In recent weeks, South Africa has witnessed a wave of unrest at universities throughout the country as the #FeesMustfall movement continues their call for decolonised education. As a result of protests, increased uncertainty surrounding the completion of the academic year has left government in a state of limbo as positions in vital sectors await new submissions.
While the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has in recent years worked tirelessly to address issues relating to under-qualified teachers within the education sector, uncertainty surrounding 2017 incoming teachers has raised even more concerns.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, provincial secretary of the South African Teachers Union (SAOU) Western Cape, Morné Janson explains that according to legislation, when educators are appointed they need to be fully qualified in order to qualify for higher income bracket.
Janson says that one’s qualification is directly linked to the salary bracket, which would negatively impact those who are unable to complete their final examination.
Given the fact that pension deduction constitutes a percentage of one’s entire salary, Janson further notes that pension benefits of unqualified individuals will also be impacted.
He says that since students currently have no certainty about the completion of the academic year, education students will be forced to settle for a much lower income bracket while they await an opportunity to complete their degrees.
“The problem for the principal is that they are appointing individuals, but they are unsure if they are qualified – you are working on brute faith,” Janson stated.
Janson asserts that in light of the continued need for quality educators to enter the sector, the appointment of individuals, whose abilities are questionable, risks the quality of the entire education system.
Describing the situation as “not all doom and gloom”, he says that the department has made provision for incoming graduates who may not complete their exams in 2016, since it has a vested interest in ensuring their admission into the sector.
“The department has also invested a lot of money in these educators in forms of bursaries. So, there is a commitment from government to have them appointed in the system,” he added.
While he notes that that current situation is accompanied by great levels of uncertainty, Janson encourages all final-year students to concentrate on their final exam. VOC