Where’s our increase, ask Grade R teachers
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has accused the Department of Education of dragging its feet on the matter, saying these teachers struggle to make ends meet on a R7000-a-month salary.
The department said it would investigate the matter.
“We heard that teachers in other areas received the money as promised by the department, but in our district no one received it. It’s very sad because most of us have been teaching Grade R for a very long time. Some of us have degrees and others have their Postgraduate Certificate in Education, but we are treated like nobodies. Even at school we are discriminated against by teachers in other grades,” said a Grade R teacher from the uMkhanyakude district.
Another teacher said she felt less appreciated for the job she did, despite the importance of what she does in preparing children to develop well enough to handle the education they would have to absorb at school.
“There is nothing more important than the foundation of anything that is being built. Without all that we do to prepare children in Grade R, they won’t be able to learn. Our department is treating us like beggars. We have to take whatever we are given and ask no questions. We have complained to the department but we have not received any feedback. When we go to the principals and teachers in other grades to support us, we are laughed at,” she said.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said someone in the district office was dragging their feet. She said uMkhanyakude was the only district that had difficulties - issues in other districts had been resolved.
“Their salary is not enough and it is unfair, especially because they have qualifications. We engaged with the management to address the issue and we wanted all the districts to benefit. Other districts have received the money and Umkhanyakude is the only district that has not received the money.”
Caluza said the union would be liaising with the department.
Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they would have to speak to the district to establish why teachers did not receive the increase and “work out a way forward”.
“The Grade R teachers are not hired permanently like other teachers, as some of these teachers do not have qualifications. In terms of getting benefits like other teachers, it is something that we still have to look into,” said Mahlambi.