Expectations that Education MEC Mandla Makupula will not reduce the number of teacher posts in the Eastern Cape despite fewer pupil numbers is welcomed. The MEC will announce the 2017 post declaration on Friday, 30 September 2016.
The DA’s vision in the Eastern Cape is the provision of quality education that prepares learners for work in a fast-changing global economy. To achieve this, we need a system that is free from teacher shortages and overcrowded classrooms. We owe it to our children to put a teacher in every classroom, in every school.
We appreciate that the MEC has been able to revise the initial number of available posts for 2017 upwards, from 53 606 to 54 747. Therefore, the number of posts for next year will remain the same as this year.
We trust that his department will prioritise the confusion around correct learner numbers. Some 60 000 learners in the Eastern Cape do not appear on the South African School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS) because they do not have identity numbers.
This issue must be sorted out as a matter of urgency. We cannot afford to lose much-needed funding due to incorrect numbers. As it stands, the declaration of 54 747 posts will leave the department with a budget shortfall of more than R456-million. This shortfall, in turn, will affect other programmes within the department. Hopefully, the MEC will find a solution for the shortfall and ensure that we don’t have a repeat of the past, where teachers were not paid.
Innovative, forward thinking is needed now. We have to invest every cent possible to provide quality education of our children now, not later. We can start by reducing the costs of the education administration in Bhisho, which takes up 90% of the annual budget, leaving a dismal amount for actual teaching.
Edmund van Vuuren
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