By Edmund van Vuuren MPL, Shadow MEC for Education:
In light of the closure of schools by parents in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth since Monday, the DA believes that stakeholders must stop blaming each other and start finding solutions.
I have made proposals in the past to MEC for education in the Eastern Cape, Hon. Mandla Makupula, to alleviate the shortage of teachers in the Eastern Cape. My proposals were completely disregarded as MEC Makupula only paid lip service and didn’t act on it.
Had the MEC considered my proposals, we would have avoided this situation entirely. The MEC is playing politics with the shortage of teachers in the Northern Areas and has not taken this matter seriously.
We are aware of 122 posts that have been approved in the PE district, with more than 80 of those posts dedicated to the Northern Areas. As welcoming as it sounds, if there are no warm bodies to fill these posts then we need to look at alternatives.
The Department of Education and in particular MEC Makupula need to act as visionaries in order to create opportunities for these substantive vacancies to be filled.
A policy shift is needed in order for this department to create opportunities for unfilled substantive vacancies to be populated.
The DA is fully aware that currently there are no Funsha Luschaka bursary holders in PE to fill the vacuum, and therefore it is of paramount importance that the following proposals not only to be considered but to be implemented without delay.
I will once again table my proposals to MEC Makupula to get closure on the teacher crisis in northern areas.
My proposals are as follows:
- Rehire retired educators, as well as those who have resigned, for a fixed period who are willing to deliver a service and who have the appropriate qualifications for the current post profiles vacant within the Northern Areas.
- The department must compile a comprehensive list of all substantive vacant posts within the northern areas and advertise these posts as wide as possible. They should target the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Free State where there may be an abundance of qualified teachers not currently in posts within those provinces.
- Consider also for a closed period, the transfer of teachers from schools within the country as well as within the province who have close ties with PE and would like to relocate to PE and in particular the northern areas.
- Request Afrikaans speaking teachers who are teaching subjects other than Afrikaans in Xhosa/English medium schools to volunteer to be transferred to schools within the northern areas.
I will also outline my proposals on a national platform.
Education is the foundation for opportunities and the DA believes that if the MEC is concerned about education, he will create these opportunities within my proposals in order to bring stability to our schools.