Grade R teachers to join general ranks

2013-06-10 00:00

KZN Education MEC Senzo Mchunu is pushing for Early Childhood Development (Grade R) teachers to get more money and to be re-categorised as “ordinary teachers”.

Mchunu said discussions were under way in the education sector to drop the ECD label. He said the real “problem” behind the low salaries of these teachers was that their dispensation was reduced nationally.

However, while he supports the increase, at this stage the province has no money to pay it, hence Mchunu’s call that national government needs to re-look at the issue.

“Government nationally must agree with us and say Grade R teachers must be in the same category as any other teachers ordinarily in the system,” he said.

Mchunu was speaking at a media briefing in the KZN Legislature after delivering his 2013/14 budget speech on Thursday last week.

Even after the R1 000 increase announced last month for Grade R teachers, the MEC said he does realise that this is inadequate. Grade R teachers will now get paid R5 000 instead of R4 000. But the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) has rejected the department’s increase, demanding R7 000.

“We told them we agree with R7 000, and even R10 000, but we don’t have the money. It’s an issue of finances. It’s as simple as that,” Mchunu told the journalists.

The salary increase is costing the department R65 million, and it has had to cut down on certain goods and services and school subsidises to find the money. An amount of R109 million has also been allocated to train 2 000 practitioners at NQF level 4 in ECD and to employ volunteer cooks and gardeners at crèches.

The department is also planning to train all Grade R teachers, facilitate learnerships and skills development programmes for zero up to four-year-olds, and will provide 200 new Grade R classes in the province.

• During the budget speech, the MEC revealed that 51 subject advisers in the department were found unsuitable for the job and had to be relocated to other posts within the department; 10 of them needed upgrading.

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