Education Department reaches agreement on Post Provisioning
Posted on Friday, 08 March 2013
Article by Loyiso Pulumani
Today the Department of Basic Education and the Centre for Child Law made mutual undertakings to realise children’s rights to basic education in the Eastern Cape province.
This follows an urgent court application lodged late last week by the CCL. The CCL sought a court order directing the Department to appoint schools’ chosen temporary educators on a permanent basis – in preference to the Department’s existing permanent educator-employees.
In the CCL’s application, it acknowledges material progress by the Department in achieving the 2013 post establishment, despite opposition by SADTU. SADTU, the CCL application confirms, has prevented further progress by the Department. This in turn led, as the CCL further acknowledges, to the Department’s successful application against SADTU last week, which paved the way for renewed progress by the Department to ensure that schools are sufficiently staffed.
Despite the positive developments during the last two weeks (which the CCL recognises), the CCL still persisted in now bringing its own application, to be heard urgently according to stringent timelines. But CCL has now recognised that it itself could not accomplish its own timelines.
As a result, the CCL subsequently undertook to provide the Department with information in relation to the schools represent by the CCL (including the number of substantive vacant educator posts on the 2013 post establishment, the profiles of all educators appointed by the schools to such posts, proof of these educators’ actual assumption of duty, and the number of excess educators at each school). The CCL undertook to provide this information by 15 March 2013, i.e. a week after the CCL initially intended to have its application heard.
The Department will process the information to be provided by the CCL and pay such salaries as temporary teachers may be entitled to, pending their replacement by permanent educators. The parties agreed that temporary teachers who are not replaced by 31 May 2013 may be appointed on a permanent basis, subject to legal requirements being met.
A dedicated task team has been established to facilitate the appointment, profiling and remuneration of educators and to prioritise the appointment of temporary educators to vacant substantive posts.
While the Department understands the CCL’s decision not to proceed with its application on 7 March 2013, the wasted costs will have to stand over for future determination.
The Department of Education has observed an escalation of cases of the illegal closure of schools under the pretext of demanding quick resolution of the shortage of educators at schools. It is alleged that communities and parents are taking over the demand of providing educators in line with the PPN 2013 and as such decide to close such schools as an endeavour to pressure the Department to act. This phenomenon of the closure of schools has become rife in the ex-Model C, ex-House of Representatives and ex-House of Administration schools, especially in Cacadu and Nelson Mandela Metro areas.
The result of these illegal actions are that our learners are denied the right to education as enshrined in section 29 of our country’s Constitution. This has also violated the right to fair labour practices, where educators in the employ of the Department are prevented from entering schools by communities and parents without following due process.
All stakeholders, communities and parents have a responsibility to ensure that education of our children is protected and implemented within the legal framework of the Republic of South Africa. The unlawful closure of schools by communities is a complete denial of the right to learn and fair labour practices of workers.
Therefore, the following should be noted:
1) All teaching and learning activities for all schools and learners should continue without interruption both by educators and communities.
2) All schools with shortages of teachers should continue to submit their needs to the District Office for urgent intervention. Any failure to act on this information by the District can be escalated by school principals to the Head:
Education. The response to these shortages are being managed through the placement of existing additional educators and if need be as a short term measure through the appointment of temporary educators within the limited available budget of the Department.
3) In order to prevent the continual over-expenditure on personnel, communities and school principals are urged to work with the Department to ensure that: all additional permanent educators are timeously identified (including the compilation and submission of their full profiles), all outstanding vacancies are identified and profiled and lastly, those identified additional permanent educators are promptly placed where their profiles match those of the vacancies, within their circuits and districts after following agreed procedures as outlined in Collective Agreement 2 of 2003.
4) There are at present about 6781 additional permanent educators and 8 825 substantive (funded) vacancies. The original plan was to have placed these educators and filled all vacancies through advertisements by 16 January 2013. The Department has also obtained on Monday 25 February 2013, a Court Order from the Bhisho High Court in favour of the Department against the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) to create stability and implementation of policy in the Department. This Court Order came as a result of South African Democratic Teachers Union’s members causing major disruptions of a number of key tasks in certain districts, including the identification and movement of additional educators as well as the compilation and submission of documentation to head office to ensure the prompt payment of current employed temporary educators.
5) All school principals whose schools are affected by acts of violence/violation of law, resulting in the unlawful closure of schools, should report this to both the South African Police Service and the Department’s District offices.
We urge all role-players to exercise restraint, ensure full compliance with applicable laws and policies, and to follow sound decision-making to ensure that all learners are not further disadvantaged by the present shortage of educators and that state property is not damaged or put at risk.
The Department remains committed to achieve its goal: providing basic education to every child in the Eastern Cape. We are confident that we will attain our targets now that a court order is in place to restrain SADTU from unlawful obstruction, and we looks forward to the CCL’s constructive cooperation instead of obstructive litigation.
Issued by: Eastern Cape Department of Education.
Inquiries : Loyiso Pulumani (083 275 0675)
Article Tags: Post Provisioning