South African Council of Educators (SACE) Annual Report 2009

Basic Education

12 October 2009
Chairperson: Ms F Chohan (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The South African Council of Educators provided the Committee with an account of the activities that the Council undertook during the 2008/09 financial year. The Council had aimed to achieve two targets during this period, namely to register all qualifying teachers and to maintain a credible database of all registered teachers. The Council had exceeded these expectations and currently maintained a database with more than 500 000 teachers registered. A serious lack of accommodation continued to hamper the work of the Council. It was further impeded by the lack of sufficient funding for the Professional Teacher Development Programme. The Council could not reach out to all corners of the country due to lack human and capital resources.

 

Members expressed concern about manner in which the financial information was presented. They also complained about the decision of the Council to increase its registration fees, arguing that teachers would not be able afford the increase. Other issues such as the accommodation for the Council, dress code for teachers, qualification of teachers, behaviour of teachers and absenteeism also came to the fore during the discussion.

 

Meeting report

Briefing by the South African Council of Educators (SACE)

CEO Introduction
Mr Rej Brijraj, CEO, SACE, explained that the core mandate of the organisation was derived from the SACE Act No 31 of 2000. The primary mandate of SACE was to ensure that all teachers were registered. Significant progress had been towards achieving this goal, however there were still a number of teachers who still had not been registered by the Council. The second mandate was the ongoing professional development of educators and the Department was playing a pivotal role in that regard. The Council was also charged with developing a code of ethics for educators. The number of complaints (about teachers) had dropped significantly; yet the media continued to portray the profession in a negative light. The Minister of Basic Education recognised the good work done by teachers and wanted this wanted this to be acknowledged by the broader society.


SACE presentation
Mr N Themba, Communications Manager, SACE, provided the Committee with an account of the activities that the Council undertook during the 2008/09 financial year. The Council had aimed to achieve two targets during this period, namely to register all qualifying teachers and to maintain a credible database of all registered teachers. The Council had exceeded these expectations and currently maintained a database with more than 500 000 teachers registered.

 

Targets that were set for teacher development and the enhancement of the status of teaching profession were also surpassed. The Council had revised the Code of Conduct and publicity material such as diaries and booklets were widely distributed. During the year under review, 31 complaints were received against educators. Out of this figure, 50 had been finalised. The majority of the complaints-114- related to allegations of unprofessional conduct.

A serious lack of accommodation continued to hamper the work of the Council. It was further impeded by the lack of sufficient funding for the Professional Teacher Development Programme. The Council could not reach out to all corners of the country due to lack human and capital resources.

 

Mr Morris Mapindane, CFO, SACE, went through the financial and the audit committee report. He touched on the expenditure, income and the financial challenges of the Council. He said that insufficient finances made it difficult for the Council to do its work properly. The Council had overspent its allocation by R270 921. (See document).

Discussion
The Chairperson felt that the financial report left much to be desired; the way that it was presented made it difficult for Members to understand it. Additionally, she wanted to know why the registration fees (for educators) would be increased so significantly.

Mr Mapindane replied that the increase would be reported in the next financial year because it only came into effect in April 2009.

Mr Brijraj explained that the Council had an accommodation problem and the increase would help in purchasing a building for the organisation.

The Chairperson said that the increase in fees was too much considering that teachers' salaries were not enough as compared to the work they were doing. She suggested that Council make use of the Department of Education’s building because it was under utilised.

Ms Anthea Cereseto, Deputy Chairperson, SACE, said that as a teacher, she understood that teachers were struggling but the decision was taken after extensive deliberations.

The Chairperson advised the Council to look at alternatives and focus on professional development of teachers. The increase from R74 to R240, 00 was too much.


Ms Mpho Dipholo, Professional Development Committee Member, SACE, mentioned that the Minister (of Basic Education) was also opposed to the increase.

Mr D Smiles (DA) referred to page 60 of the audit report and asked for clarity on this.


Mr Mapindane replied that the auditors had only audited samples of the financial report but not the whole document.

Ms Kloppers-Lourens addressed two issues. Firstly, she asked for a breakdown of the funds that were spent on the World Teachers' Day celebrations. Secondly, she asked why the celebrations were only held in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

The Chairperson mentioned that the Department as well as the Council shared the responsibility for organising the event.

Ms Dipholo replied that R1, 2 million was spent on the celebrations, noting that the Department had played a leading role financially and otherwise. The celebrations were also held in other provinces but the main event was in KZN.

The Chairperson asked several questions. Firstly, she asked where the Council was currently located. Secondly, she questioned whether all teachers were expected to have a minimum standard/requirement. Thirdly, she asked for clarity on the continuous development training of under qualified teachers.

Ms Dipholo replied that the head office was situated within three buildings around Centurion in Pretoria. The one in Visagie had tenants that had contracts from the previous owner of the building. The contracts would expire before the end of the year.

Mr Brijraj replied that teachers were required to have a matric pass plus 4 years post-matric training.


Ms Dipholo added that the Council was negotiating with the Deans forum regarding the training of under qualified teachers. The ANC Polokwane resolution stipulated that the former Teacher Training colleges should be reopened. A debate ensued because some people felt that Universities were well equipped for the task at hand.

The Chairperson felt that the Department had abdicated its role in the area of teacher development. She enquired about the number of under qualified teachers that were on the database.

Mr Brijraj replied that there were 135 000 under qualified teachers- that is, those teachers with matric plus 3 years training- on the system.

 

Ms N Gina (ANC) asked whether the Council had decided on a dress code for teachers, and asked what was meant by unprofessional conduct. She wanted to know about the channels that were used to report complaints.

Mr Themba replied that some school governing bodies had taken the initiative and decided on an appropriate dress code.

Ms Cereseto replied that unprofessional conduct dealt with things like conflict amongst teachers, swearing and fighting in front of learners. The Council would mediate when dealing with such situations, and issued fines and sometimes sent teachers for anger management courses. The emphasis was on corrective behaviour rather than punishment.

The Chairperson enquired about steps that were taken to make sure that teachers that had been struck off the roll did not work as teachers any more.

Mr Brijraj admitted that some teachers that had been struck off would sneak back to the profession. In order to prevent this, a database of all the teachers who fall in the bracket is made available to all school principals and the Department.

Ms Kloppers-Lourens- asked about how the Council dealt with striking teachers.

Mr Brijaj replied that the Council did not deal with labour relations issues as this was a domain of the Education Labour Relations Council.

Mr Kganyago asked for clarity on provisional registration and whether Further Education and Training College teachers were registered.

Mr Themba replied that provisional registration referred to the registration of under qualified teachers.

The Chairperson asked how much money was spent on teacher development. She said that learners were easily influenced by the bad behaviour of teachers. Ethics and community development had to be part of teacher development.

Mr Brijraj said that the Council fully agreed with the Chairperson, and added that professional development would encompass training on community development. The Department of Education had already allocated funds for professional development.

Mr Smiles enquired about the research done to study teacher absenteeism during working hours.

Mr Brijraj said that the Council fully supported President Zuma’s call for teachers to work everyday of the school term. He acknowledged that some schools were not safe for learners and teachers especially in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KZN. The Minister had noted that administration overload hampered effective teaching.

The meeting was adjourned.

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