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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Grants for learner transport

Jan Bornman

National Treasury has confirmed it is looking at making changes to the scholar transport funding model in South Africa.

This comes after inputs from Equal Education to the Select Committee on Appropriations on the 2018 Division of Revenue Bill which highlighted the dire need for a conditional grant directed at the transportation of pupils.

Equal Education said the lack of transport in rural areas was a serious barrier to education, with pupils often having to cross dangerous terrain and threatening situations to get to school.

Steve Kenyon, the director for local government and budget framework within Treasury, said the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation was leading a performance and expenditure review process on issues relating to scholar transport across all provinces.

Based on these outcomes, he said, the Treasury would look at the required changes to the funding model.

However, he said the belief that a conditional grant would solve the issues around the transportation of pupils was misplaced, highlighting the fact that Treasury had observed numerous challenges in the implementation of conditional grants.

Equal Education’s Philile Ntombela-Masson, who works as a researcher at the organisation, said provincial education departments usually cited inadequate funds as one of the main reasons for not providing transport to all pupils who qualify.

She said Equal Education had observed that budgets for scholar transport were often the first to be cut.

Ntombela-Masson urged National Treasury to provide conditional grants for scholar transport.


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