President Jacob Zuma has urged the private sector to partner with government in a campaign to produce at least 30 000 artisans by 2030.
The programme is being driven by the Higher Education and Training Department with Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, this week, saying millions of rands had been put aside by government to train artisans.
Zuma, who was replying to a two-day debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA), on Friday, emphasised that government will continue to prioritise education in the current administration.
Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative
He noted that many state-of-the-art schools were being built as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI), a national programme that addresses infrastructure backlogs in the country, especially the inappropriate, unsafe and mud schools.
The programme includes the provision of basic services to schools where there are none such as the provision of water, sanitation and electricity. The first phase of the programme targeted the building of 49 schools. As at 15 November 2013, 40 schools had been completed.
The first school completed, Mphathiswa Primary in Libode District, was officially handed over by the President to the community in October 2012.
The programme to hand over one ASIDI school per week to communities in the Eastern Cape was thereafter launched by the Minister of Basic Education in July 2013. Since then, various Ministers, Premiers, Deputy Ministers and MECs have been deployed to hand over the new schools to communities. The programme will continue until the end of this year.
Two schools have also been completed in the Western Cape, while 12 remaining ones are at various stages of construction in the province.
The Department of Basic Education has now identified just fewer than 100 schools that do not offer Mathematics in Grade 12, and government was working with provinces to ensure that all schools offer Mathematics as a subject.
All posts for mathematics, science and accounting teachers and subject advisers would be filled as a matter of urgency in all provinces.
Govt investing in science, technology
Government was investing in science and technology training and research development. From 2015, the Department of Science and Technology will invest an additional R400 million per annum to support postgraduate students in fields related to science, technology and innovation to guide and build a human capital development pipeline towards a doctoral qualification.
Centres of excellence in universities
The department has also established centres of excellence in the universities of Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal.
The centres of excellence have been established in areas that will assist government to address several priority areas including mining, child development, food security, energy and evidence-based decision making.
“Indeed, looking back over the past 14 years it is clear that we have made tremendous strides in addressing access to basic services such as water, energy, waste, sanitation, transport, and human settlements at a local government level. We have a good story to tell.
“We will work with municipalities to harness the potential and ensure that every municipal becomes a thriving service delivery centre for our people.”
Zuma also said municipalities will also be assisted with revenue collection strategies and to improve governance through the establishment of functional accountability and oversight structures and system, such as the Municipal Public Accounts Committees and Audit Committees.
The purpose of the support will be to ensure that all municipalities are able to provide simple services such as providing lights and water, cutting grass, ensure functioning street and traffic lights, consistent refuse removal and credible billing for services.
Edited by: SANews, SA government news service