Minister told of unqualified teachers

2010-07-08 19:22

Durban - Many KwaZulu-Natal matric pupils were taught mathematics and science by teachers who only had a matric qualification, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was told on Thursday.

Some of the province’s education districts also did not have crucial subject advisers, Motshekga was told by teachers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

She also heard that the lack of properly trained teachers contributed immensely to the poor performance of matriculants.

The gathering was attended by scores of maths, science and English teachers from schools that performed badly during matric examinations last year.

“I will engage with education MEC (Senzo Mchunu) about the issue of subject advisers and teachers who don’t have qualifications. I know the problem of subject advisers is everywhere,” she said.


Motshekga said her department was aware of the dire shortage of trained teachers, saying that South Africa had reached a crisis.

Government had asked retired teachers to come back to the profession to help to deal with the shortage.

“We have a problem because most of the retired teachers are very old.

"We don’t want to take people who are too old,” she said.

Although she admitted that universities were not producing enough teachers, Motshekga said government was not considering re-opening teacher training colleges which were closed down a few years ago.

During election campaigns in 2008, President Jacob Zuma called for the re-opening of colleges to deal with the teacher shortage.

But Motshekga on Thursday said she preferred universities because of their world class standards.

“Colleges had a problem with the issue of quality. Universities make you comfortable because the quality control part is world standard,” she said.

Practical work

Moses Kotane Institute CEO, Professor Albert Modi said government needed to address the issue of teachers, saying that schools should not be dumping grounds for people who could not get other jobs.

The institute was established to improve maths, science and English in schools.

Modi said well trained teachers and teaching facilities such as laboratories were crucial to pupils.

“We have pupils who pass maths and science with flying colours but they fail dismally when they go to the universities because schools do not have labs,” he said.

He said the lack of laboratories meant pupils were taught to memorise science when they should be doing practical work.

Modi urged government to buy mobile science and biology laboratories which cost R40 000 each.

“I think these labs are a solution because it cost more than R2m to build a normal lab,” he said.