Makhura keeps focus on basic education

23 February 2016 - 02:35 By Shenaaz Jamal and Penwell Dlamini

Gauteng is to prioritise early childhood development and the provision of schools for special-needs children.Premier David Makhura, in his state of the province speech, yesterday announced more plans to help township children get a quality basic education.Speaking in Sebokeng, in the Vaal Triangle, Makhura said Gauteng wanted to retain its status as one of the best-performing provinces in the provision of basic education.The province will increase the number of early childhood development centres from 1330, with an enrolment of 87000 children, to 2000.The number of Grade R pupils will be increased from 113000 in 2014 to 200000 by 2019.The province will increase the number of special-needs schools in townships by 18, all of which will be opened this year.About 77% of pupils who began Grade 1 in 2004 reached matric in 2015, the highest percentage in the country.T he Thulasizwe Autism School, in Orlando West, Soweto, opened last month. It accommodates 90 pupils and is one of 11 schools built or refurbished to cater for special-needs children."Education is the most decisive instrument of national and self-cultivation. It is the greatest investment any nation can make. It is our No1 priority as the ANC-led government," Makhura said.Makhura proposed very few cost-cutting measures but committed his administration to following through on his promise to support small businesses operating in townships.In the past year, Gauteng has spent R1.8-billion on goods and services procured from township enterprises."We have already reached the 12% target we set for the 2015-2016 financial year and we are certainly gaining momentum towards spending at least 30% of our procurement budget [with township enterprises] by 2019."Makhura said the department of human settlements would work to improve the delivery of mega settlements, which would include improved accommodation for university students...

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