More Than 31 000 Teaching Vacancies In South Africa

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While the Department of Basic Education assures South African there is no employment crisis, unemployed teachers protest a lack of response to their applications despite over 31 000 vacancies.

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Last week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed that there were more than 31,400 teacher post vacancies in the country. However, the Department of Basic Education has been quick to reassure stakeholders that there is no teacher employment crisis.  

Motshekga says the filling of posts is an ongoing process and schools are allowed to appoint teachers temporarily to fill classrooms. 

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga denies an employment crisis in the department.

Mhlanga says no classroom is empty when referring to the 31,400 vacancies. They explain that the main focus of the DBE is permanently employing the teachers already acting in those vacancies. 

We are in the process of making sure that those people are permanently employed and by the way, there are two categories of posts. Post-level one which is the entry-level post for teachers that's where a school can make an appointment and a promotional post.

Mhlanga explains that promotional posts refer to Head of Department (HOD), Deputy Principal and Principal positions. These posts take longer to fill as they must be advertised

A promotional post which is where it's maybe HOD [Head of Department] or Deputy principal or principal [post] available take longer, three to six months because they have to be advertised and the recruitment process has to unfold in detail so those are some of the reasons for the delays.

The spokesperson adds that the number of teacher vacancies can change at any time. This as teachers can depart the public service while other posts are filled. 

They said the 31,000 vacancies was the number of vacancies when the question was asked which makes it difficult to provide an update on the progress in filling posts. 

It's an ongoing thing you could ask today you'll get a different answer tomorrow.

Unemployed Teachers March To Parliament 

With news that there are more than 31,000 vacancies, unemployed teachers marched to parliament to display their frustration. The organisation, Western Cape Unemployed Educators, say their applications for posts are often met with silence, despite following correct procedures for educator posts.

The groups’ Xolisile Willie says they previously marched to the Western Cape Education Department’s offices to deliver a memorandum of demands. However, they have not been provided with a response from the provincial education department. 

We want the office of the minister of basic education to look at that memorandum because the issue of unemployment of qualified Educators um affects everyone. It affects our societies because it affects you directly or indirectly but if ever there are not enough teachers in the classrooms it is going to affect this country. 

Willie questioned why the government is not doing more to fill teacher vacancies. They explain that the issue of overcrowded classrooms goes hand in hand with the unemployed teachers and by addressing teacher unemployment, they can reduce the number of learners per classroom. 

How can conducive education take place in such an environment whereby one teacher is subjected to teaching 60 students in a class?

Teacher shortages are also being reported in other provinces while thousands of teachers remain unemployed.

Suggested Article:

Education minister talking about budget cuts

South Africa needs teachers in critical areas including the foundation phase where learners are taught how to read. However, budget cuts mean that there is less money available to provide students with teaching bursaries. 

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