Department dismisses claims of teachers leaving SA

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Basic Education Department has dismissed media reports claiming that teachers are leaving the public education system in droves.

“We are not sure where the narrative that our teachers are leaving the public education system en-mass is coming from, this is simply not true. As our data indicates we are retaining more teachers in the public system and our supply of teachers has tripled over the past few years. We do not anticipate that we will experience a crisis at any point,” said Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

To the contrary, the department said it has seen an increase in the number of teachers remaining in the public education system.

“The department monitors the trends of attrition in public schools over a period of five years.

“Looking at five financial years up to the end of March 2017, it shows that attrition due to resignation decreased drastically between financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17 from 8 619 to 5 211. Overall, attrition due to resignation of teachers leaving the system accounts for about 1.9% of all educators,” said Mhlanga.

According to the department, there are approximately 410 000 teachers in the public education system placed at 25 000 schools across the country - that are responsible for educating 12.9 million learners.

Mhlanga said overall attrition and in particular attrition due to teachers leaving the system completely is relatively low.

“The supply of newly qualified teachers has almost tripled over the five years to 2016, growing from 8 000 in 2012 to 23 800 in 2016. There is therefore more than adequate supply to address current attrition levels,” he said.

Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme

Through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme, Mhlanga said the department is continuously addressing the issue of recruitment and retention of educators.

“If any teacher leaves the system to teach in another country, this would be seen as a positive development to create opportunities for the thousands of graduates qualifying annually through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme,” said Mhlanga.

In terms of retention, the department said there are continuous initiatives to improve the conditions of service for educators and in particular the salaries.

“In recent times, the implementation of the Occupation specific Dispensation (OSD) played a significant role in the improvement of educator salaries.

“The recent public sector salary agreement also included the equalisation provision to ensure that difference between salary notches of educators is increased from 1% to 1.5% in line with the rest of the public service,” said Mhlanga.

World Teachers Day

With just three days to go until World Teachers Day on the 5th of October 2018, the department thanked teachers for their hard work and dedication.

“As the Department of Basic Education we would like to thank all of our teachers for the incredible job they do in creating the leaders our country needs for a prosperous future,” said Mhlanga.

World Teachers’ Day 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that recognises education as a key fundamental right and establishes an entitlement to free compulsory education, ensuring inclusive and equitable access for all children. –