File photo: Mujahid Safodien

Johannesburg - The funding policy spelling out how much government money each school will receive has finally been gazetted, and will be implemented at all public schools this year.

The amended national norms and standards for school-funding policy, which provinces started phasing in in 2011, gives a breakdown of how much schools – depending on their rankings – will receive from the state.

Formerly, public schools were divided into five categories or quintiles. Poor schools had a low quintile ranking, while better-resourced schools had a higher ranking.

Schools with the lowest quintile rankings received more funding and higher-ranked schools received less.

With the new system, all schools that fell under quintiles 1 to 3 have become no-fee schools.

These schools will receive an allocation of R1 059 for each pupil. Next year, this figure will increase to R1 116. Currently, 60 percent of all pupils in public schools are in no-fee schools.

Schools that previously fell under quintile 4 will now get R503 and schools that were in quintile 5 will receive R183 for each pupil. Fee-paying schools that wish to be classified as no-fee schools can apply for this status at their provincial department of education.

The departments need to ensure that schools inform parents of this change. It’s illegal for a no-fee school to demand school fees from parents, but parents are welcome to make voluntary contributions towards school funds.

The Department of Basic Education’s national poverty distribution table shows that the province with the highest number of well-resourced schools is the Western Cape, with 31.7 percent of the province’s schools falling under quintile 5, closely followed by Gauteng with 31.4 percent.

The province with the highest number of poor schools, previously classified as quintile 1, is Limpopo, with 28.2 percent of its schools in this category. Limpopo also has the least number – 8 percent – of schools that were formerly classified as quintile 5.

The Eastern Cape has the second highest number of quintile 1 schools (27.3 percent), and 11.4 percent of its schools are quintile 5.

Gauteng has the least number of quintile 1 schools, with only 14.1 percent of schools falling under this ranking.

Of the province’s 2 200 public schools, 1 237 are no-fee. These no-fee schools cater for 64 percent of Gauteng’s state school pupils.

Equal Education deputy national co-ordinator Yana van Leeve said it was important for poorly resourced schools to be able to receive additional funding from the government because they were unable to supplement the state allocation with school fees.

“If the state does not provide additional funding to these schools, then we run the risk of schools putting pressure on parents to pay voluntary fees and thus operating outside of the law,” she warned.

The Star