Education Budget allocation a disappointing state of affairs

Education Budget allocation a disappointing state of affairs. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Education Budget allocation a disappointing state of affairs. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 21, 2024


With a myriad of issues plaguing the education sector, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s Budget allocation of an additional R25.7 billion to the sector has been labelled as a disappointing state of affairs.

Godongwana announced in his Budget Speech that the additional allocation for the sector would enable the government to protect the budgets of critical programmes such as the school nutrition programme, which assisted more than 20 000 schools.

In addition, the early childhood development grant would also move from R1.6 billion to R2 billion over the medium term.

However, student leaders within the higher education space said they were dismayed with the minister’s insistence to leave out the many key issues plaguing the sector and most importantly a lack of direction as to how the funds are to be disbursed.

Keamogetswe Masike, the SRC president for the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), said taking into consideration the number of recommendations and suggestions made by various student leaders, organisations and civil society groups, they were unhappy with the minister’s decision to highlight something as insignificant as “hubbly-bubbly” into his speech.

“Where is this R25.7 billion going? It’s just a number thrown into the sky with no real direction or directive and this is what results in the many challenges we are now battling with. He did not even mention the number of student issues such as historical debt, accommodation woes, NSFAS corruption, nothing but some person who mentioned hubbly-bubbly was important to note.

“It’s disappointing not to hear anything from the minister of finance vigorously addressing the state of higher education in terms of finances and how his department is willing to assist the different departments of education.”

Masike said it was equally disappointing given the blatant corruption and maladministration plaguing NSFAS which was allocated a big chunk of the finances, yet challenges of regulations of how the money must be distributed from treasury to the aid scheme were left untouched.

“We were hoping he would initiate the conversation on creating by-laws to better direct funds because as it is now there are no streams of accountability; it’s just become a dumping site for money and no one is linked to be held accountable for misused funds.

“We do not think there is any working relationship between these two ministers, and we would have loved to hear a direct instruction that perhaps a few billions were set out to assist students but all we have is a figure,” he said.

The Star