Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor MP, answers oral questions in the National Council of Provinces
11 September 2007
"Measures have been put in place to employ teachers who have had a break in service – and this includes those who took a voluntary severance package. These educators are also now eligible for permanent appointment", the Minister of Education said, answering oral questions in the National Council of Provinces today.
The Minister answered 4 questions. They dealt with teachers who have taken a voluntary severance package, maths and science teachers, provincial spending on the school recovery plan, and the education management service [see full replies below].
Mr MA Sulliman to ask the Minister of Education:
(1) Whether her department has taken any steps to increase the number of maths and science teachers in high schools by recruiting (a) teachers who have taken voluntary severance packages, (b) young South African teachers living and teaching abroad and (c) foreign English-speaking teachers; if not, why not; if so, how many foreign teachers were recruited in the past two years?
(2) Whether any mechanisms are in place to make sure that South Africa is (a) producing maths and science teachers and (b) retaining these scarce skills resources; if not, why not; if so, what mechanisms in each?
(1) Yes we have.
(a) Measures have been put in place to employ teachers who have had a break in service – and this includes those who took a voluntary severance package. These educators are also now eligible for permanent appointment. Provincial education departments are advised not only to recruit these educators, but also to give preference to younger educators who are about to enter the teaching profession.
(b) Young South African teachers living and teaching abroad are recruited via the normal recruitment policy. They are welcome to apply for any educator post advertised. There is currently no record of how many of them are teaching abroad.
(c) According to PERSAL, 1,432 foreign teachers were employed by the provincial education departments over the past 2 years. The recruitment of an additional 2,000 foreign educators is planned and the Department of Education is currently preparing an implementation plan. These educators will be employed in areas or schools where there is a shortage of mathematics and science teachers.
(2) (a) Increasing the supply of educators depends on a significant increase in the number of new graduate teachers. The Department is investing in student service-contract bursaries, the Fundza Lusaka bursary programme, for teachers. A sum of R 700 million has been allocated to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) over three years to provide loans to student teachers, with a specific concentration on Mathematics and Science.
(b) There are plans to retain these scarce skills. These include a provision for incentives, which will be implemented from 1 January 2008. Teachers in scarce skills posts will be eligible for additional remuneration.
Mr BJ Tolo to ask the Minister of Education:
(1) (a) What are the challenges in implementing the recovery plan programme in each province following the public sector strike and (b) how much has this programme cost each province to date;
(2) Whether this programme was budgeted for by provinces; if not, from which programmes did each province allocate money to accommodate it?
(1) (a) No funds were initially available to support the recovery plan. Once it became apparent that the strike was likely to be a protracted one, the plan needed to be implemented on an urgent basis, without the normal lead times allowed for procurement and distribution of materials.
(1) (b) The total cost of the programme has not been finally determined, since the activities are still ongoing in most cases. However, according to reports from provinces, I am able to report the following.
Mpumalanga has spent R96 million on teacher remuneration for Saturday and holiday classes. The funds come from the existing communications budget, and additional funds have been requested from the provincial treasury.
North West has spent R70 million on teacher remuneration and additional learner support material. Additional funds have been sourced from the provincial treasury.
Gauteng has incurred no additional costs for the recovery plan to date. Savings from personnel costs during the strike are to be reprioritised, with treasury approval, to fund spring schools.
KZN reports, as have other provinces, difficulties in negotiating with teacher unions over the amount of additional teaching time to be spent on the recovery plan.
(2) The provinces did not budget for the recovery plan. In some cases, the budgeted funds of the National Strategy for Learner Attainment were used; with the strategy being intensified in support of the recovery plan.
Mr BJ Tolo to ask the Minister of Education:
(a) Why are special schools not provided with essential professional services such as speech therapists and psychologists and (b) why do provinces like Limpopo deploy ordinary teachers with no skills in these schools?
(a) The distribution of posts among schools – including special schools - is based on each school's relative needs for teachers, therapists or psychologists. It is the prerogative of the schools how posts are filled and distributed according to curriculum and other support needs.
There are 404 special schools with 87,866 learners and 7,294 educators. There are long waiting lists for admission, not all staff are appropriately qualified, and we are short of therapists and other health professionals.
(b) In some provinces, ordinary teachers are also employed to deal with ordinary teaching in special schools. A human resource plan for inclusive education is being developed to address any deficiencies in the deployment of staff to special schools.
Mr DA Worth to ask the Minister of Education:
Whether her department has considered employing principals of schools on the basis of a performance management system; if not, why not; if so, (a) when will this be implemented and (b) what are the further relevant details?
(a) The proposed date of implementation was 1 July 2007. However, the recent public-sector strike delayed this plan and so the Education Management Service has been incorporated into the salary negotiations in the Public Service Bargaining Council pertaining to the occupational specific dispensation. In terms of Bargaining Council Resolution 1 of 2007, the Education Management Service will form part of the occupational specific dispensation for educators with an implementation date of 1 January 2008. The occupational specific dispensation for educators is subject to negotiations with teacher trade unions in the Education Labour Relations Council.
The Education Management Service (School-based) provides a standardised framework for the remuneration and performance management of deputy principals and principals on the salary levels 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
012 312 5538
082 566 0446