Written by Umamah Bakharia
South Africa’s education legislation lacks teeth when it comes to regulating the misconduct and incompetence of some of the educators in the public basic education system. This is according to Mercantile Law graduate, Dr Cecile de Villiers from Stellenbosch University.
Speaking to Radio Islam, she says the country needs legislative amendments to regulate their performance so that children can receive a quality basic education as stipulated in the Constitution.
“We can only address issues at the implementation stage of legislation,” says Dr de Villiers.
The Employment of Educators Act regulates departmental educators’ performance that applies to all teachers working in public schools in South Africa.
However, she says the issue is that the Employment of Educators Act does not align well with other legislation in the sector.
“There is no legislative obligation on the school governing body and the department of education to perform their pre-employment act to determine whether a prospective educator name appears for instance in the Nation Child Protection register or [if the educator] has a criminal conviction,” says Dr de Villiers.
She adds that this act also makes provisions on sanctions that play short of the dismissal in an instance of an educator’s misconduct.
“As a result, there’s a prevalence to use fines and punitive expansions without pay as alternatives to dismissal even in cases of serious misconduct,” she says.
de Villiers is calling for an express obligation on the school governing body and on the department of education to do a pre-employment check and the current provisions that address educator misconduct be repealed and be replaced with a new provision which amends the description of misconduct.