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Friday, March 5, 2021
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South Africa: Are there too many teachers in KZN?

Thami Magubane

The number of students training to be teachers at tertiary institutions in KwaZulu-Natal should be reduced because there is an “oversupply” in the province.

This is according to members of the provincial legislature, who have advised the education department to assess its needs and project how many teachers it will need over the next few years.

The MPLs suggested that the department should then negotiate with tertiary institutions to lower their intake numbers for students wanting to be teachers.

Chairperson of the finance portfolio committee Sipho Nkosi said: “A few years ago, we asked the former Education MEC Senzo Mchunu to ask institutions of higher learning in the province to increase student intake in education.

“We would advise the current MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwana, to go back to the institutions and ask them to reduce the number of students, based on the department’s needs.”

He said they were concerned about the number of graduate teachers who were struggling to find jobs and were migrating to Gauteng.

Mchunu said when he had approached tertiary institutions, the province had been short of teachers.

“In my second year as MEC, I encountered a teacher shortage, especially in maths and science. We engaged institutions to say their intake was not helping us,” said Mchunu.

He said they had presented a plan of how many teachers the department would need over time and how tertiary institutions could assist.

Asked about whether the department would approach tertiary institutions, Dlungwana’s spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa, said the MEC had an open-door policy and would listen to the ideas coming from others.

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