Dumsi Secondary School in the Eastern Cape is struggling with class sizes of over 100 as the temporary teacher shortage crisis in the province continues.

The Democratic Alliance visited the school in Nthabankulu as part of an oversight meeting of the legislature’s Education Committee.

The school’s situation is a further sign that the Education Department’s decision to withhold temporary teacher appointments is severely affecting schools across the province.

The Department is taking this destructive approach to force SADTU to agree to the reassignment of teachers in excess at their current schools to classrooms where they are needed most.

The DA calls on SADTU to stop resisting the reassignment of teachers for the sake of our children’s education.

The Education Department must take strong action against all teachers refusing reassignment. In the meantime, they must allow schools to appoint temporary teachers. Learners cannot continue to be caught in the crossfire between unions and the Department.

During the meeting at Dumsi Secondary, SADTU representatives continued recklessly voiced their opposition to the reassignment of excess teachers.

Many schools in Lusikisiki district are battling to cope with class sizes of between 120 – 140 learners, district officials have confirmed.

Dumsi had eight teacher vacancies in 2010, 12 in 2011, and 17 in 2012. The school’s pass rate has dropped from 50.8% in 2010, to 30.1% in 2011, to 19.5% in 2012.

All the main subjects including Maths, English, Geography, Science and Accounting are barely taught at the school by the seven teachers left to teach 753 learners.

Teachers are also now leaving the school as the situation worsens.

Parents are currently considering a petition for the closure of the school out of desperation.

Just 145 temporary teachers will have their contracts extended in the Lusikisiki-district.

A “year of action” in education cannot mean that we send our children back to school to stare at empty blackboards.

The Department and SADTU are playing with the futures of our children and this reckless approach must end before any further damage is done.