As part of the current financial year, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has received additional money to relieve the department from its pressures.
The Education Department is relieved of the additional R2.2bn that has been allocated to this department.
In the latest Western Cape Budget Speech, the education department has been allocated R28.03 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, R2.2bn more than the department had received in the previous year.
According to the province’s system, there are 1.1 million learners and almost 42 000 staff members.
In a statement, the department said:
We are all very aware of the overcrowding we are facing in many of our classrooms.
The additional budget will help the department to reduce the teacher: learner ratio, by appointing more education staff members.
However, the actual number is subject to the consultation process between the department and teacher unions.
To accommodate the high numbers in schools, the department has also prioritised infrastructure.
This will allow the department to continue with projects that had been suspended due to budget cuts, i.e. the establishment of a high school in Darling, in the West Coast region of the province.
WCED Deputy Director-General, Salie Abrahams has also confirmed that planning has already started to ensure that the department maximises this opportunity.
Abrahams added that they ought to have more control over smaller infrastructure works for schools, to avoid scenarios where we have a 46-week lead time for a mobile classroom that is urgently needed.
WCED Minister Debbie Schäfer has urged that improvements in infrastructure ought to happen with some speed, no matter how many reports are sent to Standing Committees.
The Education Department also expects Grade R to be included in compulsory schooling after the passing of the BELA Bill.
For the detailed BELA Bill, click here.