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Budget: Education given heftiest slice of the pie

Vocational+Education+xxxEDUCATION will continue to receive the lion’s share of the national budget, with Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announcing that expenditure as a proportion of the budget will decline over the next three years.

Mr Nene said on Wednesday both carrot and stick would be used as billions are spent improving school infrastructure.

The basic education system has been allocated R640bn over the next three years, while higher education will receive R195bn over this period.

Nominal expenditure for the post-school system will grow on average 7.1% over three years, and that of basic education 6.3% in the period.

The education infrastructure grant for the next three years will total R29.6bn, but will be accompanied by stricter controls over public-sector supply chain management.

From May this year, school building plans will be standardised and the costs of construction controlled, said Mr Nene.

“Too often and for too long we have paid too much for school building projects,” he said.

“Routine maintenance of school buildings and minor construction works will be decentralised. This will be accompanied by measures to combat inefficiency and corruption at district and school level.”

In the post-school sector, the skills levy is expected to post average growth of 10% over the period with skills development institutions — including the 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) — expected to receive just under R52bn over the period.

Options for improving the skills funding system — based largely on the 1% payroll levy for medium and large companies — would be reviewed in the period ahead, he said.

Democratic Alliance (DA) higher education spokeswoman Belinda Bozzoli said on Wednesday that much of the money raised through the skills levy continued to be wasted and was expected to remain a “source of disillusionment and dissatisfaction among the employers who pay for it”.

The DA was working on a proposal to “radically shift” the scheme towards demand-driven initiatives, she added.

Funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will rise to R11.9bn in 2017-18, which is expected to support additional enrolment of students at universities and technical and vocational colleges, Mr Nene said.

According to the budget, the 8.8% average nominal growth in NSFAS over the period will support an increase in enrolments in the tertiary sector to 2.2-million students in three years, from the current 1.7-million students.

Lobby group the Higher Education Transformation Network said that it welcomed the announcement of a clampdown on irregularities.


Source: https://www.skillsjobs.co.za/category/seta-news/feed/