EASTERN CAPE EDUCATION IN NEED OF RESCUE RANGER: A VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES

15 Mar

The Eastern Cape Department 0f Education is in desperate need of a new mindset. A completely new generation of thinkers should be at the helm of education in this province. The utter lack of cohesion, logic and common sense leaves one stumped.

Career pathing within education is generally designed in such a way that teachers move from the classroom to circuit office and up up and away.
These are teachers who for most of their career life have been exposed to incompetence and general confusion at district to provincial level so it would be fair this is the only life they know. Once appointed at a higher level these teachers are expected provide decisive leadership. I don’t even need to point out at the viciousness of this particular cycle.

And then there is SADTU. One would be forgiven in thinking this is the only teacher union in South Africa, “union” is synonymous with SADTU in teacher circles.
It must be said and acknowledged that SADTU has done much in the advancement of the working class. In EC things are slightly different. SADTU, it would seem, runs the show in this province.
Frequent mass meetings for this or the other(in theory the entire district shuts down when SADTU calls a meeting) are the order of the day. In all of this the education and welfare of the African child is at the forefront(sic)
Recently it was at SADTU’s insistence and demands that temporary educators be re-instated despite the department’s protestation that there were no funds(and that’s another tale on it’s own).
To date no appointment letters have been issued to teachers but they continue to work without pay. Modern day slavery of sorts with the vanguard of teacher interests as an accomplice.
SADTU has also managed to convince the more gullible teachers of it’s sole responsibility in the appointment of the current superintendent general. It was this argument that was used in drumming support in having the SG removed. The mentality was “We brought him in, we can get rid of him”
Enter the infamous Go-Slow. One of the main reasons(I’ve since realized that there are various reasons depending which district or region one is at) is the redeployment of access educators(yet another tale for another day). Redeployment is dependent on the school’s enrollment. Lately teaching is like following the fluctuating Rand. Other provinces seem to understand that teachers are not permanent in their sites but permanent in the system. Not in EC. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth and vehement opposition to this process. Amongst other things SADTU cites lack of consultation with them as a union and receiving principals.
What is apparent is that the notion of a “comfort zone” is a major cause for the opposition. Understandably it is annoying and inconvenient to start a new life at a new school. Many of us have forgotten that work is neither about convenience nor comfort.

In every labour dispute leverage is key. The teacher leaders in their infinite wisdom saw it fit and appropriate to lay down school children on the sacrificial alter. Oh well.
Still on temp teachers: As far as I know, and I stand to be corrected, temps are not affected when it comes to the Post Provisioning Norm(ppn) or staff establishment. In EC, as I’m sure you’ve guessed already, things are done differently.
Temps were included in the calculations. The absurdity of this particular state of affairs boggles the mind.
The logic is once access educators have been identified they will be redeployed to schools in need.
How then, in all conventional wisdom, do you include people who are not even in the system?
The identified teachers are currently being served with redeployment letters. What happens to temps identified as access then? Will they suddenly be converted to permanent staff and in the process upsetting the apple cart forcing us to go back to square one?

Don’t get me started on communication. The lack in cohesion makes Bedlam look and sound like high tea.
There is no uniformity a district level.
This is best illustrated in the current chaos that is uncoordinated common papers. In a normal environment teachers are summoned in advance to cluster subject meetings where exams and other forms of formal assessment are discussed and planned.
In Lusikisiki for example, one is summoned a day or two before a paper is written and one is also told when that paper should be written. Due preparation is not a deciding factor. This has made it difficult for schools to have a formal assessment time table. At the end of it all learners are supposed to outdo themselves.
There is much to criticize but I do not intend on writing a tome…just yet.
The department must be congragulated for the strides made in areas such as scholar transport and nutrition. Sadly the positive strides are far outweighed by the systematic bungling.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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