Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for attending our media briefing.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nelson Mandela Centenary and the Centenary of Albertina Sisulu briefed the media about the programme for the celebrations of the two icons of our anti-apartheid struggle. As a Department we have a huge role to play in these activities through various programmes that DBE has already initiated.
The Read to Lead campaign, is one of the programmes that have been included in the centenary celebrations. From January till September this year, the Department of Basic Education has been running story-telling programmes dedicated to President Nelson Mandela and umama Albertina Sisulu to improve language acquisition, literacy and communications skills among young children. The Read to Lead Campaign was started in 2015 to mobilise all South Africans to embrace the culture of reading as an activity that that must happen daily and should be part of our lives.
In the year during which we mark the centenary celebrations of our stalwarts – President Mandela and uMama Sisulu, and for the purposes of the 2018/19 Budget Vote Debate we will highlight a few ongoing programmes that extend beyond the ongoing objectives of the basic education sector. The extension of these programmes goes much deeper into the content, substance, quality and relevance of our work in the context of an ever changing world.
You will recall that this budget vote takes place in the context of financial constraint generally in the country which have led to a reduction in the allocation of the Basic Education sector funding. You will see the impact of such cuts when I deliver the budget vote later today. We will however, continue to deliver on our mandate in the best way possible and indeed focus on our priorities such as school infrastructure.
Infrastructure delivery – which continues to be funded through the Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG) and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI – also known as the School Infrastructure Backlog Grant), is funded at R9.9 billion; and R1.5 billion, respectively – a decrease of 1.3% and 43.5%, respectively from the 2017/18 allocations.
The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has been allocated R6.8 billion, an increase of 5.8% from the 2017/18 allocation. It must be noted that the NSNP budget allocation for 2018/19, has increased by six times from the R1.2 billion allocated in 2007/8. This is an important intervention by government to ensure that the poorest of the poor are provided for. The NSNP has helped to reduce absenteeism in schools over and above the other benefits it has given us in the sector.
As a sector we have had to deal with challenges facing Learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disabilities Grant receives R185.5 million, almost three times the R72 million activation allocation of 2017/18.
I often say that the basic education system depends entirely on our teachers. Without properly trained and suitably qualified and committed teachers, we have no education system to speak of. The NDP enjoins us to strengthen and expand the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme, to attract young students into the teaching profession.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275 | Terence Khala – 081 758 1546