Wednesday 2020-08-12

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HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS EXPECTED BACK IN CLASS

By SIFISO DLAMINI | 2020-06-24

Lobamba - THE Ministry of Education and Training Principal Secretary Bertram Steward has issued an announcement inviting all high school teachers to report for work next week in preparation of school reopening next month.

As D-Day for the proposed schools re-opening draws closer, preparations are well underway as the ministry continues training school personnel on how to best balance the education of learners and their health amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Stewart yesterday announced that teachers are expected to be in school from Monday to ensure that they go through training and ensure that the school has the necessary material required for lessons to go smooth.

He said Form Five classes are expected to resume from July 6.

This is part of an ongoing capacity building of all stakeholders and the training is targeting school response teams including school’s chairperson, headteachers, guidance teachers as well as all school teachers.

The training is on managing COVID-19 at school level as well as classroom including marking of scripts and dealing with special education needs as well as case management amongst others.

On Monday, Education and Training Minister Lady Howard-Mabuza indicated that teachers are contractually obligated to make up for the lost learning time as they have been receiving full payment of salaries.

This was contained in the minister’s report in response to questions from MPs regarding the ministry's readiness for schools re-opening.

As a result of the ongoing partial lockdown in the kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of employees have either been laid off completely while others have had their earnings affected.

However together with all government employees, teachers have had the benefit of receiving their full earnings while working from home.

Support

In the report, the minister indicated that the ministry was in full support of the payment of teachers.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic came as an emergency that sent every worker home including teachers.

“It would be irregular for the ministry to cut teachers’ salaries because they are temporarily working at home and from the fact that this was a national call," read part of the report.

The minister also said it was wrong to assume that all teachers were not working during this time and in addition to the payment of teachers’ salaries, it was a contractual obligation and that of the ministry to ensure that the time lost would be redeemed by the teachers.

Measures

The government was also undertaking emergency financing measures to support the response to the pandemic which includes protection of wages and salaries for all employees in the public and private sector.

The minister further said the ministry of education was one of the largest employers in the public sector currently and protecting the salaries of its employees was high priority at the moment. She added any cut in teachers’ salaries would have a significant impact on livelihoods as there were many people who depended on the salaries of teachers.

The minister further appreciated the commitment of teachers engaged to deliver lessons on the various media platforms.

She also stated that it was important to ensure that the school environment was clean and made COVID-19 ready.

Once schools open, teachers would be there to also ensure that the school environment was safe. She added there were a number of adjustments that had to be in place such as class size reduction to 30 learners.

This would mean that more teachers would be needed to manage the extra streams that would have to be formed.

In addition, there would be need to monitor learners during their stay in the school to ensure they were COVID-19 measures compliant such as social distancing during break, school feeding, screening as well as assisting with revision.

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