Cape pupil-teacher ratios on par

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high school sep 14

Independent Newspapers

Western Cape schools have a pupil-teacher ratios that are on par with the rest of the country – because of the high number of school-governing-body-appointed teachers.

When only taking state-paid teachers into account, Western Cape classrooms have the highest pupil-teacher ratio with four more pupils per class than the national average.

According to statistics contained in the Department of Basic Education’s School Realities 2011, when counting only state-paid teachers, the Western Cape has a pupil-teacher ratio of 36 compared to the national ratio of 32.

Gauteng follows closely behind with a ratio of 35.

Taking into account state-paid and school-governing-body-paid teachers, the pupil-teacher ratio of 30 in the Western Cape is the same as the national figure.

“When counting all educators, the learner-educator ratio for ordinary public schools nationally was 30.3, while when counting only state-paid educators in these schools, the learner-educator ratio increased to 32.2,” the report read.

The Western Cape, with 46 percent, has the second-lowest proportion of schools that do not charge fees. Some 22 percent of schools in Gauteng do not charge fees, according to the 2009/10 Annual Surveys for Ordinary Schools Report.

Most schools, those that charge fees, are able to use the additional funding received from fees to appoint teachers paid for by the school governing body.

While high, the ratios fall below the national norms for pupil-teacher ratios – 40:1 for primary schools and 35:1 for secondary schools.

Earlier this year, Western Cape ANC chairman Marius Fransman criticised the provincial education department for having the highest pupil-teacher ratios in the country.

Education MEC Donald Grant announced this week he had created an additional 154 teaching posts in the province. This would mean a decrease in class sizes next year.

Most of the additional posts have been allocated to the foundation phase, grades R to 3, and special-needs education.

The average teacher-pupil ratio in the province for next year will be:

* Provincial – 1:35

* Secondary – 1:34

* Primary – 1:36

Provincial secretary of Sadtu Jonavon Rustin said the new posts would not address apartheid inequalities.

“The devastating result of the allocated budget is that it continues to perpetuate inequalities between the rich and poor schools.”

He said it was unfair that schools that did not charge fees were expected to perform as well as former Model C schools, which charged school fees and could employ additional teachers to reduce class sizes.

The School Realities report also included details about pupil-school ratios and teacher-school ratios, of which the Western Cape had the second highest.

Gauteng had the most pupils and teachers at schools.

According to the report there were an average of 669 pupils and 22 teachers in each Western Cape school last year, compared to the national figures of 485 pupils and 16 teachers.

The provincial education department prefers to have larger schools. Western Cape Education Department head Penny Vinjevold said earlier this week it was preferred that primary schools have between 650 and 800 pupils, and high schools between 1 000 and 1 200.

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