SADTU welcomes Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech presented in Parliament this afternoon. We welcome the fact that education continues to be our government’s number one priority. The R165 billion given to education attests to this.
We note the following on matters of education:
- Adjustments to the Occupation Specific Dispensation: An additional R9 billion will be provided over the next three years for teacher salaries. There will be improved remuneration for longer service. We commend the minister for including OSD in his budget. We note that this is a change from the past budget speeches when there was no allocation for OSD. We will then work out how much this allocation will go towards fulfilling the objective of OSD of attracting and retaining new talent to the profession and improving the quality of education.
- The shifting of the R12 billion budget for FET colleges, over the next three years, from provinces to the national department: This will ensure uniformity in spending priorities across all nine provinces which will lead to better and improved running of these institutions. This sector is very important in providing skills needed in achieving a democratic developmental state. Skills, knowledge and attitude are critical in building the state’s institutional capacity.
- A further allocation of R1,3 billion to improve the salaries of FET college educators: Although it is not clear how much this will translate to an individual educator, we nevertheless welcome the allocation.
- An amount of R2,7 billion for the roll-out of workbooks in all 11 official languages to help numeracy levels in Grades 3, 6, and 9: SADTU welcomes the roll-out but would like to see it implemented as a matter of urgency. We, on the same vein, call for more resources for teacher development and training – more especially for Language, Maths and Science teachers. As SADTU we will monitor that this initiative is not used to de-professionalise the teaching profession.
- We note the non-commitment to the re-opening of colleges of education as declared in the Teacher Development Summit held in July last year, involving all stakeholders in education.
SADTU therefore demands that the money, as allocated, be utilised for education only. Deviations by provinces should be firmly dealt with as we want uniformity in education throughout the country.