One of the speakers at the Bloemfontein center, who asked to remain anonymous, told OFM News that she is very stressed. She has a lot of debts to pay and this drop in salary via the standardization of salaries by the National Directorate of Higher Education and Training (DHET) weighs down her household income. This comes as these centers, formerly known as evening schools and / or adult education and training centers (Abet), embark on slow contract disputes with the DHET. The speaker from Bloemfontein says her salary has risen from over R11,000 to over R4,000, since the aforementioned department decided that employees should become permanent and make the necessary contributions to pension funds and taxes.
The slowdown comes following a nationwide picket line in June 2021, in which the same issue was raised. Director of the Golden Fountain Community Learning Center in Xhariep and Free State Task Force member George Cupido says the unauthorized reduction in working hours also contributed to these gross pay cuts, but did not points out no one – certainly in the province – has signed a contract to this effect.
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According to Cupido, a circular from March 2021 signed by the director general of the DHET, indicates that from June 2021, all teachers in the aforementioned centers will be required to work 3 hours a day, five days a week. This represents up to 15 hours per week. This is a drop from the 19 hours lecturers used to work over a four-day period while still under the jurisdiction of the Department of Basic Education. The centers moved to DHET in 2015.
He says that circular from March 2021 has since been contradicted by at least two others. The first said standardization should be given the green light from the National Council for Economic Development and Labor (Nedlac) before implementation and a second from the Free State Department said teachers with relative qualification value in education (REQV) less than 13 would work 15 hours a day. while those with a REQV level of 13 and 14, including center directors, would work 25 hours per week and would be paid accordingly. This has yet to be confirmed by DHET to OFM News.
“We are confused now. We don’t know how many hours we have to work. We expect them to solve the problem and provide us with an indefinite contract which specifies the conditions of employment, ”says Cupido. To date, teachers across the country have yet to receive a permanent contract. The employment conditions of these centers remain a mystery for these employees.