Education department admits to teacher qualification mess

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has admitted that it does not know if teachers in school classrooms are qualified to teach the subjects they have been allocated to teach.

This is according to written response to the Democratic Alliance by the DBE, which stated that it is still “in the process” of capturing the full profiles of all educators in South Africa.

These profiles include the qualifications, experience and current employment of the teachers, the DA’s shadow minister of basic education, Annette Lovemore said.

The DBE said that the data of nearly 328,000 teachers is currently being captured in the provinces and will be accessed nationally through the Personal and Salary System (PERSAL).

The analysis will also include the extent to which educator qualifications profile match that of the post in which they are appointed, the department told the DA.

This week, Professor Jona­than Jansen said educationists in South Africa had allowed “failure to become the new norm”.

Read: Teaching Mandarin in SA schools is political ‘gat kruiping’

“In order to provide quality education to all our children, we need to be able to make sure that our teachers are properly qualified. If we do not have this information, it will be impossible to make the necessary interventions to help our teachers perform better, and ensure that our children receive the education they need to pursue lives they value,” Lovemore said

Worryingly, the written response indicates that the bulk of teachers in public schools are over the age of 40, with fewer than a quarter of teachers in the system between the ages of 20 – 39 years of age.

Only 78,500 of 328,000 public school teachers are under the age of 40.

The DA pointed out that in 2014, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education was informed that all provinces would be capturing data on every teacher on what they are qualified to teach and what they are actually teaching.

The data collection exercise was due to be complete in August 2014.

“It is now August 2015, a year after the data was meant to be collected and the exercise is far from complete. Last week, the portfolio committee was informed that the exercise would be complete by October this year. This week, the target was shifted to November of this year. This cannot continue any longer,” Lovemore said.

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Education department admits to teacher qualification mess