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Budget cuts implications on schools in Western Cape

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By Lee-Yandra Paulsen

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is grappling with the consequences of a significant budget cut of R716 million, adversely affecting plans to construct 21 new schools in the province. Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the WCED, addressed the issue on VOC Breakfast on Thursday, shedding light on the challenges posed by the budget constraints.

Hammond explained the budget cut’s origin, stating, “The public service wage deal negotiated with the unions and the public service and National Treasury informed the Western Cape that they cover the cost of 64% of the wage deal cost, and the province had to come up with the remaining 36%. This unfortunately led to budget cuts, and with Health and Education being the biggest budgets in the province, R716 million had to be cut from education. This obviously made a difference to our plans in terms of our infrastructure delivery.”

Originally planning a significant infrastructure rollout, the department had intended to build 21 schools this year. However, due to budget constraints, this number had to be scaled down to approximately ten schools, along with three replacement schools.

Hammond expressed concern about the impact on learners, saying, “I know that by the 11th of December last year, obviously, schools are closed, and we struggled to place learners during the closure period as we couldn’t negotiate with the school governing body to place more learners.”

Providing an update on learner placement, Hammond mentioned, “We had 688 learners that still needed to be placed that have applied throughout the school year last year. This includes the applications received on the 10th and 9th December 2023, and that is 99.4% of all applications received of those grade 1 and 8 learners have been placed.”

Parents of children yet to be placed were advised by Hammond to visit the district office, with details available on the WCED’s website.

VOC News

Photo: Pixabay

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