2017/03/07 Charmaine Kgopa
Education spending has been declared the single largest item in the provincial budget tabled by Gauteng MEC for Treasury Barbara Creecy on Tuesday.
Creecy announced before the Gauteng Provincial Legislature that education will receive a budget increment from R39.5 billion to R40.8 billion in the 2017/18 fiscal year. This allocation will allow the Gauteng Department of Education to continue making education a societal priority.
Public ordinary schools, early childhood development sites and special schools will get R3.37 billion, while R2.3 billion has been allocated for schools that cater for learners with special needs. This money includes R12.6 million for new conditional grant to cater for severely disabled learners. Warm food will continue being served to 15 million learners who depend on the school feeding programme under the provincial education department as R1.07 billion has been allocated for this daily need.
Transportation for learners who live more than 5 kilometres from the nearest school will cost the treasury R779 million and R724 million to support the continuation of the e-Learning strategy. Allocation for textbooks, stationery, school furniture and other learning materials amounted to R810 million.
The Gauteng government is also committing R587 million towards teacher development and R476 million towards improving the Grade-12 performance.
The provincial government has also kept its commitment to paying outstanding municipal bills. As part of the commitment, Gauteng Treasury has set aside R362.7 million for this item.
In his State of the Province Address last month Premier David Makhura indicated that the Tshepo 500 000 project has already reached more than 350 000 young people since its launch two years ago.
“The Gauteng Provincial Government is now confident that in partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and various private sector companies we will reach out to a further 650 000 young people before the end of our term,” said Creecy.
In the 2017/2018 financial year, the provincial government will contribute more than half a billion rand to youth development. R110.9 million for Tshepo 500 000, R191.1 million to the Expanded Public Works Programme in creating 110 096 work opportunities and R295 million to provide 4121 bursaries and scholarships.
R76 million will be spent towards government internships and R20 million on the accelerated youth placement programme hosted by the Department of Economic Development.