No longer ‘Ke Dezember, boss!’ for teachers – Sadtu

2014-07-29 16:09

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Bring back our holidays, says the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

The union’s general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said teachers were no longer enjoying school holidays because they have to mark exam papers, produce reports manually and create schedules.

This is leading to fatigue, and less motivated and more grumpy teachers.

Exams are now written on the last day of the term and teachers have to take the papers home to do the marking.

He said teachers “no longer have holidays”.

“We are calling for the department to respect our holidays. If they want us to work during school holidays, we should be informed. It shouldn’t be standard practice,” said Maluleke

“We are probably one of few countries that have resorted to almost daily early morning and late afternoon classes to compensate on normal school hours and increase learner contact time. These leave teachers with little or no time for their families, leading to fatigue, demoralisation and underperforming.”

He said the high workload in public schools was directly attributable to an unfavourable teacher/pupil ratio and the failure of the department to allocate teacher support staff.

This, he said, resulted in teachers having to work during holidays and on weekends.

“The department should employ support staff for all public schools. I mean, we even have to deal with admissions. We should be in class teaching for seven hours. We shouldn’t be burdened with administrative issues.”

But the education department said the number of holidays they have is “sufficient”.

“They have slightly more holidays than other public servants,” said the department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

“As such, we are unable to extend their holidays. The employment of support staff has huge financial implications for the whole country.”

Sadtu, he said, was probably making the call to government and not to the department.

“Remember, the employment of support staff would be handled by the department of public service and administration.”

The department will meet and engage Sadtu at the Education Labour Relations Council, he said.

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