Shame­ful school of ab­sen­teeism

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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.

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