Spend on your targets, he says
South Africa spends a large portion of its budget on education, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told the KwaZulu-Natal legislature yesterday.
But he said the question that needed to be asked was whether "we are getting value for money, or if the money had been spent on what was targeted for".
It was the first time that a minister had addressed the province's legislature.
The purpose of Manuel's presentation was to assist the legislature to review the province's education budget.
He said members of the legislature were expected to work together in making sure that the promises contained in the budget documents were delivered as promised.
Presenting his budget review, Manuel said the province had the largest budget for education compared to the otherprovinces.
He said there were 1,2million students enrolled at the newly introduced "no fees schools" this year alone.
"The challenge is to ensure that the 'no fees schools' produce the quality of education which is as good as in those schools where fees are paid," he said.
"We must make sure that those pupils living in the poorest communities have at least an equal chance of making it through our education system."
He called on members of the legislature to work towards the goal of improving the quality of education in the province, saying this was not the task of the Department of Education alone.
"The building of classrooms alone would not make a difference, but we also need to create an environment fit for learning and teaching," he said.
After Manuel's address the floor was opened for debate.
National Democratic Convention (Nadeco) president Hawu Mbatha said there should be an increase in the provincial education budget next year because many Grade 12 pupils were likely to fail this year.
He said the increase was necessary, especially because it was not clear that the province's education recovery plan would succeed in making up for time lost during the recent public servants' strike.
Education was brought to a standstill because of the strike.