Thousands of Grade 12 and Grade 7 pupils returned to school in the past week amid the Covid 19 pandemic, but schools’ budgets are under increasing pressure from parents who have stopped paying school fees.
Chris Klopper, chief executive of the South African Teachers Union (SAOU), says in addition to the problems that stem from the fight against virus disease, schools are experiencing major financial problems because many parents have simply stopped paying school fees.
“The reasons stated are that some parents believe that it is not necessary to pay school fees if the school does not provide a service and others argue that they are employed in the business sector and severely impaired their ability to generate income. is, ”says Klopper.
He says the SAOU has a great understanding that in some cases it became simply impossible for people to pay school fees, but that a serious appeal is made to parents for whom it is possible to continue to pay.
Klopper says schools’ ability to hire staff is directly linked to the payment of school fees. It enables smaller classes and therefore more focused teaching, scarce subjects, remedial education and occupational therapy can be offered in this way and cultural and sports activities can be provided.
“Teaching staff in the service of the school is an incredible asset for schools to fulfill their service to the community. It is an asset that cannot be lost. “
Klopper says it’s extremely important for parents to realize their responsibility to the school.
“Teaching staff employed by the school are truly a vulnerable group of educators who can rely on the right of protection by school governing bodies. They are employed by the community to provide direct service to the community’s parents and children by addressing acute and focused needs. “
The SAOU says it has great understanding of the financial problems that schools are experiencing at this stage, but urges governing bodies to adjust their schools ‘budgets in such a way that these teachers’ positions are not compromised.
Due to the pandemic, a ban on organized cultural and sporting events continues, and Klopper says it is one place where the cents can be turned.
The SAOU also asks that salary reductions or even retrenchments should be considered as the last resort.
“These staff deserve every stakeholder in education’s focused attention and protection,” says Klopper.
He says many schools have already successfully approached the government’s Temporary Relief Fund (Covid-19 TERS) for payments and recommends that schools use this option if they are facing financial difficulties.