Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

The government would continue to increase resources for early childhood development and improve basic education outcomes, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

Delivering his budget speech in Parliament, Gordhan said that spending on basic education next year would be above R240bn, or 17.5% of the consolidated budget. In 2018-19 it would increase to just more than R261bn and about R280bn in 2019-20. Allocations for school building would increase at 12.5% a year.

Spending on learning and teaching support materials is up 9.5% over the next three years.

The quality of SA’s basic education system has often been called into question, despite the government spending liberally on the sector.

Gordhan pointed out that despite progress in education, more than half of all children in grade 5 could not yet read adequately in any language. More than half of all school leavers each year entered the labour market without a senior certificate pass. He said 75% of these would still be unemployed five years later.

"Redistribution in support of education, health services and municipal functions in rural areas remains the central thrust of our spending programmes," said Gordhan.

He added: "The quality of our schools and further education institutions is at the heart of our commitment to our children’s future. Improvements have to begin in the foundation phase of the education ‘value-chain’.

"We will continue to increase resources for early childhood development, improve our basic education outcomes". 

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