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Teacher absenteeism highest in NC

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“Unfortunately, parents are dropping the ball. School governing bodies that met the minimum criteria of effectiveness stands at 65% in primary schools, and at a low of 55% in secondary schools.”

Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

TEACHER absenteeism in the Northern Cape is the highest in the country at 13%.

The national average for teacher absence on an average day was 10%.

This is according to the 2017/18 School Monitoring Survey released by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

According to the report, teacher absence in the Northern Cape (13%) and the North West and Eastern Cape (both at 12%) was higher than the national average of 9% for primary-school teachers, whereas teacher absence in Limpopo (6%) and the Free State (7%) were lowest.

Motshekga described the teacher absenteeism as “deeply troubling”. “We must do more to support our teachers. There’s a need to drill deeper into the statistics to understand this leave of absence phenomenon,” she stated.

“However, we must congratulate the provinces of Limpopo (6%) and Free State (7%) for registering the lowest rate of teacher absence during the period under review.”

Regarding teacher development, Motshekga pointed out that the 2017 Survey indicated that the overall average hours of professional development per teacher per year reflected an improvement since 2011, up from 36 to 42 hours. “This isn’t good enough. Our target for 2024 is 80 hours per year per teacher.”

In the Northern Cape, the average hours of professional development per teacher is 36.5 hours.

Motshekga stated further that investment in new teacher training through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme was beginning to show some interesting results as more vacant posts are filled today compared to 2011.

“The national average for filled teaching posts (primary and secondary schools combined) increased from 69% to 78% since the 2011 survey.”

In the Northern Cape, a total of 82.9% of schools in the Province filled all their allocated teacher posts.

“Unfortunately, parents are dropping the ball. School governing bodies that met the minimum criteria of effectiveness stands at 65% in primary schools, and at a low of 55% in secondary schools.”

In the Northern Cape, the percentage for primary schools is 67.8% and for secondary schools it is 40%.

“We must get parents involved in the education of their children. Parental involvement is vital to the child’s overall success in life. Parents are the first educators of their children. The support they provide affects their child’s learning and development and is linked to subsequent educational outcomes.”

According to Motshekga, the department has “turned the corner in the delivery of Learner Teaching Support Material (LTSM)”.

“The 2017 Survey notes that approximately 95% of pupils across all quintiles had access to their own workbooks in both the Home Language and Mathematics.

“Our workbook programme, which has been rolled out and expanded since 2011, has clearly contributed to a massive increase in the availability and use of learning materials in South African classrooms.

“Similarly, access to textbooks was consistently high – hovering around 80 percent in key subjects.”

In terms of infrastructure, primary schools in the Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape displayed sound infrastructural conditions in 2107, compared to the average situation in the country.

For primary schools, 93.1% of schools in the Province had access to running water, 91.3% had perimeter fencing, 99.8% had electricity, 70% had internet and 87.1% had adequate toilets.

For secondary schools, 84.6% had running water, 96.9% had perimeter fencing, 98.5% had electricity, 96.2% had internet and 95.4% had toilets.

A total of 82.7% of schools in the Province also had adequate classrooms, with the Northern Cape and Western Cape primary schools and the Free State and Western Cape secondary schools being the best provided for as far as classrooms are concerned.

Schools in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West displayed the largest inadequacies in classrooms.