New system to check teachers
11 Feb 2013
BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced at the weekend her department’s plan to do away with time books and introduce an electronic system to monitor teacher attendance at schools.
“We want to remove the paper system and replace it with technology. It’s a normal standard thing which most companies use when their employees report for duty,” Motshekga said on Saturday.
Motshekga was in the Tongaat with ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa for the handing over of a nearly R1 million Grade R facility built at Mbonisweni Primary School with funding from Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Foundation.
The facility boasts two classrooms, a sick bay, ablution facilities, jungle gyms and a kitchen to benefit 150 five-year-olds enrolled for the foundation phase.
Motshekga said if the electronic system is introduced, teachers, like other workers in factories, would use their fingers to sign in and also sign out at schools.
“This is what we are to introduce nationally. We have to improve our monitoring system,” she told thousands of pupils and parents.
The minister later told The Witness that no deadline is set for the implementation of the system pending a study and the sourcing of a budget.
She said in some schools in the Western Cape and Northern Cape the model was operating. “We will announce it when we put it up, but for now it is an intention,” Motshekga told The Witness.
“Currently we don’t monitor our employees effectively whereas if you have the electronic system, you can monitor them with ease,” she added.
Teacher unions said yesterday they heard about the electronic system for the first time.
President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), Basil Manuel, said in principle, there could be nothing wrong with the monitoring system since there was a regulation making provision for that through the time books.
“With the development of technology there are schools that use that technology,” he said.
Manuel also said the initiative may have positive effect and deal with late coming and non-attendance at schools.
“We know in certain area, it is a problem where there are issues of late coming and non-attendance,” he said, adding that Naptosa would like to see the proposal and engage on the matter with the department.
Thobile Ntola, president of SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, said his union was part of a campaign geared towards quality learning and teaching.
“We committed to support teachers going to school on time. Sadtu would be open to persuasion on the minister’s proposal. We are open for discussions to take the country forward,” Ntola said.
The monitoring system comes as the ANC is battling to explain its move to have education declared “an essential service”.
ANC president Jacob Zuma had long called on teachers to be at school on time to teach pupils.
Motshekga entered the fray on declaring education an “essential service”, saying it sought to ensure everyone prioritised and protected education. “I think people took it in terms of labour relations. It is really saying we have to prioritise education. It does not say teachers won’t strike,” she said.