While schools are crying out for more teachers and children are trying to get an education without textbooks and furniture, a bloated personnel ratio is devouring 89,5% of the education budget. This is the reason for the dismal examination results of children who are subjected the Eastern Cape education system.

However, at the departmen’s head office in Bhisho there are some 2000 personnel, resulting in no space, overcrowding and no ventilation.

In most instances the senior managers are allocated four support staff members as per the approved organogram, consisting of a personal assistant, secretary, administrative clerk and an accounting clerk. While this is legal as per the organogram, this bloated staff component must be done away with. It is consuming the budget while post provisioning scales for public ordinary schools have still not been declared for 2009. Our schools are crying out for more educators and those with the necessary financial means supplement their staff, resulting in a two tier education system.

A total of R17, 920, 776 billion was allocated to the Provincial Education Department for the period 01 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. Of these funds, 85% was budgeted for personnel expenditure and 15% for non-personnel issues. This Department has however spent R15, 999 billion, or 89,5% of the entire education budget, on personnel, where as the spending norms nationally as to personnel versus non-personnel is 80% to 20%.

From the comparative figures outlined as to personnel expenditure, it is obvious that the spending on personnel in this Province is overheating. Deducing from this expenditure norms, this department is actually overstaffed. Indeed there are no shortages of staff. The problem is that non-critical posts are filled in respect of critical posts, which give rise to non-implementation of service delivery.

We also know for a fact that most of the posts on the organogram have not been evaluated as to their core tasks. Staff is being hired without assessing their ability to
deliver. In the case of the department, non-delivery is not because of the lack of staff, but because of misplacement of staff that was hired.

These spending patterns should change as it compounds to the hardships suffered by our public ordinary schools. The department does not budget enough for textbooks and furniture, with the result that each learner has still not been provided with a textbook for each learning area offered. This lack of learner teacher support material, brought about by the unacceptable high expenditure on personnel, has contributed to our meagre results obtained thus far.

The Democratic Alliance believes that monies should be channelled into the core areas of education, and not wasted on bulky personnel that are not equipped to perform their tasks.

The sheer size of this education system, with 68,795 educators serving 2,076 million learners in 5,660 schools, still faces major challenges and backlogs, particularly with regard to school infrastructure.

In 2007, 1 446 public schools (24,5%) did not have electricity, and 1 254 schools (21%) did not have water.

In 2008, 1 239 public schools (21%) did not have electricity, and 1 121 public schools (19%) did not have water. These are some of the challenges that should be addressed through the budgetary processes, as well as by skilled staff, which are shockingly lacking.

For further information, please contact Edmund van Vuuren, MPL on 072 184 7840

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