Angie plans to deal with lazy teachers

11 February 2013 - 08:46
By Thando Mgaga
       Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga
NOT TO BLAME: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga . PHOTO: TREVOR SAMSON

LAZY teachers who do not report to work on time, knock off early and bunk classes are in for a shock.

The government is planning to install a system in all schools to monitor all teachers.

The current manual clocking system will be replaced by a biometric system that will require that teachers clock in and out of school using their fingerprints.

This will make it easier for the department of basic education to monitor truancy.

The plan was announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Saturday.

She was speaking during the handover of a R1-million state-of-the-art Grade R facility in Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa's Shanduka group and its Adopt-A-School Foundation.

Motshekga said the system would make sure that teachers clocked in for work using their fingerprints and the same when leaving.

Motshekga said the biometric system has worked well in Northern and Western Cape schools.

The new system will be monitored at head office to track which teachers did not show up for work and at which schools.

"Just like in factories, teachers have to [scan their fingerprints] when they report for duty. By 10 o'clock we will know how many teachers are not at school, nationwide. At the end of the day they must scan their fingers again and sign off," Motshekga said.

The new system is expected to eliminate a lack of accountability among school heads and root out absenteeism.

"We don't get full reports about what's happening with teacher absenteeism," Motshekga said,

"We hear grumbles that teachers at certain schools leave school premises and go to town at about 10 [in the morning].

"We are shocked, together with those who are supposed to monitor this, when we are asked about it. We just don't have proper monitoring mechanisms."

Motshekga said she was shocked at number of teachers absent from school during visits by politicians at the start of the academic year last month. "There were 1000 absent teachers in 451 schools visited in one day. Most of them were principals."

KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng were the only provinces where schooling took place until the very last day before the December holidays. She said other provinces were not strict about this.

Motshekga also asked parents, principals, heads of department to monitor learning, even if it meant physically inspecting pupil's books.

She also encouraged them to question school principals about the quality of learning and teaching.

  • DID YOU KNOW?: Lack of confidence causes bunking

A study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Stanford University in the US and the University of Botswana last year revealed that South Africa's teachers bunking lessons were 'a cause' for poor academic achievements by pupils.

The study, which compared schools in Botswana and in the Northern Cape, revealed that some teachers bunked classes because they did not like teaching, or were not confident about teaching certain subjects because they were not trained in them.

The National Planning Commission's diagnostic report revealed that teachers were mostly absent from school on Mondays and Fridays.