Teachers told to quit

2019-11-13 06:00

AS the KZN Education Department begins the process of removing thousands of unqualified teachers from schools, there are fears that poor management of the process could plunge the sector into a crisis.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said it is concerned that the department appears to lack the capacity to ensure that the process is flawless.

“What we want to see is a proper audit providing accurate and reliable statistics on the number of teachers who should be affected.

“Our main fear is that, like in other instances before, even those teachers that are properly qualified might find themselves affected,” Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said.

In 2010, there were about 14 000 teachers in the province who did not have a teaching qualification, with many in possession of only a matric certificate.

The department then gave the teachers a timeframe in which they should obtain their teaching qualifications.

While it is not clear how many of the 14 000 have since obtained the necessary qualifications, the department has given all those teachers who remain without teaching qualifications a directive to resign.

However, Caluza said some of the teachers who remain unqualified despite being given space to complete their studies were not entirely to blame.

“There have been a number of instances where despite granting them an opportunity to obtain qualifications, the department would still go ahead and terminate their services.

“Most of those teachers who were wrongly terminated would then be reinstated several months or even years later after it had been found that they were wrongly removed. Those kinds of blunders on the part of the department had a bearing on the teachers’ ability to complete their studies on time,” she said.

While most of the affected teachers left in August as requested by the department, many a

re yet to comply with the department’s directive that they resign.

National Teachers’ Union (Natu) president Allen Thompson said it was unfair for the department to request the teachers to resign.

“Our position is that the department should not force these teachers to resign as resigning will have a negative impact on their pensions.

“The truth of the matter is that it is the department which is terminating their services.

To us it does not make any sense for the department to ask them to resign when it is actually the department which is retrenching the teachers,” he said.

However, the department said it was in the interest of the affected teachers to resign.

“Unlike when one’s employment contract is terminated by the employer, if an employee resigns it means that the employer can still consider such an employee should a vacancy arise in future,” said provincial Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa.

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