Scrapping of school quintiles welcomed
But current and planned measures fall far short of remedying unequal and poor quality education
Equal Education (EE) welcomes the plan to scrap the school quintile system.
How does the existing system work?
Schools are in five groups, and receive funding based on the group they are in. The funding model is progressive, with poorer quintiles receiving more than wealthier quintiles.
Q1 schools receive R960 per child annually.
Q2 schools receive R880 per child annually.
Q3 schools receive R880 per child annually.
Q4 schools receive R480 per child annually.
Q5 schools receive R165 per child annually.
Why scrap it?
- Classifying schools requires a large head-office bureaucracy. This money should be used for education.
- Schools are sometimes classified wrongly.
- Most schools in quintiles 1 – 3, and sometimes even quintile 4, are in a similar situation. It is only really quintile 5 schools, often former model C schools, that are in a substantially better position. If a school is a no-fee school, and cannot raise funds through fees, it makes sense for the state support to that school to be standardised.
How will the new system look?
According to the Department of Basic Education there will be just two categories, fee-paying and no-fee schools. All no-fee schools, currently around 60% of schools, will get the Quintile 1 allocation.
It is crucial that no-fee schools continue to be given extra funding. Equal Education calls on the Department of Basic Education to publish for public comment the formula that will be used to calculate the allocations.
This sensible reform is simply tinkering around the edges. Much more must be done.
It is vital that the media and public understand that the money in question is a small proportion of school funding. This funding (up until now allocated in terms of the quintile system) is for “non-capital non-personnel” expenditure. In other words, it covers everything exceptinfrastructure and teachers. It amounts to about 9% of a province’s education budget.
Teacher salaries amount to about 80%, but teacher posts are, in the main, NOT allocated on a pro-poor basis. Much is made of the pro-poor funding of schools, whether based on quintiles or not, but this ignores the fact that there is no mechanism to attract the most vital education resource – a teacher – into the poor schools. This is a major failure in current policy. It is far more fundamental.
Equal Education is also campaigning for Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure – these do not yet exist. The current reforms do not address the urgent need for infrastructure standards that will outlaw mud-schools and ensure the right to library, laboratory, sports field, sanitation and a safe environment in every school.
FOR ADDITIONAL COMMENT:
Doron Isaacs – 0828502111