The IFP has warned that the needs of South Africans with disabilities are being sidelined by questionable education policies. While at the last count the Department of Labour signaled a need for 13 885 Special Education Teachers, the Department of Higher Education and Training believes we need just 6.
Recently, the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Minister Blade Nzimande, claimed that South Africa is "short of very critical skills that one cannot get at universities" but only at FET colleges. But when the IFP investigated the Department's 2012/2013 Skills Demand List, it was evident that something is amiss.
"The Minister is focusing on plumbers and welders," said IFP Spokesperson on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP. "But when it comes to Maths and Science teachers, his Department says there is no shortage. So we need 1 890 welders, but no Maths teachers? Clearly the figures are wrong."
When it comes to nursing, the other well-known critically scarce skill, the Department believes we need only 3 more nurses specializing in disability and rehabilitation. "This is a preposterous figure considering the tremendous need for professionals who can assist people with disabilities, whether through teaching or health care." said van der Merwe.
The IFP urges the Department to align its scarce skills list with the national lists of the Departments of Labour and Home Affairs, to ensure that our tertiary institutions produce skills we need, not just skills that can be easily acquired.
Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP - TWITTER: @Liezl_vdMerwe
IFP Spokesperson on Women, Children and People with Disabilities