Click here to view the education budget vote
Quality teaching can only take place in a text-rich environment. This administration is firmly of the belief that textbooks are an essential educational resource for the development of reading, writing and language skills.
Providing textbooks to our learners is a non-negotiable, as the availably of quality texts militates against poor teaching and allow learners systematically to grasp the curriculum material.
That is why, over the next financial year, we will spend an extra R100 million on providing texts to schools. This spending is in addition to the norms and standards allocation to schools and will target the foundation phase or Grades 1 to 3.
We have also recently concluded a top-up programme, which saw 15 000 additional textbooks being provided to Grade 12 learners in critical subject areas.
The additional R100 million allocation to textbooks has been funded, in part, by embarking on a number of cost savings initiatives.
This administration believes that there is simply no contest between spending public money on business class flights versus the buying of textbooks.
Thus, in a marked departure from past practice, we have saved R16 million by simply cutting out business class flights and other unnecessary travel expenditure, launches, gifts, parties and other unnecessary expenditure.
There is still more work to be done in this regard and all our officials are ensuring that we do not waste a single cent on frivolous expenditure over the coming years.
Unlike previous administrations, the Ministry has not held a budget party this year and has dramatically cut back on any other non-productive expenditure. This is the example I know the rest of the department will follow.
I have to add, given that it is library week, that I am proud of the fact that the WCED has invested heavily in establishing libraries in the poorest schools in the province over the past three years.
This investment has seen, amongst other things, 325 000 books being provided to schools.
While we share the ultimate objective of providing school libraries to all schools, we have to ensure, in the context of resource constraints, that we also prioritise creating text-rich classroom environments.
Through simple cutbacks and the re-direction of resources, we can make text-rich classrooms possible.
We will not rest until every learner, no matter what school they find themselves in, has the text required to succeed.