State of the Nation Address
The Department of Science and Technology says government is ensuring that over nine million school children do not go to class on an empty stomach.
This is according to Department of Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor who said that government and the late former President Nelson Mandela laid a good foundation for the country to celebrate achieving of universal access to basic education for all girls and boys.
The minister was speaking during the debate on President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament in Cape Town recently.
“The number of learners who benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) is 9.2 million out of a total of million learners in public schools.
“The number of learners who benefit from the No-fee school policy is 9.4 million out of 12.6 million learners in public schools,” the Minister said.
Education is government’s leading priority in its 12 outcomes framework, most of which are focussed on improving the lives of all South Africans.
During the debate, Minister Pandor said government has made headway through various programmes to ensure that learners receive quality education and that they are able to move through the system with exceptional results.
The Minister also said that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of learners writing and completing Grade 12, from 532 860 in 2014 to 644 306 in 2015.
“The 2015 numbers are the highest in the history of South Africa.
“One of the most encouraging outcomes of 2015 is the improvement in the quality of performance in Quintile 1 to 3 schools. This contributed greater numbers of bachelor passes and distinctions.
During his State of the Nation Address, the President said government has responded to the financial shortfall arising from the zero per cent university fee increase, as agreed in a meeting with students and vice-chancellors last year.
After several student protest demanding a zero per cent fee increase through their #feesmustfall campaign, the President heeded their call following consultations with student leaders and university vice chancellors.
He also appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into higher education, and urged all stakeholders to work with the Commission to ensure its success.
During the debate, Minister Pandor urged all students to focus on learning and parents who can afford to pay fees to do so.
“We condemn wanton destruction and violence on campuses and support Minister Nzimande in his efforts to ensure a successful academic year.”
Some of the results that government was pleased with include:
- The percentage of five-year-olds attending educational institutions at Grade R has increased to 87,2
- Schools have a 100 per cent intake for Grade 1.
- The percentage of 14-18-year-olds attending educational institutions is at 90.7 per cent.
- The percentage of five year old children with disabilities attending educational institutions is at 83.9 percent.
- The percentage of seven to 15 -year-old children with disabilities attending educational institutions, is at 93.4 per cent.