The Eastern Cape has lost a staggering 8 956 teaching pots in the last two years due to a downward trend by the Department of Education in its annual post provisioning. The department has announced a cut in the post provisioning for 2014 of 5 024 fewer posts than this year. The post provisioning for 2014 will total 55 796, compared to 60 820 in 2013. The 2013 post provisioning made provision for 3 932 less educators than in 2012, from 64 752 posts.

The impact of the department’s brutal slashing of posts leaves the people of this province with continued dilemmas for 2014:

  • Classrooms will again overflow with up to 125 learners per teacher in our disadvantaged schools;
  • Vacant posts have still not been filled in our disadvantaged schools, despite promises to do so;
  • Students finishing their teaching degrees face an uncertain future;
  • The redeployment of 4 000 additional teachers remains unresolved.

This situation is the result of a department that has sat back with folded arms despite the failing education system in the province. This is the work of a government that has chosen to keep our children in poverty and with limited opportunities.

Instead of addressing the redeployment of the 4 000 additional teachers in the province, the department is allowing the Treasury to penalise the children of the province by cutting the post provisioning. Why do the officials from the department continue to do the wrong thing instead of coming up with a workable plan to improve education in the Eastern Cape for once and for all?

The DA is appalled at this latest development. Education is the key out of poverty. We believe in bettering the lives of disadvantaged communities. We would never allow this situation to happen.

The DA calls on the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, to insist that the 4 000 additional teachers in the province be redeployed with immediate effect. Those who still refuse should be removed from the system and replaced with Funza Lushaka bursary holders. The MEC must ensure that the post provisioning for 2014 remains the same as for 2013.

We believe that teacher-numbers should not decrease. Under a DA-led government, we would ensure the training of 30 000 teachers every year, which would include negotiated plans with tertiary institutions for the establishment of satellite campuses in rural areas.

The DA expects much of the education system, because it holds the key to a better future for all South Africa. The current situation is telling of a government that does not care.