IN QUOTES | Angie Motshekga says education department to hire 300,000 new staff for next year

Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga. File image.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said teachers and pupils would benefit from the 300,000 new staff who are being hired by the department.

Motshekga addressed a media briefing on Thursday, about the department’s state of readiness for schools in 2021.

The minister said 200,000 of these positions are for teacher’s assistants, and 100,000 will be general assistants.

In October, president Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a R100bn fund to create public sector jobs. He announced that 300,000 unemployed youths would be hired as teachers’ assistants in public schools to help relieve teachers of workload pressure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The assistant teachers will also help ensure the adherence of Covid-19 safety protocols.

Motshekga said the department had already registered more than 65% of the new staff, who will work in ICT, reading, mathematics, robotics and coding.

Here are five quotes from her address:

Teachers lost to Covid-19

“During those difficult times, we lost almost 1,493 teachers. We lost a number of our workers. We lost our district officials, circuit officials. We also lost one of our colleagues, MEC for education in the Northern Cape Mac Jack.”

Improving reading 

“On Tuesday I launched the presidential reading circle. We invited people to join because research tells us that if pupils have to improve reading, it means even ourselves as adults have to start creating a living nation … The reading club will be co-ordinated regularly and we encourage members of the community to participate.”

Matric examinations 

“We have already appointed 45,000 examiners who will be marking at 180 marking centres. The 2020 NSC exams was unprecedented. As a result, the capacity of the system was stretched beyond imagination. We can say with an exception of the leakages that happened with the maths and physical sciences papers, the exams proceeded well.”

Court did not deal properly with matric exam rewrite proposal

“The court ruling did not help much because it didn’t deal with the core issue that we had taken to court, which is the credibility, integrity and the fairness of the 2020 exams. We are going to approach the courts because our finding is that the court’s findings are discordant with applicable basic education legislation.”

The extent of the maths paper leak is unknown 

“There are always instruments and tools that we normally use to detect if there are problems. Normally, we’re able to see that the paper leaked in this province and therefore we can see trends. But here with the maths paper, we don’t have a full sense as to the extent of the leak, so we are not sure which papers to target.”

by Cebelihle Bhengu

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