‘Absent teachers beware’

Doing without the teacher
Doing without the teacher

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday called on the Public Service Commission to increase the number of unannounced inspections of public schools and other education facilities.

The Public Service minister said she was worried about the statistics from the Human Sciences Research Council on the rate of absenteeism of teachers.

Sisulu was speaking in Cape Town at a conference to celebrate the Public Service Commission’s 100th anniversary.

But the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union said it would oppose the unannounced visits , saying there were “deep-seated reasons” for teachers’ absenteeism.

Last month, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed that, in just the first three months of this year, 21000 teachers applied for incapacity leave and retirement on health grounds.

A 2010 HSRC study found that, on any given school day, between 10% and 12% of public school teachers were not in class.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said teachers were “overloaded” and were not getting any assistance from the Basic Education Department.

“They are not being assisted in terms of the curriculum, and annual national assessments are straitjacketing our teachers.

“We will oppose these inspections. We should [address] the causes of absenteeism and not the symptoms,” said Maluleke.

Sisulu said the frequency of unannounced inspections should also be increased at government health facilities.

“The waiting time at our hospitals is completely unacceptable . [as] is the attitude of nurses.”

She said that the five Limpopo government departments placed under national administration by President Jacob Zuma in December 2011 following the exposure of financial irregularities were on the road to recovery.

The province’s treasury, and its departments of education, health, public works and transport, were placed under administration.

“We’re glad to say that we have completed 47 charge sheets, fast-tracked disciplinary processes [and] removed all ghost workers from the [government payroll] system, and we are hoping that, by the time the premier makes an announcement, we will be ready to [withdraw] most of our forces from Limpopo. We believe that Limpopo is now on the road to recovery.” – timeslive.co.za