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17 November 2005

Factsheet 5 : Moderators of replacement demand for and supply of educators

Press Release

Key findings: Moderators of replacement demand for and supply of educators can be divided into (1) supply-side policies and programmes, (2) demand-side policies and programmes and (3) data tracking. Supply-side policies and programmes are further divided into (1) job satisfaction, (2) educator recruitment and preparation, (3) educators in key learning and rural areas and (4) the impact of HIV and ARV treatment.


Supply-side policies and programmes

The educator supply problem is both a problem of quantity and quality. Attracting and retaining high quality educators is influenced by job satisfaction. Recognition of the teaching profession, the promotion of teaching as a career, professional development and career advancement should be promoted. This forms the pillar of a strategy to ensure adequate supply and retention of educators. In order to accomplish this, the attractiveness of the teaching profession should be increased. The professional development of educators should be done through upgrading and broadening educators’ existing skills base.

Although salary increases alone may not have a long-term impact on attrition and may not provide the answer to all the challenges that educators face in the classroom, they are the most direct and powerful way to demonstrate the value accorded to the education profession. While salary increases might be expensive to implement, they must be considered against the risks and costs associated with educator dissatisfaction and attrition, the recruitment of educators who no longer practise their profession, and retraining.

Benefits for job satisfaction discussed by educators were sick leave, medical aid, pension, disability and medical boarding. Generally, there was a good awareness of the sick leave policy among educators. An overwhelming majority of all the educators (87%) were aware of the fact that the DoE supports educators who are ill by giving them sick leave. With medical aid, the one-third contribution that educators have to pay towards a medical aid scheme puts medical aid coverage out of reach for some people. Pension benefits was also critiqued as it will most probably not cover the high costs of HIV/AIDS treatment and is unlikely to be paid if the dependants have access to other grants such as child or foster care grants or an old-age pension from the Department of Social Development.

Concerning the classroom environment, it is clear from both the formative research and main survey results that stress associated with new curricula and OBE should be addressed by improving practical training. The paperwork burden should be reduced, and the discipline and safety at schools improved.

Stress within the classroom environment is also increased by violence. Based on the Educator School Survey (Shisana et al. 2005), the three major forms of violence experienced by educators at their educational institutions in the past 12 months included learners or educators carrying weapons in the educational institution (22%), assault (18%), and fights involving weapons (14%).

With job conditions, issues that educators raised in relation to job conditions included high workload, performing tasks that are not in their job description, redeployment and job insecurity.

In April 2003, a national recruitment drive aimed at students to join the teaching profession had disappointing results. The lack of interest shown in the profession will not disappear unless the working conditions of educators improve. This can be achieved by allowing for incentives, better work environment, and opportunities for further development

Initiatives are needed to increase the number of educators in the key subject areas. In curriculum areas such as mathematics, science and technology, recalling educators who have resigned and offering incentives to young graduates in these areas could be considered. Incentives can be used as a method to both attract and retain educators. If special rural and mathematics and science allowances are paid, this will inevitably encourage student educators who are originally from rural areas to remain in rural areas rather than opt for teaching in urban areas. Similarly, if special mathematics and science allowances are also paid this will inevitably encourage more student educators to train in these key subject areas for which there is a great demand nationally. The individual and/or pooled effects of the two types of incentives will ultimately lead to an improvement in the supply of educators.

The impact of different levels of ART coverage on AIDS mortality shows a substantial decline in deaths as coverage increases. It is estimated that by 2010, AIDS deaths will have decreased by almost 50%, assuming 90% coverage compared with no treatment. The models show that a relatively high ART coverage would be needed to ensure a substantial impact of ART on HIV/AIDS-associated mortality.

Demand-side policies and programmes

Demand-side policy tools are not as widely implemented and have been reported to be less effective than supply-side policy tools. Examples of these tools include reducing class sizes, tools to decrease teaching loads, the use of teaching assistants and other support staff and the structure of curriculum and educational programmes.

Data tracking

Educator demand and supply needs to be tracked to ensure that the pool of educators does not run out. The Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education (MCTE) in its National Framework for Educator Education suggests that collecting data from higher education institutions / providers around initial educator education could be modelled on an information system that is being used in the Western Cape Provincial Department and that is currently being extended for Gauteng Province. The MCTE (2005) believes that this information system for educator supply is a national responsibility and therefore should be managed nationally, collating data from HEIs / providers about educator supply. The MCTE proposed that this should be the responsibility of a national Educator Career and Recruitment Centre, as a subunit of the Systems Planning Branch of the national DoE.

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