Teaching posts breakthrough

Zandile Mbabela

EASTERN Cape schools will soon have their teacher vacancies filled following a new agreement between the provincial Education Department and unions.

The deal aims to speed up the change of temporary teachers to permanent status.

Provincial education authorities have succumbed to union pressure and committed to filling posts considered vacant based on this year’s teacher post basket.

In a new collective agreement signed in Bhisho on Friday, the department said it would make permanent temporary teachers who are professionally qualified. Of 3400 temporary teachers, more than 1800 were made permanent last year.

Unions say the efforts still do not rectify the damage caused by the severely reduced teacher post basket, although the agreement will ensure more teachers in classrooms.

Posts left vacant through natural attrition – death, retirement, medical boarding or resignation – will be filled from the pool of excess teachers and that of displaced Funza Lushaka bursary recipients.

This conversion is expected to end years of bickering since the initial mass axing in 2010 of temporary teachers.

It should also bring some much-needed stability to schools that have often been robbed of their full complement of teachers over the years.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA executive officer Khwezi Dalasile described the agreement as a “progressive agreement that only brings us closer to having teachers in class”.

“However, this does not do away with the effect of the 2014 post establishments,” he said.

“The battle continues, and that battle is that the department should not only look at numbers when declaring posts but also educational needs.”

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union deputy provincial secretary Nolitha Mboniswa said the agreement was a victory for the union.

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