Early retirement on the cards for teachers

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cape Town - Government could soon look into the possibility of retiring teachers over the age of 55 in a bid to address the problem of excess teachers in the country's schools.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed today that a proposal had been made to the National Treasury to all teachers over 55 to take voluntary retirement without losing some of their benefits.

Currently, teachers can work up to the age of 63 before they can go on retirement. Motshekga suggested that this should change.

"It's a very sensitive but also an important issue. We need to talk about it. We feel we need to create space for the younger generation which has ... better qualifications. At the moment, we have a lot of double parked teachers," she said.

The problem has led to wasteful expenditure in some provinces, with about 2 400 excess teachers reportedly working in Limpopo schools alone.

Motshekga said provinces needed to deal with the problem of excess teachers, which she deemed as an unnecessary expenditure.

"We are monitoring it quite closely, [as] it is becoming a problem. Perhaps we should retire teachers below 55 without penalising them. Maybe teachers, like myself, need to leave the system and make way for a younger ... generation."

A study commissioned by the Education Labour Relations Council found that some 30 000 teaches in South African schools were unqualified. Salaries were also being paid to "ghost teachers", a problem also recently highlighted in Limpopo. The "teachers" were found to be in the provinces' payroll despite the fact that they did not exist.

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