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If you are preparing for that terrifying, yet exciting next step in your child’s school career, Grade R—then you should take note that the rise in unqualified educators teaching at a Grade R level in KwaZulu-Natal is alarming.
This follows rather disturbing findings from two written parliamentary replies, from the KZN Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu – one in February 2020 (view here) and one in May 2022 (view here). Both replies are in response to questions by the KZN Democratic Alliance (DA).
According to the replies:
• In February 2020 there were 215 unqualified teachers in KZN.
• In May 2022 there were 2 810.
The latest reply also shows that the worst affected areas in terms of unqualified teachers in KwaZulu-Natal are:
With Northern KwaZulu-Natal not escaping the issue:
- Amajuba District, which covers Newcastle, Dannhauser and Utrecht, holds 195 unqualified educators.
- uThukela District, which covers Ladysmith, Bergville and Estcourt, holds 281 unqualified educators.
- Umzinyathi District, which covers Dundee, Nquthu, Umvoti and Msinga, holds 173 unqualified educators.
The DA KZN spokesperson for Education, Imran Keeka noted that in the MEC’s February 2020 parliamentary reply, Mshengu also stated that all unqualified teachers had been given 30 days’ notice with effect from 1 March and that they would be replaced with qualified educators by April.
Unfortunately, Keeka said this clearly was not the case.
“One of the excuses offered by the Department of Education (DoE) for this debacle, is that the current unqualified educators are only in Grade R – while the Grade remains significant as part of the overall education process and while one of the biggest problems within the Foundation Phase is the inability to read with meaning and the lack of basics when it comes to subjects such as mathematics. While these are not taught in Grade R, the year forms the basis for developing cognitive skills for the academic years that follow,” stressed Keeka.
When looking at what should the DoE do with the unqualified teachers, Keeka suggested there were steps that could be taken. “A simple solution would be to utilise their experience and skills, either as teacher assistants or within the ECD sector. Funding for this can be found through the ECD grants, if they fall within that component.”
However, would most Tax paying South Africans be comfortable with the incorrect staff, receiving a salary in another, created position?
What are your thoughts on this? Share your views in the comment section below.