The South African School System

How much do teachers earn?

The Department of Basic Education uses the Relative Education Qualification Value (REQV) system to determine salaries. New teachers who quality with a PGCE or Bachelor of Education degree and who want to work in public schools have an REQV value of 14. In 2014, the entry level salary for a public school teacher at REQV 14 was R198 888, which is R16 574 per month. However, public school teachers also receive various benefits from the state, such as medical aid contribution, pension contribution and a housing subsidy. Willie Kutumela, Director for Labour Relations and Conditions of Service at the Department of Basic Education, recommends that 37% be added to a teacher’s salary to account for these state benefits. This means that if we include all benefits, an entry-level public school teacher earned R272 477 per year in 2014, which was R22 706 per month – not bad for a starting salary!

Teachers’ salary increases are usually linked to inflation. However, if you continue to study and achieve additional qualifications (such as an Honours Degree), you will fall into a higher REQV level, which means you will earn more money.

Teachers in private schools do not necessary earn more than teachers in public schools, because private schools in general cannot provide all the benefits that the state provides to public school teachers.

Some statistics about our schooling system

  1. In 2014, there were 12 655 436 learners in 25 741 public and private schools, with 425 090 teachers.
  2. In private schools only, there were 538 421 learners in 1 681 schools, with 34 482 teachers.
  3. In public schools, there were on average:
    • 16 teachers per school
    • 31 learners per teacher
    • 504 learners per school
  4. In private schools, there were on average:
    • 21 teachers per school
    • 16 learners per teacher
    • 320 learners per school
  5. About 64% of all employees in the schooling sector are female.

The value of teachers to our society

Teachers are an extremely important facet of any society. Teachers are the people who educate the youth who in turn become the leaders of tomorrow. Teachers impart knowledge upon our children in their most impressionable years, so that they can be responsible and productive members of society.

We all know that the right teacher who truly cares about his or her job can have a profound effect on his or her learners. A learner will become significantly more interested in learning if his or her teacher is passionate about teaching.

Teachers who can get learners to realise the value of learning and a solid education is doing a great service not only to that child, but also to society in general. The more that children want to learn and the smarter that they are, the better a society will develop. 

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