MIET Africa Comments on the 2011/12 Budget

NGO Budget 2011
Friday, 25 February, 2011 - 11:58

MIET Africa welcomes the 2011/12 budget. Preparing a budget that has both significant short-term and long-term implications is extremely difficult, but it is a crucial task. Minister Gordhan and his staff have once again risen to the challenge. They have presented a well balanced budget - one that caters not only for immediate development needs, but also seeks to achieve longer-term imperatives

MIET Africa welcomes the 2011/12 budget. Preparing a budget that has both significant short-term and long-term implications is extremely difficult, but it is a crucial task. Minister Gordhan and his staff have once again risen to the challenge. They have presented a well balanced budget - one that caters not only for immediate development needs, but also seeks to achieve longer-term imperatives.
 
For education there are several positives. Key amongst these are two separate but linked highlights: (1) the focus on job creation and (2) the continued allocation of resources to FET colleges. By increasing opportunities for our youth to be skilled in areas of high demand will not only provide the country with a work force that is relevant to the needs of the country, but will also offer hope for the many learners who complete their basic education schooling. The current high rate of unemployment amongst young people (42 per cent) leaves our learners with little hope for their future. The possibility for decent work post-school as well as the opportunity for further skills development, is a motivation to succeed at school. Leading from this is the need for career development, so that our young people are guided early on in their school careers around areas of further study or work that are suitable and relevant.
 
However, as with most budgets there is a heavy focus on numbers, and less emphasis on how well the money is being spent. In his presentation Minister Gordham did allude to this, but a greater emphasis on the accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditure is needed. A total budgeted expenditure on education of R190 billion (the largest share of government expenditure) is highly commendable. But, as various external reports have indicated, the large allocation and spend have not translated into quality education for the majority of our learners - there is very little bang for our buck!
 
Perhaps it is time for government to broaden its thinking around the provision of quality education - from its current role of financier and sole provider of public education to that of financier and enabler of public education. By harnessing the comparative advantages of the various sectors, and by taking collective responsibility, quality education that caters for the development and learning needs of all our children, can become a reality.
 
Alan Beesley
Chief Operations Officer
MIET Africa
www.miet.co.za

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