State ‘is working on teacher numbers’ in wake of violent protests in PE

2015-07-29 14:24
Tyres burn during protests over school closures in Port Elizabeth. (News24 Correspondent)

Tyres burn during protests over school closures in Port Elizabeth. (News24 Correspondent)

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WATCH: Police, journalists pelted with rocks in PE

2015-07-28 12:46

As police vans patrolled a section of Standford Road in the Northern areas of Port Elizabeth, children pelted the vehicles from their homes overlooking the road. Watch. WATCH

The shortage of teachers nationwide is increasing dramatically, with only 416 000 teachers for more than 12.8 million pupils.

These figures were a major concern, opposition MPs said yesterday at a meeting of Parliament’s committee on basic education.

Violence broke out in Port Elizabeth this week, as residents closed down schools in the area in protest against a lack of teachers and the nonpayment of those who were already employed.

The basic education department said during its presentation to the portfolio committee that the situation was being addressed at the highest level.

“There are more than 12 million customers and only 416 000 workers. I do not think there is an organisation or company that has similar figures,” the presentation read.

Currently, the national ratio of pupils to teachers is 32:1.

The ratio between the number of pupils and teachers is the highest in:

» KwaZulu-Natal – 34:1;

» Limpopo – 32:1;

» Mpumalanga – 31:1; and

» The Eastern Cape – 31:1.

Gauteng and the Western Cape both have an average of 30:1.

Basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they were trying to appoint as many teachers as possible.

“We can’t really compare provinces. There are dynamic issues in different provinces,” said Mhlanga.

“We could continue with the number of teachers that we currently have but we have introduced various programmes that encourage young students and give them the opportunity to study teaching.”

ANC member of Parliament and chairperson of the committee, Nomalungulo Gina, said: “There are too few new teachers who want to work in rural areas, and too few teachers in the system.”

Gina added that there were thousands of teachers who were on contract and who stepped in when needed.

“We need teachers in maths and science. We acknowledge the shortage of teachers but I can attest to the fact that the department is working on it,” said Gina.

Inkatha Freedom Party member of Parliament Alfred Mpontshane said that teachers who held temporary and contract posts should be appointed on a permanent basis.

“It is ridiculous that we are complaining about a shortage of teachers while we have people who can do the work, but who aren’t being acknowledged properly.”

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  teachers  |  protests

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