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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed that 19 Cuban mathematics and science specialists brought to the country received R13,931,883 in wages during this fiscal year.
Motshekga revealed this while answering parliamentary questions from MP DA Sicelo Mabika, who asked if his department has had any working agreements with a Cuban entity since 2010-11.
Mabika also asked for details of Cuban employment, including the cost of employing each of the Cubans.
In its written response, Motshekga said that South Africa and the Cuban government entered into the Collaborative Agreement on Professional Services in Basic Education in November 2016, valid for five years, from 2017 to 2022.
“The agreement provides that the DBE (Department of Basic Education) employs 20 Cuban specialists in mathematics and science,” she said.
The minister’s response shows that a total of 86 Cubans, including 32 in national offices and 54 in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State, have been brought to the country since 2017.
There are currently 19 Cuban specialists who are improving the capacities of teachers, among others, she said.
Motshekga defended the employment of Cubans, saying they were specialists in math and science – subjects listed as rare skills where it was difficult to find properly qualified teachers.
“Specialists have a long-standing practice of how they teach particular methodologies in math and science that help teachers master the teaching of difficult concepts and areas of work. “
She said that all Cuban specialists have master’s degrees and have also developed material that has been provided to the department to help convey methodologies of understanding in the rare skill areas identified.
“Since their arrival, they have been able to help the department identify some of the problems the department has encountered in teaching and what better pedagogical approaches can be explored to overcome these challenges.
Motshekga revealed that each was paid R733,257 per year.
She said the specialists were employed to train teachers and build the capacity of the sector, not to teach children.
“They have organized meaningful workshops for teachers and subject counselors that help them better understand the concepts so that they can return to the classroom to teach the learners based on this assistance,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu revealed that her department is paying R64.6 million to 25 Cubans currently deployed in the country under a deal. cooperation in the field of water resources management.
Sisulu said that R34,031,413 was paid in engineers’ salaries and R30,591,587 in the operational budget.
She said Cuban engineers were evaluating the operations and maintenance of water infrastructure within clusters and area offices in different provinces.
They also assess the department’s infrastructure assets, including dams, bulk water infrastructure, irrigation canals, and pumping stations.
“The deployment of Cuban nationals will not negatively affect the jobs that may be available to South Africans. There are job opportunities in the same fields that are always offered to suitably qualified South Africans, especially as part of the graduate program implemented by the Department of Water Services, ”Sisulu said.
Independent Media recently reported that the Health Ministry is spending R83 million a year on the 119 Cuban medical brigades in the country since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.