KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu. File Picture
KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu. File Picture

KZN Education appoints teachers despite shortage of funds: ‘We cannot have a class without an educator’

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Dec 1, 2021

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DURBAN – Despite a shortage of funds, the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal says it has been able to fill key teacher vacancies in preparation for the start of the 2022 school year.

It said it had made appointments that will come into effect in January next year; had been able to appoint Grade R teachers and it plans to make some of the temporary teachers permanent.

This is an about turn after the department revealed a few months ago that it might be forced to retrench staff due to budget challenges.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said: “It has always been our submission that we cannot have a class without an educator and that stability is key to the successful rolling out of the educational programmes.”

The department said it had faced a challenge because of budget cuts. At the start of the financial year, the department revealed its budget had been cut by an amount close to R6 billion.

It said its finance and human resources sections had been working around the clock to make ends meet, under very challenging financial constraints.

“The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education was able to advertise 2 692 school based promotion vacancies. 1 757 placements have been processed with the remainder to be completed before schools close this December. All appointees will assume duties in January 2022,” said the statement.

It said due to budget cuts, the department had to implement strict controls regarding vacant level one posts. No permanent appointments could be made for the greater part of the 2021 academic year.

Only 643 educators were appointed on fixed term contracts in critical posts and only intra provincial single transfers were allowed.

The department has directed the conversion into permanent appointments of eligible temporary educators who have been appointed for six months and whose contracts are ending in December 2021. The permanent appointments will be effective from January 1, 2022.

The department launched the HR Recruitment App in 2020 to help school principals in declaring vacancies.To date, 211 schools have declared vacancies using the App.

The department has directed the circuit management task teams and district task teams to finalise the matching of the surplus educators to the identified posts by December 14, 2021. These educators will assume duties in their new schools in January 2022.

The department has also appointed some qualified grade R educators.

It added although many are still employed as practitioners on a stipend, the Department of Education and organised labour have agreed to prioritise their appointment into mainstream posts, once they are qualified.

THE MERCURY

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