News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday January 20th 2019

Over 1700 unqualified teachers in South Africa

Bianca Silva

More than 1700 South African teachers are unqualified to teach at secondary schools according to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.

This was contained in a report handed to the Democratic Alliance on Friday last week in response to Parliamentary questions submitted on February 11 this year.

In a press statement released on Monday May 3, detailing the Department of Basic Education’s response, the DA stated: “…more than 1700 South African science teachers are not qualified to teach science – meaning that at least 50 000 learners are not receiving teaching from qualified educators.”

Based on 2008 figures – the most recent – the Free State had the highest number of underqualified teachers, with 39 percent of all science teachers lacking the necessary credentials, while the Western Cape performed best, with 8,28 percent of science teachers underqualified, said DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training Dr Wilmot James.

James said qualified science teachers are expected to have a three-year college diploma or university degree in science, combined with a teachers’ diploma.

Motshekga’s spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said under qualified educators mostly had either a three year diploma for teaching secondary education or a higher education diploma.

A shortage of teachers meant schools were desperate, said deputy president of the National Teachers Union (Natu) Allen Thompson.

He said schools were taking “anyone”, even if they had only taken the subject they were teaching at matric level and failed.

Additionally, Thompson said, teachers who were trained to teach at a primary school level were also sometimes employed to teach high school subjects.

Mokgatlhe, although she confirmed the department’s response that there were 1 711 unqualified science teachers, said she was not convinced of the figures.

She said the numbers were based on a 2008 survey of schools covering all educators from Grades 10 to 12, but said the survey “did not provide a breakdown of the number of learners taught by unqualified or qualified educators”.

The DA claims we have 50 000 odd learners receiving science by unqualified educators…How did they get to this number?” asked Mokgatlhe.

However, the department’s official response notes: “Science education in South African high schools is in a very poor state.”

National 2009 matriculation results saw 60 percent of candidates who wrote the physical science examination scoring less than 40 percent in their examinations.

The DA-led Western Cape has recently announced plans to reduce the number of unqualified teachers by introducing performance management targets for teachers through a bill which will provide the provincial government with the authority to conduct inspections at schools and directly assess the performance of teachers in the classroom.

“There is a serious shortage of skills in maths and science teaching. Although the Western Cape is the best off, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that every learner taking maths and science gets a qualified skilled teacher,” said Bronagh Casey, Spokesperson for education MEC Donald Grant.

Casey said the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has developed incentives to combat the problem of low performance by teachers and pupils. These included developing a literacy and numeracy strategy, bursaries for pre-service and in-service training, funding for the construction of laboratories and mathematics subject rooms and centres for learning and career development.

“Our performance in science in schools is not good and the reason is contained in the figures you see in front of you,” said James. “They (unqualified teachers) slipped into the system a long time ago in the 1990s when there were changes from the apartheid system of education.”

Tags: Angie Motshegka, Department of Basic Education, teaching qualifications, Wilmot James

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4 Responses to “Over 1700 unqualified teachers in South Africa”

  1. I. Singh says:

    I am a UTE. I come from an extremely high profile corporate position and have found real satisfaction in a classroom teaching. a friend, seconded into the profession by a friend, whom had to represent our country in Kenya. I was on Maternity leave at the time. I walked into that first class, I new that this is where I belonged. I was given a lot of support from my family, who are all teachers, encouraged me to change my career path.

    I am severely underpaid for my efforts. I have to am now totally dependant on my spouse to provide for my essentials as my salary pays only for my transport and exhorbitant university fees. I am unable to afford more than 4 or 5 modules per year as they are extremely expensive.

    We are not overpaid as your article suggests. I earn less than my secretary did 8 years ago. Stop negating the work that teachers do. Do not generalise on our capabilities unless you have assessed each of our abilities.

    Perhaps you should ask the department of education why we have not been granted the bursaries that were applied for in 2007. According to the offices in Durban our Documents are always lost. I have submitted and resubmitted bursary application since the program originated. I am still awaiting news, in the interim I am stuying a few modules that i can afford.

    with regards

    I. Singh

  2. Teachers in SA are completely demotivated by the present Education system. The introduction of CAPPS are not going to change of seriousness of the SA Education System, simple because the following are not being address: overloading of teachers, overcrowding of classrooms, lack of resources.
    Open your eyes and correct those things and the Education System will improve

    Thank you

  3. Correct the system by addressing the following first:
    a) the overcrowding of classrooms
    b) the massive workload of teachers
    c) serious lack of resources
    d) Serious discipline problems at schools

    Without addressing those 4 important things, nobody will get the SA Education System on track

  4. MOGALE WA HLABIRWQA LE HUNADI says:

    PAY THE EDUCATORS ENOUGH SALARIES AND START COMPLAINING ABT THEIR PERFOMANCE-LEVEL OF PERF IS CURRENTLY TANTAMOUNT TO THE REMUNARATION RECEIVED MONTHLY-MMUSHO O A TSWAFISHA- BARUTISHI BA HLOKISHWA SERITHI KA LEBAKA LA LETSENO LA BONA. MMUSHO GA O HOMOLE -THSHENE E IPONE MAKOPO GATEE. GA YE YE…………….. DISATHANE TSE

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