Every year, on 30 September, the MEC for Education declares the number of teaching posts in the province, based on the number of learners in the school system. Last year, the number of posts of 2017 remained the same as in 2016, totalling 54 747. Unfortunately, the number of posts declared was not enough for the 5 500 schools in the province, resulting in a number of vacant substantive posts in the system. Substantive posts are those posts budgeted for by the Department of Education.
On our numerous school visits this year with the legislature and on my own oversight as a DA MPL, it was obvious that there is a large number of vacant posts, resulting in certain subjects such as maths and physical science not being taught or being taught by people who do not have the qualification or capability to do so.
The department has indicated that it wants to make our schools “centres of excellence”. One can only make a school a centre of excellence if that school has all the necessary resources to assist it to become a centre of excellence.
The Democratic Alliance is appealing to the MEC of Education, Mandla Makupula, to avail a budget in order to have the adequate number of teachers as per the learner enrollment at our schools. Also, additional posts must be declared in schools where learner-numbers have increased.
We cannot continue with a situation where vacant substantive posts are not filled year-in and year-out but is instead filled by walk-in staff on a three-month basis. This is not conducive to good teaching practices nor is it good for job security.
The DA believes that where a walk-in teacher qualifies for the post, that teacher should be absorbed into that post instead of having to wait for a bulletin. This year no bulletin for Level 1 posts has appeared.
The DA certainly hopes that the MEC will take our suggestions seriously. We believe education is the basis on which we can build a province of freedom, fairness and opportunity. Hopefully, there will not be a decrease in the declaration of the post provisioning norms.
Edmund van Vuuren
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