Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister and MECs, the Constitution of this country states the following categorically and clearly:
Everyone has the right -
(a) to a basic education, including adult basic education, and
(b) to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.
The manifesto of 2010 commits itself to prioritising education. The state of the nation address by the president of the ANC and the President of the country made commitments to improve education and skills development; to improve the ability of our children to read, write and count; for learners and teachers to be in class on time, learning and teaching for seven hours a day; to assist teachers by providing detailed lesson plans and all the other commitments in the statement.
The ANC, at its congress in 1912, stated in the Freedom Charter that the doors of learning and teaching will be open. As a terrain of struggle, basic education has historically been subjected to a tug of war in terms of resource allocation. Resources, as a variable, have been scientifically proven to be directly proportional to the quality of outcomes.
In that regard, where education is concerned, resource allocation does not only affect the contemporary daily operation but shapes future outcomes. Actually, the quality of life of future generations is dictated by their access to and the quality of education. Unequal resource allocation not only offends and weakens the vision of the ANC, but also denies posterity its right to freedom from poverty, unemployment and inequality. According to Polokwane, the overarching vision that informs the ANC's education policy is "people's education for people's power". In following this vision, the ANC has advanced in ensuring that education is becoming more free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children. The budget should therefore enhance the implementation of, inter alia, the following ANC decisions towards the realisation of the overarching vision: promoting and supporting maths, science and IT inclusion through bursaries offered to teachers of these areas - with the manifesto committing to making provision for incentives for mathematics and science teachers; recruiting scarce skills such as maths and science teachers from foreign countries; the expansion of no-fee schools; ensuring that schools serving the poor are adequately provided with basic education resources; expanding the provision of adult basic education and training to ensure achieving the target of eliminating adult illiteracy from our society; expanding the provision of early childhood development, ECD - with the manifesto committing to training and employing 15 000 ECD trainers per year, with emphasis being placed on rural areas; developing information, communication and technology skills in and through education; promoting the status of teachers; ensuring the employment of adequate numbers of teachers and improving their remuneration and training; assisting teachers by providing detailed daily lessons and providing easy-to-use workbooks for learners in all 11 languages; conducting external tests for all Grade 3 and Grade 6 learners every year; strengthening public school management; improving national- provincial alignment and efficiency of education expenditure by procuring textbooks nationally; and allocating resources to improve district capacity.
In the previous year, the department received an unqualified audit opinion, with emphasis of matter, from the Auditor-General. Expenditure increased from R1,6 billion in 2006-07, to R4,5 billion in 2009-10, at an average rate of 41,7%, and is expected to grow at an average of 21,9% over the medium term. The growth in both periods is due to increases in the National School Nutrition Programme conditional grant, the Mass Literacy Campaign and the Workbook Project.
Sixty-three per cent of the 2010-11 budget goes to social responsibility. That includes the following objectives: improving gender equality in schools; improving quality education access to rural schools; reducing teenage pregnancy; improving learning capacity through the National Schools Nutrition Programme; reducing health barriers to learning by rolling out health screening; and strengthening HIV and Aids programmes in schools.
While the importance of social responsibility goes without saying, it should, however, be asked whether social responsibility is the core business of basic education. In that regard, it can be argued that teaching and learning, as the core business of education, should have received the highest budget allocation. However, in the same vein, social responsibility enhances a favourable environment for teaching and learning to take place, as it effectively removes most of the learning barriers which are caused by objective conditions which tend to affect learners, while learners themselves are not capacitated to deal with them.
The Department of Basic Education has a detailed programme on its five strategic objectives and targets to make this department efficient. These are as follows: administration; curriculum policy support and monitoring; teacher and education human resource development and management; planning, quality assessment, monitoring and evaluation; and social responsibility.
This department, to a certain extent, did make progress in service delivery over the past financial year.
Hon Minister, the ANC supports this Budget Vote. I thank you.