SCHOOLS in the province are edging towards a crisis as the education department has allegedly failed to create new posts for teachers this year. This is according to opposition parties and teacher unions who say this failure has left some schools due to write exams next month, being without teachers.
But the department has countered this, saying posts are created as and when they are requested.
IFP MPL and the party's spokesperson of Education, Xolani Ngwezi, said the situation was serious.
“The situation is dire, not only for the many unemployed teachers, but also for the pupils in classes that are filled beyond capacity owing to the shortage of teaching staff,” he said.
“Jeopardising the success of pupils through such departmental budgetary mismanagement is unconscionable. We call for urgent and immediate review of the departmental position,” he said.
DA spokesperson on education Rishigen Viranna said the posts remaining vacant was the equivalent of cost-cutting measures for the department.
He said the problem revolved mainly around the filling of vacant posts, especially when teachers retired or resigned.
“The department estimates that it has around 110 000 teachers on its payroll but does not know how many are in the classroom.”
Viranna said the department’s financial problems were not helping matters, with a R600 million overspend on this financial year’s budget predicted.
“The only way a pupil can learn is if there is a teacher in the classroom. There are some classrooms that have no teachers at all and some are forced to teach subjects they are not qualified for,” said Viranna.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s Nomarashiya Caluza said the issue had been compounded by the withdrawal of powers of district directors to appoint teachers.
“For any teacher to be able to stand in class, that teacher must have been approved directly by the head of department (Dr Enoch Nzama) and that is a long process. Because of that, there are schools that are without teachers and some are writing their exams in March, which means they have already been affected,” she said.