Gauteng education faces financial strain

 

Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said his department is financially strained and even treasury will not increase the budget for next year.

Lesufi was addressing the media on 22 October about the state of readiness on the matric exams at Nokuthula LSEN, the newly built public school in Lyndhurst.

The MEC said they have had to cut down on many spendings because the education department has not enough money to support their programmes.

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He said they had to also cut on tea and cakes during their meetings and even had to deny staff the borrowing of state vehicles during weekends.

“The department is in real financial strain and we have no other options but to cut down on many things,” said Lesufi.

“Even our staff have to bring their own tea bags or coffee because we simply can’t afford it. When they cater for you guys you must just be grateful,” joked Lesufi.

As for the placement of children in schools, Lesufi said the department is under immense financial pressure, which may play a role in students not being placed in a school for 2018.

He said with only 2 017 public schools in Gauteng – of which 402 were already at maximum capacity – 63 456 applicants still needed to be placed before the 2018 school year begins.

This has been exacerbated by the fact that 35 865 applicants have not submitted documents to the schools, as well as the department’s financial strain, as treasury did not increase the budget for the 2018 school year.

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“We have received an instruction that we are not going to get a new budget from treasury, which simply means that there is no new money that is coming.

“We have to absorb all new children with no new money…the pressure is unthinkable,” said Lesufi.

The MEC said that as more and more students were coming to Gauteng for their schooling, and because of the financial restraints, there would not be enough teachers and textbooks to meet the demand.

As for the matric exams, Lesufi said a total of 150 090 candidates, including 108 594 full-time and 41 496 part-time candidates, have enrolled to write the National Senior Certificate Examinations (NSC).

The exams commenced on 23 October and the MEC said they will be concluded on 28 November.

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“We wish all our learners strength and success during this stressful period and appeal to everyone to provide the necessary support,” he concluded.

Details: Steve Mabona on 072 574 3860.

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