JOHANNESBURG – The Basic Education Department said on Thursday that budgetary constraints and the availability of teachers willing to work in rural areas were the reasons behind its decision to withdraw the teacher incentives policy.
Last week, Minister Angie Motshekga gazetted the withdrawal of teacher incentives in the policy on improvement of conditions of service.
For almost a decade, teachers who were not immediately willing to work in rural areas have been motivated by monetary incentives which amount to over R1,000 for some to work in rural areas.
However, the department said that it had engaged in a process where it reviewed the need for the policy, which it has since withdrawn after it found that there was no longer a need for it.
The department’s Elijah Mhlanga said that among interventions sought to overcome the rural teacher placement challenge were community recruitment programmes through the Fundza Lushaka Bursary Scheme.
“We go to a community, we recruit teachers there and we say when you come back when you are done studying, you come back and teach here. That is the condition. This means you won’t have that teacher coming from Sekhukhune saying I want to work in Hammanskraal.”
With the government on a cash-saving spree, Mhlanga also explained that the non-availability of funds was also a motivator.
“The funding that we used to have back then, we don’t have. But on the other hand, the supply of teachers generally in the country is such that we have thousands and thousands of qualified unemployed teachers.”
The rural incentive policy was first launched in 2012 with an average of 1,100 educators awarded 10% of their basic salary when entering the profession with a four-year qualification.