Hon Chairperson, Minister and Members

The United Democratic Movement supports the budget. However we want to drive home the following important issues for the department to pay the necessary attention to.

• As part of consolidating the transformation of the basic education sector and improve the quality of product thereof, the department should seriously consider the taking over the Early Childhood Development from the Department of Social Development and integrate this phase of education into the mainstream.

• As a country, we need an education system that is integrated and seamless with a curriculum that talks to each other. This approach takes into consideration the fact that cognitive development of a child takes place during the years of early childhood development.

• The capturing of accurate and reliable data on teachers across the country needs to be improved by the South African Council of Educators. In order to assist SACE in this regard, the department must attend to the continued outcry from SACE regarding the timing of funds received from the department.

• Whilst SACE receives complaints with regard to relationships between learners and teachers, resulting in pregnancy and a possibility of young girls dropping out of the schooling system, SACE does not have authority to request DNA to verify such allegations. In this regard, we are of the view that the relevant regulatory framework that does not give this authority to SACE should be investigated for possible amendments.

• The Department of Education reported through the “School Realities 2011”, that almost 50% of pupils who enrolled for Grade 10 in 2011did not reach Grade 12 in 2013. This is surely a cause for great concern in particular given that there is no subsequent reports about their where about with respect to continued Human Capital Development Plan for the country. It is our firm view, that both the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training should look at this situation and find concrete solution to the problem.

• It maybe that some of these would be eligible to exit to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training and if this is not the case, something needs to be done urgently.

• The Council for Higher Education proposed for undergraduate curriculum reform in 2013. This was based on the fact that many of the students who enter Higher Education for a three year degree do not complete their studies. Once again, both departments should cooperate in dealing with these critical challenges confronting our education system and Human Capital Development Programme.

I thank you.