An investigation into educator perceptions of the implementation of the rationalization and redeployment policy in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : the Port Shepstone/Harding district as a case study.
Tshabalala, Theresa Nthabiseng.
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Much has been said about rationalization and redeployment in socio-economic and political circles in South Africa, with many of the associated problems inherited from the apartheid government. These problems included, but were not limited to, the following: lack of learner support materials (textbooks, desks), insufficient and overcrowded classrooms, libraries and laboratories and human resources (insufficient trained teachers, especially in mathematics and science in townships and rural schools of South Africa). These problems have proved detrimental to effective teaching and learning and have created almost impossible working conditions for the majority of teachers. In order to comply with the Constitution of the country and the culture of human rights, the achievement of equity in the education sector of South Africa became a central component of attempts to restructure education in post- apartheid South Africa. It remains one of the most pressing issues in the politics of educational reform. To address years of imbalance in education, a number of policies were created and implemented. One such policy was the rationalization and redeployment of teachers from advantaged schools to previously disadvantaged schools. This policy was the principal mechanism for achieving equity, both between and within provinces. The pupil- to teacher ratio is one of the key indices of unequal per capita expenditure in schools in different communities as well as an important determinant of quality in South African education. It is a good policy on paper, but the implementation thereof has not been easy. Many obstacles have been encountered in the process of implementation. These include: (i) lack of a comprehensive teacher database which clearly indicates the number of teachers to be redeployed, (ii) lack of clear and concise information for the general public - absence of effective channels of information distribution and communication, (iii) lack of motivation to co-operate for those who would be directly affected, (iv) lack of decentralised decision making- processes, (v) the financial constraints experienced by the provinces of South Africa during the process of implementation. Regardless of the support policies enjoy from authorities, many policies do not receive the support of the public, especially if they require unpopular action - a situation that applies to the redeployment of teachers in South Africa. The involvement in and acceptance of the policy by all stakeholders is crucial. Research instruments such as face-to-face interviews were used to gather the data presented in this research. Interviews were conducted to gain insight into the perceptions of teachers of the rationalization and redeployment policy in selected schools in the Port Shepstone/ Harding district. The research explored the contradictions and consequences that underpinned the rationalization and redeployment of teachers in KwaZulu- Natal.