Home PodcastJulie Alli Nearly 30 000 Educators are Unemployed Despite the 24 000 Vacant Posts Across the Country

Nearly 30 000 Educators are Unemployed Despite the 24 000 Vacant Posts Across the Country

by Thaabit Kamaar

Photo by [Daily Dispatch]

Build One South Africa has partnered with the Unemployed Educators Movement of South Africa to bring awareness to the plight of qualified and unemployed teachers in the country.

The Deputy Leader of BOSA, Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster, said after nearly two months of engagement with the Department, UEMSA reached out to them for support. UEMSA was unsatisfied with the responses given to them by the Department of Basic Education as to why they could not be employed, as there are 24 000 vacant teaching posts in the country.

In response to unsatisfactory engagements with the Department’s administrators last month, UEMSA protested outside the Tshwane offices of Education Minister Angie Motshekga alongside BOSA officials.

Hlazo-Webster said, “We were really shocked when they gave us the numbers … They told us, in their database they have, there are over 20 000 unemployed teachers in Gauteng alone … That was something that was shocking. We also found that there are other unemployed educators in other provinces”.


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Why are Educators Unemployed

In UEMSA’s engagements with the Department, they have been asked to submit their details to Education Departments in various provinces because they are the ones who hire and place educators in schools. They have done as requested and were unsatisfied with the feedback on their applications.

Hlazo-Webster said many educators were taken out of the employment system due to COVID and were not returned after that. There have been salary issues, with some educators being paid late or not at all and some continuing to serve as substitutes or assistant educators.

“What we’ve discovered is that the teacher’s intake process is marred by corruption … The second issue is the ratio of qualified educators to students in the country. Part of the reason why there is this issue is because there is the Presidential Program which has taken on a number of unemployed graduates … [which are] not necessarily qualified as teachers and they’ve been taken on in this program and put in schools”.

Resulting in thousands of qualified teachers either at home or employed elsewhere.

Memorandum Submitted to the Department

Hlazo-Webster said the two organisations submitted a memorandum on Monday to Minister Angie Motshekga. Unfortunately, no one was available at her office to receive it.

There are many issues which have been raised in the memorandum. The two organisations called for a third-party audit which will look into the case of the number of unemployed educators, the Department’s intake process and the allocation of subjects for the educators in the system.

In the memorandum, they called on the Department to provide a plan of action for the 24 000 vacant teaching posts across the country.

“We await a response to the memorandum which we submitted, and we will take it from there. But we’re not going to leave this issue, we’re not going to let it rest because it is a fundamental issue which contributes to the dropout rate … And school leavers who are inadequately prepared for tertiary education and the working world”.

BOSA and UEMSA expect a response from the Education Department within the next six days.

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