With some 8 000 teachers due to retire soon, the Eastern Cape will be facing a serious shortage of educators. It remains an open question whether Education MEC Mahlubandile Qwase will be pro-active and reopen teacher colleges or whether his department will again fail the school community.

According to a reply to a parliamentary question by the DA, there are 65 701 school based educators in service of the Department at present. Of these, 7 625 are between the ages of 55 and 65 and are technically ready to leave the education system.

There are a great number of unfilled posts, which remains a problem due to the sporadic and irregular issuing of bulletins.

Vacant posts since 2006 are as follows:

2006 – 3872 vacant including 1285 vacant principal’s posts
2007 – 2652 vacant including 1109 vacant principal’s posts
2008 – 7110 vacant including 874 vacant principal’s posts
2009 – 4318 vacant including 716 vacant principal’s posts

The Department has budgeted R917 066,150 for 2009/10 for the filling of vacant substantive posts. They have to declare without delay how this budget is to be applied to fill these posts and whether it will be done before March 2010.

The Democratic Alliance believes that the present supply of human resources is inadequate to fit in with the strategic aims of the Department. There is an urgent need to appoint more knowledgeable subject advisors, maths, science and language teachers. The appointment of suitable qualified educators in the entrance phase at school also needs urgent attention.

The Democratic Alliance further believes that if suitable interventions are not launched, we will continue living under the sword of Damocles and our children will find themselves in classes devoid of teachers.

The already high illiteracy rate will reach fearsome dimensions which will impact negatively on our human resources with a further deterioration of the socio-economic conditions.

Definite steps should be taken immediately to fill the possible shortage of about 22 000 educators by 2019:

  • Stop debating about teachers colleges – open them without delay
  • Advertise posts for college lecturers
  • Recall all lecturers from teachers colleges
  • Promote teacher training for new students by providing financial assistance for matriculants
  • Launch an intensive awareness campaign in newspapers, education district offices and other government institutions to invite candidates with the necessary qualifications and passion to follow a career in education.
  • The Democratic Alliance makes an urgent appeal to the Department to prioritize the training of educators to ensure a functioning education system.

    For further information, please contact Edmund van Vuuren, MPL on 072 184 7840

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