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Early Childhood Development allocated R200m

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Early Childhood Development allocated R200m

by Gabi Khumalo
23 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Early Childhood Development (ECD) including Grade R has been allocated more than R200 million to expand enrolment and improve quality.

Tabling a R9 billion education budget on Thursday, Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore said the amount allocated to ECD includes R91 372 million to ensure universal enrolment of all five-year-olds by 2010.

An amount of R66 143 million was allocated to supplying resource kits to ECD community sites and payment of stipends and class fees for ECD practitioners as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

As part of the expansion plans, 111 Grade R classrooms are being built at primary schools which will be supplied with equipment.

In a bid to support and strengthen numeracy, the department has allocated R1 905 million for 107 bursaries to teacher education students in the priority areas of Mathematics and Science.

Mr Dugmore said there will be ongoing intensive literacy and numeracy support in schools where results are below par with 100 officials and 450 Learning Support Teachers deployed since 2007.

"There is continued deployment of 510 teaching assistants in the foundation phase and a strong Family Literacy pilot where our teaching assistants are working with 280 families.

"We will launch a major family literacy radio campaign next month to reach parents in poor communities," Mr Dugmore said.

On infrastructure delivery, four schools are under construction and a further five are in the pipeline.

Planning of further six schools is expected to start shortly, 11 schools are expected to be completed over the next five years.

However, Mr Dugmore noted that the province needs over R5 billion to make up for its infrastructure backlog.

"We have built 42 new schools and 39 halls, added 1 509 new classrooms over the last four years to existing schools and put in 1 333 new ablution facilities.

"It is clear that in order to maintain the momentum of infrastructure delivery, we will have to approach the Provincial Treasury to advance a portion of next year's allocation for utilisation in this financial year," said Mr Dugmore.

Through the Quality Improvement, Development, Support and Upliftment Programme (QIDS-UP), schools in the two poorest categories will receive R154 246 million for libraries and extra reading materials, jungle gyms, computer laboratories and upgrading and maintenance.

Additions of R82 8 million has been allocated to the National School Nutrition Programme Grant to ensure that 233 420 vulnerable learners in 992 schools receive a quality meal every school day.

Mr Dugmore announced that the New Centres of Excellence at False Bay College is to open an "Academy of Boatbuilding" at a cost of R3 million to further develop its profile in this field.

The Cape Town College is to become a Centre of Excellence for the Creative Arts with an initial investment of R3 million in a computer platform towards design and animation, which will put the college in an ideal place to help fill the gap in the skills network.

The department also allocated R1 565 million for the opening of two pilot full-time Adult Education Centres in Elsies River and Khayelitsha.

R14.9 million was allocated to Safe Schools Project to introduce a set of deliberate measures in 109 targeted high-risk schools in the province.

R1.2 million was set aside for the development of Representative Councils of Learners (RCLs), which will lead towards a representative conference for RCLs later this year.

The department will further provide schools with a lesson plan resource pack to support language and life orientation teachers in tackling issues of xenophobia, racism and bullying as a high-priority, short-term intervention. - BuaNews

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