Higher salaries to come for teachers

Proposals are on the table to increase the salary scale of teachers substantially, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday.

Speaking in Cape Town after a meeting of the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), she said the entry salary for graduates to the profession, for example, will rise from R99 625 to R115 492.

Pandor told journalists she had briefed the CEM on proposals her department had submitted last week to the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), the education sector’s bargaining body. ”We have now translated government’s offer of the occupation-specific dispensation to a concrete tabling of an offer before our union.”

The department has developed new salary scales ”pertinent” to education. Adjustments will be between 8,5% and 40%, based on experience and level of qualification.

”Quite a massive change in the salary scales — persons who are qualified and experienced are going to be the big gainers in terms of the plan we’ve put forward.

”The majority of teachers will get between 1% and 5%, in addition to the adjustment of 7,5% that they received from July 1 this year.

”We have also put the proposal of a salary increment of at least 1% per annum, depending on performance … Increments will translate for those teachers who perform really well into 3% every two years, based on an external evaluation.

”We have altered the entry point of the salary scale quite positively. The entry-point salary scale for a graduate qualified teacher was R99 625; the new entry level is R115 492. That is what we have put before the ELRC.

”The maximum salary for teachers was previously R171 393; we now have at the maximum level R324 980.”

This, she said, is ”quite a shift in beginning to make this profession attractive to young people in our country, as well as really taking steps to retain educators within the profession”.

The CEM is a statutory body comprising Pandor; her deputy, Enver Surty; and the nine provincial education ministers. It meets regularly to discuss the promotion of national education policy and to coordinate action on pressing issues.

Pandor said the CEM has also approved the introduction of a general education certificate for pupils who have completed grade nine, to be introduced in 2009.

”The school completion certificate will cover the compulsory period of education,” she said. It will be called a general education certificate.

Pandor emphasised the certificate ”doesn’t mean you’ve finished schooling”. Pupils are then at a point where they can choose to follow an academic or vocational route up to grade 12.

On the national recovery plan, Pandor said she was briefed on ”teacher response” to the plan, which aims to bring pupils up to speed following the teachers’ strike earlier this year.

She repeated that in the majority of provinces it is ”all systems go”, but problems persist in ”one or two, where we continue to have some deadlock breaking to do in terms of stipends, times for teaching and so on”.

Pandor thanked teachers involved in the plan, saying they have showed commitment to both their pupils and their profession. — Sapa

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