Jobless qualified teachers picket in Durban on Youth Day
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DURBAN - A group of unemployed qualified teachers picketed at the Durban City Hall on Wednesday, demanding that Premier Sihle Zikalala intervene and account for the constrained Department of Education budget.
This came after Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu recently said the government had allocated a budget for the year that was R6 billion short compared to previous years. This led to the department hiring fewer teachers.
“We want the premier to get involved and explain to us why there is not enough budget to hire teachers, because some of us know schools that are short on staff,” said Thandeka Buthelezi, an unemployed qualified teacher.
The teachers also felt that the department’s teacher assistant programme was not well thought out, and expressed concerns about assistants who only qualified for the positions by being in possession of a matric certificate.
“Is it not important to have a qualified teacher in the classroom? What do we have to do so that the province can take notice of our grievances? We have had enough. Why is the programme specifically for educators, why don’t they have the same assistants in police stations, hospitals and other departments?” Buthelezi asked.
Ayanda Mkhize, a young unemployed qualified teacher, said that even Youth Day was not worth celebrating.
“The majority of the youth is unemployed. We are depressed. Our government is not doing enough,” Mkhize said.
Meanwhile, Zikalala spoke at a Youth Day commemoration at Harry Gwala Athletics Stadium, where he assured people that the government in the province had put plans in place to combat the upsurge in youth unemployment.
“We have established a war room on jobs. We have insisted that youth employment must be mainstreamed with the private sector to fulfil the commitments they have made towards job creation.
“In the last financial year, we exceeded our target of 100 000 job opportunities and achieved 137 000. We are rolling out over R300 million to fund projects run by SMMEs and co-operatives across KwaZulu-Natal. For 2021/2022, 1 018 applications with a monetary value of more than R296m have already been approved,” he said.
The government has also budgeted R50m that would be used to support young and upcoming entrepreneurs, Zikalala said.