I will be writing to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to request that she tables a report to Parliament that provides a complete status update of the teacher shortage crisis in the Eastern Cape and her Department's plans to resolve the predicament.
According to reports from the region, six schools, one in Buffalo City and five in Graaff-Reinet, have closed because of staff shortages. These closures are mind-boggling considering the estimated 7 152 excess teachers at certain schools who need to be transferred.
The complete inaction on this on-going crisis stems from the standoff between government and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU). Indeed, SADTU has continually opposed the transfer of excess teachers to schools where they are needed the most, to the detriment of learners and teaching staff alike.
As a result, learners are forced to learn in overcrowded classrooms whilst teachers become frustrated and over-burdened, as they have to take on unsustainable teaching expectations to cover the critical shortages.
Minister Motshekga can no longer proceed as if there is no crisis. She must treat this with the urgency that it deserves so that our learners can receive the quality education they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
She can start off by standing up to SADTU and putting the interests of learners above alliance politics.
Government's claim that education is an apex priority must be reflected in action, not merely in empty rhetoric.
Annette Lovemore, Shadow Minister of Basic Education