Maths and science graduates could be forced to undergo mandatory community service by teaching these subjects at government schools, under a new draft proposal.
This is according to the Sunday Times, which reported that schools would draft graduates from state-funded universities into a compulsory period of teaching in schools that experience skills shortages.
Science and Technology minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told the paper that she hoped the proposal would encourage graduates to give back to the community and even join the teaching profession permanently.
“Why should we battle to find maths and science teachers in this country when there are people that have done maths and science at public universities,” she said.
According to the white paper, government also wants publicly funded research made available for free to bring South Africa in line with open science and innovation models prevalent across the world.
The white paper also proposes an increase in the country’s spending on research and development to 2% of GDP within 20 years.
The proposal for compulsory community service comes after findings in March 2018 that South African teachers could not pass simple maths and English tests.
Teachers scored as low as 10% for English first additional language and 5% for maths.
The teachers’ lack of ability was not the only issue raised in the study, as classes at schools were also found to be frequently disrupted, it found.