More pupils migrate to other provinces, Eastern Cape MEC worried

2013-10-01 14:36

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Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula is concerned about the declining number of pupils in the province.

Makupula, addressing a media briefing on his declaration of post-provisioning norms at the Sterling Education Leadership Institute in East London today, said more and more learners were migrating to provinces such as Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

“The data provided by both the national census and that collated internally by the education management information system, suggests there has been a consistent downward spiral in the total number of school-going learners in the province,” Makupula said, adding this had a direct bearing on the allocation of teacher posts.

Over the last five years there has been a 2% decline in learner numbers, Makupula said.

However, the MEC did not see the declining numbers as a sign of a vote of no confidence on the quality of education in the province.

DA leader and Western Cape premier Helen Zille created a storm last year when she suggested pupils moving from the Eastern Cape to the DA-run province were “education refugees” in search of better schooling opportunities.

Makupula attributed the drop in numbers to a general migration of Eastern Cape people who seek better opportunities in other provinces.

“We cannot stop people from leaving this province. Yes, the decline is a concern to me, the movement of learners reflects on a bigger challenge, it’s an economic question, people are moving to where they think opportunities for them economically exist,” Makupula said.

Yesterday, the MEC declared 55 796 teacher post establishments for 2014, officially.

He also declared 7 080 non-teaching posts.

Education MECs in all provinces are compelled, legislatively, to declare teacher post establishments on the last say of September.

South African Democratic Teacher’s Union in the province could not immediately be reached for comment.

The department currently has 60 980 teachers in its system, including temporary teachers.

Makupula said his department was planning to convince more than 2 000 teachers who are sitting at home because of ill-health to take early retirement or sick pensions.

He said the department wants to lay off these inactive teachers because they continued to draw salaries from the department, while it was also paying teachers acting in their positions.

“You end up paying two people for the one post. This goes on for a long while because some of these people are sick for over two years.

“We cannot allow that to continue,” he said.

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