In a reply <https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_-slGu8-FTxTE42azRyLU5uUlk> to parliamentary questions, Minister Motshekga has admitted that her department is using only two interventions to attract and retain teachers - a bursary scheme and a policy on teacher incentives introduced in 2008.
With no comprehensive plan in place it is no wonder the Minister is currently facing court action to compel her department to fill 64 752 teacher vacancies in the Eastern Cape.
The problem is much wider however with schools across the country facing critical shortages of teachers. Research has indicated that 25 000 additional teachers are needed however the national planning strategy is setting a goal of only 8600 teachers; while a reported 4 000 teachers per year are leaving the country.
Despite the acute shortage of teachers, Minister Motshekga has no holistic plan to attract and retain teachers.
The reply also revealed that no statistics have been compiled on why teachers leave the school system. Surely the Minister must realise if you do not know and understand the root causes of the problem of why teachers are leaving, you cannot hope to address the issues in a holistic manner.
I will be submitting follow up questions to Minister Motshekga, to determine whether her departments intends compiling statistic on why teachers are leaving and why her department has not yet put in place additional interventions to address the urgent need our schools have for more teachers.
In addition, I will also be writing to the Chair of the Basic Education Portfolio Committee to request that the Minister comes before the committee at the beginning of the next parliamentary term, to brief on her department’s plan to tackle the growing problem of teacher vacancies.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has implemented a broad range of teacher recruitment and training initiatives, including:
A sufficient supply of qualified, committed teachers is essential for our education system to improve, and for us to offer our children the best possible opportunities.
The Minister must explain to Parliament, and the South African people, what she is doing to turn the situation around.