Several KwaZulu-Natal schools do not have the required number of teachers because of the department’s failure to deal with the redistribution of teachers as school numbers fall and rise at different schools, according to the South African Democratic Teachers Union.
The union’s provincial secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, said at a press conference in Durban on Thursday that the union was concerned at the way the KwaZulu-Natal provincial education department was handling the redistribution of staff.
Teachers were being moved as school enrolment increased at some schools while it decreased at some schools, forcing a change in the staff complement.
She said that while the union understood that staff would have to be moved, it was concerned at the way the department was going about it.
“The employer has not developed the requisite capacity to deal with this exercise yearly, and the situation deteriorates and collapses in the hands of those who are expected to be efficient. These institutional deficiencies [that] are camouflaged in promises and announcements are not made to benefit the learner.”
Caluza cited one incident at a school in Amajuba (Newcastle) district, where because schooling numbers had dropped. The department had ordered that one of the school’s Heads of Department (HOD) had to be moved to another school. The problem, according to Caluza, was that this HOD was the only person qualified to teach maths and science. His moving would leave the school with no one to teach these two critical subjects.
She said that such poor administration was seriously affecting schools.
“That is why we are having this yo-yo style when it comes to the matric results,” she said.
She said the problem of teacher redistribution affected primarily rural schools and township schools. She said these schools were not in a position to collect school fees, so that where the department fell short they could fill the gap. The parent body was simply too poor.
“Educators carry the burden of staff shortages as they have to contend with overcrowded classes while the employer is frantically redistributing educators endlessly,” she said.
She said the department needed to reassess the way it handled the redistribution, which was playing havoc with teachers’ lives and impacting pupils.
She said there was a failure on the part of the education department to properly administer the redistribution of teachers. She said there were some 2 800 teachers who had been impacted this year by the redistribution by the department.