Parliament, Cape Town - The number of children enrolling for school is on the increase, President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday.
“The number of children attending Grade R has more than doubled, moving from about 300 000 to more than 700 000 between 2003 and 2011,” he said.
“Education is a ladder out of poverty for millions of our people.”
The draft policy framework towards universal access to Grade R had been gazetted for public comment, Zuma said. This was with the view to making Grade R compulsory.
He praised the rising matric pass rate, which had gone up from 61 percent in 2009 to 78 percent last year.
Through the annual national assessments government was keeping track of improvements and interventions needed, Zuma said.
“We have increased our numbers of literate adults through the Kha Ri Gude programme from 2.2 million in 2008 to three million people. We have also been investing in teacher training and are re-opening teacher training colleges to meet the demand,” he said.
A total of 370 new schools had been built, replacing mud schools and other unsuitable structures around the country.
Enrolment at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges increased by 90 percent in 2013, President Jacob Zuma said.
Student enrolment at universities increased by 12 percent.
“We have increased the budgets of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to R9 billion to meet the rising demand,” Zuma said.
Two new universities had also been established, Sol Plaatje in the Northern Cape, and the University of Mpumalanga.
“We will also build 12 new FET colleges in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.”
He hailed the launch of the national education collaboration framework in 2013 as an important development for the country.