Home News NC no-fee schools are underfunded – Motshekga

NC no-fee schools are underfunded – Motshekga

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In a written reply to parliamentary questions, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga indicated that the Northern Cape paid out only R1 134 per pupil.

Picture: Courtney Africa/ African News Agency (ANA)

NO-FEE schools in the Northern Cape are underfunded, with the provincial Department of Education failing to comply with the nationally set allocation of R1 466 for each pupil in a no-fee school.

In a written reply to parliamentary questions, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga indicated that the Northern Cape paid out only R1 134 per pupil.

The Northern Cape is one of three provinces that is not complying with the nationally set allocation of R1 466 for each pupil in a no-fee school.

KwaZulu-Natal allocated just R955 to no-fee schools for each pupil, while Mpumalanga authorities set aside R1 370 per pupil.

This is despite the fact that the national norms and standards stipulate that this figure should be R1 466 for 2020.

This money is allocated to schools’ non-personnel funds and is intended to cushion schools that do not charge fees from the daily financial pressures.

Schools use the funds for services, such as electricity, infrastructure maintenance, and paying clerks and additional teachers.

The DA’s Désirée van der Walt asked Motshekga if the government had data on the costs deemed adequate for public schools to meet their day-to-day obligations.

Motshekga’s reply focused on the set allocations to schools.

“It should be noted that KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape are not funding at the required levels of funding,” she said.

“No-fee schools, that are underfunded, have a right to charge compulsory fees in terms of paragraph 163 of the National Norms and Standards for School Funding. To date, there is no record of a school that acted on this right,” said Motshekga

The Northern Cape Education Department has blamed its underfunding of poor schools on a number of factors, chief among them being the increase of schools declared as no-fee.

Spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said: “The additional no-fee schools resulted in an increased funding for the Norms and Standards allocations.”

Van der Merwe said their deficit for the current financial year ran into millions of rand.

“The shortfall in funding no-fee schools, at the minimum national per capita, is R53 million for the 2020/21 financial year.”

But the department tried its best to support underfunded schools, he said.

“Although schools are underfunded, additional resourcing mechanisms, such as compensation for fee exemptions, bailing out schools for outstanding municipal services accounts, learning and teaching materials and software, minor maintenance and repairs – which should have been catered for by the allocations – are provided by the department from its own internal budget.”