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SAHRC to tackle post vacancies at Limpopo special needs schools

Both schools are receiving therapeutic support by staff appointed through a grant for learners with severe to profound intellectual disability, says basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Both schools are receiving therapeutic support by staff appointed through a grant for learners with severe to profound intellectual disability, says basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Image: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will visit two special schools in Limpopo early next year to find out why vacant posts have not been filled since 2015.

This comes after basic education minister Angie Motshekga told parliament 82 of the 187 posts at Helene Franz School in Bochum and Tshilidzini Special School in Thohoyandou had not been filled

She said the vacancies at the two schools have “accumulated since 2015, which was the last time posts were filled at both schools”.

Mothshekga was responding to questions from the DA’s shadow minister of education Baxolile Nodada.

The appointments process is back on track
Limpopo education department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene

Tshilidzini Special School has only one therapist while 11 posts for therapists are vacant.

Helene Franz School does not have a therapist and there are two vacancies.

Motshekga revealed both schools were receiving therapeutic support from staff appointed through a grant for pupils with severe to profound intellectual disabilities.

She said 36 posts for special schools for pupils with severe to profound intellectual disabilities have been advertised for filling from April next year.

Victor Mavhidula, provincial manager for the SAHRC in Limpopo, said had they been aware of the situation, they would have attended to it long ago.

“We prioritise special schools because we know the moment you don’t give support it means you are denying those pupils their right to access education. We will visit the two schools in early January to find out what is happening.

“We need to hold the department accountable for this because it’s not a new issue.”

A total of 8,645 pupils were enrolled at 35 special education needs schools in Limpopo last year.

Provincial education department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the vacant posts at the two schools could not be filled because of budgetary constraints and a subsequent moratorium on the appointment of support staff.

“Filling of posts has to be approved by the Limpopo provincial treasury subject to availability of the budget. We are relieved the appointments process is back on track in phases as per treasury approach.”

She said 228 posts for special schools were submitted to the provincial treasury for the 2022/23 financial year.

“The vacant posts have an impact of which we are fully mindful.”

She said special schools have been allowed to appoint support staff using school governing body funds and this has come as a interim relief.

“Schools are serviced by a pool of therapists stationed at the provincial office who are appointed to support pupils with severe to profound disabilities.”

During a summit on inclusive education in November, the director-general of the department of basic education, Mathanzima Mweli, said: “The reality is we have come across a number of challenges. There are gaps in the progress we have made. We  have some weaknesses we need to attend to as urgently as we can.”​

TimesLIVE


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