Unions HOPE FOR better resources

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Teacher unions inKwaZulu-Natal say they hope more money will be forthcoming to keep children and teachers safe at schools and to employ more teachers.

The province's education department's budget allocation will be presented today in the legislature.

Unions are very concerned about the violent incidents, robberies and killings at schools.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Teachers Union (Natu) says employing security guards at schools will help keep schools safe.

Bonile Mthembu, a teacher at Njubanjuba Secondary School in Stanger, was recently shot dead inside the school cottage.

The department has been allocated a budget of more than R20billion for the 2008-09 financial year.

The department said yesterday that education MEC Ina Cronje's speech will not only focus on what is in store for the next financial year, but will also reflect on the milestones and achievements of this financial year.

Education spokesman Ntokozo Maphisa said: "The provision of infrastructure, adult basic education, further education and training, no-fee schools and the provision of transport for learners are among the many programmes the budget will reflect on."

Last year Cronje announced that her department would deploy 300 security guards at schools that were regarded as "high risk".

Unions welcomed the department's effort but said that to ensure safety every school should have at least one security guard.

Unions also want more teachers to be employed to ease the work load.

Sadtu spokesman Sipho Nkosi lashed out at the department for shutting down education colleges in 1997. He said that decision has had a major effect on the shortage of teachers.

"Those colleges were affordable for many young people who wanted to study but could afford university fees," Nkosi said.

He said the department should reopen the colleges.