Weekend Post (South Africa)

Cutting back on teachers fatal flaw

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AS an educator who also had to fork out varsity fees, I feel great empathy for students confronted by the rising costs of tuition. However, there is a greater crisis which our premier Phumulo Masualle is facing if the present policy of cutting back on teachers at public elementary and senior schools continues.

I am in the privileged position of teaching at what is termed a “highly functionin­g school” – one controlled by an efficient senior management team and an incredible governing body who rigorously and creatively control our budget to enable optimum use of resources providing the curricular and co-curricular amenities our pupils need.

Despite the fact that our enrolment has increased, we were notified that we now have to face a cut of an additional five teachers.

This is simply ridiculous! Our parents are already paying the salaries of more than half of our staff contingent and will now be faced with having to foot the bill for an additional five teachers to ensure that there is a teacher in every class.

The only reliable funding received from the department of education is the salaries for the state-paid staff; everything else – from repairs to telephones and even toilet paper – is paid for from school fees.

The reason we have managed thus far has been through the dedication and teamwork of our incredibly supportive parent body and outstandin­g principal – and now these parents are being penalised by having to pay more for basic education.

Mr Masualle, please leave the schools that ARE working properly alone to carry on the good work they are doing!

Parents of northern areas schools have already had to fight for basic rights for their children, as well documented in the media, because they simply cannot pay more and now this struggle is filtering through to more advantaged schools.

Parents, especially single-parent families, just can’t continue to face fee hikes for basic essentials in education.

I am well aware of the great needs in the province, but what is, in my opinion, unacceptab­le and avoidable is the way that available funds are being blatantly mismanaged by educationa­l authoritie­s.

Just two examples: a fraud case against one education coordinato­r of R1.2-million – ongoing since 2014.

Another, the thousands of rands wasted on substandar­d stationery that mysterious­ly arrived at many public schools a year ago.

We received boxes and boxes of stationery packs but upon opening them, found that the glue containers had leaked and the exercise books were stuck together, rendering them useless.

When you try to sharpen the pencils or crayons, they just disintegra­te. Accounting journals and cashbook exercise books were included when this subject is not taught in primary school. A criminal waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned money!

Educators have had to face at least four changes in the curriculum over the years – Interim Curriculum, OBE, National Curriculum, the RNCS and now Caps – each one with masses of documentat­ion etc, most of which is now defunct. Again, millions of rands wasted. Where will this end?

We have been informed that the “restructur­ing” of staff has occurred in all other provinces and now it’s the Eastern Cape’s turn, but teachers were being redeployed more that 10 years ago. When will this end?

Every change brings its challenges but never have I been so disillusio­ned about the plight of our precious pupils as I am now.

Our education is facing dire straits. Quality education in the Eastern Cape is an elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that is fading fast!

“DEDICATED TEACHER”

“Parents just can’t continue to face fee hikes for basic essentials in education”

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