NATIONAL NEWS - Department of basic education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the Cuban teachers were hired to boost the mathematics and science division in the country.
“If you looked at the research that was done and the improvement we made to the system, it was because of the contribution they [the Cuban specialists] made,” he said during an interview with Power FM.
Mhlanga added the specialists were tasked with different activities.
“Some of them helped teachers with different strategies of teaching maths in a way that would make an improvement. Others worked in district offices for the creation of capacity for our colleagues to be able to work.”
The general secretary for the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Matakanye Matakanya, slammed the decision to import the Cubans.
“The manner in which it was done was wrong because there are South African teachers who are qualified and unemployed who I thought should be trained by the Cuban teachers so that we have the skill at home and don’t need to import them,” he said.
“Why were these skills not taken to tertiary level where the teachers were produced? This would prevent the recurring problem of unemployed teachers who lacked skills.”
This was followed by the importation of 24 engineers from Cuba three months ago to repair and assist with the country’s ailing water infrastructure with a budget of R64 million.
There are also 28 Cuban doctors at a cost of R32.5 million to fight Covid. Cuban mechanics and technicians were also brought for repairs at the SANational Defence Force at a cost of nearly R1 billion.
Political economist Daniel Silke said government’s constant turn to Cuba for specialists was a “kick in the pants” for South Africans and the economy.
“It sends a negative message to young South Africans who are involved in these fields and how, in fact, their hard work can be replaced for political reasons, in this case Cubans,” he noted.