SA's schools to get R7bn windfall to hire assistants
A total of 319,000 education assistants and other assistants will be employed at the country’s 23,093 public schools after the National Treasury approved a R7bn funding request from the basic education department.
The department disclosed the figures to teacher unions at a meeting on Tuesday.
The department submitted funding requests to the Treasury for various projects including the Education Assistants Programme (EducAP) well as the employment of janitors, screeners, caretakers and cleaners. The plan is to employ 200,000 education assistants and 100,000 janitors, screeners, caretakers and cleaners.
The funding requests for the Basic Education Employment Initiative followed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of R500bn fiscal stimulus package in April.
At least R1.43bn would go towards saving governing body posts at fee-paying schools and a further R1bn for posts at government-subsidised private schools.
There are 44,933 governing body appointed teachers and 282,290 subsidised learners in private schools.
In August, the National Alliance of Independent Schools Associations (Naisa) asked basic education minister Angie Motshekga to establish a R2bn relief fund for those struggling private schools that were facing closure.
According to the department’s presentation to the unions, R4.47bn will go towards the employment of about 319,000 contract jobs, including those of education assistants and other assistants. They will be paid a stipend of R3,500 per month with 1% contributed towards UIF.
At least R1.2m will be allocated for provincial project management and a further R1.2m to the basic education department for support, monitoring and oversight.
Some of the department’s recommendations concerning the employment of education assistants and other assistants were:
- allocation is for all public schools and special needs schools (only);
- recruitment to be from the communities where schools are located;
- For education assistants, priority should be given to unemployed youth who are 18-24 years old with an NQF level 4 qualification;
- for other assistants, priority should be given to unemployed people of up to 35 years of age with or without NQF level 4 qualification;
- governing bodies to be delegated to recruit and appoint, and school management teams be delegated to manage assistants;
- governing bodies to be allowed to decide on duties to be allocated, depending on the specific needs of the school and subject to availability of funds;
- a sample of job descriptions will be provided by the department; and
- the portion of the allocation to be used for saving of governing body posts at fee- paying schools and posts at government-subsidised independent schools will be contingent upon there being evidence of the inability to pay such posts.
The roles and responsibilities of education assistants and other assistants included:
- providing support to the teacher such as typing, photocopying, distribution of teaching materials, capturing of data, filing, record keeping;
- support the teacher with technical preparation of the classroom for teaching and learning and ensuring teaching materials are available and ready to use;
- oversee learners to ensure social distancing such as in the library, laboratory, school events and during lunch breaks;
- provide after-school support to learners such as homework classes, sports events, cultural activities and sports trips; and
- support the implementation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures through daily screening and maintenance of a safe and clean environment.