15 February 2013

South Africa: Denosa Response to Sona - Education in Nursing Ought to Be Priority Too

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) welcomes the president’s announcement in his State of The Nation Address last night that government will still emphasize improvement on education and his plan to establish the Presidential Remuneration Commission which will look at the appropriateness of salaries for all government employees.

We hope this plan will also be directed at resolving the current skills drought in nursing education as a specialty, as nursing colleges in the country struggle to attract tutors due to non-provision for rural allowance for mostly rural colleges and the way occupation specific dispensation (OSD) is structured for college tutors.

DENOSA’s fear is that this aspect has not been looked into significantly, and is now beginning to affect the quality of nursing generally. Part of this problem was caused by the fact that the application of the OSD is a disadvantage to nursing tutors, especially the translation from grade 1 to grade 2, which requires 10 years of experience.

Nursing colleges are struggling to attract and retain tutors, and this has negative effect on both the number and quality of nursing students that are produced at the colleges. With the country gearing up for the implementation of the NHI, DENOSA is concerned that we may not be able to produce enough nursing graduates for this important project if colleges donÂ’t have enough tutors.

This point came out strongly during the College Principals and Academic Staff Forum which consists, among others, of principals from the countryÂ’s nursing colleges in their gathering in Northern Cape yesterday and which DENOSA was a part of. Nomvuyiso Links, who chaired the proceedings and currently the principal from Lilitha College of Nursing in the Eastern Cape, says the inability of colleges to attract and retain tutors is creating instability to nursing in general.

“In our college, we have advertised positions for tutors over the past three years. But when it comes to discussing the issue of remuneration with the successful candidates, and upon realising that they will have to spend 10 years in order to qualify for a grade 2 translation in terms of the OSD, they decline the offer on the spot. This limits the number of students we take for nursing as a result, because there are not enough tutors,” she says.

At the forum, principal at the Limpopo College of Nursing and a veteran nurse of more than 30 years, Makhutu Mogashoa, says the absence of a rural allowance is a huge disadvantage for nursing colleges like those in Limpopo which are mostly rural, because applicants decline the positions when they find out that that there is no rural allowance.

“In 2009 we had 33 positions for tutors, but we got no more than 18 applications. Most of those declined the offer upon hearing that we don’t offer rural allowance. Also, OSD should acknowledge specialty in tutoring so that those tutors with specialty will be recognized, and not merely be paid for being a lecturer,” she says.

The president may not have divulged the full details of what the Presidential Remuneration Commission will look into specifically when checking the appropriateness of salaries for government employees going forward, but DENOSA hopes the commissionÂ’s recommendations will include a solution to this problem, is a time-ticking bomb waiting to blast if it is not addressed soon.

Issued by

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

For more information, contact:

Sibongiseni Delihlazo, Communications Manager, DENOSA

Mobile: 079 875 2663

Landline: 012 343 2315

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