Education week

Putting the budget to good use

Funding futures
Funding futures
While many lauded Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s announcement of a R207-billion injection into this sector for 2012/13, others were less impressed as the ANA (Annual National Assessment) results of 2011 showed grade 3 learners scoring an average of only 35% in literacy and 28% in numeracy tests. 

“The money is clearly there, but the question begs - are we spending it wisely and getting the desired return on our investment? If the Department of Education wants the private sector to invest in education, they will need to show that they are getting the results”.

“While the challenges in our education system are huge, they are not insurmountable. The private sector is willing to play their part, but an open dialogue is needed to discuss infrastructure spending. Our aim this year is to bring together all stakeholders – educators, principles, government officials and school governing bodies – to discuss these challenges, as well as the possible solutions,” says Claire O’Connell, Conference Director for African Education Week 2012.

Education Week, which has for the last five years played a pivotal part in shaping the education landscape in South Africa, will showcase a compelling set of topics designed to move South Africa’s struggling education system in the right direction. There is growing consensus in education circles that, in order to fundamentally improve the performance of the South African education system, essential decision-makers should be in agreement on best practice and focus on the right priorities.
Says Claire O’Connell, Education Week Conference Director, “South African policy-makers are realising that they need to focus on the real issues in education reform. We should be asking the tough questions about the quality of education on the African continent and how to go about improving it.”

“Lack of basic infrastructure including furniture, water, sanitation and properly maintained buildings are all common issues in South African schools,” says O’Connell. “Usually these issues are compounded by a lack of adequately trained teachers and poor management procedures. Good infrastructure is necessary in widening the access to quality education.”

Concludes O’Connell, “A change in mindset and spending the budget wisely, accompanied by a massive effort by all parties to work in unison, is needed to improve the quality of education on the whole. African Education Week 2012 has provided a platform to discuss these issues through a mixture of high level speakers and open debates from the floor.”
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Issue 58