Picture: David Mark/Pixabay
Durban -The National Teachers’ Union (Natu) wants the Education Department to start paying teachers for working extra hours to prepare Grade 12 pupils for the National Senior Certificate examinations from 2020.

The union also said it was pushing for the department to structure the school calendar to allow teachers to have more time to rest.

Natu president Allen Thompson said the pressure to meet the expected matric pass rate was enormous for teachers, who worked tirelessly to prepare pupils.

Thompson said teachers were forced to work after school hours, on weekends and during school holidays, without being remunerated and solely motivated by the passion to achieve excellent results.

Teachers said, however, they had done everything to prepare for the exams starting on October 15.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu on Tuesday said his department was ready for the exams and wanted to improve the matric pass rate from 76.2% to 80%.

The department said it was aware of the proposal and was in discussions with unions to see how teachers could be compensated for sacrificing their time.

Department spokesperson Muzi Mhlambi said they appreciated the extra hours put in by teachers to prepare pupils for the exams.

“Although we haven’t yet reached a solution due to financial constraints, we’re in discussions with the unions,” he said.

Bheki Shandu, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union deputy provincial secretary, said while they were optimistic that the province would attain the 80% pass rate, this would be through the unwavering commitment of overworked teachers.

Thirona Moodley, spokesperson of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, however, felt that while they supported both proposals, it would not be practical, considering the current economic situation and the fact that teachers spend only 200 days in a year in the classroom.

“It will not be a reasonable proposal to make because the department is already in financial problems and struggles to hire enough teachers,” she said.

Daily News