As hundreds of parents and pupils took to the streets of Uitenhage on Wednesday to march against the shortage of teachers in their schools acting provincial education boss Mthunywa Ngonzo fired a salvo at them.
The march came after close to 100 angry parents closed 16 schools in the western parts of Uitenhage this week in a move aimed at forcing the department of education to act against teacher shortages.
“We want temporary teachers to get paid by the department because teachers are being paid by the school governing body,” school governing body spokesperson in the area Lourens Molsert said on Wednesday.
Ngonzo acknowledged a shortage of teachers throughout the province, but said the Uitenhage area was “not in the department’s priority”.
“The Uitenhage area is not even in our priority because in the past it has enjoyed an abundance of resources. There are schools which are really having a shortage of teachers. You go to Lusikisiki, Flagstaff or Libode in the Pondoland area and you will find our learners and teachers in difficult and stressful conditions,” said Ngonzo.
He said the department was attending to the problem of teacher shortages in the whole province and could not “specifically focus” on the Uitenhage area.
“We plead for community patience on this matter,” said Ngonzo.
He said the department would first have to move excess teachers to schools where there is a shortage and then attend to the problem in the Uitenhage area “if there is one”.
source: The New Age / SITHANDIWE VELAPHI