The Department of Basic Education has extended contracts for teaching assistants. This extension applies to teaching assistants based in the Free State.
The contracts, which were due to end March, will now end on 30 April 2021. Free State MEC for Basic Education, Tate Makgoe confirmed the extension.
"Today was supposed to be the last day for EA's and GSA's. Their contracts have been extended until the end of April. The Free State Department of Education would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work during the difficult conditions schools faced with Covid-19." said the MEC.
The Acting Director for Human Resources, Tello Khodumo said the programme helped many schools in the province.
Before the initiative, many teachers were taking on other school duties on top of their teaching jobs, making it difficult for them to give more attention to learners.
"It has indeed relieved a lot of educators. The educators were now able to focus more on learners and learners were also getting the benefit because they were all able to give attention to those individual learners who might have been struggling" said Khodumo.
Teaching assistants were hired in 2020, as part of the Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI).
The initiative was introduced by the department as a way to help schools cope with the Covid-19 academic disruptions that took place in 2020.
Unemployed youth, between the ages of 18-35 were the main target for the initiative.
Through the initiative, the department managed to create over 200 000 jobs for Education Assistants and 100 000 jobs for General School Assistants.
“The Basic Education sector created employment opportunities for a total of 319,091 education and general education assistants between the ages of 18 and 35 in the country.
In March, the department announced that the programme would be coming to an end in South Africa, with the Free State being an exception.
“The programme, whose aim was to use direct public investment to create opportunities for employment and to provide support to workers negatively impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, comes to an end on 31 March 2021.”