#Budget2017 - R30.1m for reading assessment tool
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Parliament – Funding for proven basic education interventions should be boosted as “over half of all children in grade five cannot yet read adequately in any language”, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.
Delivering his Budget speech in the National Assembly, Gordhan said improved education was a central priority, and particularly, the quality of basic literacy and numeracy achieved in the first phase of schooling.
“We must increase funding for proven interventions,” he said.
The Department of Basic Education developed a national reading assessment tool to assist teachers in measuring the reading progress of pupils at different intervals in grades one to three. The roll-out of the assessment tool is set to begin this year at 1 000 selected primary schools and will benefit an estimated 120 000 pupils in Grade One. A total of R30.1 million has been allocated to the curriculum implementation for the next three years.
Gordhan said more than half of all school-leavers each year entered the labour market without a senior certificate pass, with 75 percent of them still being unemployed five years later.
The three-year planning framework includes a bottom-to-top transformation in education, where improvements would be made in the foundation phase value-chain by increasing the resources for early childhood development and enhancing basic education outcomes.
Spending on basic education was expected to exceed R240 billion in 2017/18, increasing to R261 billion in 2018/19 and reaching R280 billion in the outer year.
Gordhan said the government needed to step up its support to Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities.
“Reform of technical and vocational education and training programmes is vital so that they effectively meet occupational and industrial needs.”