The Eastern Cape Department of Education has made an undertaking to reconsider some of the decisions it made regarding the termination of services of temporary educators in the province. This follows after the DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Basic Education, Donald Smiles, met with the department today (subs: 21 September).

Following a meeting between Mr. Smiles and Mr. Swartz, the department made the undertaking to take some of its decisions into reconsideration.

Mr. Swartz stated that the memorandum was understood incorrectly and only referred to temporary teachers who had been employed on a three-month basis.

The DA learnt yesterday that a memorandum issued by the acting Head of the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, Mr Ronald Swartz, dated 9 September 2010, stated that in the light of the current financial constraints in the department, and also in consideration of the curriculum needs in the schools, the department has approved the extension of the services of the current temporary educators as follows:

• The services of the current temporary educators must be extended until 30 November 2010.

• The services of temporary educators teaching grade 12 only must be extended until 31 October 2010.

This decision was met with shock by the DA and teachers alike, because it has always been the practice that temporary teachers are appointed and paid on a term-to-term basis: from the first day of the month of the new term to the last day of the month of that term.

The DA maintains that this inhumane and authoritarian decision to terminate contracts before the end of the term goes against best practices for quality teaching and learning. However, the undertaking by the department to revisit their decision is welcomed.

Editors: A copy of the memorandum by the acting HOD of the Department of Education is attached to this e-mail. For further information, please contact Edmund van Vuuren on 072 184 7840

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