STAFFING ISSUES TO HIT EC SCHOOLS: DAILY DISPATCH

Temps told to go while Sadtu resists excess staff re-assignment

OF The more than 4 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated by the Eastern Cape education department at the end of last month, 1 772 have been approved to teach for a further three months.

The figure is contained in the provincial education report leaked to the Daily Dispatch yesterday, which showed the number of approved temporary teachers across 23 education districts in the province.

The District School Based Temporary Educator Retentions-January 2013 report also states:

The names of temporary teachers appointed

Their Persal (the government’s personnel salary database) numbers, salaries and pensionable allowances Their schools That their salaries were to be paid until the end of March

Provincial department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima confirmed the authenticity of the report and figures in it.

“The department has appointed these temps and intends cleaning the system between now and April and move excess teachers to those jobs.”

Mtima said discussions were ongoing with schools which were still short of staff after their temporary teachers had not been retained.

He said it was a possibility some of the temporary teachers left out would be retained.

Mtima said districts were also expected to submit the names of temporary teachers who had declined or who had accepted appointments.

This comes after the Dispatch learnt earlier this week that acting education boss superintendent-general Mthunywa Ngonzo circulated a memo last year saying only 1 772 temporary posts had been approved. Others, whose names were submitted to districts, were either not part of those who were axed last month; were permanently employed teachers; substitutes or deceased.

Mtima said the department had not received any communication from the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) regarding plans to embark on protest action.

Sadtu had threatened since last year to take action against the department, if it continued with its plans.

Attempts were made to get a comment from Sadtu yesterday, but were unsuccessful.

Education interest groups and opposition parties in the province called for the resolution of teacher shortages, since teaching and learning was not taking place at some schools in Dordrecht and King William’s Town. Parents have called for a speedy intervention from the department.

COPE education spokeswoman Angela Woodhall said temporary teachers were still needed at schools.

She said she had visited schools and most relied on temporary teachers to instruct maths and science.

DA shadow MEC for education Edmund van Vuuren said only six temporary teachers were appointed in Port Elizabeth, where 617 teaching posts were vacant.

“This despite PE being the province’s largest district. The number of vacancies is made worse by the fact that Sadtu is blocking the re-assignment of 239 teachers who are in excess at their current schools.”

UDM MPLs Jackson Bici could not be reached for comment.

National Professional Teacher’s Union of South Africa provincial chief executive officer Peter Duminy said the number of unfilled teaching jobs would be higher because of retiring and resigning teachers.

He said the department had acknowledged that there would be classes without teachers. Suid Afrikaanse Onderwyserunie provincial secretary Barbara van der Walt said schools would suffer.

“This will affect teacher:pupil ratios. Some classes will be without teachers.

“Schools will not be able to pay teachers out of school funds.”

Independent education expert Graeme Bloch said: “While teachers are key, they need to be properly allocated among schools, with subject choice paramount. It would be nice to see the department and unions work together,” Bloch said. —