Now union backs ‘sex pest’ register

2009-08-11 00:00

AFTER allegedly calling the SA Council of Educators’ move to include the details of teachers’ misconduct on their website “stupid”, the provincial secretary of the South African Professional Teachers’ Union appears to have changed his mind.

“What was publicised in newspapers is far from what we and the South African Council of Educators discussed,” said Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, KZN secretary of the teachers’ union. “They misinterpreted what the register was for.”

Mathonsi explained that in the past, trying to inquire about an employee’s standing in terms of professionalism in the field was not easy.

“There was no database that was easily accessible to check up on prospective employees,” he said.

Yesterday, the SA Council of Educators launched a database on its website that allows for employers to inquire about a teacher’s professional standing in the profession.

This database includes any misdemeanours noted against a teacher, such as sexual offences, and corruption.

“It is not as though this information will be made public on this website, as media reports put it,” he said.

“Only if you have the identity number of a particular individual, will you be able to access this information.”

Mathonsi believes the system will improve the overall quality of education.

How­ever, he said that the union is not happy that it, as a party in the matter, was not consulted.

“They should have spoken to everybody before just implemen­ting it,” he said. “They can’t just play to the gallery at the expense of the social responsibility.”

The director of Childline KZN, Linda Naidoo, feels similarly about the impact that the database will have on the education system.

“Yes, they may have been able to access information about a teacher’s misconduct internally, but what about former teachers who are trying to get into other professions?” said Naidoo.

“Now, other institutions do not run the risk of putting their children at risk,” she said.

“This database may even act as a deterrent for teachers who violate learners.”

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