Admin tasks chip away at teaching time

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South African teachers are spending a hefty amount of time on administrative tasks – time which could be better used on teaching in the classroom.

At least 66% of classroom time is spent on actual teaching and learning in South Africa, compared to 78% in other countries.

Administrative burdens and keeping order in the classroom are some of the challenges cited by South African teachers as chipping away from their teaching time.

This the finding from the Teaching and Learning International (TALIS) research survey released by the Basic Education Department on Tuesday.

Responding to the finding, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the department will endeavour to address the lack of support staff to reduce the amount of time teachers spend on clerical tasks.

TALIS is an international large-scale survey of teachers that investigates the condition of the teaching and learning environment in schools in participating Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and partners.

South Africa participated in the survey for the first time in 2018, making it the first African country to take part in such a survey.

“This is an important report because it comes from the teachers themselves... Having read the report, we have to take into consideration, in our own context, what the reality is in terms of addressing the issues raised,” said the Minister.

Among the challenges highlighted in the report is the multicultural or multilingual setting that SA teachers have to operate in, which poses a challenge to the teaching environment.

On average in South Africa, 62% of teachers work in a classroom with at least 10% of students whose first language is different from the language of instruction, which is the highest share across the OECD countries and partners.

The report also highlighted gender disparities in the teaching profession in the country, where 60% of teachers are female, yet only 20% of principals are women.

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