Budget Vote Speech 2007/08 presented by the MEC for Education Siphosezwe Masango, Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
1 June 2007
Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honourable Premier, Mr TSP Makwetla
Members of the Executive Council
Honourable members of the Provincial Legislature
Distinguished leaders of political parties
The Revered Traditional Leadership present here
Heads of departments
Head of Department and colleagues in the department
Youth and learner formations
Educators present here and at home
Learners present here and at home
Members of the media
Fellow comrades and compatriots
We are on course to educate the nation!
"Public expenditure in education is critical to a development path that places at its core the need to eradicate poverty and create a better life for all."
Madam Speaker, I have chosen to evoke these words from the President's State of the Nation Address to Parliament in 2003, for one purpose, and that is to remind the House that the continued rise in public expenditure on education attests to a well-established ideological and political trajectory within the African National Congress (ANC); and that is the significance and centrality of education to the eradication of poverty, nation building and development.
The amount of R7,9 billion, Madam Speaker, allocated to the Mpumalanga Department of Education, for the 2007/08 financial year, requires a measure of contextualisation to understand its scope and capacity. Of relevance are the following points:
The average growth of provincial budgets over the 2007 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period at 4,13% per annum remains low in the context of five percent real growth per annum in the national economy.
Education may be allocated more than 40% of the provincial budget, but it remains a personnel intensive enterprise at 78% of the total budget, with more stable, than radical, growth paths. It therefore grows at below average rates and continues to keep spending growth below revenue growth.
Getting there - step by step
Madam Speaker, I want to share with this august House that since 1994, the winds of change have been blowing the educational landscape in our country in general, and in Mpumalanga in particular.
Let us then make bold the assertion that gradually, Bantu Education and the Nasionale Christelike Onderwys are ignominiously receding into the distant memory, whilst gradually, the Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) and the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) constitute our nascent education system. Surely we are irrevocably getting there; step by step, educating the nation.
Madam Speaker, we are entering 2007 with a good portfolio of quality achievements under our belt, with some worth sharing with this House.
The matric class of 2006
The matric class of 2006 did us proud. The provincial matric results improved by 6,7% to a 65,3% average pass. We went over the 65% pass mark for the first time in 12 years. The total number of passes was 25 705 out of 39 370 learners that sat for the 2006 Grade 12 examinations. Of these, 5 523 obtained a Grade 12 endorsement, 1 455 obtained a conditional endorsement and 18 727 senior certificates.
This increase, makes Mpumalanga the most improved province concerning the 2006 Grade 12 examinations whilst it places Mpumalanga just one percent below the national pass average of 66%.
Madam Speaker, once again our educators did us proud as a province through their outstanding achievements in the various national awards competitions.
Ms T Mashaba, an Educator from Tenteleni Primary School in KaNyamazane, was the provincial winner for primary schools in the Aggrey Klaaste Mathematics and Science Teacher of the Year Awards, whilst Ms Viljoen from Highveld Park High School in Secunda was the winner for secondary schools. Both these educators went on to represent the province at the national awards where Ms Viljoen won the quiz on the content that was given to participants from the Further Education and Training (FET) band.
In the 2006 National Teaching Awards we have Mr Farirai Frederick Rufetu from Ekangala Comprehensive High School in Ekangala who was placed second in the Category of Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, and Mr Mohlala from Matibiti Primary School in Bushbuckridge who was placed third in the category of excellence in inclusive education.
In the sixth national ceremony for Most Improved School Awards, three of our schools also did us proud.
Outstanding achievement in Home Language Awards went to IsiSwati and IsiNdebele as follows:
* Lungisanani High School in White River, Ehlanzeni Region, for achieving a 79% pass in IsiSwati and an increase in the number of candidates from 66 in 2005 to 127 in 2006 taking IsiSwati.
* Phambili Secondary School in KwaMhlanga, Nkangala Region for achieving a 74% pass in IsiNdebele.
The Consistent Improvement Award went to Hoerskool Oosterland in Secunda, Gert Sibande Region, for a 99% pass rate achievement, thereby recording 74 endorsement passes in 2006 out of 166 candidates.
Another honour was brought home by Mr Jabulane Ngcane, a Grade 12 learner from Inkomazi High School in Mangweni, Ehlanzeni Region, who passed Mathematics Higher Grade with a 100% and a literal total of 400 over 400.
This is indeed an incredibly outstanding achievement which deserves a standing ovation. Our salute also goes to his teacher, Mr December Mpapane, who carries a history of 90% to 100% pass rates in Maths and Science over the past five years.
Sithi Halala Mamiza nama Thiza wethu!
In partnership with Mondi Business Paper and Shanduka, the department has established the Mondi Science Centre in Piet Retief. The Centre was officially opened by the Minister of Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, on 9 October, 2006.
The Centre has three components to it, namely, a Career Guidance Centre, an Interactive Science Centre and a Further Education and Training Skills Development Centre.
The Centre will provide career advice and scientific technical support to almost 19 000 high school learners per annum, drawn from all four regions of the province.
The equipment used in the Centre is of high technology and sophisticated. Plans are afoot to establish a second Science Centre in Witbank. These advances are indeed an eloquent testimony that the winds of change are blowing the education landscape in our province.
Strategic thrusts for 2007
Lest we rest on our laurels, Madam Speaker, the Mpumalanga Department of Education is putting together a turn-around plan that must sustain these gains and simultaneously express the core of our priorities over the next 10 years.
For 2007, we, however, agreed on a three-pillar frame of priorities expressed in the following thrusts.
Improving the quality of the learner attainment strategy
The first thrust is the improvement of the quality of learner attainment across the public education system. We took our cue from the Grades 3 and 6 systemic evaluation reports and the Grade 12 results. We are targeting four areas, Madam Speaker.
We are geared towards sustaining the improvement of the competency levels of our learners. The involvement of stakeholders in the delivery of high quality education will have to be intensified for us to realise our objective of making the education enterprise everybody's business.
The quantity and quality of our Grade 12 results need to be improved upon in order for us to succeed in creating opportunities for our learners to access higher education. We will rise to the challenge of ensuring that our schools do become centres of educational excellence, thus hard work and the will to succeed in the face of the most difficult adversity, must be the ethic that inform our educators and learners.
The challenges brought about by the mediocre performance of certain school managers will receive an intervention through training and mentoring programmes to enhance performance.
All levels of the department must continue to be involved in the Ayihlome Ifunde Campaign, which is an all-round stakeholder–centred and community–driven campaign to educate the nation.
Sithi ayihlome ifunde, bafundi, ngoba inkululeko neDimokhrasi eyafika ngo 1994 inikeza ithuba elihle kini ukuthi nifunde ukuze nisebenzele imindeni, imiphakathi kanti futhi nesizwe saseMpumalanga ne South Afrika.
Sekunjalo! Ayihlome Ifunde!
Firstly, we are implementing a Provincial Learner Attainment Strategy. The purpose is to turn the tide in all under-performing schools with a Grade 12 pass rate below 50%. We have increased the threshold to a 50% instead of a 40% pass required, because we want to raise the bar in all schools in the province. The department has allocated an amount of R6 million to this initiative.
Secondly, we intend to scale up the Maths and Science Higher Grade intake for 2007 in line with the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (AsgiSA) targets. The department will be setting up a Maths and Science Unit to promote these subjects in the system.
The plan is to harness all available resources, including national interventions in Maths and Science such as Dinaledi schools. The department has allocated R4 million for this project.
Thirdly, is the capitalisation of the poorest public primary schools in the province.
This is in partnership with the National Department of Education in the Project called QUIDS UP. The purpose of this project is to lift the image of public schooling and, therefore, public confidence in the system. The packages include:
* revamping and provisioning of libraries and laboratories
* deployment of readers and reading material
* infrastructure improvement
* training and development of teachers
* Information Communication Technology (ICT) enhanced teaching and learning
* institutional capacity support.
A total of 950 public schools in the province will be targeted over the 2007 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, with 350 public schools receiving attention in the new financial year. The department has allocated an amount of R38 805 million for this purpose.
Fourthly is the launch of a Provincial Reading and Primary Literacy Strategy.
The purpose is to improve the levels of reading and literacy across the public primary schooling phase, therefore laying the foundation for the subsequent higher grades of the secondary schooling phase.
The Department believes that the quality improvement in learner attainment will only be possible if the foundation is solid. The Department has allocated an amount of R28, 831,218 for this project.
Lastly, is the promotion of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and e-Learning in public schools. A provincial ICT Strategy has already been designed and 45 schools are earmarked for the introduction of ICT.
The first phase will entail the delivery of 25 computers to each of the 45 schools for the introduction of an ICT laboratory per school. This will cost the department an amount of R9,5 million. The roll-out to the next 150 schools will take place over the 2007 MTEF period.
I am delighted to announce, Madam Speaker, that the department has already received a huge boost in the promotion of ICT, with some of the projects assuming continental proportions. The first one is the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) e-Education Project.
The Nepad e-Africa Commission chose Mpumalanga for the launch of this project, at Maripe Secondary School on 17 April 2007.
The department will produce a business plan on how it will roll out the Nepad e- Learning Schools over the 2007/08 financial years.
The department has received a donation of R150 000 worth of ICT equipment from the United Kingdom Trade and Investment Commercial Section of the British High Commissioner. This equipment was delivered to the Education Development centres in KaNyamazane, Mpuluzi and KwaMhlanga (Ndebele EDC).
Almost 5 000 learners will benefit directly from this venture. The department is continuing with the roll-out of ICT in the rest of the thirteen EDC in the Province to enable them to support professional development and effective learning.
Another thrust of our work, Madam Speaker, will be the promotion of access to education, particularly for the poorest quintiles in the system.
Madam Speaker, following the 2005 Grade 12 examinations, 157 schools obtained a pass rate of less than 50%. The department held a Niyabonwa Indaba at Greendale High School, Witbank, where underperforming schools had an opportunity of sharing views and best practices with best performing schools.
It is, indeed, an exercise that was worth carrying out as it has paid dividends. This is how the 157 schools that obtained less than 50%, performed that year:
* 90 of the 157 schools that obtained less than 50% in 2005, have improved and obtained 50% and above
* 43 of the 157 schools have increased slightly, but still remain in the trap zone of under 50%
* 24 of the 157 schools have gone down (i.e. they have performed worse than they had achieved in 2005).
The 2006 Grade 12 results have yielded 94 new schools that obtained a pass rate of less than 50%. Most of these schools have been inherited from Bushbuckridge, a Region recently incorporated from the Limpopo Department of Education.
Madam Speaker, it was, amongst others, resolved that:
* School Management Teams (SMTs) should develop their Learner Attainment Strategy plans and produce regular reports on progress made to the Circuit Manager, RMTs and Head Office.
* The MEC and officials should visit schools on a regular basis for monitoring, support and motivation of learners.
* Meetings be arranged with parents at the beginning of each academic year in order for the principal to give a State-Of-The-School Report.
* Workshops to support/train new School Governing Bodies (SGBs) will be organised.
Conference on indigenous languages
Thirteen years into democratic rule, the indigenous languages of our country still do not enjoy the status accorded to them by the Constitution, particularly in our schools.
The number of learners choosing to learn or use these languages as a medium for learning is dwindling. Various reasons are advanced for this, communities do not value these languages and believe that they cannot transmit scientific knowledge; parents do not understand that using the language best understood by the learner for teaching and learning would benefit the learner and instead opt for other languages as media for instruction other than the mother tongue.
Some school governing bodies blatantly refuse to offer these languages in schools. To seek strategies to promote the use of indigenous languages in our schools, the department hosted an international conference on 23 to 24 March 2007.
Internationally acclaimed scholars in African languages and language planning such as Professor Ayo Bamgbose, Professor Emeritus, Ibadan University, Nigeria and Professor Neville Alexander, PRAESA, University of Cape Town, representatives from the Ministry of Education in Zambia and about 300 delegates from government institutions, public entities, school governing bodies and teacher unions attended the conference.
The conference made recommendations that would assist us to move forward. Amongst decisions taken, was the establishment of a Special Advisory Committee on indigenous languages which will, amongst others:
* explore the statutory environment and recommend policy implementation choices for education in the province
* investigate the feasibility of the various models presented at the conference and the implications of each
* develop an implementation framework
* develop a provincial monitoring framework
* further advise the Mpumalanga Department of Education (MDE). on the implementation of the language in education policy
* to serve as ambassadors and advocates for indigenous languages
* identify areas requiring further research
* to encourage the production of literature in the indigenous languages of the province, including books on science and other branches of modern knowledge, children's literature, school textbooks, reference works, encyclopaedia, dictionaries, etc.
As a Department of Education, we have committed ourselves to taking practical steps to develop and promote the learning and use of indigenous languages in our schools. This is not only for identity purposes, but to improve the quality of education and for nation building.
It is important that we create opportunities for all South African learners to learn an indigenous language whilst at school, but also for speakers of these languages to be enabled to use them for learning and teaching in our public schools.
Over the coming months the Mpumalanga Department of Education will make resources available, human and fiscal, to prepare the system so that implementation could begin in selected schools by January 2008. It will establish capacity within the department to drive the implementation of the Provincial language in education Policy Framework.
Integration of schools and the Hoerskool Ermelo Saga
In the Policy and Budget Speech I presented to this House on 26 May 2006, I said:
"Kuqakathekile bonyana sazi ukuthi asifundreli ukuba makhuwa, namtjhana ukufana nawo ngelinye ilanga, begodu, nawo amakhuwa phinde ngelinye ilanga abe babantu abanzima.
Kuqakathekile bonyana, njengoba sifunda begodu sithuthukisa isiNgisi nesiBhuru eenkolweni zethu, nawo la amanye amalimu wesintu siwafundre siwathuthukise begodu siwavikele njengoba utjho uMthetho-Sisekelo we Sewula Afrika.
Eintlik ek wonder bonyana yikomu iinkolo lezi ezisemadrobheni zinganikezi abantwana bamakhuwa nabo ithuba bafunde ilimu noma linye lesintu ngombana ekugcineni bazokwakha begodu baberege namaSwazi, namaNdebele, namaPedi, namaZulu noma namaTjhangani.
Futhi kungenzeka bathathane, sibe nabo makoti namtjhana abakhwenyani bamakhuwa."
Since the democratic breakthrough 13 years ago, the country has made significant and tremendous strides in integrating our schools. However, the refusal by the SGB of Hoerskool Ermelo to admit the 113 English-speaking learners who could not find space at other local schools, e.g. Ligbron High School as well as Ermelo Combined School, was a setback for integration.
In spite of the High Court ruling that the English-speaking learners be admitted at this school, the SGB instead applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
It gives me pleasure, Madam Speaker, to announce to this House that, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, on 10 May 2007, dismissed with costs the SGB's application for leave to appeal.
As a department we regard this decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal as a victory for unhindered access to public schools.
President Thabo Mbeki, in the ANC 8 January 2007 statement, said "We look forward to the increase in the number of no-fee schools to approximately
14 000 in 2007, significantly improving access to education for the poor."
In order to meet that national target, Madam Speaker, as a province we have declared 983 schools as no-fee schools. Thirty five million rand has been set aside to assist these schools to transit from fee paying to no-fee schools.
A Report on the Forensic Investigation into the Scholar Transport routes that was commissioned by the Executive Council in 2006 has been completed by the investigating company and has been tabled to the department. The investigation covers the period 2001-2006.
The Report indicates the work that was covered which includes the review and investigation of contracts and tenders to service providers for scholar transport. This also includes the review, verification and investigation of payments made to service providers by the Mpumalanga Department of Education.
The Report has identified serious fraudulent activities by several officials in the Department of Education who were collaborating with transport service providers, as well as the lack of compliance with Service Level Agreements and other related transgressions.
The contents of the Report confirmed the suspicions of the Members of the Executive Council on the possibility of maladministration with regards to the management of the Scholar Transport Programme.
This has resulted in the unrealistic sky-rocketing of scholar transport costs from the year 2001 to 2006.
This House will be informed on progress made in this regard through the Portfolio Committee on Education, Culture, Sport and Recreation.
An amount of R145 267 million has been put aside for scholar transport in the 2007/08 financial year.
Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to inform this House that the Mpumalanga Department of Education will increase the number of learners participating in the School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in primary and combined schools from 495 034 to 572 876.
The department has set aside an amount of R111 600 million for the 2007/08 financial year, an increase on the R84 549 million allocated in 2006/07.
Greening Mpumalanga Flagship
The Mpumalanga Department of Education has embarked on a programme to support and ensure that our schools establish food gardens, plant grass, trees and flowers as part of implementing the Greening Mpumalanga Flagship.
It is a project in which communities will be involved where environmental cleanliness and awareness will be encouraged. To this end, we will collaborate with municipalities, the Lowveld Agricultural College, the Agricultural Research Council and the Department of Agriculture.
Let me, Madam Speaker, take this opportunity and congratulate the Principal and Management of Phambanisa Primary School in Ehlanzeni Region for having obtained position one in the Woolworths Eduplant National Competition. Halala Phambanisa Primary School, Halala!
Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres
Access to ECD Centres will be given a priority this year. In 2006/07 we managed to increase the number of ECD Centres to 854. For 2007/08 we have set our target at 1 285 ECD Centres. Fifty percent of our ECD sites have already received indoor and outdoor play equipment to enhance the process of learning.
Linked to the ECD project is also job creation opportunities. In 2006/07 we created 180 job opportunities through our ECD Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). In 2007/08 an additional 240 job opportunities will be created through this Programme.
The ECD Programme has a budget allocation of R67 297 million for 2007/08, a slight increase from R51 801 million budgeted for in the 2006/07 financial year.
Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) centres
We are scaling up ABET in 2007 as part of accessing opportunities. In 2006/07, 23 505 learners had access to ABET programmes in 309 Public Adult Learning Centres which have created 1 751 educator posts and 289 centre managers' posts.
In line with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), our literacy units provided 1 050 job opportunities for unemployed matriculants.
We further trained 56 adult learners on construction, 30 on basic electricity (Elconop II), and 45 on the establishment of co-operatives and registered eight centres with the Company for Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) to enable them to access funding from financial agencies such as the National Development Agency.
In 2007/08 we plan to expand our literacy units by 40%, train 600 learners on construction, 200 learners on Elconop II, train centre managers, educators and co-opted members of Centre Governing Bodies (CGBs) from a further 15 ABET Centres on the formation of co-operatives. For the whole ABET Programme we have budgeted R87 476 million.
Our third thrust, Madam Speaker, is the re-alignment and mainstreaming of our business processes to add value to the provincial investment in education.
New infrastructure delivery model
Our first target is the re-alignment of our infrastructure delivery process, including quality improvement in brick and mortar. The amount of technical support received from Treasury deserves a big applause and a word of gratitude. The role of Provincial Technical Assistance Teams (PTATs) in both Education and the Public Works is commendable for driving expenditure levels well beyond 70% mark compared to 30% in 2006.
For the first time, Madam Speaker, we are producing Programme Management and Implementation Plans way in advance of the financial year. This has allowed us to procure professional consultants in time, placed tender advertisements well in advance and, consequently, expenditure already rolled out in April 2007 instead of October 2007.
The department has allocated an amount of R381 087 million to deliver among others:
* 9 new schools
* renovate 1076 classrooms
* 93 administration blocks
* 77 media centres
* 53 laboratories
* 84 computer centres
* 1 179 toilets
* 55 fences
* 45 electricity
* 53 water
* 59 kitchens
* 135 ramps and rails.
Learner and teacher support material (LTSM)
Madam Speaker, the re-organisation of the delivery of Learner Support Material, stationery and textbooks remains our priority. Questions of value for money in the manner of acquisition, utilisation, storage and disposal of textbooks and stationery in the system are receiving rage reviews.
The department has tabled a review process for consideration in the course of the year and a number of options are emerging. We are, however, still on target in terms of delivery. We are spending R354 077 million this financial year on these items.
Integration of school sport
Madam Speaker, we will be integrating and strengthening school sport into our programme structure, we say "all work but no play made Jack a dull boy". Learning is not only about the cognitive but also the physical aspects of a child. In our endeavour to provide quality education, we also include school sport as part of the school curriculum. In 2007/08 the department is allocating R27 million, a 100% increase to the R10 110 million allocated in the 2006/07 financial year.
Youth and skills development
Madam Speaker, we will be mainstreaming our skills development systems targeting our youth, particularly the unemployed and the out of school youth. Currently, the province is managing three systems on skills development and training, namely:
1. FET colleges
In the ANC's 8 January 2007 statement, President Mbeki said: "We have also improved the training environment for workers through improvements in the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the National Skills Fund; the introduction of the second stage of the National Skills Development Strategy; in the recapitalisation of the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges; and in the successive increase in financial support for poorer students within our system of tertiary education."
In order to realise the objective on FET Colleges enunciated by the President, in the 2006/07 financial year, we spent R32 million on the recapitalisation of FET Colleges, with the emphasis placed on infrastructure and the training of lecturers to prepare them for the introduction of the New Curriculum Statement (NCS).
The challenge this year is to respond to the labour market needs of the South African economy, through a rigorous Skills Development Curriculum well articulated in the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition of South Africa (Jipsa) priorities. The department is allocating R40 055 million to this sector in the 2007/08 financial year.
2. Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT)
The Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT), since its unbundling as a parastatal, is in the process of being redefined and mainstreamed into the Provincial Further Education and Training landscape.
The institutional review has emerged with two portfolios, namely:
Skills development and training of unqualified youth, as well as Artisan training for qualified youth. Legislation will also be finalised this financial year. The Department has allocated R23 million for this purpose.
National Institute For Higher Education (NIHE)
Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to announce to this House that the Minister of Education, Ms GNM Pandor, successfully launched the Institute at Emnotweni Arena on 21 October 2006 and an amount of R6 million has been set aside for its operationalisation.
The post of the Chief Executive Officer was advertised and Professor Connie Mokadi has been appointed. A task team to look at educator training needs for the province has already been set up.
Life skills, HIV and AIDS
We will be intensifying our work on HIV and AIDS in Education. We managed to train 1 000 learners, as peer educators, to promote healthy lifestyles and positive attitudes to cope with everyday life. We have managed to turn 100 schools into Nodes of Care and Support of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), and assisted 3 021 orphaned and vulnerable children to obtain Birth certificates, Identity Books and with applications for Social Grants.
In 2007/08 we plan to empower 2 000 more learners on peer education and turn 500 more schools into becoming nodes of care and support of orphaned and vulnerable children. We have budgeted R13,010 million for these programmes.
We will be recapitalising our special schools to the tune of R11 million, with the focus placed on the refurbishment of its physical infrastructure.
Madam Speaker, we are resourcing our school libraries to ensure the availability of progressive and recently published literature. The department will be deploying R28 million for this endeavour. This will not only ensure the supply of material but also ensure that our budding writers are supported and encouraged to write more.
I am happy to announce that the province is on course in the implementation of the Integrated Quality Management Systems (IQMS). Educators on salary notches 6 –16 were paid the three percent accelerated pay progression during September and October 2006. We shall in July 2007 pay the three percent accelerated pay progression to educators on levels one to five. We have honoured this obligation.
To continuously measure the health of our operations in 2007/08, a Grade 3 National Survey will be conducted, followed by a Provincial Survey on Grades 4 and 5 in the No-Fee Schools. To this end an amount of R6,5 million has been allocated.
Most importantly, Madam Speaker, a word of gratitude goes to the Mpumalanga Education Development Trust (MEDT), comprising members of Corporate Business active in the Province. Theirs is an invaluable contribution.
The Mondi Science Centre I mentioned earlier is an effort of Mondi Business Anglo-American went with us rand for rand in constructing 14 classrooms, nine offices, two sickrooms, two media centres and two laboratories; and Eskom has committed R7,5 million towards a new school in Witbank.
Last but not least, my heart goes to the growing portfolio of external aid we are receiving from foreign governments in partnership with the Provincial Administration of Mpumalanga. My heartfelt gratitude goes to:
* the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) for their selfless technical inputs into the Mpumalanga Secondary School Initiative Strategy for Maths and Science (MSSI)
* the Japanese volunteers currently serving in our FET Colleges
* the United States Peace Corps of Educator Volunteers deployed across the schooling system in the province.
Provincial boundary changes
Following recent changes and the realignment of provincial boundaries, the Mpumalanga Department of Education has:
* released the schools of Ekangala township to the Gauteng Department of Education
* released the schools of Moutse to Limpopo Department of Education
* received some schools from the Bushbuckridge Region to Mpumalanga Department of Education.
Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to announce to this august House that the Executive Council has recently approved the establishment of Bushbuckridge as the fourth Region within the Mpumalanga Department of Education, for three years, to facilitate its smooth and speedy integration.
The incorporation of Bushbuckridge into the Mpumalanga Department of Education has seen a dramatic increase in the number of schools, educators and learners. This increase, hugely, accounts for the figures we are tabling here today.
As I conclude, on behalf of my colleagues in the department, let me wish all our learners and the youth of Mpumalanga a productive Youth Month since today marks the beginning of the Youth Month.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Honourable, Premier, Mr Thabang Makwetla, for his outstanding stewardship and guidance. Unwele olude Makwetla!
My honourable colleagues in the Executive Council, your constant advice and regular visits to our schools is the most wonderful and invaluable support to the teaching fraternity of Mpumalanga.
Madam Speaker, allow me to express my profound gratitude to members of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Culture, Sport and Recreation for their unwavering support and contributions to the education of our children.
Furthermore, a debt of gratitude we cannot repay goes to the parents, the educators and other stakeholders who heeded our call to make the education enterprise everybody's business.
Indeed, Sekunjalo, Ayihlome Ifunde!
We also want to thank, most heartily, Mr Dumisa Mavuso and Ms Gugu Nyarenda of Shabisto and Gugs fame, at the Ligwalagwala FM for keeping the flames of education alive.
Most importantly, I also thank my colleagues in the Department of Education, whatever their rank or area of responsibility, for their unwavering commitment and tenacious dedication to the struggle of educating the people of Mpumalanga.
Madam Speaker, I humbly request this august House to favourably consider the allocated amount of R7,956 billion for the Department of Education to fulfil its mandate in the 2007/08 financial year.
Inarha ayilale, iinhliziyo zipharumelane!
Allocation per programme
Including Conditional Grants Allocation
Programme 1: Administration 866,337
Programme 2: Public Ordinary Schools 6,553,830
Programme 3: Independent School 21,404
Programme 4: Public Special School 115,360
Programme 5: Further Education and Training 184,126
Programme 6: Adult Basic Education & Training 87,476
Programme 7: Early Childhood Development 67,297
Programme 8: Auxiliary and Associated Services 60,192
Issued by: Department of Education, Mpumalanga Provincial Government
1 June 2007
Source: Mpumalanga Provincial Government (http://www.mpumalanga.gov.za/education)