Attention broadcasters: English audio attached.
The 2023/2024 financial year will see the Western Cape Government boost education spending by an unprecedented R1.47 billion, resulting in a budget that features massive infrastructure investments and exciting new teacher training initiatives. The budget also includes a nearly R3 billion investment into infrastructure, which will be used to build new classrooms, and to enhance existing ones.
This morning, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) briefed the Standing Committee on Education in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament on the Departmental budget, which will see the single largest increase of any Department over the coming financial year. The coming year will see the Department continue the highly-successful Rapid Build Program, with an astonishing R350 million to be spent on the initiative this year alone. The Rapid Build Program has already seen the construction of more than 740 classrooms since its inception, and its continuation demonstrates the Western Cape Government’s clear commitment to ensuring that every single learner receives a quality education, regardless of circumstance.
The Department will also work to improve conditions within schools. 2023/2024 will see the Department spend R65.008 million on school feeding schemes. These schemes ensure that the province’s school children are well-fed and ready to learn, and represent a key aspect of the Western Cape Government’s mission to lift our people out of poverty through education.
Other impressive highlights of the budget include:
- R5 million to improve the Life Orientation curriculum in order to include content on work and careers;
- R8 000 000 to provide dedicated School Resource Officers to improve safety in nine Western Cape schools;
- R15 000 000 to upskill teachers in digital learning technologies – a key part of the WCED’s e-Vision initiative; and
- R40 000 000 for energy-efficient LED lighting, which will lower energy bills for schools, and work with other interventions to mitigate the impact of rolling blackouts on teachers and learners.
DA Western Cape Education Spokesperson Deidré Baartman said: “Minister Mireille Wenger called the 2023/2024 budget a ‘Budget for Action’, and nowhere is that ethos more clearly demonstrated than in the field of education. These funding allocations represent a mammoth investment in the future of our province. Our children will benefit from a range of well-funded and carefully planned initiatives which will put them on a positive trajectory for the rest of their lives. Once again, the DA has demonstrated its ability to inspire hope with caring, efficient and effective governance.”