All teachers should be required to have a police clearance certificate to register - DA

2019-01-15 20:53
(File)

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While the DA says it welcomes the decision by the South African Council for Educators (SACE) to make it a requirement for teachers applying for registration to produce a valid police clearance certificate, it called for current teachers to also be subjected to a similar process.

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, DA MP Sonja Boshoff said she also hoped SACE's decision was not "just a paper exercise".

She said SACE should not only focus on new teachers because "the current teachers in the system is where the problem lies".

"We have to get rid of these teachers that are using their positions to request favours from our learners whether it's a boy or girl learner. We are there to ensure that proper education is given to our learners," Boshoff said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, SACE – which is a statutory body responsible for regulating the teaching profession – said it took the decision in March 2018.

"The rationale behind this very progressive decision is that council wants to assure the public that registered teachers are beyond reproach," SACE spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said.

READ: Council of Educators yet to access Sex Offenders register when vetting teachers

Ndhlovu said the decision had been effective since January 1, 2019, and that certificates should not be older than six months.

He said affected individuals are those who will be registering with council for the first time on the SACE system.

Last year, Boshoff and other party members laid a criminal complaint against board members for failing to vet teachers against the sex offenders register.

The party said at the time that in terms of Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, one of SACE's core functions was to vet teachers against the register before issuing licences. City Press previously reported that the council had no access to the register for 10 years.

Ndhlovu said the council had established a "fit-to-teach committee" which will adjudicate and advise it on all applicants who have had a conviction in terms of the clearance certificate to determine the fitness of such individuals being admitted to the profession.

He said only cases of a serious nature, which include sexual matters, murder and robbery would be treated seriously and may lead to such individuals being denied admission to the profession.

Read more on:    da  |  child safety  |  education
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