Unions and WCED hope that the teaching assistants’ initiative is extended


Through Sisonke Mlamla 10h ago

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Cape Town – Discussions are underway by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to review and repackage the presidential initiative for youth employment, with a second phase proposed to begin later this year.

DBE spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the initial duration of the program, which started in December last year, was four months, but was extended by one month until the end of April 2021.

He said the basic education sector is creating employment opportunities for more than 320,000 teaching and general education assistants who have been placed in schools across the country.

“The contracts will not be extended, but discussions are underway to review and repackage the initiative, with a proposed second phase due to start later this year,” he said.

South Africa Democratic Teachers Union provincial secretary Jonavon Rustin said they hoped the initiative would be extended until the end of the year.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said the initiative’s impact was twofold: it provided temporary employment for young people in very difficult economic conditions and helped schools take on staff responsibilities during the pandemic.

Schäfer said teaching assistants supported teachers with administrative tasks, classroom management, sports coaching and cultural activities, while general school assistants helped with upkeep, cleaning, vegetable gardens and maintenance. ‘general Administration.

“Assistants also help with additional tasks made necessary by a pandemic, such as implementing Covid-19 safety protocols and disinfecting surfaces,” she said.

Matekanye Matakanye, chief executive of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, said he hoped the president would extend the contracts again. He said the project was useful for young people and their families.

“If it is possible, the president should make it permanent for the young people of the country. It would have alleviated poverty, as well as hunger, ”said Matakanye.

The director of legal services of the Federation of SA School Governing Bodies, Juané van der Merwe, said the initiative had led to additional employment opportunities in some schools where high potential people were identified.

She said teachers could devote their time to teaching and learning, while adherence to Covid-19 protocols was ensured with the help of general school assistants.

Cape Argus

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