Eastern Cape: No money for AET teacher benefits

Edmund van Vuuren (MPL)

Shadow MEC for Education

Teachers employed by the Eastern Cape Department of Education’s programme for Adult Education and Training (AET) have, since 2009, been working for more than a third less of what they should be paid.

I have been reliably informed that the department has made a unilateral decision not to pay AET-teachers an agreed-upon 37% compensation-fee in lieu of benefits that these teachers do not qualify for because they are not permanently employed.

If this department can cut back on something as essential as a programme for AET, they do so at their own peril.  The Eastern Cape Department of Education is forsaking the legitimate expectations of both educators and AET-learners.   This, the DA finds deplorable.

Ring-fencing funds in the planning stage would have been prudent.

Following a query I received from a desperate AET-teacher, the department confirmed yesterday (subs:  Thursday, 23 October) that there was no money in the budget.

The DA believes that the Department of Education can relieve its financial pressure by cutting back on the large numbers of administrative officials in its top-heavy bureaucracy by moving administrative staff to parallel positions in other government departments.

The department states in its latest annual report that the 3 396 educators employed in AET-centres in 2013/14 were 1 308 less than the target of 4 704, due to “poor conditions of service”.

It stands to reason that teachers are simply not willing to work for a department that is unable to pay them for their services.

Adult education must provide second chance learning opportunities for out of school youth and adults.

The DA’s policy of innovation states that South Africa’s success as a nation will be determined by the country’s ability to generate knowledge and ideas by establishing an education environment that will equip students for meaningful economic participation.

An integral part of this system is to ensure institutional and financial stability within the education system to provide sustainable careers for teachers.