EDUCATION DEPARTMENT FAILS SCHOOLS AGAIN WITH NON-DECLARATION OF EDUCATOR POSTS

It remains to be seen whether the Department of Education will declare educator posts for 2010 any time soon or whether it will fail schools in the Eastern Cape yet again. Schools will be having their budget meetings during October, but no proper planning can be done if they don’t know how many teachers they are entitled to employ.

The department is making a habit of not providing Post Establishments, which is extremely disruptive to education in this province. Post Establishments determine the number of teachers a school may have.

In response to a written question by the DA, Education MEC Mahlubandile Qwase confirmed that no Post Establishments were issued to schools for 2009. Schools were accordingly informed per memorandum, dated 02 December 2008, that the department had not finalised the 2009 Post Establishments for schools due to financial constraints. Schools were also informed in the same memorandum that the 2008 Post Establishment was to be extended to 31 March 2009, and that schools should utilise the 2008 Establishment until the one for 2009 was declared. NO 2009 POST ESTABLISHMENT WAS DECLARED.

The member of the Executive Council responsible for education in a province must determine the Educator Post Establishment of the Provincial Department of Education in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the Employment of Educators’ Act 76 of 1998, in accordance with any applicable policy made in terms of the National Education Policy Act, 1996.

By again not declaring Post Establishments, the hard work done by educators is being undermined. Schools that have grown in pupil numbers, have more class combinations, resulting in a bigger period load for educators. Because of the dwindling learner numbers at other schools, the overall educator distribution is uneven, compared to the Post Establishment of 2008. This uneven spread has resulted in further disillusion among teachers in that some are allocated a lesser period load due to diminishing workload at certain schools, while others are over loaded because of increased learner numbers. The impact on the morale of educators and education in general is very negative and planning is severely hampered.

The Democratic Alliance firmly believes that no schooling system can thrive unless it is driven by a sufficient number of talented, motivated and adequately supported teachers. South Africa employs approximately 367 188 teachers to teach around 12 million learners each year, giving a teacher: learner ratio of 33.4:1. The DA suggests that this ratio is brought down to 31:1 by ensuring that an additional 30 000 teacher post are made available.

The MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape must state unequivocally whether he will declare the number of educator posts available in the province for 2010 and when these pronouncements will be made, to allow the provincial Head of Department to issue Post Establishments. The public should also be informed whether a joint Provisioning Task Team, which was supposed to include the Eastern Cape Department of Education and Education Labour Unions, had been established to resolve post provisioning challenges, as was mentioned in the MEC’s reply.

The reply from the MEC for Education is attached.

For further information, please contact Edmund van Vuuren, MPL on 072 184 7840