REAP welcomes the overarching priority the 2011 budget gives to development rather than welfare expenditure. This is a far more sustainable approach and evidenced by significantly increased expenditure on education and job creation schemes. We also endorse the strong emphasis on rural development.
REAP especially welcomes the additional resources given to the National Student Financial Assistance Scheme (NSFAS) and National Skills Fund (NSF) for increased loans and bursaries to tertiary students. However, we strongly encourage concurrent additional investment in student accommodation, a problem reaching crisis proportions on many campuses. A failure to address this issue will largely thwart any benefits of increased access to higher education places for poor students, especially those coming from rural areas.
We also welcome the enhanced funding for FET’s, but would caution that this must be used to stimulate improvement in the quality of service delivery (i.e. teaching, training, administration) and not just increased access.
REAP is in principle supportive of the proposed youth wage subsidy and would be interested to be part of ongoing discussions as they proceed.
Rural Education Access Programme