Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Budget Speech 2016/17

Speech by the Honourable MEC for Education, Ms. Martha Bartlett, on the occasion of the 2016/17 Budget Vote 4 at the Provincial Legislature, Kimberley, 26 May 2016

Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker;
Honourable Premier of our Province, Ms Sylvia Lucas;
Honourable Members of the Executive Council;
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature;
Members of the Traditional House;
Executive Mayors and Speakers of District and Local Municipalities;
The Head of the Department and senior official of Government;
Leaders and representatives of the Organised Teaching Profession;
Veterans of our beloved movement;
Representatives of the Governing party and Alliance structures and other political parties;
Representatives from various media houses;
Communities tuned in through your Local Community Radio Stations;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentleman;
Comrades and Friends

Honourable Speaker, I am profoundly honoured to address this august house, mine being the first as Member of the Executive Council for Education; during Africa Month, as resolved by the African Union to be a month dedicated to us as fellow Africans to celebrate our rich history, diversity and culture. Our rich history in South Africa is highlighted by various progressive commemorative events against the injustices of the past which brought about the freedom and democracy we are experiencing today.

Sixty (60) years ago, the Women’s March of 1956 saw approximately 20 000 women from all walks of life, as the biggest demonstration held against the oppressive regime especially against pass laws. The apartheid government dared to enforced the triple oppression (gender, class, race) against women and wanted to restrict their movement as they were doing with men who were supposed to contribute to sustainable livelihoods of their families.

It is at this stage that the women at that time in this country took a conscious decision that this kind of oppression, can and will not be extended to the rest of the family heads which seeked to destroy whatever little was left of a proper family life of the oppressed (the rest is history...) Today, we live in a South Africa, where the Women’s March contributed to the full emancipation of women and men, with freedom of movement, with equal rights and equal opportunities to fend for their families and enjoy a decent livelihood.

I want to congratulate the Provincial Executive in their continued recognition of the leadership role women played in the struggle history and the trust they continue to place on women in this province for example, in education where we have the 3rd woman out of four (4) MEC’s to head this portfolio and the 50/50 representation in the Executive.

Forty (40) years ago, the Soweto Uprising of June 1976 saw the rise of youth/students stepping up to take political leadership at a time when the education system was segregated, unequal and generally inferior provision made for the black population. What sparked the uprising at that time was an attempt to enforce Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in all schools.

At that point already, the youth/student interpreted it as denial to the right to education. All we can say, the grievous mistake made by the then oppressive regime, and the resistance provided by the students propelled us to 1990 and 1994 respectively and as we say, the rest is history. Today we live in a South Africa, where most learners are taught in their home language, equal opportunities and access to education is indeed a constitutional right.

Twenty (20) years ago, the then two years old democratically elected government spared no effort in ensuring the finalisation of a broadly consultative process to produce what was the first Constitution to give rights to all South Africans, which states: “Everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education; and to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible”. These momentous events contributed to critical turning points in shaping our country for the better and ensured we live in a South Africa that belongs to all; governed by the largest liberation movement on the Africa continent, the African National Congress (ANC) with the best Constitution.

Honourable Speaker,

As the Department, we are therefore continuously striving to give impetus to these ideals which many liberation heroes and heroines fought for and in some instances paid the ultimate price. The policy statement I am presenting, inspired by the actions of those who were there before us as outlined above, will pledge our unwavering commitment as recognition of their hard work and sacrifices to do our bit to continue improving lives and contributing towards South Africa becoming a prosperous nation.

I can confidently say that our Department has contributed immensely to this ideal and we will continue to do so with the mandate from our people. The fruits of our freedom and democracy belong to all South Africans no matter their race, religion, gender or age.

I want to emphasise, that nothing will derail us from delivering on our commitment to the people of this beautiful province to ensure that the doors of learning stay open for the provision of quality public education.

Ours is an ideal that strives toward the provision of requisite foundational knowledge and skills that will enable all people in the province to meaningfully participate in the mainstream economy, including the development and growth thereof.

Honourable Speaker,

Let me also take this opportunity to express the provincial government’s heartfelt gratitude to the work done by my predecessor in this portfolio, the late Ms Grizelda Boniwe Cjiekella-Lecholo. Her untimely death has robbed the province of a valuable asset.

We shall remain forever grateful for her contribution in the quest to improve the quality of the lives of our people in the province through the provisioning of quality public education. We commit to continue and improve on the rich legacy she left for us. May her dear soul rest in eternal peace.

Provincial Education Summit

Honourable Speaker,

As per the Provincial Executive Council resolution, an Education Summit will be convened from 13-15 June 2016, under the theme: “BACK TO BASICS – EVERY CHILD MATTERS, EVERY CHILD MUST SUCCEED”.

The summit will afford various key stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the status of the provision of basic education within the province.

Importantly, the summit must chart an unambiguous way forward for the continued enhancement for the provision of quality public education throughout the province. We call on all sectors within the province to commit in spirit and deed as we work towards the repositioning of basic education to a level that will resonates with what people in Northern Cape believes to be the standard equals to what we deserve now, and in the future.

I call upon all relevant and social partners to come and make their honest presentations on what they believe is not working and proposal for what can work in order to transform our education system to produce quality results from Grade 1 to 12.

Honourable Speaker,

The policy statement I am presenting here today, as Vote 4 has been appropriated with R5.4 billion for the 2016/17 financial year.

Below, we outline how this appropriation is being invested to ensure sustained improvement in the provision of quality public education.

This appropriation is being invested through the seven (7) programs as per the reviewed Basic Education Sector’s budget structure.

Program 1: Administration R608 million

The overall learner number in both public and independent schools has increased from 269 423 in 2010 to 291 490 in 2016. This represents a growth of 8.2 percent over six years.

This increase in overall learner number and the ever increasing scope of the Basic Education Sector necessitated the review of the macro organisational structure in 2012, to position the department to respond effectively to its mandate. Central to this has been the capacity of district offices in terms of both personnel number and competency levels.

After a string of qualified audit outcomes the department finally through hard and smart work managed to obtain an unqualified regulatory audit opinion in 2014/15 financial year. This having been a commitment made by my predecessor, I once more further commit myself and the department to improve on this and subsequent audit outcomes.

We are sparing no effort in ensuring that we continue to improve the overall management practice and in particularly financial management and governance. We continue to establish and put in place corrective measures on areas highlighted by the Office of the Auditor General. Regression in the

regulatory audit outcome is simply not an option for us. We remain committed to the realisation of a clean audit outcome within the 2016/17 MTEF period and beyond.

Districts Offices capacity and competency At the centre of the Vote 4, Budget Speeches has been and continues to be the building of the capacity and competency of our district offices. Our ultimate goal is to position district offices to be able to monitor and provide effective support to schools in order to improve the overall learner performance across all grades.

Honourable members,

It is in context of these and other related capacity building programs that we also demand heightened accountability from district managers and those they supervise. We continue to strengthen district offices monitoring and support to schools. The focus is primarily on:

  • Curriculum coverage;
  • Quality and Standardised School Based Assessment Tasks;
  • Support to schools at risk;
  • Support to learners at risk/progressed learners, as well as learner and teacher attendance.

Our Subject Advisors shall continue to strengthen mediation of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) and National Senior Certificate (NSC) Diagnostic Reports and Remedial plans up to classroom level and to maximise the overall ongoing improvement of learners across all grades.

The mediation of these and other diagnostic reports must translate in improvement in teaching practices which should enhance the upward trajectory of overall learner performance.

Improving learner outcomes

Honourable Speaker,

We have ensured that several initiatives are in place to strengthen inclusive quality education for all learners, and these include amongst others:

  • the Provincial Strategy on Learner Attainment (PNSLA);
  • the Strategy for Improvement of School-Based Assessment (SBA);
  • Evidence-based Reporting (EBR);
  • the Strategy for Remediation and Support, English Across the Curriculum;
  • the Implementation of the Policy on Accommodations in Assessment;
  • the Guidelines for Curriculum Differentiation;
  • the Literacy Strategy and;
  • the Maths, Science and Technology Strategy.
  • Literacy Strategy (Language across the curriculum)

The Basic Education Sector has adopted the Framework for Strengthening the Learning and Teaching of Languages.

This framework is an integrated approach towards ensuring enhancement of learning and teaching of languages and to realise the continued

improvement in overall learner performance across all grades. Amongst others, the Framework will strengthen the provision of training and ongoing support to teachers in English First Additional Language (EFAL) across the phases.

During this current financial year, a total of 455 teachers will be trained and supported in the delivery of EFAL across the Phases at a total cost of R480 000. In the main, the focus will be to strengthen the teaching of English as a subject, thereby addressing challenges pertaining to its utilisation as

Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) post the Foundation Phase.

The central objective of EFAL is to build a solid foundation at the Foundation and Intermediate Phases to ensure that learners are able to develop basic literacy and numeracy competencies. Another component of the Framework for Strengthening the Learning and Teaching of Languages is the Incremental Implementation of Indigenous African Languages (IIAL).The main objective of this component is to develop and promote the previously marginalised African languages in schools, as well as to promote social cohesion and multilingualism.

This program affords learners whose home language is English an opportunity to choose between Afrikaans, Setswana or IsiXhosa as their First Additional Language (FAL) language. This pilot program started in 2014, and we are intensifying our awareness campaign and resources to ensure the success of the program.

Schools Library and Information Services

The Schools Library and Information Services constitute a strategic component within the Framework for Strengthening the Learning and Teaching of Languages. We are currently undertaking an audit of school libraries and information services in the Province.

This will inform the resources, capacity building programme, establishment of new and the strengthening of existing strategic partnerships in this regard. The aim of this is to encourage reading and ultimately impact positively on the upward trajectory of overall learner performance across all grades.

During the launch of the Read to Lead Campaign (22 July 2015), the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga also committed that 1000 School Libraries would be built over MTEF period, and announced that each province would receive two (2) libraries per year.

The first chapter of the Northern Cape version of this campaign was the official opening of two school libraries in Rolihlahla (Warrenton) and Tshwarelela (Galeshewe).

These libraries are fully equipped and are ICT enabled and compliant.

Honourable Speaker, the good story is continuing. During the 2015/16 financial year, 25 assistant librarians have been appointed with a monthly stipend of R2000.00 per month. Indeed we are delivering on our commitment to provide work opportunities, especially for our youth.

Reference books worth R3million have been procured for distribution to the 25 schools. Evidently so, the province has already started the repositioning of school libraries as it will serve to the much needed impetus on the campaign “Read to Lead: Getting the Nation to read”.

Honourable Speaker,

We once more call on the learners, teachers and immediate communities around the schools to jealously safeguard this massive investment in state of the art school libraries.

In fact, we urge former learners of schools to play a leading role in projects such as Reading Clubs and Spelling Bees. It’s only through being actively involved in the schools programs that collective ownership of school property and success may be claimed.

We extend a direct challenge to both established and yet to be established alumni formations to cease this opportunity in joining hands with the department in ensuring the inculcation of love for reading through the “Read to Lead: Getting the Nation to read”. This would be a true example of education being a societal issue.

School Based Assessment (SBA)

Honourable Speaker, one of the key determinants of continual improvement in overall learner performance is the quality of school based assessment (SBA). In the main, poor quality school based assessment (SBA) remains one of the major weaknesses in realising sustained upward trajectory in the overall learner performance across the grades.

Traditionally, we sampled Grade 12 SBA tasks for moderation before they wrote the national senior certificate (NSC) examination. For the 2016 school year, we shall moderate all grade 12 SBA’s in all subjects. This will be done in June and in October. We are investing R3million in undertaking this for the current financial year.

In further improving school based assessment the moderation has been extended to include centralised moderation in the General Education and Training (GET) phase for grades 3, 6 and 9 in Mathematics and all Languages.

This is an enormous undertaking in itself and we believe that the results thereof will further enhance our teacher development strategy as we strive towards continual improvement in overall learner performance across the grades.

Honourable Speaker,

We have also directed that all learners must be given multiple opportunities for formative assessment in their school based assessment. Effective implementation of the multiple opportunities enables teachers to gather and provide ongoing feedback that can be used to improve learning. Schools Management Teams (SMT’s) must ensure that learners are afforded multiple formative assessment opportunities. The learner multiple opportunities is one of focus areas where we shall intensify our high levels of accountability from school Principals and the School Management Teams. Principals of schools found wanting in this regard will be held to account.

ICT Management

Honourable Speaker,

Our continued investment in ICT infrastructure and moving towards an automated educational platform remains a priority. The Business Intelligence system that we developed, produces a data warehouse that is being upgraded to retain all educational data in a central data warehouse and

provide various stakeholders with credible statistical and decision making data. This system is now being rolled out to various levels within the system and allows schools, who are the producers of data to also be consumers of data. This has increased the uptake of School African Schools Administration Management System (SASAMS) and also incentivizes schools to produce complete, credible and accurate data.

Program 2: Public Ordinary School Education R3,98 billion

Central Procurement of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM)

The department have managed to procure relevant textbooks for all learners in each grade, in every subject in the province, including the top-ups in all grades in subsequent years. The department however continues to have challenges in retrieval of textbooks. The procurement of these textbooks is not for the ownership of individual learners but remain the property of the state. We expect that parents should assist in returning of textbooks to schools. Over the recent years, we have realised that some schools still face challenges in procuring stationery for all learners before the start of a school year.

This compromises the smooth starting of the academic year in some schools. It is in this light that the department has resolved to centralise procurement of stationery for all schools for the 2017 academic year.

SGB: Parental Involvement

Honourable Speaker,

Parent and community involvement in children’s education is one of the central pillars in improving overall learner performance.

However, the present reality is that the level of parent and community participation in education remains worryingly low; especially in our under performing schools.

It is for this reason that we support the NDP’s assertion that: “Providing meaningful information to parents on their children’s performance can enable them to hold schools accountable”.

We therefore call on all School Governing Bodies (SGB’s) to amongst others; focus on holding the School Management Teams (SMT’s) accountable on improving learning outcomes across all grades and initiate programs focussed on increased parental involvement.

Indeed, the assertion that learner performance tends to improve when parents are actively involved and take an interest in the affairs of the school is as true as ever. There is indisputable evidence that schools that have supportive parents produce better results and have less disciplinary challenges.

Program 3: Independent Schools Subsidy R8.7 million

Even with an increase in the total number of learner (4083) in 35 Independent schools, the department has maintained to support and monitoring the provision of quality education in these schools. Subsidy to the value of R8.7million continues to be granted to six independent schools that serve the typical poor communities in the province.

Program 4: Public Special Schools R116 million

For learners with special needs, the improvement in overall learner performance can only be realised with early identification of barriers to learning, differentiated delivery of the curriculum and ensuring that reasonable accommodation and specialised interventions are available to all learners.

The department will continue to strengthen competency in the implementation of the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) Instrument for both officials (Provincial and districts Offices) and at school level. Coupled to this, the centralised admission process of learners with barriers to learning has resulted in an increase in the number of learners at Special Schools.

For the 2016/17 financial year, an amount of R116 million is invested in Public Special Schools.

This budget shows an increase of six (6) per cent from the 2015/16 revised estimate. In the main, this budget caters for the eleven (11) registered Special Schools and ten (10) Full Service Schools within the province.

The Framework for Strengthening the Learning and Teaching of Languages also provides for learners with barriers to learning, in particular deaf learners. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) aligned to the South African Sign Language (SASL) forms an integral part of this Framework. It has been implemented in Foundation Phase and Grade 9 (Bridging) in 2015. Implementation of this for Intermediate Phase and Grade 10 (Bridging) started this year.

Program 5: Early Childhood Development (ECD) R95 million

The overall budget for ECD has increased from R45m in 2010 to R95m in 2016/17 financial year. This increase is because we believe in getting it right the first time. Building a solid foundation that will guarantee success of every learner in their 12 years in the education system. I am pleased to announce that out of the 28 236 Grade 1 learners in 2015, 18 561 of them have accessed formal Grade R education. This translates into 79.7% of all Grade 1 learners having accessed formal Grade R education in that specific year. We have also indicated to invest in the professional development of Grade R practitioners and Pre Grade R caregivers.

We have invested R2.2million in 130 Grade R practitioners who are currently in their second year studying towards completion of a Diploma in Grade R Teaching at the University of North West. An additional 100 Grade R practitioners will also commence with their studies towards completion of the same qualification by June this year. We are investing a further total of R1.7m in the latter.

We will continue to monitor and provide support to Grade R practitioners in community based centres in the implementation of the National Curriculum Framework for children below Grade R. Presently, a total of 658 Grade R practitioners are employed in Public Ordinary Schools. Whereas these practitioners have been receiving a flat rate of R5000.00 stipend per month up till end of last financial year, the 2016/17 budget provides for an increased stipend of R5500 p/m for those with NQF Level 4 and 5 and R7000 p/m for those with Relative Education Qualification Value.

Honourable Speaker,

This is evident and illustrative of our government’s concerted efforts and commitment towards the creation of sustainable work opportunities. We express our heartfelt appreciation to these Grade R practitioners who lay a formidable foundation to ensure that our learners are appropriately stimulated for further learning.

Vast resources, both capital and human, have been and continue to be invested in the Maths and Science (formerly Dinaledi schools) and Technical Schools through Conditional Grants funding over the recent past years. An amount of R23million has been budgeted for these schools via the Maths, Science and Technology Conditional Grant for the 2016/17 financial year.

The additional allocation of Maths and Science teachers (Teach SA Ambassadors) to these schools over and above their normal staff establishment is a clear indication of government’s commitment to increase both participation and pass rates in these subjects. We however note with serious concern that despite investment of substantial resources (both human and physical) in the Maths, Science and Technology (MST) schools, the present overall learner performance, as illustrated in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination in these subjects is not satisfactory at all.

We have just concluded an audit of the extent to which the Teach SA Ambassadors and additional teachers provided to MST schools are being utilised. These Ambassadors must only teach Mathematics and Physical Sciences, the primary objective for which they have been employed. Amongst others, we shall ensure that the Teach SA Ambassadors are granted bursaries to obtain a teacher qualification so as to enhance their teaching competency levels.

Accordingly, we shall strengthen our monitoring and support provisioning to the Maths, Science and Technology schools and in return heighten the demand for accountability from the principals in regard to overall learner performance across all grades.

Honourable Speaker, during the presentation of the 2015/16 Vote 4 Budget Speech, we reported that the curriculum of Technical Schools had been aligned to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) and implementation thereof would start from 2016.

A total of ten (10) out of eleven (11) Subject Advisors were trained in

Technical Mathematics and Sciences respectively during 2015 to enable them to provide ongoing support to teachers in these subjects.

Additionally, 110 teachers were trained in Technical subjects’ specialisation during the same year in preparation for introduction of the CAPS aligned curriculum this year. A total of R2.2million has been invested in this regards. We will continue to monitor and provide support to these teachers to ensure that meaningful teaching and learning take place in these realigned subjects. We are investing a total of R3.2million to train Technical Schools’ teachers during the current financial year, in preparation for implementation in Grade 11 in 2017.

Partnership with Sol Plaatje University We are confident that the Sol Plaatje University will generate enormous educational benefits in collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Education, both nationally and globally.

To this effect, I am pleased to announce that thirty five (35) students are expected to graduate in Mathematics and Science in Education (B.Ed Degree) at the end of this year and already earmarked to be offered out rightly permanent employment at schools in the province.

Honourable Speaker and Members, the doors of learning and culture for all are open and the Northern Cape is alive with endless possibilities.

Program 6: Infrastructure Development R497 million

The provisioning of school infrastructure remains a high priority for the achievement of the provincial basic education objectives. The construction of three (3) new schools, Valspan High School, Roodepan High School and Matjieskloof Primary School has been concluded at a total investment of R224million.

Emmanuel Secondary School, which was an Asbestos School have also been replaced at a cost of R46million.

I am pleased to announce that two (2) new school hostels will be opened during the current financial year in the John Toalo Gaetsewe District

namely: Lesedi High School (Batlharos) and Batlharo Tlhaping Secondary School (Mothibistad) to the value of R77million.

We have further, already concluded planning and finalised the commencement of construction for the following new schools, namely:

  • Barkley – West (Primary)
  • Karos (Primary)
  • Magojaneng (Secondary)
  • Dithakong (Primary & Hostel)
  • Steynsville (Primary)
  • Vaal-Oranje (Primary)
  • Bankara Bodulong (Primary)

This is a further investment of over R332million on capital projects over the 2016/17 MTEF period.

Furthermore, all Northern Cape schools do have access to sanitation, electricity or water supply. The department is in the process of upgrading these basic services to provide an enabling environment for the delivery of quality education. I am pleased to announce that a total of forty nine (49) schools are planned for upgrades within the 2016/17 financial year. Forty three (43) Schools received upgrades to their water supply through the provision of boreholes and purification plants for safe and cleaner water, whilst an additional twenty two (22) schools are targeted for water upgrades in the 2016/17 financial year.

The ablution and sanitation programme is applied where facilities do not meet the minimum suitability for sanitation. Eleven (11) schools received new ablution blocks and an additional 19 schools received upgrades to their sanitation facilities. A further, sixty eight (68) schools are set to receive sanitation maintenance and upgrades within the 2016/17 financial year.

School infrastructure backlogs in the province remains a challenge, particularly in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district. The Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure states different time frames for the provisioning of certain infrastructure, therefore all infrastructure plans are aligned to the eradication of these backlogs by 2030.

The rehabilitation of school hostels is a high priority and we are already in the process of revamping six (6) hostels. The usage of alternative building material will be pursued to expedite delivery in volatile areas like mining where economic activity adversely affects the movement of learner, thus ensuring that teaching and learning occur in a physically conducive environment that it requires.

School furniture

Honourable Speaker, the province has registered an increase in overall learner number in excess of five thousand (5000) over the past 4-5 years. I am pleased to announce for the 2015/16 financial year, we have procured learner furniture to the value of R37 million benefiting 47 schools. This is inclusive of the three (3) new schools that were fully furnished and 1 replacement school that also received large amounts of furniture. For the current financial year (2016/17), we are investing over R16million in learners and teacher furniture.

However, we also urge schools to replace and fix their furniture using Section 21 allocated funds. Prompt fixing of learner furniture will ensure that future generations are adequately provided for and enable the department to invest more money towards other areas aimed at realising the continual improvement of quality public education.

Program 7: Examinations and Education related services R132 million

Honourable Speaker, for 2016, a total of 11 747 candidates registered for the National Senior Certificate Examination. The examination period will commence on Wednesday, 26 October 2016. The release of the national results and Media briefing by the Minister will be at 18:00 on 4 January 2017, followed by our Provincial release on 5 January 2017. Security systems are in place at Head Office, District Offices and Nodal/Distribution Points.

Stringent monitoring of all phases of the examination process will be undertaken. All systems are in place for the administration of a credible, successful 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination. We are confident about the Class of 2016 and trust that we will see an improvement of the NSC results.

Support Programmes:

School Nutritional programme

Honourable Speaker,

The Northern Cape Department of Education believes that access to good nutrition for both Primary and Secondary School children is crucial in ensuring universal quality education. The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) is an important means of ensuring that the impact of poverty on children is mitigated. It not only promotes good health by addressing certain micronutrient deficiencies, but also has an impact on learning by enhancing children’s active learning capacity, alleviating short-term hunger and providing an incentive for children to attend school regularly.

The NC Department of Education plans to provide nutritious and healthy meals to 260 000 learners in 503 Public Ordinary Schools for the 2016/2017 financial year. A budget of R 150 million has been allocated for the schools and activities under the National School Nutrition Programme Grant. The province made an additional internal allocation amounting to R18million to cater for schools which are not included under the conditional grant framework.

School Safety

Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Education together with all our stakeholders will soon launch campaigns specifically focused on vandalism, drug abuse, gangsterism and bullying in our schools.

We have managed to implement campaigns similar to these in our schools, but have realised that there is a much bigger need for broader participation to ensure a holistically approach to these challenges. We are confident that these campaigns will yield positive results to ensure that we create a conducive environment for quality education to flourish.

School Sport

The Department of Education realise the importance of school sport in our schools and encourage all learners to participate in various sport codes. They say: “A child in sport, is a child out of court”. Therefore we will continue to support sporting activities at school level, which can build the good morals and values of a child and contributes positively to the development of our learners.

Learner Transport

Honourable members, together with the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison we are ensuring that we provide safe and reliable transport for learners to and from school. Learner Transport is addressing absenteeism and ensuring access to schools. I am pleased with the work and progress of the joint Task Team in addressing learner transport challenges.

In conclusion, in no uncertain terms, we remain confident about the provision of quality learning and teaching as we are ushering in a new era for education in our beautiful Province. This ANC led Government are working tirelessly to construct a better future for our youth to ensure their dreams becomes a reality by delivering a skilled and educated workforce that will enable them to contribute significantly towards our economy.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the HOD, Mr Pharasi, the senior management and staff of the Department of Education for their leadership, continuous support, dedication and hard work to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of our people, through Education.

Honourable Speaker,

Lastly, every one of us stands on the shoulders of our teachers, our communities, our families who believed in us and invested in our education.

We are here today because we know every child everywhere deserves that same chance.

Education is hope and dignity.

Education is growth and empowerment.

Education is the basic building block of every society and a pathway out of poverty.

More education means less vulnerability to extreme poverty and hunger.

Indeed, progress on education brings progress on all of the National

Development Plan goals. And we must spare no effort to achieve the NDP Vision 2030.

We must intensify our work. This is our collective responsibility.

We must ensure that every child is in school and receives quality education. Every child – regardless of gender, background, or circumstance – must have equal access to education. No society can afford any child to drop out, be left out or pushed out. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful and tolerant societies.

From here, we must take our message to every learner, every parent, every educator, every school and every community. We cannot stop until every learner, child, youth and adult has the opportunity to go to school, learn and contribute to society.

This is our assignment. This is our homework.

Let us pass the test for our country’s children.

Let us put Education First.

I thank you!

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