The South African government is pushing to produce more than 14 000 new teachers by 2014, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said at the launch of a New Teachers Education Programme at Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga province on Tuesday.
Nzimande launched the programme at the reopening of the Siyabuswa Campus, formerly the KwaNdebele College of Education. Siyabuswa Campus will form part of the province's new university, which is due to be completed next year.
According to Nzimande, research indicates that South Africa should aim to produce about 18 000 new teachers annually to meet its needs in the short to medium term.
"In terms of planning our projections, we will be producing in excess of 14 000 new teachers by 2014."
Nzimande said his department was implementing a three-step approach to strengthening and expanding the country's teacher education capacity.
These included making sure that the current education capacity of universities was fully utilised, expanding teacher education capacity on existing university campuses through the allocation of funds to develop new infrastructure, and establishing new campuses for teacher education.
He said work was in progress to establish three additional teacher education campuses, in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo province, while the country's two new universities - to be built in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape - would both include a "full teacher education footprint".
This, along with "the new and growing involvement of the Vaal University of Technology in initial teacher education, will bring us very close to producing the required 18 000 new teachers per year in the medium term," Nzimande said.