“NAPTOSA supports the National Development Plan (NDP) and is mindful that the NDP reflects the priorities underpinning the 2014 budget, to prepare for the next phase of the South African economic and social transformation,” said Mr Manuel “The NDP initiatives to establish a growth path is welcomed, especially the ‘renewed focus on accountability and quality in Education’,” he added.
Commenting on the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan's, 2014 Budget Speech, the president of NAPTOSA (National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa) Mr Basil Manuel said in Pretoria today that whilst the budget speech was cautious NAPTOSA welcomed several aspects highlighted by the Minister.
Mr Manuel said that the increase in the allocation of funds for infrastructure improvement across the sectors and eradicating school infrastructure backlogs are welcomed, and NAPTOSA is pleased with the Minister's announcement that four hundred and thirty three schools will be rebuilt. NAPTOSA, however, laments that no special recognition was given to infrastructure backlogs such as water and sanitation which impact on the dignity of children and educators. "These issues can no longer be put on the back burner,” said Mr Manuel.
The increase in the allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for FET bursaries and the Funza Lushaka bursary scheme is applauded, however NAPTOSA cautions that ONLY deserving students be allocated these bursaries. According to Mr Manuel "it is time for government to reap returns on its Funza Lushaka bursary scheme investment by ensuring that more than fifty percent of a cohort complete the programme and receive placements.”
The professionalization of the public service highlighted by the Minister is something that NAPTOSA has long called for. “As a trade union in education NAPTOSA believes that educators do not receive the recognition as professionals they deserve, both in terms of their contribution to society and their remuneration”, said Mr Manuel. He pointed out that despite a collective agreement and the appointment of a Presidential Remuneration Review Commission that was supposed to prioritise the remuneration of educators, there has been no movement on the matter.
The Minister’s reference to “a fully funded government employee pension fund” being one of the pillars supporting public sector sustainability is applauded by NAPTOSA as well as government's intention to address “wasteful expenditure” in the Public Service.
Mr Manuel said that NAPTOSA was also encouraged to see that measures will be put in place to address “invalid grant recipients”.
In conclusion, Mr Manuel welcomed the Minister’s approach to reprioritise resources to programmes with the greatest developmental impact. According to Mr Manuel, the importance of education for the growth, development and future of our country is highlighted daily in government and other societal circles. “We wait to see how Education as a sector will benefit from the reprioritisation exercise” he said.
Enquiries: Mr Basil Manuel - 079 508 6228