20,140 educators have reported comorbidities

Thousands of teachers have reported comorbidities
Thousands of teachers have reported comorbidities
Image: 123RF/paylessimages

There are 20,140 educators above and below 60 years of age who have reported comorbidities.

This was announced by Matanzima Mweli, director-general of the department of basic education, while briefing the education portfolio committee on the state of readiness on re-opening of schools on Tuesday. Mweli said KwaZulu-Natal had the most reported numbers with 4,127 followed by Eastern Cape with 3,652, Gauteng with 3,048 and North West with 2,501 reported cases.

Limpopo province had the least number of educators reported comorbidities with only 423. Mweli said the department had 18,791 educators who were 60 years and above. Gauteng had the most numbers with 3,699 followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 3,055 and Northern Cape only had 738.

Mweli said to manage comorbidities, a concession process to follow for employees with a comorbidity (Covid-19) was signed and issued.

"This collective agreement aims to provide a concession for educators who are affected due to risk factors of severe Covid-19. The employee with comorbidities and manager/principal must agree on either special arrangements to make report to school or work from home. If no agreement is reached, the grievance procedure maybe revoked," Mweli said.

He said according to the concession process, the employee will submit a medical report to the principal which indicates if the comorbidities were in accordance with the list provided by the department of health. For the arrangement of substitute teachers, Mweli said various forms of supply of teachers were available.

"There are Funza Lushaka bursary graduates who have not been placed. Provincial education department's (PEDs) have a database of educators who are additional to the staff establishment who may assist. In addition the department of basic education, PEDs have a database of unemployed qualified educators who are willing to assist in a substitute capacity," Mweli said.

He said when a substitute is required the principal will request such from the circuit/district office who will provide substitutes who meet the requirements of the post requiring substitution.

Meanwhile a survey found that a total of 47% schools across the country do not have a full teaching complement as because up to 20% of teachers were not reporting for duty because of comorbidities.

This was revealed in a national school readiness survey progress report compiled by five teacher unions, Professional Education Union (PEU), National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), South African Teachers Union (SAOU) and National Teachers Union (Natu).

According to the survey between 10% and 20% of learners were absent from schools because of cormobidities. 

“About 10 percent  of learners were kept at home as a result of parental concern.  When it comes to provincial variations in hand sanitising only, five provinces had sufficient (supplies) delivered so that all learners and teachers at schools can now sanitise their hands frequently during the day. 

"Only two provinces had sufficient sanitisers been delivered so that all learners and teachers at schools can sanitise their hands frequently during the day when the next grades return on July 6,” read the report.

According to the report in seven provinces more than 80% of schools had been able to provide water and soap in the sanitation facilities.

“About 25 percent of schools nationally reported to not having enough water for Covid related washing.  Also 31 percent of schools reported that they will not have enough water for Covid related washing when the next grades return and 23 percent of schools that depended on water tanks reported that the tanks had not yet been delivered.”

According to the report in the Eastern Cape 70 percent of the schools needed water tanks and 34 percent of the schools that received water tanks national reported that they did not know how to refill them.

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