MEC Must Explain Why KZN Unqualified Teacher Figures Don’t Add Up

Tom Stokes, MPP DA KZN Spokesperson on Education STATISTICS for the number of unqualified educators in KwaZulu-Natal simply don’t add up, with conflicting figures provided to the DA by National Minister, Angie Motshekga and provincial education MEC, Senzo Mchunu. According to a parliamentary reply by Motshekga, there are currently 6 510 unqualified teachers in the province. Yet a recent response by the KZN Education department to questions posed by the DA in the KZN Legislature puts the figure at 14 000. These contradictory figures are a source of grave concern. According to the Minister’s reply, the number of learners being taught by unqualified teachers can only be estimated by using the learner educator ratio. Based on this, the figure she has come up with is approximately 208 300 learners. This means that – at best – some ten percent of KZN learners are being taught by unqualified educators. Yet the issue of unqualified teachers is multi-faceted and goes way beyond a simple arithmetic issue. In KwaZulu-Natal there are schools where teachers are not qualified. Then there are teachers who are qualified, yet are not teaching the subjects for which they are qualified or are teaching at a level they are not equipped to teach. This is indicative of a far greater problem and the DA in KwaZulu-Natal is currently conducting an investigation with the intention of establishing the true extent of this challenge in this province. Compounding the problem is the fact that the national department has not set any time frames to deal with the issue. In fact, the Minister goes so far as to pat the department on the back for having “drastically” reduced the number of unqualified educators nationally over the last few years. The DA calls on KwaZulu-Natal’s Education MEC to explain the conflicting figures provided by the national and provincial departments. We also expect the department to focus on what is an unacceptable situation. One unqualified teacher in a classroom one is too many.

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