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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Not enough teachers at North West schools


The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) said the North West Department of Education has failed to provide schools with educators two weeks into the new term.

George Themba, SADTU’s Provincial Secretary said what concerns the union most is that schools that have submitted their snap surveys within the 10-day deadline period given, have still not been provided with educators.

“The conduct by the [North West] officials responsible for finalising the Post Provisioning Norms [PPN] is unbecoming and highly unacceptable.

“It denies the learners the opportunity to be taught and surely that is against the spirit of Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign,” said Themba.

Snap surveys are surveys conducted by schools in the province which they then submit to the national department. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is then supposed to use these surveys to assess school needs and Post Provisioning Norms information – these are requirements used by the national department to determine the number of teachers needed at a school.

According to the Department of Basic Education Rights Handbook PPNs are a name given to the process of assigning teachers to schools across South Africa.

The department explains this process as a mechanism that aims to ensure that each school is allocated the correct number of teachers.

“Once the whole teacher-post establishment is determined for the province, posts are then allocated to schools,” reads the handbook.

But according to Themba, the North West Department of Education continues to have large numbers of learners and not enough teachers to teach them.

Themba said with the magnitude of work and tasks schools are faced with, it is not feasible for  teachers to provide learners with quality education if they are short staffed. 

This is not a problem the national department is unaware of.

In February, DBE Minister Angie Motshekga announced that there was a shortage of 24 000 teachers in schools across the country. 

Motshekga said the North West province had an allocation of 26 556 posts for the current academic year of which 433 posts were vacant. 

At the time the minister said her department together with the provincial education departments would work on redeploying teachers to schools before the end of the first term. 

Inside Education spoke to North West Education spokesperson Elias Malindi who confirmed that there was indeed a delay in terms of allocation of the teachers for schools in the province.

Malindi said there would normally be a submission of a snap survey from the schools to determine the number of teachers needed in a school.

“I can confirm that the DBE has approved the snap surveys and provided the provincial department with PPN’s. We are in the process of providing teachers to all those schools where teachers have more than the proper ratio of learners to teach,” said Malindi. 

 Malindi said a problem experienced by the provincial department is that they do not have the exact statistics on how many teachers are needed. This is despite DBE having received snap surveys from schools, said Malindi.

Malindi told Inside Education he cannot confirm the number of teachers approved by the national department to be allocated at schools in his province. 

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