Education lobby, parents protest at parliament before Mboweni's budget speech
Equal Education members, joined by parents and pupils, are protesting outside parliament in Cape Town ahead of finance minister Tito Mboweni’s annual budget speech.
The lobby group is demanding that the minister should reverse the cuts to the basic education budget and prioritise spending on education. They accused government of placing less importance on education when deciding how to spend its money.
Equal Education’s Hopolang Selebalo said last year the minister announced that government would reduce education funding every year for the next three years.
“The consequence is that the right of learners to basic education is being compromised. We collectively demand a people’s budget that prioritises basic human rights instead of austerity. The national treasury is failing to prioritise basic education and has shown through this the supplementary budget tabled in June last year by taking R2.1bn from the overall department of basic education budget.
“R1.7bn was cut from the school infrastructure grants alone and a further R4.4bn has been reallocated within these grants to cover Covid-19 expenses. To add insult to injury, R276m was taken from the basic education budget to fund SA Airways,” Selebalo said.
She said almost 2,000 school infrastructure projects have been stopped or delayed in the 2020/2021 financial year.
“Many schools in rural areas... do not have access to reliable water supply and in urban schools there is an issue of overcrowded classrooms. We are calling [on] the minister to ensure that basic education funding grows and keep in line with education inflation. He should ensure that the National School Nutritition Programme has the money needed to feed every learner who qualifies for it,” Selebalo said.
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