KZN Education: unfit teachers a national issue

2011-06-14 00:00

THE issue of unqualified and under-qualified teachers is a national challenge, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has said.

The department was reacting to disclosures that the issue of unfit teachers, especially in gateway subjects such as mathematics, science, business studies and accounting, is not being addressed with urgency.

Last year it was estimated that 13 000 teachers in the province were either unqualified of under-qualified.

The Witness reported recently that as many as 468 mathematics teachers are not fit to teach the high school pupils they are preparing for matric.

As many as 345 other teachers are not equipped with the basic qualifications for teaching physical science at high school level.

The disclosure came in response to question raised by the Democratic Alliance in the KZN Legislature.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said that while it is true that there are unqualified and under-qualified teachers in schools across the province, the information has always been in the public domain.

“As the KZN Department of Education we have a number of initiatives to address this challenge. There are various programmes that are put in place to capacitate all these teachers. An amount of R13,5 million has been put aside for bursaries specifically for unqualified and under-qualified maths and science teachers.

“There is a post-graduate certificate in education, which is a programme done by under-qualified teachers. There are other programmes, like weekend workshops for teachers who are under-performing in their respective subjects or learning areas.

In these workshops, Mlotshwa said, teachers are taught and assessed to make sure they have required skills to teach these subjects.

The DA’s KZN education spokesperson, Tom Stokes, said that it is disturbing that so many teachers are in essence preparing pupils for their matric exams but are not qualified in the subjects they teach.

Stokes said the latest figures by the South African Institution of Race Relations, which states that 85% of students who enter tertiary education will drop out, make it obvious that the school system is failing to inspire, educate and socialise young learners to become capable and responsible citizens.

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