More than 9 000 government science teachers in KwaZulu-Natal were unqualified, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Monday.

"As many as 9 229 out of the province's 34 968 science teachers currently lack formal qualifications to teach science subjects," said IFP MPL Roman Liptak.

Out of the 9 229 unqualified science teachers, 1 130 teachers only had matric and 925 had matric with one or two years of further training, he said.

He said 7 174 had a Bachelor's degree without the requisite postgraduate certificate in education.

The figures were provided by education MEC Senzo Mchunu in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, he said.

"These numbers are disconcerting considering the province's dismal matric pass rate for science subjects while there is a broad correlation between the distribution of unqualified and under-qualified science teachers and underperforming geographical areas."

Mchunu's spokesperson, Muntu Lukhozi, said the IFP had blown the matter out of proportion.

"The manner they have presented the figures makes it sound as if we are only talking about high school teachers," she said.

The figures included primary, high school and FET teachers, she said.

"The department is busy trying to deal with the problem."

Liptak said department's measures to rectify the situation were insufficient.

The biggest number of unqualified teachers was in Vryheid with 252 unqualified and 1084 under qualified, he said.

Othukela had 139 unqualified, 754 under qualified while Umzinyathi had 116 unqualified, 606 under qualified. - Sapa