Schools are given a certain number of staff by the Education Department. Unfortunately the number is way too few to provide a quality education.
Teachers do not have enough time to prepare, nor mark as they have fewer “free” periods by comparison to their more affluent school counterparts.. The number of teachers allocated to a school sees a variety of problems – in some cases there are very large classes (over 50 children in a class) when the school is on the cusp of qualifying for a new teacher; , in others one teacher has to teach two grades in the same class at the same time. It is not only additional teaching staff that the schools need; they also need an admin person or a secretary for the school, as well as a cleaner. Their budget often forces them to choose between the two.
Schools are allowed to appoint staff over and above the Education Department allocation, and the schools in the wealthier areas are able to charge fees to cover this. The schools in the Foundation invariably do not collect any fees from their pupils, and thus cannot appoint staff to these “Governing Body” posts. The Foundation assists in providing staff in governing body positions, selecting from within the local communities where applicable.
Ideally the Foundation would like a single commitment of approximately R10,000 per month to fund an additional staff member. Including a 13th cheque, this comes to approximately R130,000 per annum. However, to date, donors wishing to sponsor a teacher have only managed to partially fund the post, donating between R1,000 and R4,000 per month. As donors have specifically nominated this project, the Foundation needs to “complete” one teacher’s salary before allocating excess to a new teacher. In most cases, the school itself does manage to part fund the post, generally on a 50/50 basis with the Foundation.
The Foundation would need a commitment of 2-4 years of funding for a teacher as it is disheartening to release a teacher after a year because the funding has dried up.
As a result, the DSF decided to create a capital fund so that one off donors could contribute, and a portion of a monthly donor’s amount will also go into this fund. In time we hope it will grow to the extent that we can fund posts from the income received.