Why are youth are not interested in a career in teaching
Unequal distribution of resources between low-income and higher-income schools, the lack of technical skills training and the inadequate support for teachers in rural areas are some of the reasons why young job seekers are not pursuing a career in teaching.
This is according to the online professional learning community Zibuza.net’s survey which is aimed at understanding from young people why there is a shortage of teachers.
Earlier this month, Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed to Parliament that there was a shortage of 24 000 teachers nationwide, as of the end of February.
“Provincial education departments are currently redeploying educators that are additional to the allocated post establishments at some schools to schools that have vacancies,” she said.
This was criticised by teacher unions, who claimed to have been echoing these claims but were shunned.
The online company said with the growing unemployment rate in the country at 32.5%, about 7.2million people, the shortage of teachers did not make sense.
CEO and founder of Zibuza.net Malcolm Mooi said: “We were particularly interested in hearing from young teachers on what they thought could be done to combat the shortage, as well as asking older teachers if their own experiences teaching had ever led them to discourage would-be educators from joining the profession.”
Mooi said respondents highlighted their frustration with the unequal distribution of resources between low-income and higher-income schools, the lack of technical skills training and tools to assist with online learning and the inadequate support for teachers in rural areas.
A Gauteng educator explained: “Teachers are not valued in our society: by principals, parents, learners or government. The profession is often wrongly regarded as one for people who are not smart enough to study a different course. These ideas contribute to the notion that the teaching profession is one not worth pursuing.”
“The survey further revealed that the reluctance of young teachers to pursue teaching as a career was not a reaction to being discouraged by current teachers (based off of the older teacher’s negative experiences) as we’d originally suspected.”
About 62.5% of teachers surveyed said they do not regret going into a career in teaching while 37.5% said that they’ve discouraged a would-be teacher from joining the profession.
“The reluctance of young South Africans to enter the teaching profession is influenced by both practical and societal considerations, as would-be teachers grapple with the prospect of low wages, negative stereotypes about their career path, and difficulty finding teaching placements,” said Mooi.
The primary reasons given by South African Teachers’ Union (SAOU) for this downward trajectory included:
· Low compensation and low compensation growth in line with inflation.
· Educators choosing to take early retirement.
· Teacher deaths and concerns around safety as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
· Large class sizes, especially in no-fee schools.