PRETORIA, The South African government has continued to invest in improving its education outcomes by awarding 14,343 students with bursaries to study towards a Bachelor of Education or a postgraduate Certificate in Education through the Funza Lushaka teaching bursary during 2016.

The Bursary Programme targets students who want to be teachers in scarce skills areas such as Mathematics, Science and Technology as well as students studying to become teachers in the Foundation Phase, says President Jacob Zuma said in a year-end statement here.

The government has also completed the building or refurbishment of 170 schools through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

The schools not only meet the minimum norms and standards expected of a school in a democratic South Africa but some exceed them. Government has also provided water to 615 schools, decent sanitation to 425 schools and electricity to 307 schools, says President Zuma.

On transportation services for students, a total of 377,933 pupils were targeted to benefit but by the end of the first quarter, a total of 418,947 children were actually transported to schools.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the school feeding scheme — the National School Nutrition Programme — reached 9,630,590 children in 21,177 public primary, secondary as well identified special schools. The major spinoffs are higher levels of school attendance, concentration and retention, President Zuma says.

The Department of Basic Education also ran a successful National School Deworming Programme. A total of 3,523,794, of 57 per cent, of the children were dewormed and the government has submitted a request to the World Health Organization for deworming tablets for 2017.