Large numbers of NC learners don’t pay school fees


Kimberley – Out of the 552 schools in the province, a whooping 414 schools are beneficiaries to the No fee school policy. From a total number of 261 845 learners registered in Northern Cape schools, 179 000 learners are exempted from paying school fees.


Most of the learners who are in No fee schools are found in the Frances Baard and John Taolo Gaetsewe districts respectively.


During her budget speech this year, Northern Cape MEC for Education, Grizelda Cjiekella, indicated that more than R170 m would be set aside for No fee schools in order to give effect to government’s commitment to provide funding to the poorest of the poor.


“From our total school allocation budget of R 209 million, about R 171 million will go to No fee schools. Key to this budget is our resolve to afford all learners, particularly those from poor background, the opportunity to learn and to be taught.  This is also part of our means to redress past inequalities in the provision of education to all South African children.


“Since the advent of the No fee School policy in 1996, the promotion of access to basic education has extensively improved. Learners from rural and farm areas throughout the province have also been afforded the opportunity to free teaching and learning,” said Ms Cjiekella.


The Northern Cape Province, which is the country’s least populated with high unemployment rate and low literacy levels, has more than 179,732 learners who are benefitting from No fee schools policy.


John Taolo Gaetsewe district records the highest number of schools who are beneficiaries from the No School fee policy it is having a total number of 167 No fee schools which benefits 60,092 learners. While Frances Baard district sits with 87 No fee schools, it is having the highest number of learners who are benefitting from the No fee schools which total 63,367 learners. Pixley Ka Seme is third with a total of 76 schools with 30,817 learners. ZF Mgcawu district, formerly known as Siyanda, is having 57 schools and 21, 001 learners followed by Namaqua district which is having 27 schools and 4,455 learners.


From 2010, the overall budget allocation for No fee schools grew from R 138 million to R 171 million in 2013.


In 2012, the Department registered 76.6 percent of schools that were declared No fee schools.


By the end of 2006, a total of 12 856 public ordinary schools comprising of 5 million learners were recorded under the no-fee schools category in the country. The then minister for Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, declared some schools as no-fee paying schools, with more emphasis on those that served poverty-stricken communities in provinces like the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Eastern Cape Province respectively.