SA teachers aren't adequately matched to subjects or schooling phases

According to research conducted by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), examining South Africa’s teacher supply and demand for the next decade, although we will produce a significant overall number of teachers in the future, the concern is that shortages in specific areas of qualification and expertise will continue to grow.

The concern is the match between the overall number of teachers for the needs of the different phases of schooling.

Areas of teaching that face shortages

Jane Hofmeyr, education policy and advocacy director at the CDE, says that the most concerning shortages are predicted in the following areas:

  • Languages at all phases of learning, particularly at foundation phase (grades R to three)
  • Maths, at all phases except at the further education and training phases (grades 10 to 12)

Teaching graduates are not matched to the needs

Hofmeyr told CapeTalk/702's Redi Tlhabi that teaching graduates are not matched for what the education system needs in the different phases of schooling; and this is most marked at the foundation level. She says that there are not enough graduates trained in this phase.

A qualified teacher is not necessarily a quality teacher

She says that the numeracy and literacy issue is most worrying at the foundation phase and there is an urgent need for mother tongue African speakers training to teach in the foundation phase, yet the majority of trainees coming in are white English speaking teachers.

Hofmeyr says that the quality of initial teacher programmes have been shown to be poor in the country, and new minimum requirements will be enforced in 2016.

Findings show that an estimated 30 000 new teachers are needed over 12 years, taking the total from around 426 000 in 2013 to 456 000 in 2025 to meet increased pupil enrolment.

The majority of South African teachers have been ill-educated and ill-trained for their jobs and 19 percent of the teaching core in South Africa do not have the necessary training.

She says that as an exigency measure, there ought to be a a focus on the preparation of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) to produce more teachers.

She notes that there is a need to target and produce teachers that will meet the demands within the field, and this may take some time.

Read the full findings of the research here.

Listen to the full conversation on the Redi Tlhabi show:


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