The New Age reports that an average of 10% of teachers are absent daily at most South African public schools, which means that at a 40-classroom school, four classrooms remain unsupervised or other teachers have to step in.
Sick leave is the biggest and main contributor at 66%. Funerals contribute 13% to the reasons why teachers do not go to work, followed by special leave to attend to sick family members. The national department of basic education has recognised absenteeism as “a serious problem”. The problem is persistent at both primary and high schools. A recent Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) report indicated that one-third of teachers reported absent during 2014. “Absenteeism of 20 days or more was reported predominately among whites (21.4%), those aged 18-24 years (39.2%), teaching in urban informal areas (17.1%) and in the Northern Cape (28.4%).” An earlier study commissioned by Unicef found that schools in poorer areas suffered the most.
- Read this report by Hloni Mashigo in full at The New Age