‘Teachers in rural areas need incentives’

2014-01-09 00:00

THE South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) wants the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department to provide an allowance to teachers working in rural areas to help improve matric results in schools there.

Sadtu was reacting to threats made by Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni against principals of schools that performed badly.

Announcing matric results on Tuesday, Nkonyeni said a big challenge facing the department was the Umzinyathi District after it showed the least improvement at just one percent. She said her department would investigate the causes of the poor performance and develop intervention programmes.

“Apart from the package of interventions, we would hold the management teams of these schools to account for their poor performance in terms of the South African Schools Act,” Nkonyeni said.

Responding to this, Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said there should be proper analysis of the outcomes of the matric results in the Umzinyathi District, especially in the deep rural Msinga area.

Mathonsi said the rural Msinga area was unable to attract qualified teachers and teaching was currently provided by unqualified teachers.

“Most teachers are, in fact, Grade 12 pupils so if you want to employ qualified teachers there you must talk about rural incentives, provide proper resources to the schools and other service delivery mechanisms,” he added.

Mathonsi suggested one way of improving the matric results was to ensure that there was adequate office-based staff in the department to provide support to the rural-based schools.

He said Sadtu called for the filling of more than 1 000 posts of education inspectors and subject advisers. “If we have had those positions filled, we could have scored far more than what we have done,” he said, referring to the 77,4% pass rate obtained by the KwaZulu-Natal’s matric class of 2013.

Nkonyeni’s spokesperson Bhekisisa Ncube said the department’s investigation would encompass a variety of issues to uncover the root cause of the poor results by under-performing schools.

“The investigation will seek to establish if the performance is as a result of under-qualified teachers, lack of resources, management incompetence or any other societal problems such as gang fights, faction fights and social ills.”

Ncube said once the investigation was completed to their satisfaction, appropriate action would be taken.

This entailed closing schools, redeploying teachers, merging schools with better performing schools, and instituting disciplinary processes for non-performance against schools’ management.

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