Durban - Politicians in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature have expressed fear that thousands of teachers employed by the Education Department could be teaching with fraudulent qualifications.
This is after education officials made a startling admission that the department had not been able to verify the qualifications of thousands of teachers on its payroll.
The department made the revelations to members of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) earlier this week.
The affected categories include new teachers and those who have “upgraded” their qualifications.
DA MPL Francois Rodgers described the situation as “unacceptable”.
“As things stand, we have thousands of teachers whose qualifications have not been verified and that just smacks of corruption and nepotism,” said Rodgers.
In its report on the matter, the department said it had embarked on a process of verifying the qualifications for new appointments as well as serving employees with effect from April 1, 2016 through the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa).
The verification process started last June and ran up to September 6 this year. It showed 33127 qualifications had been submitted for verification.
It said about 29443 qualifications had been found to be authentic and 461 qualifications were being verified.
The verification of 1314 qualifications was inconclusive as information was not available for verification and 1556 could not be verified as certificates or academic records were awaited from the teachers.
About 49 foreign qualifications could not be verified; 235 were non-compliant with procedures and 69 were found to be fraudulent by Saqa.
“Disciplinary action is being taken against the affected officials,” the department said.
IFP MPL Lourens de Klerk said: “We have almost 3000 teachers in schools that are possibly not supposed to be there. And while their qualifications are being verified, which could take months, the children will suffer.”
NFP Scopa member Njabulo Mlaba said the revelations showed that the department was not serious about its work.
“We call on MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane and Premier Willies Mchunu to investigate and remove people who are not supposed to be there,” he said.
National Teachers Union spokesperson Allen Thompson said it was the department's responsibility to ensure that qualified people were employed.
Thirona Moodley, the provincial chief executive of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA said there had been many instances of fake qualifications and it was up to the department to control this as it will have a negative impact on education.