South African Government

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Basic Education on increased number of qualified teachers in education system

1 Oct 2018

Teacher supply tripled in Public Education System

The Department of Basic Education is committed to ensure that we to supply the education system with qualified, quality teachers as well as retain teachers in the public education system. While we continue to train new teachers we have also seen an increase in the number of teachers remaining in the public education system, this despite some media reports suggesting otherwise.

We currently have approximately 410 000 teachers in the public education system placed at 25 000 schools across all nine provinces that are responsible for educating 12.9 million learners.

The department monitors the trends of attrition in public schools over a period of five years. Looking at five financial years up to the end of March 2017, it shows that attrition due to resignation decreased drastically between financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17 from 8 619 to 5 211. Overall, attrition due to resignation of teachers leaving the system accounts for about 1.9% of all educators.

Both overall attrition and in particular attrition due to teachers leaving the system completely is relatively low. Also to note is that the supply of newly qualified teachers has almost tripled over the five years to 2016, growing from 8 000 in 2012 to 23 800 in 2016. There is therefore more than adequate supply to address current attrition levels.

“We are not sure where the narrative that our teachers are leaving the public education system en-mass is coming from, this is simply not true. As our data indicates we are retaining more teachers in the public system and our supply of teachers has tripled over the past few years. We do not anticipate that we will experience a crisis at any point.” Said Elijah Mhlanga, Chief Director for National and Provincial Communications at the Department of Basic Education.

The Department is continuously addressing the issue of supply/recruitment and retention of educators. On the supply side successful initiatives such as the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme ensure that there is an adequate supply of new educators especially in scarce subjects. 

If any teacher leaves the system to teach in another country, this would be seen as a positive development to create opportunities for the thousands of graduates qualifying annually through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme.

In terms of retention there are continuous initiatives to improve the conditions of service for educators and in particular the salaries. In recent times, the implementation of the Occupation specific Dispensation (OSD) played a significant role in the improvement of educator salaries. The recent public sector salary agreement also included the equalisation provision to ensure that difference between salary notches of educators is increased from 1% to 1.5% in line with the rest of the public service.

As we head towards World Teachers Day on the 5th of October 2018, we continue to appreciate the hard work and dedication of our teachers who in many respects go above and beyond what is required to ensure that learners receive quality education. As the Department of Basic Education we would like to thank all of our teachers for the incredible job they do in creating the leaders our country needs for a prosperous future.

World Teachers’ Day 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that recognizes education as a key fundamental right and establishes an entitlement to free compulsory education, ensuring inclusive and equitable access for all children.

Elijah Mhlanga
Cell: 083 580 8275

Troy Martens
Cell: 079 899 3070

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