Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp Libode - After recording a matric pass rate of just over 8% in 2016, Mhlanganiswe Technical and Commercial High School in Libode has started 2017 short of four teachers.There is no sign that the Eastern Cape Department of Education will fix the problem any time soon.Out of 107 pupils who wrote matric in 2016, only nine (8.4%) passed, compared to 25% of the class in 2015.Teachers feared the number might drop to zero if the department did not send more teachers soon.Last August, students went on the rampage in protest at the shortage of teachers, burning three classrooms.The school opened this year without teachers in Xhosa, Life Sciences, Geography, Physical Science and Maths.A teacher who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said the department had been aware of the shortage of teachers long before the protest. After the protest, officials visited the school but nothing was done.“This is a serious crisis that we are facing as teachers and it’s even worse for students,” he said.School governing body member Bakhokele Ndamase said there had been no communication from the department.Middle Zolo High in Nqamakhwe, in the Cofimvaba district, also needed teachers. In 2016 not a single matriculant passed. Teachers said there had been a shortage of teachers for 10 years and the department was aware of it.Vukile Tshwete High, outside King William’s Town, had been struggling to get a Physical Science and Maths teacher. Last year, parents hired their own teacher, but only managed to pay him for a few months.SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) Eastern Cape spokesperson Sindisile Zamisa said the shortage was a crisis in a number of schools in the Eastern Cape.He said Sadtu had written to the ANC, Cosatu, the SACP, and the chairperson of the portfolio committee on education in the Eastern Cape government to convene an urgent education crisis meeting.“We shall decide on our next move which some people might not like. But the honeymoon is over for lazy officials in this department,” he said.Department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said officials had been sent to these schools to investigate.