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dinaledi-articlePupils getting weekend extra lessons at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The school is one of the 550 maths- and science-focused Dinaledi schools across the country.
(Image: Ubunye)
1 October 2013 – The Department of Basic Education’s Dinaledi Unit has set up a process to fill vacancies more rapidly and ease the recruitment of maths and science teachers, particularly for under-resourced rural and no-fee schools without the funds for job advertising.

The Dinaledi Unit was established by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in August last year to boost the teaching of maths and the sciences. The unit aims to revitalise the work of the Dinaledi Schools Programme, set up in 2001.

The employment process works by linking school principals looking for new teachers and qualified teachers looking for work via the internet and email, with Dinaledi connecting the two and verifying the information provided. Principals and out-of work teachers download separate forms from the Thutong Education Portal, fill them in, and email them to Dinaledi.

Foreign-trained maths and science teachers are particularly encouraged to use the process.

David Silman, the director of the Dinaledi Unit, said the the initiative was aimed at easing the employment process, particularly in rural areas.

“Often you find that teachers don’t know where posts are available and principals find it difficult to find qualified teachers, especially at no-fee schools where there is no budget to advertise posts,” he said.

“We are not replacing any process; this is an addition.”

How the process works

Before any teacher details are posted, the information they submit will be thoroughly checked and verified by the Dinaledi Unit. Once principals’ job requirements and prospective teachers’ qualifications and experience have been posted on Thutong’s Dinaledi page, the two will be able to contact one another. Regular employment processes will then follow, and the Dinaledi Unit will have no further involvement.

To keep redundant information to a minimum, principals and prospective teachers are asked to let the Dinaledi Unit when a post has been filled. The information will be kept on the Dinaledi page for 90 days, after which it will be removed automatically.

Qualified teachers seeking work can download the Maths & Sciences Teacher Information Form here. Principals looking to fill vacancies can download the Maths & Sciences Principal Information Form here

Once the forms have been filled in, they must be emailed to Dinaledi@dbe.gov.za, for attention Mr Esrom Fourie, Dinaledi Unit Senior Administrative Clerk, with the subject line of either “Teacher” or “Principal”. No faxes will be accepted.

Maths and science in under-resourced schools

The Dinaledi schools project was launched in 2001 to improve performance and increase participation in maths, life sciences and physical sciences in disadvantaged schools. In 2012, Motshekga created the Dinaledi Unit to boost the project’s work, particularly in the teaching of maths and science for girl learners.

In her May 2013 department budget, Motshekga allocated R105.1-million to Dinaledi schools – a R5.4-million increase from the previous year.

Under Dinaledi, each pupil is given textbooks and maths kits, while schools receive laboratories and projectors. Teachers are trained in maths and science content. The programme has more the 550 participating schools across South Africa, most of which are showing definite progress, especially in science.

In Gauteng, more than half of Dinaledi schools are achieving a pass rate of 70% to 100% in maths and science, while 31% of schools have a pass rate of between 40% and 70%. Maths is still lagging behind somewhat, with only a 3% improvement in pass rates for Dinaledi schools between 2009 and 2011.

According to Silman, the maths and science marks from Dinaledi schools in 2012 were approximately 8% higher than the national average. National matric mathematics pass rates in 2012 were 54%, up from 46.3% the previous year, with physical science rising to 61.3%, from 53.4% in 2011.

“The Dinaledi programme’s success can and should be replicated in other schools,” Silman said.

He hopes to see an annual compound increase of 5% in both participation and passes. “Pass quality is obviously also important and not just the number of passes.” He would also like to see an increase in the number of girls taking and passing maths and science.

“The Dinaledi programme is the best route to establish a successful model for maths and science teaching for the rest of the high schools in the country.”

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