Not enough teachers to go around


DESPITE the Education Department insisting there is no crisis
regarding the shortage of teachers in the Eastern Cape, the SA
Democratic Teachers’ Union says the province is facing a shortage of
“massive proportions”.

Provincial education department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said the
only shortage was for maths and science teachers in the rural areas of
the province.

“We do have a definite shortage of maths and science teachers for
schools in Lusikisiki, and the rural Transkei. Teachers simply do not
want to be placed in these areas,” he said.

However, Sadtu provincial secretary Fezeka Loliwe said the province was facing a huge teacher shortage.

“Even before the new curriculum was introduced the province was
facing a huge shortage. It is even worse now because the new curriculum
calls for teachers to give individual attention and in some schools we
have one teacher with a class of 70 pupils. Individual attention is
non-existent,” she said.

Loliwe also said there were almost no schools where a teacher could concentrate on one subject.

“In all schools teachers are focussing on two learning areas and in
other schools you find teachers struggling with up to four learning
areas. When I was still teaching I was the only maths teacher at my
school teaching grades 8 through until 12. This is a tremendous workload
for any teacher.”

She said the new curriculum called for extra work and more individual
attention where the ideal would be a pupil teacher ratio of one to 25.

“In abnormal circumstances the ratio may go up to one to 35. But this
is only in abnormal circumstances. In most classes in the Eastern Cape
we have classes of 50 to 70 pupils at the moment. The department would
like us to believe that there is no crisis but there is.”

She said the department was leading the public to believe that education today revolved around maths and science.

“They never talk about how many English teachers there are in the
province, but most pupils need proper instruction in English to
understand maths and science concepts that they are taught. English is a
very important subject as well.”

Loliwe said it would still be a long time before Sadtu was happy with the number of teachers in the province.

“It will still be a long walk but until we achieve the standards that
we find in former model C schools where 40 or more pupils in a
classroom is unheard of, we will keep fighting for it.”

Pulumani said the department was currently providing 132 teaching
students with financial assistance for their studies so that once they
graduated the department would be able to “deploy them to the areas
where maths and science teachers are desperately needed”.

“We recruited 1400 permanent teachers in the last year and 3400 the
year before. Next year we are looking at recruiting 1200 teachers and we
are currently have 66000 permanent educators in the province. There are
also 5000 temporary teachers in the province.”

Earlier this year, Mike Randell, vice-chairman of the Federation of
Governing Bodies of SA, announced that only a fraction of teaching
vacancies were advertised by the Education Department for this year.

The Eastern Cape education department was ordered to publish all
vacant teaching posts in the province by the end of January following an
order granted to the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) by the
Bhisho High Court last November.

However, only 462 posts were advertised. Randell said there were
actually hundreds more posts but the department had distorted the real
number of vacant posts. The reason given for this figure was “financial

Salaries for teachers make up for the bulk of the R18-billion budget the provincial education department received this year.

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