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New teachers in Lavis

The provincial education department on Monday 10 February confirmed to TygerBurger that two new teachers have been appointed at Nooitgedacht Primary in Bishop Lavis.

This follows protest by disgruntled parents of Grades 3 and 7 learners, who took to the streets on Thursday 6 February as their children had been without teachers since the beginning of the year.

According to the school governing body chairperson Phillipus van der Heever, the school last year made an application to the provincial education department for two additional teachers.

“The application was made in September, but there was no feedback until Friday (7 February) which meant there were no teachers for these grades since the beginning of the year. Our parents got frustrated because the classes were full. Classes consisted of 75 learners to accommodate the two grades without teachers.

“In my opinion, the department gave the two posts because parents took to the streets and made their voices heard,” said Van der Heever.

On the day of the protest (before the appointments were made), a parent, Fagmieda Wilson, questioned her child was without a teacher.

“What must we as parents do? We want teachers. We need a solution. We don’t know what to do? School books are empty. Will this be going on for the rest of the term or the rest of the year? We need answers,” she said.

Bishop Lavis police spokesperson WO Joseph Swartbooi said there was a strong police presence during the protest.

“The parents in conjunction with the SGB made a unanimous decision that enough is enough. A request was apparently sent to the provincial education department during the latter part of 2019, requesting available posts for extra teachers at the school. The SGB indicated that teachers sit with classes with a total of 78 learners. It was for this reason that a decision was taken to shut the entrance to the school.”

The provincial education department’s Bronagh Hammond said officials engaged with the SGB and explained the process of post allocations. “I can confirm that they have received two teaching posts,” she said.

Hammond shared what the process is to apply for vacant positions to be filled: “In August, schools are made aware of the number of teaching posts that will be allocated to them for the next school year based on existing learner numbers. At the start of each school year, there is always some change in the system. In some instances, schools will decrease in learner numbers and in other cases, they will increase due to a variety of factors.

“If a school has increased significantly in learner numbers they are to apply to the department for additional posts.

“The department then conducts a ten-day snap survey where schools are to submit, on the 10th school day, the number of learners registered on the system and are attending the school and the list of educators.

“This information provides us with an accurate reflection of the learner enrolment and number of staff as at the 10th school day. 

“Why 10 days? We have to let the system settle, as well as, finalise late applications and learners arriving late to their school after the school holidays.”

She explained that this information is important as it allows the department to determine where there is growth and which schools require additional teachers. 

“The department keeps back a number of teaching posts for this exact purpose. We cannot allocate posts before we get this data as it would be extremely irresponsible to do so when we do not have accurate statistics reflecting the demand across the whole system. It is important that we first ascertain the real figures in the system, as well as, where the greatest demand lies so that we can fairly distribute the posts.”

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