DBE Disagrees With Report About Shortage Of Teachers

Recently an article was released by Businesstech.co.za, which stated that there was a shortage of 24 000 teachers in the country, however according to the Department of Basic Education that was incorrect.

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The Basic Education Department disputed the media report written by a reporter at Businesstech.co.za.

According to the department, the reporter misunderstood Minister Angie Motshekga’s reply to a parliamentary question regarding the vacancy rate in the Basic Education sector.

During a parliamentary question and answer session, Chantal King, the Democratic Alliance and Member of Parliament asked Minister Motshekga about the national vacancy of teachers in the country and the total breakdown of the number of posts that have remained vacant in each province.

Motshekga replied that 5.8% as of the end of February 2021, and the vacancy rate reported is in terms of the actual vacancies at schools, concerning posts that each school was allocated for 2021.

According to the Minister, the Provincial Education Departments are in the process of redeploying teaches that are additional to the allocated post establishments at some schools, to schools that have vacancies.

“Once this process has been finalised and the residual vacant posts have been filled through the appointment of educators from outside the system, the actual number of vacancies will be lower than the current rate,” replied Motshekga.

A table with a written response was presented by the Minister which revealed that a total of 24 556 vacancies.

The DBE mentioned that this table does not mean that there is an actual shortage of teachers, nor does it mean that learners are being left unattended.

The Department noted that “It simply means the process of finalising the appointment of the people currently in the posts is ongoing.”

The Basic Education Department announced that they have many teacher recruitment strategies, which include:

  • A register of qualified, yet unemployed graduates.
  • The national recruitment base is a register of qualified teachers who are not in the teaching profession.
  • The district and community-based teacher recruitment strategy for the Funza Lushaka bursary programme.

“These databases have thousands of teachers who are requested to apply for jobs as and when they become available. In addition to this, universities produce an estimated total of 25 000 teachers a year, who are not able to get employment in the system due to the lack of capacity to absorb all of them,” said the department.

The DBE added that “This means there are more teachers in the country than the system can accommodate. The reported shortage is therefore inaccurate and misleading.”

The Basic Education Department stated that it worked with the 24 public universities that were offering initial teacher education programmes during the 2020/21 academic year, to compile information on all initial teacher education students.

The consolidated 2020 awards list also shows that 13 085 Funza Lushaka bursaries were awarded for initial teacher education by 31 March 2021.

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