AN AVERAGE of 10% of teachers are absent daily at most South African public schools. This means that at a 40-classroom school, four classrooms remain unsupervised or other teachers have to step in. Funerals contribute 13% to the reasons why teachers do not go to work.
This number is followed closely by special leave to attend to sick family members while sick leave is the biggest and main contributor at 66%. The national Department of Basic Education has recognised absenteeism as “a serious problem”.
A recent Human Sciences Research Council report said one-third of teachers reported absent during 2014. “Absenteeism of 20 days or more was reported predominately among whites (21.4%), those aged 18-24 years (39.2%), teaching in urban informal areas (17.1%) and in the Northern Cape (28.4%),” the document said.
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