Thousands of learners pass out of the school system each year destined for joblessness because the system is failing them.
It is hardly surprising that learners across the Eastern Cape are taking to the streets to express their dissatisfaction at the state of their education, when vacancies at schools have still not been filled and thousands of teachers placed are not qualified to teach the subjects they are presenting.
In response to a Parliamentary Question, the Eastern Cape MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, has confirmed that 2,727 teachers in grades 10 to 12 in the province, are teaching subjects that they are not qualified for.
Even more disconcerting is the fact that 264 additional teachers do not have the necessary professional qualifications to teach, at all.
The fact that almost 3 000 teachers are teaching subjects that they are not qualified to teach is a huge contributor to the failing Education department in the Eastern Cape.
How are our children expected to excel in languages, mathematics and science, when those teaching them are not qualified to do so? In fact, according to the MEC, there are 659 unqualified teachers teaching languages, 392 teaching mathematics and 319 teaching science.
Learners are already under immense pressure due to the failings of the Education Department, so it does not surprise me that, in sheer exasperation, they take to the streets, like they have done recently at Molly Blackburn High School in Nelson Mandela Bay and Moses Mabida High School in Kirkwood.
The blame cannot be placed on the unqualified teachers though. Many of these teachers work tirelessly and do the best that they can for learners, but are placed in positions by the Department to teach subjects they are simply not qualified to teach.
This is irresponsible and completely unacceptable. Our children deserve better.
The Department has failed our children, and our teachers, in their haste to simply full vacancies, by not putting in the necessary effort to ensure that they appoint the right person to the advertised posts.
The DA believes that education is a constitutional right, a basic human right, a strategic priority and the best possible vehicle to empower South Africans and to develop our country. How can we expect our children to excel and reach their full potential, when they are given a second rate education?
I will continue to hold the Education Department accountable and will be monitoring what steps are being taken to rectify the issue of unqualified teachers. I will continue to fight for quality education and qualified teachers for all learners of the Eastern Cape.
For an audio clip from Edmund Van Vuuren on the above issue, please click below: