Dept: Too few black grade R teachers

2008-03-10 00:00

THE provincial Education Department has raised concerns at the apparent dearth of grade R teachers.

Addressing members of the legislature’s finance portfolio committee on Friday, Education MEC Ina Cronje said there is a shortage of mostly black teachers in this phase.

Leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party in the legislature, Lionel Mtshali, challenged Cronje’s statement, saying it “seemed unusual that the MEC says African teachers are not inclined to go to this level of training”.

Cronje said the statement was not meant as an insult, but was merely a concern for her and the department.

“If you go and check the enrolment of students at university for this phase, you will find that most of the students are mainly young white students. This is a concern because you also need mother-tongue practitioners at this phase,” she said.

Cronje assured the committee that strides are being made to ensure that the matter is addressed.

She said most of the money received by the department as part of the Extended Public Works Programme is pumped into the ongoing programme to train teachers in the early childhood development (ECD) phases.

The Witness learnt that there are 3 011 qualified grade R teachers and about 1 600 more are needed. Over 800 new posts have been advertised this year.

Cronje said her department is putting more focus on improving education at the lower grades.

“You can only do so much if you’re building on a wobbly foundation … ” she said.

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