Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Think You Have It Bad

From the May Shuttleworth Foundation newsletter:

According to a new study, poor pay is a key factor in the decision of many South African teachers to seek work in the United Kingdom. The as-yet-unpublished study by Oxford research fellow Dr K Ochs, surveyed 192 teachers recruited from other Commonwealth countries to jobs in the UK. 90 % of the South Africans who responded said they did not consider financial packages at home attractive enough, compared to a figure of just 60% in Australia.

One thousand teachers in the Western Cape were absent during the first two months of 2007 due to, amongst other reasons, stress. Teachers feel alone, unsupported and disillusioned. The department said it would no longer accept doctors’ certificates for stress unless they were issued by a psychiatrist. Teachers are under pressure from high work loads, violence and undisciplined learners. Since the introduction of the new curriculum which depends on continuous assessment, teachers have been complaining that they spend more time keeping up with paperwork than teaching. Other factors that are inhibiting successful teaching are class sizes, a discipline system where the rights of ringleaders seems to be prioritised, the rights of teachers that are being ignored, lack of in-service training for the new curriculum and weak departmental administration. A shortage of 50,000 teachers is foreseen within the next three years if government does not urgently intervene to improve the working conditions of teachers.

In yet another incident of school-related violence, a Grade 2 Eastern Cape educator died after being shot three times by a man masked in a balaclava. In expressing his condolences with the family of the murdered educator, Johnny Mankato, MEC for education in the Eastern Cape, stressed the importance of the speedy implementation of the education department's security programme for schools. This programme, he hoped, together with the co-operation of the community, would bring an end to violence at schools.

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