Hundreds of teachers in KZN not fit to teach key subjects

2011-06-09 00:00

ALTHOUGH the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department plans to reduce the number of unqualified and under-qualified teachers, hundreds of teachers in the province are still not qualified or equipped to teach — especially in gateway subjects such as mathematics, science and accounting.

The Education Department has revealed that as many as 468 teachers are still not fit to teach mathematics in KZN, while as many as 345 teachers are not equipped to teach physical science.

This emerged in response to a question in Parliament.

In maths literacy, pupils are being taught by 291 teachers not properly qualified to teach the subject.

Maths literacy was featured in the 2008 matric examination for the first time as part of the new National Senior Certificate. This was to ensure all pupils, including those who would not typically take maths as a subject or require it for studying maths-related subjects at tertiary level, would at least leave school with some form of mathematical literacy.

Other subject areas with inadequately qualified teachers are accountancy, with 152 under-qualified teachers; business studies with 176; economics with 133; and life science, formerly known as biology, with 200.

These figures refer only to teachers without the basic M+4 qualification to teach in high schools.

In 2010 it was estimated that about 13 000 teachers in the province are either unqualified or under-qualified.

Teachers say the problem in the ­uMgungundlovu District is made worse by the fact that a new physical science advisor has not been appointed, although the previous incumbent retired three years ago. A similar situation exists in Kokstad, which has been without a maths advisor for the last two years, and uMzinyathi (Dundee), which is without a physical science advisor.

Some teachers predict that the province’s failure rate in maths is likely to go up this year, as pupils are no longer being allowed to change from maths to maths literacy at the beginning of grade 12.

Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, secretary-general of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, said members are tired of the department’s prophecies “to qualify unqualified teachers”.

He said poor incentives to draw teachers to rural areas means matriculants teach the lower grades.

468 teachers still not fit to teach maths

345 teachers not equipped to teach physical science

291 teachers not qualified to teach maths literacy

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