Over 8000 teacher vacancies remain even as the Basic Education Department announces its withdrawal from the province.
It is clear that the national intervention by Minister Angie Motshekga failed to deal with this central problem in Eastern Cape education.
The main driver of the vacancy crisis is SADTU’s opposition to the reassignment of 6 800 teachers in excess at their current schools to classrooms where they are needed most.
Neither the national Eastern Cape Departments have shown the political will to stare down SADTU and reassign these teachers.
In fact the Auditor General has stated in his most recent report that the national intervention has made little difference in the Eastern Cape.
The problem of empty classrooms in the Eastern Cape can be solved tomorrow if all qualified teachers are reassigned to new schools.
Temporary teachers could then be appointed to fill the remainder of the vacancies.
Minister Motshekga’s withdrawal from the Eastern Cape requires the MEC by law to present an official plan to deal with the major crises facing provincial education going forward.
The DA will request MEC Makupula to appear before the legislature’s Education Committee to give concrete commitments on how he will deal with SADTU’s opposition to reassigning teachers.
The Education Committee must be assertive in their oversight over the Department and to prevent further deterioration in its administration.
The national Department’s failure to make an impact in the Eastern Cape cannot be followed by more weak responses to our children’s need for teachers by the provincial Department.
Edmund van Vuuren, MPL