More Gauteng schools to be built - MEC

Mpho Raborife, News24

Johannesburg - More schools will be built in Gauteng with the R39bn budget that Finance MEC Barbara Creecy allocated to the province's education department.

This was according to Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi who spoke to News24 after Creecy had presented Gauteng's 2016/2017 budget.

Lesufi said the aim was to meet the demand of pupils who were already waiting to be admitted into schools across the province.

"We've got 16 000 learners that are on our waiting list this year alone... that means you've got to build 16 new schools immediately," Lesufi told News24.

"And if you've got 16 000 learners you must feed them, you must give them text books, you must give them furniture, you must give them new teachers, you must give them new classrooms, so the budget went, to a certain extent... to alleviate the pressure. But the pressure is still there and we need to manage it."

Lesufi said the province's education sector suffered from a "triple migration" problem, with learners from rural areas believing they could get better education in Gauteng townships, while those living in the townships believed they could get a better education from former Model C schools.

The third contribution to the problem was from migrants who came from other parts of the continent, who believed they could receive a higher quality education in Johannesburg.

"So we have to balance the three," Lesufi said.

Despite the urgent need for more schools, Lesufi said this would have to follow processes which ensured that each of the schools had proper sanitation facilities, good classroom conditions and enough teachers and resources.

The department would spend R6.94bn of its funds on direct transfers to ordinary public schools, early childhood development sites and governing bodies for special schools.

The special school sector would receive R6.39bn, while R2.59bn would be spent providing more than 1.3 million learners with a daily meal.

The department was given R1.69bn to spend on transport for learners who lived more than 5km from the nearest school, while R871m was set aside to roll out smart classrooms.

A total of R10bn was set aside for textbooks, stationery, school furniture and other learning support material while R856m would be used to pay the department's municipal bills.

The province had also made provision for post-high school training, development and education.