Parents support teachers amid fears of staff cuts

Published Apr 16, 2024


Parents concerned about the future of their children amid the reported cutting of contract posts by the Western Cape Education Department protested outside Rocklands High School on Monday, calling for the department to “bring our teachers back”.

This follows a circular by the provincial department about the need to implement various “cost-containment” measures, including not renewing the contracts of teachers.

Parent Munier Hendricks said the teacher shortage was having a direct impact on the quality of education received by pupils.

“Regarding Rocklands High, we are short of five educators. This means students are missing out on three or four hours per subject. Today, my daughter had open periods. If we don't advocate for our children and teachers, it will hinder their chances of going to university and excelling in subjects like mathematics for example. Fifteen years ago, the Western Cape was a top performer, but now we’ve plummeted.

By the end of the second term, what assurance do we have that our children will be university-application ready with good report cards when this is the current situation?” he asked.

“Let educators do their jobs –they’ve dedicated years to studying and have a passion for teaching.

Allow our children to learn so they can become the lawyers and social workers of tomorrow.”

ANC MPL Khalid Sayed, who joined the protesters outside the school, said the decision had created a “sense of chaos”.

“Already our teachers, even those who are permanent, are getting a raw deal. You are putting a further burden on them and even those who are contract staff are having the further burden of career uncertainty, resulting in overcrowded classrooms, learners not knowing what’s happening,” he said.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said they had not fired teachers, nor terminated contracts.

She said: “Contracts at Rocklands HS were not cancelled. Two contracts came to an end. As with any contract made with an employee, there is a starting and end date to that contract, which is signed by the employee. If that contract is not renewed or extended then the contract expires.

The teachers whose contracts expired have the right to apply for a vacant teaching post. With regards to Rocklands HS, the school has requested assistance for a temporary contract post as they work to fill the necessary post through recruitment and selection procedures.”

According to Hammond, schools were given an opportunity to extend certain contracts till December 31, 2024 – with 2 282 contracts extended by schools and 3 100 contract posts converted to permanent and a further 800 being processed currently.

“The teachers that did not have their contracts converted or extended is due to either them not qualifying for a permanent post, or the school did not follow or understand the relevant processes to be followed. Some schools have indicated that they did not feel they understood the circular, and we are engaging with them to determine their needs and that they fill the necessary posts through recruitment and selection procedures.

Temporary contract posts have been allocated on a case by case basis. Overall, the allocated posts to schools in our educator basket has not decreased. Any teacher that is unemployed is welcome to apply for vacant posts.”

Cape Times