A shortage of teachers has affected learning in the North West province, following mass resignations, the provincial department of education admitted on Tuesday.
“As a department we can confirm that we have a shortage of teachers since the massive resignation that affected most provinces, including the North West. This posed a serious threat in the classroom,” spokesperson Elias Malindi said.
He said both teachers and learners were key to the existence of the department of education.
“It would be a serious oversight for anyone to think that the department would neglect such crucial stakeholders.
“Co-management of the department by treasury also caused a stall in the appointment of teachers in vacant posts.”
However, the department said issues had been resolved by engaging with provincial treasury to grant access to districts to use the persal system so that districts could make appointments even against promotional posts. “A circular instructing districts was issued a week ago.”
The Democratic Alliance in the North West said it was deeply concerned about the critical shortage of teachers in the majority of schools in the province, as well as the lack of resources like tables and chairs.
“During an oversight visit in Majakaneng [near Brits] all the schools visited reported a critical shortage of teachers,” said Tutu Faleni, DA spokesperson on education in North West.
“Some leaners at Seroophathe Primary School are without teachers in the classrooms. The Democratic Alliance has been informed that many other schools across the province are experiencing shortage of teachers.”
He said school principals reported that the department of education had issued an instruction in December 2015 which prohibited them from filling teacher vacancies against promotional posts.
“This critical shortage of teachers is also a result of the mass exodus of about 1,500 teachers who resigned from schools in the North West last year,” the DA said. “Principals at schools are unable to fill vacant posts immediately due to the cumbersome processes of appointing teachers in vacant posts.”
Regarding classroom furniture, the department said it had made provision for both new and existing schools. However, a shortage of classroom furniture was greatly affected by learner enrollment, Malindi said.
“For existing schools, districts must identify needy schools and make necessary measures to procure for them. The department will embark on establishing the extent of the shortage by engaging all districts,” he added.
– African News Agency (ANA)