Department says numbers are overstated and people in cold on unpaid leave.
The Limpopo department of basic education has refuted the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) claim that “400 gateway teachers” working within the province’s schools couldn’t report for duty when schools reopened as a results of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
The DA yesterday called on Limpopo MEC for education Polly Boshielo to ask Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to permit the teachers to enter the country so as to reinforce the culture of learning and teaching.
“Our concerns stem from a recent education portfolio board meeting where it had been revealed that the province has about 400 gateway subject teachers, a number of which are from Zimbabwe, that can’t enter … thanks to cross-border travel restrictions,” said the DA.
Gateway subjects ask mathematics, physics , economics, agricultural sciences, geography and accounting, which are considered critical for the country’s development and economic process .
The department of basic eduction said the numbers were blown out of proportion.
There was no problem with teacher shortages in Limpopo thanks to people not yet coming back from neighbouring countries as that they had been replaced, it said.
Basic education Limpopo provincial spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the department employed 379 foreign teachers, doing mathematics and physics in secondary schools.
Twenty were in Zimbabwe thanks to the national lockdown.
“The department of home affairs has so far assisted four to return to South Africa . Sixteen are still not back, however, processes are underway to assist them,” Chuene said.
“These [teachers] are appointed in temporary posts thanks to the character of their citizenship. they’re paid a traditional salary… those that aren’t yet back are deemed to get on unpaid leave.
“The department has since stopped their salaries and substituted them in an endeavour to make sure the culture of learning and teaching goes back to its national agenda.”