Gauteng to have grade R in all public primary schools - Panyaza Lesufi

31 July 2019 - 14:21
Gauteng education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi  presents the 2019/20 budget in the provincial legislature on Wednesday.
Image: Gauteng education department. Gauteng education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi presents the 2019/20 budget in the provincial legislature on Wednesday.

The Gauteng education department will be expanding grade R to all public primary schools, regardless of their socio-economic status.

This was announced by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi during the presentation of his budget in the Gauteng legislature on Wednesday.

To grow and thrive, Lesufi said, young children required nurturing, responsive, stable, predictable and stimulating environments. “During early childhood years, more than at any other time in life, learning is holistic,” he said.

Lesufi said the province was close to ensuring that all schools had grade R classes, adding that a number of studies showed the long-term benefits of early childhood education.

He said Gauteng was committed to improving early childhood development, and more children were accessing this crucial building block of learning.

“The benefits of early childhood education will assist in reaching our goal of growing Gauteng together,” he said.

“The Gauteng province is currently at 92% achievement of the target to universalisation of grade R access, based on the target of 160,000 learners by 2019.”

In line with the mandate from President Cyril Ramaphosa, early childhood development (ECD) will migrate from the department of social development to the department of education.

“The introduction of pre-grade R or grade RR will be introduced in all public schools. However, the support of children aged 0 to 4 years will remain the competence of the department of social development,” said Lesufi.

He said said to complete the universalisation of grade R and begin preparations for the introduction of grade RR, the department expected to spend R133m.

Compensation of employees remained the largest cost in the education budget, amounting to R37.3bn (75%) of the R49.2bn budget.

Lesufi said R3.4bn has been allocated to public special school education, R1.94bn for infrastructure development, R1.51bn for examination and education-related services, R854m for independent school subsidies and R856m for early childhood development.

Lesufi said the department aimed to improve the province’s pass rate. He said to improve matric results in 2019, the department will allocate resources to implement a number of intervention programmes, including  preparatory camps for matric writers.

There will also be improved provision of infrastructure during this period.

“The department will improve and accelerate infrastructure delivery by replacing 84 mobile schools, upgrading water provisioning at 513 schools, upgrading electricity supply at 210 schools and upgrading sanitation provisioning at 726 schools,” he  said.