The teacher incentive policy was gazetted in 2008 and implemented to encourage teachers to work in rural areas for a monetary incentive.
Rural teachers received an incentive of 10% of their basic salary when they entered the profession with a four-year qualification.
According to Basic Education Department, the decision to withdraw the policy was due to budget constraints.
Minister Angie Motshekga stated that the policy became unsustainable for these rural provinces which include Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
“We are saying every two-thirds of your teachers must get this incentive and those provinces are finding it difficult to sustain that incentive,” said Motshekga.
Only some of these teachers receive the incentive as the provinces cannot afford to provide all their teachers who work at rural schools with the incentive.
Motshekga mentioned that “at the moment it is first come first serve and the rest do not receive the incentive”.
According to Motshekga, only about 25% of teachers were receiving the incentive, which caused the other 75% of teachers who were not receiving it to feel that it was unfair to them. Therefore, the department decided that it would be best to withdraw the policy as it was not sustainable for these provinces.
Initially, the incentive was introduced to assist with the shortage of teachers in rural areas, however, since then other programmes have been implemented to address the issue, therefore, the withdrawal of the incentive may not affect the number of teachers in these rural schools.
According to Elijah Mlhanga, the programmes included the Funza Lushaka Bursary, which states that after qualifying as a teacher these recipients are required to teach at schools in need and rural schools, and community recruitment took place where young people were given funding to pursue teaching degrees on the condition that they teach in their rural communities.