Learners bear the brunt as hoards of teachers lose jobs due to national budget cuts

Teachers are losing their jobs across the province. File picture: Pixabay

Teachers are losing their jobs across the province. File picture: Pixabay

Published Apr 5, 2024


National budget cuts have resulted in teachers losing their jobs across the Western Cape.

The loss of teachers at schools has detrimental effects on learners as the second term for the academic year started on Wednesday.

Panic ensued as teachers across the Western Cape have been told they no longer have jobs.

In Atlantis, the schools sent out a letter to parents explaining the loss of teachers.

Letters sent to parents in Atlantis. Photo: supplied

At Proteus Technical High School, six teachers had their contracts terminated. At Avondale Primary, two teachers were terminated and Wesfleur Primary School lost three teachers.

Learners were now forced to attend school on alternative days.

Speaking to IOL, the mother of Grade 11 learner at Proteus, Taryn Hearne said she was deeply concerned about her daughter’s schooling.

Letters sent to parents in Atlantis. Photo: supplied

“I am deeply saddened at this fact as my child is directly affected by this. Her schooling schedule has been shortened and it worries me as this is a critical year for her,” she said.

“This will be putting more stress on my child as well as me as a parent for her to maintain her grades.I want the government to resolve this as soon as possible.”

Hearne also has a son at Wesfleur Primary School.

Letters sent to parents in Atlantis. Photo: supplied

Another parent with twin daughters at Avondale Primary, Leitita Stubbs-Jordaan said these teachers being terminated has a direct impact on the future of this country.

“They want to cut from our children’s future and the future of our country. There is other stuff to cut from but they want to cut on education,” she said.

“Now the children must go to school every other day. This is taking from our children and then they have to play catch up with their school work with loads of homework which becomes the parents' problem and this just because of money.”

With classrooms already overcrowded and teachers having a heavy workload, Stubbs-Jordaan is concerned about how children will be given the proper attention needed during lessons.

“How will your child be able to get the proper attention from the teachers? There are just so many hours in a day. feel for our children first Covid and now this,” she added.

The spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department, Bronagh Hammond said the department was dealt a heavy blow in 2023, when national government announced major budget cuts which forced it to implement stringent cost containment measures.

“We are currently facing an R870 million deficit in the 2024/25 financial year that needs to be absorbed to cover the cost of the increases in the nationally negotiated public sector wage agreement,” Hammond said.

“We issued a circular (Circular 0034/2023) on November 21, 2023, indicating that in order to maintain the number of permanent teaching posts in the system and stability in our schools, we needed to implement various cost containment measures,” she said.

“We have consulted widely on the above with school governing body associations, principals’ associations, teachers’ unions, and schools,” Hammond said.

“We agreed to delay the implementation by one term, to ensure our schools were ready to manage this process.”

She said in preparation for the implementation, approximately 3,100 contract posts were converted to permanent posts between January 1, and March 31.

Special vacancy lists were made available so schools could ensure that appointments to fill vacant posts could be made before April 1.

School Governing Bodies were urged to give recruitment processes their urgent attention, and the department made arrangements to expedite the administration around the filling of posts.

Hammond said many schools took the necessary steps to ensure they had implemented measures outlined in the circular by March 31.

“The department is stepping in to support the schools that have not implemented the measures. In some instances, unexpected or late resignations of permanent staff have complicated matters,” Hammond said.

She said the WCED is supporting schools and are working with schools to mitigate the risk by:

– supporting them to finalise their conversion processes;

– more regularly advertise vacancy lists;

– supporting them to speed up recruitment and selection processes, expediting appointments where schools have finalised these processes; and

– extending the contracts of educators appointed in vacant substantive posts until December 31, 2024.

“Despite the major budget cuts, we are doing everything we can to support our schools and will continue to fight to deliver quality education to the learners in the Western Cape,” Hammond added.

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