The redeployment of teachers is presenting some challenges for communities and schools in the Eastern Cape, since the decisions of school administrators can be irrational and can anger parents and learners.
Learners and parents at a school in Gatyana have vowed to continue to protest until the principal of the school reverses the deployment of “one of the best teachers” at the school. Towards the end of last year, the Department of Education issued a statement about the redeployment of teachers across the province. This matter has now become a problem for some parents and pupils.
Ngqaqini Junior Secondary School in Gatyana in the Eastern Cape is one of those schools. On Wednesday last week parents and pupils of this school were surprised to hear that a teacher had been redeployed to work to another school.
School Governing Body (SGB) chairperson Nkciyo Lumnkile says they are not happy at all. “We only heard about this on Wednesday when we asked our principal about this matter. We told the principal that we were supposed to be consulted first as parents of this school. Our principal told us that there are certain people who deal with this matter,” he said.
Lumnkile mentioned that the redeployed teacher had made many changes in the school. “She is teaching at foundation phase and after she arrived here our kids did well. There was no sport here but after she arrived our kids s tarted playing sport. There are teachers who are supposed to leave this school but not this one. Then we were told [by the district office]. that the principal did not follow proper procedures. He had said the procedure says last in first out. We do understand that but they must consider the fact that this teacher has made a huge impact in our school. So as parents we are saying no lesson in our school until they bring back that teacher,” he said.
One of the parents, Mimi Mabala says they decided to protest because they are not happy. “How can they chase away a teacher that is very helpful to our kids? No classes until they bring back that teacher,” she said.
One of the pupils who is doing Grade 8 at the school says they support the protest as pupils. “Yes we do have teachers in our classes. But what about these kids at the foundation phase who are losing the best teacher? When she arrived here there was no sport. But now we compete with other schools in sport because of her. We say no classes until she is back,” she said.
Eastern Cape Education spokesperson, Mali Mtima says the principal is the one who decides issues of redeployment at schools. “Parents do not take part in this matter. So the first issue for the principal is to check who is willing to leave the school. If there is no one willing to leave, so the second issue is last in first out. But if the teacher that has arrived last is teaching major important subjects like maths or science, there is a need to check an alternative [priority] because teachers of these subjects are in demand and they are few,” he said.
An investigation to check that the proper procedure was followed in the matter is being done by the department.