AGAIN we hear about the dismal results obtained by Eastern Cape matriculants ("Matric pass rate rises”, January 3). A primary reason cited for this continues to be the issue of insufficient teachers.
But why are there insufficient teachers?
I am a disposable teacher, dubbed "temporary” by the Education Department. This does not mean that I am unqualified or inexperienced.
I have a degree in education and 12 years of teaching experience. I have been teaching at my current school for five years.
"Temporary” should mean "not yet permanent”, however for the Education Department it simply means it is content for the children in my class only to have their right to education for part of the year. For the rest of the year, if our poor and desperate schools don’t bankrupt themselves trying to hold onto us, the children and our colleagues end up with substandard education and unmanageable class sizes respectively.
The Education Department is required to pay a certain quota of the staff of all schools based on the number of pupils at the school. However, this will be the third year in a row when the contracts of temporary teachers in the Eastern Cape have not been renewed for the start of the school year.
Last year temporary teachers were only paid by the department from July.
According to a high court ruling, all temporary teachers should have been made permanent by November 20 last year, but apparently this can simply be ignored. We were also then told that we needed to apply for our jobs again and dutifully did so with a myriad of us descending upon post offices and police stations to have all our certificates certified.
January 16 is fast approaching and nothing has transpired. The result of this is that, in many schools, children will not have the attentive teacher they deserve.
We need to remember that when a child passes matric, he does so not only because of the hard work put in that year, but in every year that has come before. No child ever passed matric without learning to read well in the foundation phase.
Our Education Department is too short-sighted to consider this year the child who should matriculate in 2025. Our children need their teachers.
Disposable teacher (name supplied), Lorraine, Port Elizabeth