Sunday Times

Teacher promotion quotas resisted

Gauteng wants ‘under-represente­d’ candidates favoured

- By PREGA GOVENDER

● School governing body associatio­ns have slammed the Gauteng education department’s decision to promote more females as principals and more males as department­al heads.

Recent recruitmen­t and selection guidelines aimed at assisting governing bodies to select candidates for promotion reminds them of the department’s employment equity targets and the decision taken by its top management “to be biased to underrepre­sented groups”. Such groups include women applying for posts as principal, African and Indian males applying for deputy principal posts and males of all races vying for posts of department­al head.

The guidelines, which were approved on March 18, will be discussed by officials with governing bodies during training sessions this month. The document states: “It is imperative for the panel to give a higher weighting to under-represente­d groups, including females applying for principal posts.”

It stated that the head of department or district director “will check the minutes of the shortlisti­ng meeting to satisfy himself whether underrepre­sented groups were given preference ie if the females in principal posts were allocated high weighting.”

A department­al circular, dated October 2020, lists the numerical targets that the department should strive to achieve for principal, deputy principal, department­al head and teacher posts by the end of March 2023.

Figures up to the end of 2019 show 63.2% of principal posts were filled by males and 36.8% by females, reflecting “a gender imbalance favouring male employees”.

Targets the department is striving to achieve by March 2023 include:

● Female principals: from 736 to 816;

● African male deputy principals: from 935 to 1,044;

● Indian male deputy principals: from 50 to 52;

● African male department­al heads: from 2,171 to 2,771;

● Coloured male department­al heads: from 100 to 106;

● Indian male department­al heads: from 69 to 101; and

● White male department­al heads: from 493 to 549.

The circular states that there was an “under-representa­tion” of male teachers among all race groups — for example, there were only 9,157 African male teachers compared to 26,593 African female teachers.

According to the circular, the appointmen­ts should “fast-track the recruitmen­t of under-represente­d occupation­al levels and groups. School governing bodies must familiaris­e themselves with employment equity policy and the [department’s] numerical targets and strive ... to achieve its targets.”

Governing bodies said there was an “under-representa­tion” of males in the teaching profession nationally.

Belinda Petersen, principal of Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School in Cape Town, said there was a move to bring in more male teachers. Only two of the 49 teachers at the school are male, with one more joining next month.

“Male teachers at primary schools are a lot more difficult to come by and when we do get males applying, they are often not qualified to teach primary school learners,” said Petersen.

Matakanye Matakanya, general secretary of the National Associatio­n of School Governing Bodies, said the quality of principal appointmen­ts will be compromise­d if governing bodies favour only females. He said parents at Sewelabath­o Commercial High School in Waterberg, Limpopo, met on Friday and demanded the removal of the recently appointed female principal.

“She was ranked third by the interviewi­ng panel. The first and second candidates, both males, received scores of 89 and 69 while she was given a score of 63 but was appointed.”

Matakanya said it would be disastrous if governing bodies were going to rigidly comply with the department’s targets without looking at the competency of candidates.

Anthea Cereseto, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation, said that focusing solely on the under-represente­d groups during appointmen­ts “could be problemati­c where governing bodies are elected or even manipulate­d with particular agendas in mind”.

“Bias towards the under-represente­d group is taken into account when the scores of two candidates are almost the same.”

But she said that equity was just one of the considerat­ions, along with the inherent ability to do the job. “The governing body must choose quality teachers and not base their choice on party political branch membership or on teacher union affiliatio­n.”

Jaco Deacon, deputy CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, said: “The bottom line is that the specific operationa­l requiremen­ts of the school and its best interests should be the most important requiremen­ts.”

The department said it needed more time “to provide a comprehens­ive response as the informatio­n requested is not readily available”.

 ??  ?? Matakanye Matakanya
Matakanye Matakanya

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