28 March 2017
The South African Democratic Teachers Union in Free State has noted with appreciation the budget speech presented by the honourable MEC for Education Tate Makgooe on the 27th March 2017. The budget presented is for the financial year 2017/18.
We are comforted by the commitment made by the MEC to strengthen Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) in every school, circuit, town and district. The strengthening of QLTC is in keeping with the call made by our Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting held on the 17-18 March 2017.
Indeed, education is a societal responsibility hence the call for unemployed university graduates, retired teachers, principals and other professionals to support these committees.
We welcome the commitment to provide opportunity through the introduction of vocational, technical, practical and occupational skills to amongst others those learners whose educational needs cannot easily be accommodated in the mainstream schools and to further invest in technical, vocational streams made of school of skills, skills hubs, skills academy and technical schools. This is made achievable by R18 million allocated to these schools of skills.
As part of rural development, we welcome the R3 million allocated for Agricultural schools and a further R4.9 million from national department of rural development and land reform for agricultural equipment, infrastructure, machinery, seeds and chemical to run successful farms located within schools' premises. Once these schools are productive, they will be linked to co-operatives contracted by the Department to supply food to schools for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). There is however a need to increase the support to agriculture as a subject in schools where it is offered.
Whilst we welcome an injection of R3.590 million to up-skill 200 Grade R Practitioners already in the system towards a three year Diploma in Grade R teaching and additional R1.057 million for professional development and support to Pre-Grade R practitioners in ECD centres and Grade R practitioners, there is no mentioning of an increase in the payment of stipends to these practitioners. Many of these workers are bread winners and their stipends have not been increased since 2012, making it very difficult for them to support their families.
We note the idea behind finishing schools to assist learners who did not achieve National Senior Certificate (NSC) since 2009, including those who qualify to write supplementary examinations and those who failed to meet the requirements of the NSC as progressive. However, the matter should be subjected to intensive discussions with the union in particular on the status of these schools and the employment of teachers, support staff and the related examinations to be written.
We will ensure that teacher development and support to teachers is given priority in the attainment of quality teaching and learning. The issue of overcrowding however remains an impediment to the delivery of quality education where individual learners should be given the necessary attention and support to avoid massive progression of learners which puts pressure on teachers.
In conclusion, we congratulate all teachers in the province who did exceptionally well in the National Teaching Awards.
ISSUEDBY PROVINCIAL SECRETARIAT
Provincial Secretary: Mokholoane Moloi: 076 811 2777
Deputy Secretary: Sifuba Ntombizanele: 079 691 7358