Issues affecting new educators in rural South Africa
| Masweneng Mokolwane Eric - 03 Jan 2023

Rural Public Schools are a huge fraction of the world’s education systems. In South Africa, these rural schools are prone to poor performance. Several factors lead to this poor performance for most of our rural public schools. Among others are leadership deficiency, unwelcoming attitude against younger and vibrant educators, lack of transformation, poor competition, lack of funding and poor financial management, not setting the bar high enough when educating a rural child, load shedding, lack of internet access and broadband technologies which limit newcomers to be innovative, to mention a few. Hence, the department of basic education policies is futuristic, impactful, and supportive. Through careful implementation, monitoring, and evaluation on the ground, we can create the Africa we want.

We appreciate resilient and dedicated teachers who are using their experience to impact, touch and change the lives of young people and at the same time take us young teachers under their wing. Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles related to senior educators, but with our patience and good influence are joining the wagon. Some experienced educators are versatile and adaptable to changing patterns of teaching methodologies that demand design thinking. By versatile and adaptable I mean being flexible and changeable in different contexts.

Leadership deficiency might sound so ridiculous and tough against the leadership in the field of work. Some leaders inspire change, command change, and stimulate change in the best interest of moving education to be better than it was before. Given this notion of leaders with deficiencies, credit must be given to those great leaders who support newcomers with what there is, to make them settle within the profession. But, with these types of leaders mentioned, those who do not have leadership traits that suit the profession hurt the lives of future generations. Yet, the success of every school depends on the leader who has a well-defined measure purpose in the run-up to pulling the mission and vision of the school.  I am talking about leaders who are tolerant, committed, and willing to take risks and inspire the new generation of teachers instead of judging and criticizing them. However, there are those leaders who tremble, stumble, fall, trip, and never give up, because they learn new ways to improve instead of blaming it on the newcomers. Others will always tell newcomers how they have been doing better in the past twenty years and that the energy of young teachers will diminish. When the new teacher is effective, they refer to that teacher as “Fundza”(bursary scheme). They call them by the name of bursary scheme that supports Bachelor of Education students. New teachers are emotionally abused, which affects their performance in content delivery through the emotionally abusive language used against them. Leaders do not devise, instead, they collaborate. They encourage teamwork instead of using the ‘spy system approach” or running divide and rule which is a major threat to the development of rural schools and newcomers. If educators are not supported within, their performance will decline, and the poor performance of learners will be the result.

Lack of transformation and poor competition are major challenges facing the education sector displayed at the school level by senior teachers who are not flexible to the use of modern technology tools. This is often caused by a lack of technology skills, the willingness to adapt, and what I phrased as ‘I have experience Syndrome’. The fear of integrating technology tools makes them behave negatively against teachers who are technology savvy. This negative behavior devalues the development of educating a child and declines the standard of education globally. Most of them criticize those with abilities to limit their energy. This shows their level of inability to change with time. I have experienced all these personally, where no one supported the initiative of technology integration in the classroom. This shows how rural schools are way far from reaching a better setting that suits the 21st-century model of school. The 21st-century model of educators does not value poor competition, they value collaboration because in a competition we do not learn from one another.


To the young and newcomers in the profession, stand determined, triumphant, and walk tall! If one did it under abnormal and unusual circumstances, you could do it as well. Enemies of progress will always try to find new ways to destroy you. Do not despair, and don’t withdraw, instead, be strong and face challenges with determination. You will never know what is soft until you feel hard or strong if you have never been weak. Stand against the test of time, they will betray you, falsely accuse, critique, verbally abuse you, and even send death threats, but you can survive all. Be constant as the Northern Star as Shakespeare would phrase it. Do not give toxic perfumes and magic spells from elsewhere to dispel the taste and smell of determination within because victory is certain. Do not compete, collaborate, because in the competition you lose the knowledge that you were supposed to learn from others. The most successful schools have a human resource that supports one another and does not value negative competition, because within competition there is no gain. Competition brings about empty arrogance that demeans academic depth and velour.

No educator is an Island, and no educator has a monopoly on knowledge. Age and experience in the teaching fraternity combined bring no gain if they are not used to impact, impart, teach, and positively touch the future. Once every educator starts re-skilling to enrich themselves, the education sector will improve and the performance of our schools will improve, and so are the learners too. If educators are not analytical and critical, then what is the value of their certificates? When the old and the new are adaptable and versatile, the education sector will be able to deliver quality education to the world.

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