Report confirms increase in teacher deaths

Report confirms increase in teacher deathsMore teachers are dying than ever before and most of them are African and women. These and other findings are contained in a report released this week '€“ Educator Attrition and Mortality in South Africa.

More teachers are dying than ever before and most of them are African and women. These and other findings are contained in a report released this week ‘€“ Educator Attrition and Mortality in South Africa.

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HIV infection rates among educators are lower than the general population, however an alarming number of highly trained teachers were lost, particularly in the provinces worst affected by the epidemic.

The report by the Mobile Task Team provides the first overview of educator attrition and mortality trends not reliant on estimates, models or projections, but on primary data contained in government databases and registers.

According to the report the total number of in-service deaths, from all causes, grew from 1 425 in 1997/98 to at least 1 856 in 2003/04.     With the addition of 1 202 educators who died within one-year of leaving service, total educator mortality 1997/98 to 2003/04 is estimated to be 14 192.    

The report noted that these figures might undercount mortality however, particularly in later years.     In the age group 20 to 39, the mortality rate for educators grew from 0.33% in 1997/98 to 0.56% in 2003/04, with the highest rate of increase in the 25 to 29 age band, rising from 0.22% to 0.58%.    

In terms of gender specific mortality, mortality rates in the 20 to 49 age group, 1997/98 to 2003/04, were higher for males (increasing from 0.51% to 0.75%) than for females (increasing from 0.23% to 0.45%), but the highest proportional increase was amongst females where the rate doubled over the period, compared to a 50% increase amongst males.    

In terms of race, mortality rates for Black African educators in the 20 to 49 age group, 1997/98 to 2003/04, increased from 0.40% to 0.66%.     In the same age group and over the same period, rates for Indian/Asian educators rose from 0.07% to 0.11%; rates for Coloured educators rose from 0.17% to 0.21%, and rates for White educators declined fractionally from 0.11% to 0.09%.  

According to project director Peter Badcock-Walters researchers analysed 42-million files stretching from 1997 to 2004.

They found that attrition in the early years (post 1994) was characterized by high numbers of severance packages and dismissals, whereas more recent years have seen rising proportions of deaths, medical retirement and resignations. It found that the relative proportion of terminations accounted for by deaths had risen from 7% in 1997/8 to 17,7% in 2003/4.

The Mobile Task Team on the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education (MTT) is a unique Pan African technical support network.   It is designed to help empower African ministries of education (MoEs) and their development partners to develop sector-wide HIV/AIDS policy and prioritized implementation plans to systemically manage and mitigate impact.    

To access a four page summary or the full report click here: http://www.mttaids.com/site/awdep.asp?dealer=5562&depnum=11884