The province spent R2,5 million on 5 333 bicycles, school bags and helmets for needy school children last year as part of the Shova Kalula Bicycle Project. This year, more than 2 110 bicycles have been given to poor schools. The province will buy a further 3 000 bicycles by November. The project helps learners who have no transport and have to walk long distances to school.
Taxi operators in the province attended a Taxi Summit in Sabie during October to empower them with business management skills. The main aim of the summit was to assess the taxi industry in the province as a whole. Outcomes of the summit include a programme of action for the training of taxi operators in business management, bookkeeping and customer care.
School principals, teachers and pupils have been encouraged to follow in the footsteps of a Limpopo school that had a 100 per cent matric pass rate for the past 13 years. The Thulamela Municipality selected the school as "Winner of the Decade" during the 2008 Achievers' Awards in Thohoyandou. The school received a trophy and a cash prize of R5 000.
An amount of R10,5 million will be set aside by the provincial government for bursaries. The bursaries will go to about 100 students who want to study courses next year that will help to address scarce skills in the province. Preference will be given to needy students who cannot afford further studies and who have proved that they work hard and get good marks.
The National District Hospital in Bloemfontein has been recognised by the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). There are seven recognised hospitals in the province. They are part of the province's Five Pillars of Free State Quality Assurance, which was started in 2002.
A multimillion rand tourism project is planned for the Umzimkhulu area. Phase one of the threephase project includes a tourism information centre, a museum, an Internet cafe, a craft shop, a storage facility, four shops and a restaurant. The project will boost tourism, help to create jobs,and improve infrastructure development and economic growth in Umzimkhulu.
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