Sadtu disputes Grade R ‘jobs’

Sadtu in the Eastern Cape has accused education authorities of misleading the public by giving them an impression that grade R teachers will get jobs.

This comes after the provincial education department announced yesterday that 1175 Grade R practitioners have been sponsored with bursaries to get a professional qualification which will enable them to teach at schools.

Currently, Grade R practitioners are employed by school governing bodies instead of government, while the Saturday Dispatch understands that some are getting allowances from the department. The education department collaborated with SANTS private higher education institution to train practitioners at 24 support centres across 20 districts in the province.

Sadtu provincial leader Sindisile Zamisa said the union was unhappy about the announcement.

“We don’t agree with the approach followed by the department. They start programme after programme. “If you ask them about those they trained previously and if they absorbed all of them, you will not get an answer.

“Unfortunately our people find themselves as victims because for them they are looking for job opportunities. We are sceptical about this programme,” he said.

He questioned why teacher unions were not consulted before the announcement.

“I can assure you that this is but one more exercise of the department of education to mislead the public. To us, if you are a genuine teacher, unions should be there. Why this is done outside teacher unions? ”

In a joint statement issued by education and SANTS the parties stated this was the third intake of “in-service practitioners” into the study programme.

The programme also trains early childhood district coordinators. “On completion of a SANTS diploma in Grade R teaching, student teachers will be qualified and recognised teachers, who will be able to teach Grade R learners in formal schooling.

The qualification has been approved and recognised by the department of higher education and training for employment in education, accredited by the council on higher education, and is registered with the South African Qualification Authority (Saqa). Beyond the diploma in Grade R teaching, candidates who are successful are able to further upgrade to qualify for the bachelor in education (BEd) foundation phase teaching programme,” the statement said.

Eastern Cape education department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani did not respond to Sadtu’s allegations.

SANTS spokesman Kobie van Zyl said this was a three-year programme with the first intake in 2014.

National Professional Teacher's Union (Naptosa) provincial executive officer Peter Duminy, welcomed the announcement. —

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