‘Moonlighting’ teacher who is earning in dollars faces stick
She stands accused of maintaining her position at a Durban primary school while teaching internationally
The KwaZulu-Natal education department has called for the employee records of a teacher accused of “moonlighting” overseas while maintaining her position at a Durban primary school.
The provincial wing of the Democratic Alliance had insisted that the education department investigate Summerfield Primary School in Chatsworth following a recent oversight visit to the school.
The teacher in question is accused of teaching in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Thailand to earn foreign currency.
The Sunday Times reported last year that the prospect of earning the equivalent of five years’ salary in one year was luring SA teachers to classrooms in the Gulf.
The chance to earn between R50,000 and R78,000 a month was driving teachers mainly to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. This was revealed in a study by Tatum Niemack, a master’s student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
There are no statistics readily available about the number of teachers who have left, but the SA Council of Educators, which issues teachers with the letters of professional standing needed to teach abroad, expressed “grave concern” at the time.
“The DA’s inspection was conducted after receiving information from a reliable source that the teacher was on leave without pay from April to December 2018 after having exhausted her leave days for the year,” said Rishigen Viranna, the party’s education spokesperson.
“The principal advised that both he and the school’s governing body had opposed the granting of leave to the teacher and had written to the department to request intervention.”
Viranna claimed the teacher had then sought leave authorisation from a department official.
“According to the principal, the teacher’s prolonged absence has created an extremely difficult learning environment for pupils, with different replacement teachers in and out of the classroom.
“The situation is made worse by the fact that there are currently hundreds of unemployed teachers sitting on the department’s database.
“This while an individual holds onto her post while jetting off to earning foreign currency,” said Viranna.
Provincial department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said: “We have asked our human resources unit to furnish us with records so that we are able to get facts regarding this matter. They are the ones handling employee relations.”
Mthethwa said records would determine whether an investigation was warranted.
“Some situations require just a straightforward decision while some may require an investigation,” he said.