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'Education to undergo drastic reforms'

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the reforms will allow schools to share their resources.

The MEC has tabled a budget of 32.8 billion rand and says 75 percent of this will go towards teachers’ salaries. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Thursday said he will introduce drastic reforms that will allow schools to share their resources and sometimes even principals in his first tenure at the helm of education in the province.

Lesufi was responding to the budget vote debate in the Gauteng legislature and announced plans to incentivise teaching at public schools and allow pupils from across the province to have equal access to facilities.

The MEC has tabled a budget of 32.8 billion rand and says 75 percent of this will go towards teachers' salaries.

Lesufi says because his department is cash-strapped they will look into centralising school governing bodies and facilities using 20 schools in a pilot project.

"These schools will be controlled by one school governing body and depending on the relationship then we will elevate it to the next stage."

He says they also aim to employ one principal to oversee two schools to lower the departmental wage bill.

"We need to have one dynamic principal who has the capability, the talent and the skill and qualifications to lead two schools."

Lesufi says a departmental report on education reforms will be released next week.

TACKLING GANGS A PRIORITY

Earlier on Thursday Lesufi said his office has come up with a range of different programs to address key crime and capacity issues at schools in the province.

The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) has demanded increased security at schools and the deployment of security guards to prevent pupils being targeted.

Lesufi says they've identified the top 10 gangs across the province and will be cracking down on them.

"But the top ten gangsters, to me if you can't arrest them now we are going to have a problem in future. That's why in the Western Cape they have a problem with gangs.

"We've screened them, we've followed them, actually, we are surely closing the gap on narrowing the existence of gangsters in this province."

GAUTENG LEARNERS: GOVT IS FAILING US

Lesufi has also commented on Wednesday's march by thousands of pupils to his office lead by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas).

Disruption and chaos reigned on Wednesday in the Johannesburg CBD where thousands of pupils went on the rampage, looting shops and bringing traffic to a standstill in a protest over the quality of education in township schools.

Pupils accused government of ignoring the plight of back children and failing to provide textbooks and other learning materials.

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