No final resolutions to teacher shortages in the Eastern Cape

I am appalled by the lack of concern and action that has been portrayed by the Eastern Cape Department of Education. I received a letter from a concerned parent whose child attends Kareefontein Primary School in the Eastern Cape which stated that the school has an extreme shortage of teachers and as a result the educational needs of the pupils are compromised.

Six foundation phase classes which are made up of 214 children are taught by two teachers. Parents of pupils at this school have pleaded with the department to intervene on numerous occasions but to date nothing has been done to resolve this issue.

There has been an ongoing teacher shortage issue in the Eastern Cape that must be addressed as a matter of urgency; prime examples of this include the following:

  • In 2009, there were 4318 vacant posts in the Education department in the Eastern Cape;
  • In 2012, it was reported that 2333 schools in the Eastern Cape had less than six teachers;
  • In 2013, the Ngqeleni district had approximately 800 vacant posts;
  • In January this year, over 300 pupils at Zanokhanyo Senior Secondary School in Ngqeleni were reportedly taught by seven teachers;
  • In January 2014, Alexandria High School in Alexandria had a shortage of 7 educators which resulted in learners being cramped in one hall and curriculum delivery was interrupted;
  • Republic Primary School has had a shortage of six educators over the last two years and as a result students have been denied access to quality education;
  • Colchester Primary School in Nelson Mandela Bay does not have educators for grades two and three and this has resulted in learners being unsupervised and their safety compromised.

The DA calls on the MEC for Education, Honourable Mandla Makupula, to intervene in the following ways:

  • Ensure that schools submit names of individuals with the appropriate qualifications and recommend them as suitable candidates for substantive vacant posts;
  • Motivate Afrikaans speaking teachers from English and Xhosa medium schools to avail themselves for absorption into the existing substantive vacant posts at our Afrikaans medium schools and simultaneously re-assign teachers to the posts that are left vacant through this absorption process;
  • Honourable Mandla Makapula must ensure that the schools advertise posts that have not been filled in newspapers and on the internet and from these applications they must identify suitable candidates for employment; these names must then be submitted as potential candidates for substantive vacant posts;
  • Permanently appoint the remainder of the Funza Lushaka Bursary Holders under the substantive vacant posts.

The Democratic Alliance hopes that the MEC will consider the proposals made and believes that these innovative steps will assist in alleviating the issue of substantive vacant posts.