Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has allocated at least R30 billion to build new schools and to maintain its dire infrastructure in economically-depressed communities.
Addressing MPs in Parliament during his maiden budget speech, Mboweni said an additional R2.8 billion would be added to the School Infrastructure Backlog grant, in order to replace pit latrines at over 2,400 schools.
This grant will also replace 147 inappropriate and unsafe schools, and provide water to 352 schools over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the ‘Sanitation Appropriate for Education’ initiative to deal with inadequate sanitation facilities at an estimated 4,000 schools with pit latrines in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Mboweni also announced plans to financially support students at higher learning institutions.
“Over the medium term, government will spend R111.2 billion to ensure that 2.8 million deserving students from poor and working-class families obtain their qualifications at universities and TVET colleges,” said Mboweni.
Government last year rolled out higher education and training bursaries for students from poor and working-class families. According to the report, spending on these bursaries grows at an annual average rate of 13.9% over the medium term.
Government will also allocate R33.3 billion to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme in the 2019/20 financial, a substantial increase from the R22.8 billion set aside in the 2018/19 financial year.
“Bursary spending is expected to rise from R27.1 billion in 2018/19 to R40 billion in 2021/22. This will cover over 1.3 million undergraduate students at universities and over 1.5 million students at TVET colleges,” said National Treasury.