ADDRESS BY HON. B.R. ELISHA TO SENIOR AND EXECUTIVE MANAGERS AT THE ANNUAL BUDGET LEKGOTLA ON 12TH MARCH, 2012. IN RUSTENBURG
“The North West Provincial education budget will address this challenge with its programmes, initiatives and projects. The 2011/12 financial year was one of careful listening, reflection and planning. The 2012/2013 financial year is the year we begin the process of putting into action what we have learned. It is a year in which tangible signs of change will be evident in schools and other education institutions in the North West Province.
In light of the new mandate of government, the North West Department of Education and Training must adopt four strategic goals that will guide its activities over the next five year.
We know that without quality education there can be no “development” or progress,” or full liberation particularly in the current context of the global economic crisis. Education and the battle of ideas are central to our strategy and tactics. To understand why education and skills development is so central, we need to recognize the new emphasis in government. Over the past decade and eight years, our government has been effective in promoting equity, access and redress. Increasingly, if not comprehensively, we are taking care of the basic needs of many disadvantaged South Africans.
Within the education sector, we have opened the doors of learning. Almost all children, and most teenagers, can now go to school. We have correctly eliminated fees for most poor learners, provided busses to transport them to school and are providing free meals at school.
But simply ensuring access to social services is not sufficient to address the developmental challenges facing the nation. We now recognize that we need to move from our original focus on equity, redress and access to focusing on the educational requirements of a developmental state. This means providing education that ensures all those at school become educated and leave our institutions with the values, knowledge, skills and qualifications that will give them the best chance of success in their adult lives.
Not only has the President singled out the central role of education, but he has suggested an approach to addressing this challenge in his state of the nation address. The President has consistently emphasized the need to get the basics right and for us to put in place what he calls the non-negotiable. We must have simple but critical targets. We must ensure that all learners and teachers are in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching for seven hours a day. In addition, the targets set by the President emphasize the importance of our learners becoming competent and confident readers and writers who are proficient in mathematics and science.
This message resonates with the statement that says that education remains a societal issue and working together we can do more to change the world and the North West province in particular.
The North West Provincial education budget will address this challenge with its programmes, initiatives and projects. The 2011/12 year was a year of careful listening, reflection and planning. In this financial year, we begin the process of putting into action what we have heard and found. It is a year in which tangible signs of change will be evident in schools and other education institutions in the province.
Program directors, in light of the new mandate of government, the North West Department of Education and Training must adopt four strategic goals that will guide its activities over the next five years. These are linked to the national plans of action relating to education and to North West’s vision, mission and provincial priorities.
The four Strategic Goals are:
Strategic Goal 1: To ensure that NWDoE & T has effective schools and learning institutions.
Strategic Goal 2: To ensure that head office and district offices provide relevant, coordinated and effective support.
Strategic Goal 3: To enable young people to make the transition from school to further education and or work that provides further training opportunities.
Strategic Goal 4: To strengthen NWDoE & T’s partnerships with all stakeholders, resulting in education becoming a societal priority.
In simple language, our goals are to improve our schools, ensure our provincial offices provide useful support to schools, and to ensure that young people have relevant skills and knowledge as they move into further and higher education and the world of work. We must also be committed to working closely with our partners to make education the top priority, not only for government but for our society.
Colleagues, budget prioritization are the key instrument for achieving our strategic goals. The first step in this process is the translation of the four strategic goals into concrete objectives linked to the budget.
These objectives include, among others:
Second only to the increased allocation for pubic ordinary school is the substantial increase in spending on further education and training. The allocation to FET colleges must be increased. This is in line with the need to address the skills shortage and to improve access to the world of work for young adults. Another increase must be for the programme for Early Childhood Development.
In terms of the intervention strategy in our schooling system, we have identified targeted intervention programmes in four phases:
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight these initiatives, interventions that will become household names across the province in the months and years ahead. We have four levels of interventions across the schooling system. These include:
Research has shown that our country’s per learner expenditure is relatively good by international standards. About US$1,383 is spent for every primary school learner in South Africa, against US$167 in Sub-Saharan Africa and US$614 in Latin America.
Current achievements signify exceptional delivery on the requirements of the Constitution (Section 29) and a progressive shift towards a social reality wherein “everyone has the right to a basic education”. Two years ahead of the 2015 target, we’re certainly fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals with almost 100% of children of compulsory school-going age (7 to 15 years) having enrolled in an education institution.
I would like to conclude with the words of Nobel economist, Amartya Sen, made famous by his work on development and human capabilities. Sen reminds us: “Basic education is not just an arrangement for training to develop skills (important as that is), it is also a recognition of the nature of the world, with its diversity and richness, and an appreciation of the importance of freedom and reasoning as well as friendship. The need for that understanding – that vision - has never been stronger”.
So ladies and gentlemen working together we can build a very strong team to deliver quality basic education for a better North West province.
Lets engage vigorously in this lekgotla
I thank you