South African Department of Basic Education finds resistance to workforce management plans

May 3, 2013 - 

Not long ago, the Department of Basic Education in South Africa announced its intentions to implement biometric workforce management systems into its schools in an attempt to curb absenteeism among staff, though this decision has angered many teachers in the country.

Reported by itWeb, thousands of teachers and the South African Democratic Teachers Union, have taken to the streets in an attempt to increase pressure on basic minister Angie Motshekga and DG Bobby Soobrayan to resign from their posts, and to enforce a work-to-rule job action scenario.

Reported previously in, the Department’s proposed system would see all 24,000 schools equipped with biometric workforce management systems, and would be active in 2015. Currently, across South Africa, manual sign-in systems still exist for teachers, which officials have said has left the system susceptible to abuse and fraud.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union isn’t the first union to take issue with this kind of sweeping workforce management. Many unions and labor advocates see the move to introduce these systems as bullish and untrusting.

Reported previously in, many biometric workforce management systems proposed to enforce teacher attendance have been strongly opposed.

Teachers in government schools in India’s Andhra Pradesh threatened to strike against a proposed biometric workforce management system. Also in India, faculty at Vinoba Bhave University have rejected similar plans and have vowed to oppose the new system. 

In a MoneyWeb report, South African Democratic Teachers’ Union media officer Nomusa Cembi said the union views this implementation as a management tool.

Responding to pressure from labor, Delhi University has not implemented a biometric workforce management system, as has been mandated by the government. As a result, The Delhi High Court has recently issued a contempt notice to the university.

According to the itWeb report, the department plans to continue its consultation with stakeholders regarding this system, though as of yet there’s little indication of how it plans to address concerns from labor.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj