A SERIES of "empty promises” have left some Nelson Mandela Bay schools with a wait-and-see attitude after the announcement that all axed temporary teachers were to return.
Last week, acting superintendent-general Mthunywa Ngonzo called on temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated at the end of last year and had not been reappointed to "hastily go to their respective districts for validation and verification for potential appointment”.
While Port Elizabeth education district director Nyathi Ntsiko welcomed the announcement, he said they had not yet received official communication from the provincial department about the wholesale reinstatement.
"The challenge of a lack of teachers has been immeasurable, especially for schools in the northern areas who have even had to resort to protests,” he said.
"This will improve things a lot and as soon as we receive correspondence from head office, we will work out how we will implement the move.”
The announcement was met with fears as to where the money would come from after previous department head Modidima Mannya said there was no money to have all teachers reinstated.
This was coupled with the non- payment of some temporary teachers since the start of the year. Ngonzo dispelled fears of a lack of funds, saying the temporary teachers were budgeted for in the 2012/13 financial year and there was an immediate need for a teacher in front of every class.
But schools and parents were not so quick to jump for joy as they said they had heard all the promises before and the department had failed to deliver.
During the recent protests at schools in the northern areas over the lack of teachers and non-payment of temporary teachers, parents called for the permanent filling of posts.
Sanctor High School was one of the schools with a massive teacher shortage.
Acting principal Newton Kennedy said he would "believe it when I see it”.
"If it is true, it would be good news and we wish this could have been done in January already,” he said.
Cedarberg Primary School teacher Ursula September said the reinstatement was "good news indeed. We just hope it’s not another fruitless promise.”