Plan for free education

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Education Minister Naledi Pandor has said her department is already preparing for the possible introduction of free and compulsory education for the poor.

This follows an announcement by ANC president Jacob Zuma that the party was working on introducing free and compulsory education for the poor up to undergraduate level.

Zuma also said other plans included the implementation of a national conference resolution that 60percent of all schools should achieve a no-fee status by next year.

Currently, 40percent of the schools are considered no-fee schools.

Spokesman for the Department of Education Lunga Ngqengelele said the increase in the number of no-fee schools would not put a strain on fee paying schools.

"Fee paying schools do not subsidise no-fee schools, but the money is budgeted from government."

Phillipa Tucker, of the Education Law Project, said the government was supposed to contribute R554 for each pupil last year.

This year, the amount is supposed to increase to R581 for each pupil and R605 next year.

Last year, the poorest schools received a government contribution of R738 per pupil, while the wealthiest schools received a government contribution of R123.

Pandor said the responsibility of improving the quality of education should not be left to teachers alone.