By Kagiso Metswamere
The North West government has set aside funds to ensure 716 additional schools to benefit from the no-fee school status this year.
Delivering her annual budget speech to the North West Provincial Legislature, North West MEC for Finance Maureen Modiselle said many of the poor communities? children in the province could not afford to go to school.
"This is an enormous challenge in the North West province where unemployment is still relatively high.'
Therefore R135 million has been budgeted over the next financial year period to cover 716 additional schools to benefit from the no-fee school status in the North West, said the MEC.
A total of 928 no-fee schools have already been instituted in the province.
"Our Constitution challenges us that all learners pursue their learning potential to the fullest.'
This challenge can only be achieved by creating an inclusive education system and setting out to address the needs of learners, with particular preference with learners with disabilities, Ms Modiselle said.
A further R68 million has been allocated to strengthen special schools which take care of the needs of all learners who are disabled or require special attention.
An amount R218 million has been allocated for the expansion and implementation of Grade R in public schools over the financial period.
"The province does not have enough money to introduce Grade R in all public schools at the same time, therefore we will give the poorer areas first preference,' she said.
Ms Modiselle also appealed to teachers to commit to a set of "non-negotiables' such a being at school, for work on time, not abusing learners and not neglecting their duties at educators.
She said teachers are a critical element in the government?s important task of ensuring quality education for all children.