Afrikaans Teacher Shortage: Department is failing to address an old problem

Dr. Allen Grootboom, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Spokesperson on Education

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the Northern Cape Education Department (NCED) to come clean, and admit that its poor systems have allowed a situation whereby qualified educators languish at home unemployed, whilst some schools are in desperate need of educators.

The recent media reports of the protest action undertaken by learners from Dikgatlong High School in Delpoortshoop, should be seen as the beginning.

The DA had highlighted the looming crises at the beginning of this year that the NCEDs inability to allocated teachers would lead to tensions. Normally after the first ten days of the school year, a snap survey is conducted to establish the needs of schools in the province after pupil intake in a new year. The survey findings guide the Department on where to allocate the additional resources needed by schools. Even though the report had been finalized, little action had been taken by the NCED.

Teacher shortages have been the source of frustration for principals and learners, and the NCED cannot continue to cower away from its responsibility.

The DA is aware of other schools which had made the request for educators. In Calvinia, a school had to let go of an educator after five months, after the Department failed to allocate resources; to date this teacher has not been paid. In Williston, a school had to make do without an Afrikaans educator, even at this late stage of the academic year.

It is simply unacceptable that schools desperate for resources should resort to protest before they get a response from the Department. It is the learners, and not officials or their political principles, who pay the price of inadequately allocated teachers and resources.

The DA will submit a parliamentary question to the Education MEC, Griezelda Cjiekella, asking that she detail the teacher shortage in the province, and to outline what her Department is doing to resolve this crises.