IFP: KwaZulu-Natal Has 25566 Unemployed Teacher Graduates

Jan 28, 2024 | Press Releases

The IFP in the KZN Legislature, as the Official Opposition expresses deep concern over the high number of unemployed teacher graduates and a high number of vacant teacher posts in KwaZulu-Natal.

We are disheartened by the recent revelation of nearly 4000 unemployed teachers in KZN. Currently, in KwaZulu-Natal, there are 25,566 unemployed teacher graduates and 3,720 vacant teacher posts. This was revealed by the KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Frazer to an IFP parliamentary question on how many unemployed teacher graduates and how many vacant teacher posts in KwaZulu-Natal.

This is nothing but a recipe for disaster. We cannot send our children to school and later they are unemployed. This issue needs to be addressed immediately. While we note the latest decrease in the expanded unemployment rate from 42.1% to 41.2% in the 3rd Quarter of 2023 and a net increase of 399,000 new jobs, we cannot afford to be complacent.

The current situation of the high unemployment rate among graduates is a worrisome phenomenon in our 30 years into democracy while unemployment is still topping very high amongst the graduates, especially in the academic discipline of education in the teaching profession. 30 years into democracy, unemployment and poverty in South Africa are man-made. What we cannot afford is a business-as-usual approach.

From a constitutional point of view, the government has breached the South African Constitution by not providing jobs. We must remember that the government has signed a social contract with the South African people and in terms of that contract they need to deliver. And one thing they need to deliver is jobs.

The current government should boldly take the decision to answer to the public outcry of the young people by creating permanent jobs for the jobless South Africans.

The existing teacher shortage remains a nightmare as the teacher/learner ratio is extremely high in South African schools, especially in KwaZulu-Natal. A shortage of teachers is hurting efforts to improve the quality of education in schools.

It is perplexing that there are many vacant teacher posts while the KZN Department of Education has been allocated R60.6 billion budget during the 2023/2024 financial year, which is 41.5 per cent and the largest share of the provincial budget. Rural schools are frequently the first educational institutions to be impacted by educator shortages and serve as an indicator for larger issues related to the appeal and desirability of teaching as a profession.

Today, many rural schools are operating without qualified teachers and instructors in key academic disciplines such as math and science.

Without proactive and intentional action to secure the services of qualified and enthusiastic rural teachers, school effectiveness will be limited and academic development for students will be impeded.

The KZN Department of Education must ensure that more unemployed teachers are recruited – not only those who acquired their qualifications through government bursaries like Fundza Lushaka.

All qualified teachers, including those who have paid for their own tertiary education, must have an equal opportunity to be employed.

In addition, the universities should consider cutting intakes for courses which are currently having an oversupply of graduates on the job market.

Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa, MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature & IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Education
071 884 3844 / 079 114 3015

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