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Salary increases to boost teacher morale

by Luyanda Makapela
on 04 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Education Department has been given the thumbs up for its efforts to increase teacher salaries.

Education expert, Professor Tom Bisschoff of the Witswaterstrand University's Education and Management said the move will encourage new teachers to join in the field.

"This is a good move for the Education Department, especially to the new entrants [teachers] as the salaries now are more compatible and equivalent to the current government scales," he said.

Speaking to BuaNews on Friday, Professor Bisschoff said the move will see the increase in applications and the new young blood will now be encouraged to apply for teaching positions.

"Although I was disappointed with salary increase which was not in the best interest of teachers last year, I believe that the Occupation Specific Dispensation will definitely retain the dignity and uplift the spirit of teachers in the country," the professor said.

On Thursday, Education Minister Naledi Pandor, signed the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) agreement for educators salaries scales which will be backdated to 1 January 2008.

Signing the OSD agreement, Minister Pandor said: "We congratulate all role players and especially thank the negotiators for their tireless efforts in crafting an agreement, the significance of which will be felt long after today."

She said it has taken nine months of intense deliberation, discussion, and negotiations to come to the agreement.

The salaries of educators will be upwardly adjusted based on the salary notches that applied on 1 July 2007 and then translated to the new OSD salary scales.

This means that educators that will receive not less than 4% while the increases range from 4% to 9.9%.

"A newly qualified educator entering the profession will now earn R115 276 per annum as compared to R107 700 per annum prior to the implementation of the OSD," said Ms Pandor.

The OSD also introduces a salary progression of 3 percent every two years, based on "satisfactory performance" and the first payment will be made in July 2010.

The minister said educators who perform at the level of "good" or "outstanding" will progress faster towards their maximum salary.

"They will also be able to develop a career path for themselves without looking to a promotion or an elevation to an office-based post.

"Performance evaluation will enhance the quality of education provided in our schools and learner achievement is a vital component of that evaluation.

"Under and unqualified educators will also be given opportunities to upgrade their qualifications," the minister said.

The OSD agreement will introduce the Education Management Service for school-based managers [Principals and Deputy Principals] and office-based educators.

"The agreement is a milestone for public education. Educators can now concentrate on the job at hand as there is no room for mediocrity in the teaching profession," said Minister Pandor. - BuaNews

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