Eastern Cape to pump extra R16.3 million into tertiary education for poor: Premier
The Eastern Cape government will increase its contribution to the tertiary education of disadvantaged youth by R16.3m this year, Premier Phumulo Masualle said on Friday.
This was over and above the R20.1m that would be made available in the 2016/17 budget, he said in his State of the Province Address in King William's Town.
This would benefit an additional 300 financially needy students at institutions in the province.
A total of R75m had been sourced for the Sector Education and Training Authorities to help Technical Vocational Education and Training college students get workplace experience.
"We are committed to working with youth formations to ensure the youth get gainful employment and to encourage and support youth entrepreneurship by providing both financial and nonfinancial support," said Masualle.
He congratulated the University of Fort Hare on its 100-year anniversary.
"Our claim that we are a home of legends is perhaps particularly borne out by the existence of this legendary institution that has produced so many outstanding leaders in the country and on the continent."
The provincial government will host a centenary celebration for the university in May.
The university has been the alma mater of ANC stalwarts such as Oliver Tambo, former president Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki and has always been a stronghold of the ANC.
But in May last year, the Democratic Alliance Students' Organisation won the Student Representative Council elections at the university from the ANC-aligned South African Students' Congress.
On basic education, Masualle said there were many challenges needing urgent intervention.
These included a large number of dysfunctional schools, which resulted in a high dropout and failure rates, small and unviable schools, which resulted in less than optimal use of resources, poorly capacitated district officers to support schools, a shortage of appropriately qualified and skilled teachers in critical subjects, and low levels in numeracy and literacy at primary education levels.
He said the executive council had adopted a transformation plan to improve the system in the next three years.
"We ... call upon parents, stakeholders and communities to work closely with government to improve education outcomes," said Masualle.
"The unjustifiable acts by some sections of our communities of keeping their children away from schools as a way of expressing their displeasure with government services are unacceptable and cannot be condoned."
The right to quality education needed to be protected, he said.