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South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No 84 of 1996)

National Norms and Standards for School Funding (NNSSF)

Part 2

4. Capital Cost Allocations in Public Schools




Scenario planning for new school construction


72) "New classroom and other construction allocations" includes provision for water, electricity, sewage and telephone services on site, and connections to mains services where these are provided to the school site.


73) Provincial Education Departments must budget for this category in terms of their overall budget for education and for schools, and the relative flexibility or rigidity of other budget items.


74) The MEC for Education of each province must ensure that there are enough school places to enable each child living in the province to attend school during the compulsory phase (Section 3(3) of the Act). If an MEC cannot comply with this mandate, he or she must take steps to remedy the situation and must report annually to the Minister of Education on progress made (Section 3(4) of the Act).


75) Despite the current shortage of funds for capital development, as an aid to planning and decision-making, each PED must:
a) maintain an accurate, prioritised, annually updated database of school construction needs, and
b) undertake annually updated long-term projections of new school construction targets and funding requirements, based on these norms.


76) Part of the physical planning framework should include an analysis of the cost and educational need for schools that are smaller than is normally desirable. If they are very close to each other, and there are no economic or educational grounds for their separate existence, the options of merger or closure (in terms of Section 33 of the Act) should be considered. In the event of a merger or closure, the Provincial Education Department must ensure that all affected learners have access, on a reasonable basis, to alternative public school accommodation.


77) The scenario planning should initially estimate the requirements to eliminate backlogs and provide sufficient school places by the target year 2008. This must form part of the analytical work required for the MTEF, and should be adjusted annually in the light of new data and performance in new school construction. Depending on the availability of funds each year, and construction performance, the plan may require acceleration or deceleration.


Target list


78) The construction of new schools or additional classrooms and learning facilities should be targeted to the neediest population. In this expenditure category, "need" is defined in terms of
a) lack of current schools, or
b) overcrowding of existing ones.


79) No national norm for "crowding" is given in this document. Each PED must objectively determine where to site new schools and classrooms based on provincial norms and verifiable crowding and distance indicators (need indicators) developed from available data, including the School Register of Needs, Census data, and the department's own EMIS. Wherever possible, PEDs must aim to eliminate under-utilisation of physical space occurring concurrently with overcrowding, and must therefore also determine minimum per classroom occupation levels below which schools will be considered under-utilised.


80) Need indicators should refer to the proportion of children who are out of school or are in over-crowded schools. Preference should be given to areas where -
a) children are out of school and there is no uncrowded local or nearby school; or
b) all eligible children are enrolled in school but the local or nearby schools are crowded; and
c) an analysis of population movements demonstrates that the population concerned is resident and permanent.


81) Using these criteria, the PEDs must develop a ranking of geographical areas from neediest to least needy, based on the numbers of children out of school or in existing crowded schools. Backlogs must be eliminated by starting with the neediest, most crowded areas, and proceeding as quickly as possible down the list of priorities.


82) In the allocation of new school construction funds, preference must be given to-
a) facilities serving the compulsory education grades (grades 1-9) in order to ensure that all eligible learners have school places as soon as possible, and
b) extensions to existing schools, rather than new schools, except where extensions would result in schools that are too large to be pedagogically sound, or would otherwise be uneconomical, impractical, or undesirable on educational grounds.


Hostel facilities


83) New hostel facilities may be built if the following criteria are satisfied:
a) the crowding criteria in paragraphs 78 to 82, for construction of new schools or extensions; and
b) the transport time and poverty criteria in paragraph 148.


84) Other criteria may be used, provided that they give the same results in terms of equity and efficiency. Provincial Education Departments may be required to verify such results, in order to demonstrate that they have complied with this national norm for hostel construction.