Shameful school of absenteeism
IT SURELY isn’t possible, but Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi says it’s true: More than 30 000 of the province’s teachers have been absent since the beginning of the year. As if that isn’t bad enough, 110 of them were absent without leave from January to May – nearly half a year.
Education is important to our country’s future and therefore the situation prompts a multitude of questions. Do these teachers have no conscience? No professional integrity? No compassion for the children they are depriving of the means of rising above poverty, unemployment and degradation?
The sad reality is that our children are not learning anything worthwhile. Instead of learning about words, numbers, events and the environment, they are learning about laziness, dishonesty and irresponsibility.
If the teachers concerned lack professionalism, what are their unions doing about it?
The executive director of the National Professional Teachers Association offers the pathetic plea that teachers are overworked. That is no excuse for gross dereliction of duty. South African Democratic Teachers Union provincial secretary says the union is going to investigate.
Why hasn’t it done so already and taken remedial action? And if it didn’t know, what does that say about the union’s role in education?
Have the pupils complained? If they have, why has there been no prompt, decisive and effective response to their distress? And what about their parents? Is it possible they don’t care? And the overworked colleagues who have to shoulder a double burden? And the principals?
It comes down to the provincial department’s mismanagement and a lack of political will to remedy abuse that has got out of hand.
We urgently need an inspectorate to determine who is doing an honest day’s work and who isn’t.
Pay incentives for the former and discipline, and if necessary dismissals, for the latter.
Only thing is, the government won’t do it because the unions won’t allow it.
So, we carry on as before, covering up as much as possible along the way.