July 14, 2004

Teacher recruitment inadequate, says Minister

According to the Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, teacher recruitment was not looking good as 17.000 teachers were leaving the profession annually with only 3.000 graduating from the 25 universities. According to her, the country still had some qualified teachers looking for jobs, but it was only a small number. "Pupil numbers are also increasing once again, after a three-year decline. We do need new teachers, and good teachers are the best advocates for the profession," she said. Ms Naledi also called on the council to work with her department in encouraging learners to train as teachers.

Furthermore she also raised concern over the lack of harmonisation in regard to provincial norms, with no consensus about what was both educationally sound and affordable. "I was surprised to learn that Gauteng has the highest learner-educator ratio in the country, and yet the quality of education remains excellent." By contrast, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape had the most favourable ratios in the country. "I do accept that small schools do impose certain demands, which impacts upon the ratio, but I am not convinced that these are educationally sound, given the enormous depletion of other resources, including classrooms in these provinces," she said. Pandor also mentioned that Zimbabwean teachers wanted to work here, often bringing with them high level maths and science skills, while countries such as Mozambique, were looking for English speaking teachers, as Portuguese is phased out in that country. According to her, South Africa would be confronting more and more of these issues as the country assumed a leadership role on the continent. (Bua News, Pretoria)

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