The Eastern Cape education department has filled 1500 vacancies following wildcat strikes by teachers who complained about being overworked, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Loyiso Pulumani said the department was “pushing hard” to ensure schools’ staff needs were met and that teachers for core subjects were in their posts.
However a “go-slow” by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in protest against poor working conditions and long hours was hindering the start of the academic year.
“Education in the Eastern Cape would be dramatically improved if all stakeholders worked together,” Pulumani said.
“This means principals, parents, teachers, learners and the department working towards a common goal.”
Teachers embarked on wildcat strikes when they returned after the school holidays to find that temporary teachers had not been reappointed to old posts, or had been sent to other schools.
Many permanent teachers felt their workload had been increased, without the help of temporary teachers.
Pulumani said schools were asked last year to provide the department with lists of vacant posts, most of which had now been filled.
“Some schools did not do this, but we are working to ensure their needs are met and that children don’t suffer.”
The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday commended the provincial education superintendent general Modidima Mannya for moving quickly to appoint temporary teachers in short-staffed schools.
DA MPL Edmund van Vuuren said the steps Mannya had taken had relieved pressure on schools where there was a shortage of teachers in critical subjects like maths, physical science, accountancy, and English.
“It is regrettable that excess teachers are not complying with re-assignment letters issued to them, but have instead decided to remain at their old schools where their services, as per the post provisioning, are not required,” he said in a statement.
Van Vuuren said these teachers were robbing schools of much-needed human resources. – Sapa