KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu says the province’s investment of R13 billion in education infrastructure is paying off.
The province has invested this sum in 3 500 education infrastructure projects since 2009.
Delivering the State of the Province Address on Wednesday, Premier Mchunu said 54 mud schools were replaced by centres of excellence with modern infrastructure.
“These replacements herald a new era in the province of KwaZulu-Natal,” said the Premier.
The number of no-fee schools in the province increased from 1 879 in 2008 to 4 739 in 2013, out of a total of 6 009 public schools.
“In our province, this programme is excelling and is a firm commitment from government to fighting hunger and poverty through reaching out to the poorest sections of our society,” Premier Mchunu said.
KZN has also improved its Grade 12 results by 15.3% since 2008.
In 2008, the matric pass rate was at 57.8% and in 2013, the pass rate reached 77.4%.
Premier Mchunu said the province will focus on job creation for the youth to ensure that they are actively involved in the mainstream economy.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring that the youth are no longer a lost generation but will be the torchbearers of our future, doing so responsibly and ably,” he said.
Since 2010, the province had created some 600 000 jobs largely from the manufacturing, trade and community services sectors.
The premier said there was a need to create better synergies with departments at national level, and to build on local initiatives that seek to eradicate unemployment.