North West needs maths teachers
Johannesburg - There is a critical shortage of maths and science teachers in the North West, the provincial legislature said on Thursday.
Some schools were unable to teach these subjects at all, said legislature spokesperson Namhla Luhabe.
She said one school visited by a legislature delegation had been without a maths and science teacher for over a year after its teacher died.
This emerged in an assessment of education in the province by four teams from the provincial government.
The teams had visited 26 schools focusing on the worst performing in the province, Luhabe said.
The school visits would end on Friday after which the teams would consolidate their findings in a report for the legislature and make recommendations to the province's MEC for education.
Auchalie Mothupi, a member of one of the visiting legislature teams, said they had found there was confusion between the provision of teachers and the real needs of schools.
Some schools had more teachers than they needed but no-one to teach critical subjects like maths and science, he said.
"The department needs to conduct a skills audit of its own workforce so it can make necessary placements," Mothupi said.
"It should also make a concerted effort to recruit more maths and science educators."
At Mafanele High School in Klipgat, a school where a maths teacher died, there were 18 teachers while the school, officially, qualified for only 11.
The school could not get a replacement maths teacher because its staff complement was too high.
It was only when pupils threatened a strike that the education department stepped in and sent a qualified teacher.
"But that was in August last year and then it was too late for the matrics to learn the full syllabus," said Luhabe.
An assessment team discovered three high schools in Mathibestad operating from one building.
The legislature undertook a similar assessment last year and many of the problems raised by principals had been tackled by the education department.
The North West matric pass rate of 77.8% last year was the third highest in the country, after the Western Cape and Gauteng.