Shock at absentee teachers

2013-02-12 00:00

THE vast majority of South African pupils are stuck in dysfunctional schools, often with their teachers absent.

Nicholas Spaull, a researcher in the economics department at the University of Stellenbosch, recently released a report, “Education in SA: A tale of two systems”, that reveals shocking figures of teacher absenteeism. South Africa has the worst absenteeism rate out of 14 African countries studied.

In 2010, Human Sciences Research Council researchers found that between 20 and 24 days’ schooling had been lost to absenteeism in 2008.

A recent study found that up to 60% of lessons were not taught in 58 North West schools, even where teachers were present.

Spaull said the proportion of teachers who had been absent for a whole month was extremely worrying.

In 2007, 73% of KZN grade six teachers who were involved in a study had been absent for a month.

The rate in the Eastern Cape was 62%, 48% in Limpopo, and 22% in the Western Cape.

“Most primary schools [in South Africa] are far weaker than schools in poorer African countries. Children might be at school, but they are not learning what they should.”

Spaull said progress had been made in access to education, but there were still glaring inequalities.

In the poorest 80% of schools, just one percent of grade eights go on to obtain C grades (60%) for matric science and maths.

About 10 times more pupils reach this standard at the 20% richest schools.

Just one percent of black matriculants in 2007 earned the marks to get into science and maths degree courses, compared to 15% of whites.

Given that fewer than half the black pupils that enter grade one obtain a matric, that means that fewer than one out of 200 black children reach degree studies in science and maths.

It was against this backdrop that educationists and politicians last week expressed support for teaching to be declared an essential service, in which striking is illegal.

However, independent expert Dr Mauvia Gallie said teachers did not get the support they needed to do their jobs properly, so forbidding them to strike would not work.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union will today protest at the national offices of the Basic Education Department on employment issues, including equality of pay, rural allowances for qualified teachers and the permanent appointment of temporary teachers.

They are also calling for director-general Bobby Soobrayan to be fired, saying he had not provided adequate leadership.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.