The Department of Basic Education has officially gazetted the withdrawal of The Teachers Rural Incentive Scheme (TRIS) which was aimed at incentivising teaching in rural schools for educators.
TRIS was introduced in 2008 and was aimed at addressing challenges around qualified teachers choosing not to work in rural schools. This as schools in rural areas often were under-resourced which hindered their ability to deliver quality education to its learners.
Under TRIS, Teachers would receive a 10% increase in their salaries through the provisions made by the policy. However, in recent years, teachers meant to be benefiting from the policy were not always paid and some approached the courts to get the money they were promised.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) believes the withdrawal of the incentives for rural teachers is a demonstration of an attack against workers. This comes just months after the government won a court bid which allowed them to back out of a wage deal.
Saftu Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi says the decisions taken by the education department are unfortunate and inconsiderate. He believes this is not only an attack on workers but also an attack on learners attending rural schools who are entitled to quality education.
He adds that teachers will not remain in rural areas if these incentives stop as they work under difficult conditions.
Dolopi explained, “The intention of the policy was to attract the best teachers, retain them in these rural areas and now with them trying to take away this benefit, it will mean that we will be denying those learners from those rural areas from getting the best teachers”.
"It's unfortunate that a government that always regards itself as representing the poor and the working class will take such inconsiderate decisions without looking at the effects of such decisions on the poor children, especially from the rural areas” concluded Dolopi.