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Government bridges inequality gap through no fee school policy

The Basic Education Sector has made significant strides in terms of increasing access to quality education, with 98% of children gaining access to the mainstream schooling in South Africa. Through the removal of compulsory school fees, Government introduced the no fee school policy, which has played a huge role in improving access to schools by removing the financial barriers which led to victimization and marginalization of poor children.

Ms Gladys Modise, the Director for the Financial Planning and Provincial Budget Monitoring, indicated that, “through this policy, schools were placed into quintiles by Provincial Education Departments to ensure that those in the poor communities received full support from the government.  Quintile 1 is the poorest quintile, while quintile 5 is the least poor. Annually, the state allocates an amount of funds to each school in order to finance its recurring expenditure including textbooks, minor maintenance, stationery, and electricity. Each year, the Minister of Basic Education publishes a determination of the percentage of learners which should be in no fee schools nationally. Presently the determination specifies that at least 60% of learners nationally are to be in no fee schools. This effectively means that currently all schools ranked in Quintiles 1-3 should be classified as no fee schools.”

She added: “Learners benefiting from the no fee school policy increased from 9, 111, 724 in 2014 to 9, 655, 797 in 2019.  In 2019, there are 87% no fee schools, which accommodate 79% of learners.   No fee schools are allocated a higher amount of state funding per learner as compared to fee charging schools. The no fee schools received a threshold of R1, 390 per learner in 2019”.

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