After years of negotiation, the education department has started implementing a process that will help new teachers get hired.
In order to ensure that teachers are registered against the NSOR, the Basic Education Department will pay for the fee. Previously, the teachers’ unions had protested against the fee, claiming that they could not afford to pay it.
In a letter to the director-general of the Basic Education Department, the four teachers’ unions stated that they did not agree with the department’s decision to require them to pay for the background checks.
According to Basil Manuel, the teacher unions are not against the vetting process, but they are still concerned about the lack of clarity regarding the process.
The teacher unions were initially confused about who would pay for the background checks. According to Basil, the fee is for both the police and the fingerprint process. He said that the teachers are not expected to pay because the checks are now a condition of their employment.
Over 440,000 teachers work in almost 25,000 schools in South Africa. The cost of a fingerprint report is about R75.
After the various education departments issued circulars telling schools that the teachers are responsible for the fee, the Western Cape’s education department agreed to pay for the reports.
Although they support the process of vetting teachers, Basil Manuel says that they are still against the idea of requiring them to pay for it.
Manuel claims that the pressure from the unions may have prompted the education departments to agree to pay for the reports.
Starting next school year, the process will involve conducting the checks on teachers and staff members in various schools, including special schools and hostels.
In September last year, the South African Educators’ Council raised concerns about the process of hiring and vetting teachers. In order to comply with the new policy, the council said that teachers should submit a police clearance card that was at least six months old.
In November 2022, it was reported that the education department in the province of Gauteng spent millions of Rands on the precautionary suspension of teachers following allegations of sexual misconduct.