The DA marched to the head office of the Eastern Cape Department of Education today to hand over a petition regarding teacher vacancies at schools in the province.
The shortage of teachers in our Eastern Cape schools is a cause for major anxiety and anger amongst teacher, principals, parents and learners of affected schools. For more than a year schools have been closed sporadically in a desperate attempt to send the strongest message possible to Bhisho that education cannot continue without teachers.
Promises by the Eastern Cape Department of Education to fill vacant posts have not been fulfilled.
The DA embarked on the One teacher, one classroom-campaign, culminating today in a march to the head office of the Department of Education, to the hand over a petition signed by more than 3 000 people who are unhappy with the slow pace at which substantive vacancies are being filled.
Currently, as per a response to a legislature question for oral reply, there are 3 900 vacancies and some 5 000 teachers in excess.
The DA wants to know from Education MEC Mandla Makupula whether there are teachers in the market to fill the vacancies that obviously cannot be filled by the more than 5 000 teachers who are in addition to the staff establishments are their respective schools.
The DA would also want to know from the MEC whether they have advertised some of these vacancies to ascertain whether there are indeed teachers outside the system whose services can be utilised.
Our concern as the DA is that if there are no teachers in the market and if the profiles of those teachers in addition does not match the profiles of the substantive vacant posts, how then does the MEC envisage filling these posts?
What plans are on the table to ensure that there will be a teacher in each and every available classroom and that no child will be left unsupervised?
Are there any guarantees forthcoming from the department that all our learners in the more than 5 500 schools across the province will have access to quality education an daily basis through the provision of the necessary human resources?
The DA has already forwarded proposals to the acting head of the department of education, Ray Tywakadi, in order to contribute to the reduction of vacant posts.
When the DA is in government we will ensure that teacher colleges are reintroduced. Currently there are not enough institutions producing quality teachers and teachers for critical subjects. We will also never allow a situation to escalate to the current levels where vacancies could not be filled for the last ten years and where teachers in addition could not or did not want to move to schools were their services were needed.
The DA would have retrained those teachers whose profiles does not fit the current profiles within the substantive vacant posts in order for them to teach subjects that they have not taught before.
With the DA in government in the Eastern Cape parents will never have to fear that their children will be unsupervised and without a teacher.