that working with the Department of Sport, and other social partners such as associations of various sports, and South African sport clubs and sports sponsors should develop a social compact to ensure sports in an integral part of the education life of all our student. The fact that other schools have adequate sporting facilities and other schools don’t is an inequality which requires government to implement programmes which will address the anomaly.
Many sports players develop in their schools and are part of schools with an institutional culture for the development of the learners.
Honourable members the lessons from the bullying incident in Mbilwi and many schools across the country is the we have a societal problem of violence and weak social relations. The family is an important unit which has an impact of the cognitive development of children and the social behaviour they adopt. We welcome the support the department has provided in creating awareness and ensuring that they strengthen school safety committees. The Deputy minister has been leading campaigns in this regard. Let us all unite against bullying and cyberbullying. Let us protect learners from abuse andcreate a culture of reporting this incidents in our schools.
The roll-out of the campaign, themed “School Safety – Violence, and Bullying Prevention Initiatives,” aims to mobilise learners, parents, teachers and key stakeholders in promoting a safe learning environment for quality education.
The influence is not only limited to the family but social institutions such as religion, education and friends. This shows the importance of moral regeneration at a family level and broader society. With the digital world and the influence of social media , it is important that our efforts in the education sector encompass all role players including SGB’s and Quality Learning and Teaching Committees, and traditional leaders, in essence it is a societal responsibility. Paulo Freire emphasised the importance of critical engagement in society to bring about transformation.
Problems of alcohol and drugs which at times find their way to schools and communities requires enforcement because this erode the focus and commitment of learners. Enterprises which sell alcohol should be monitored to comply with the legal requirement of purchasing alcohol.
The department should also continue to strengthen its programmes with the Department of Police, and conduct random checks in schools to fight drugs and violence due to learners carrying dangerous objects to school.
This societal efforts have assisted in identifying dangerous objects and drug syndicates which target learners. In this regard, it is our societal responsibility to report such incidents to law enforcement officers as this the stage a lot of learners loos focus on their education.
The African National Congress Support Budget Vote 16 of Basic Education. This vote is a key priority of the ANC and the future of the nation. Education remains a weapon to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment.