Govt to invest in more young teachers 

Govt to invest in more young teachers
DUTY BOUND: Mpumalanga education MEC Bonakele Majuba who over the weekend celebrated the International Teachers Day in eMalahleni and raised concerns about the high number of teachers who are over 50 years old

The concern arises as they realise that not much is being done to make sure generational planning is realised.

The Mpumalanga government believes more needs to be done in enticing a lot of young people to the teaching profession as the statistics show a majority of teachers in the province are reaching their retirement age. 

Only 12% of the province’s teachers are between the age of 20 and 29 years, with those between the age of 30 and 39 years constituting 14% – putting the percentage of young teachers in the province at 26.47%.

Those who are between the age of 40 and 49 years take the second largest piece – at 28.24%, while those who are 50 years and above constitute 46%.

“Our concern is that there are very few young teachers that are in the system which constitute 12%,” Majuba said while addressing teachers from various teacher unions at the eMalahleni Fortis Hotel on Saturday.

The MEC spoke while his department was celebrating International Teachers Day. 

“The statistics confirm that we need to work diligently to recruit more young people,” he said, adding this includes recruiting learners with disabilities and albinism to find teaching an attractive career to consider.

Currently, there is 0.19% of teachers with disabilities in the province, and “these numbers suggest that we need to intensify the drive to recruit learners to take teaching as a career of choice”.

“As we do that we must make sure that learners with disabilities including those with albinism are equally recruited. This will ensure that we meet our set targets of disability mainstreaming,” Majuba said. 

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Mpumalanga has the third largest unemployment rate in the country – the first being the Eastern Cape with 37.4% and second is the Free State at 34.9% – with 34.2% unemployment rate putting it at a third place. 

The department is currently sending some few hundreds of learners to go study towards being teachers. They have 523 students at various universities who are studying towards being teachers.

Out of this 523 students, government expects that 325 will complete their studies this year and will graduate in May 2020 while 134 students will hopefully graduate in 2021.

The provincial government’s Ephraim Mogale Bursary Scheme has 152 students at various institutions, including 6 students who are in Russia with 82 of them expected to graduate at the end of this year. 

Majuba said although they also have other students who are being funded through the Fudza Lushaka Bursary Scheme the “numbers suggest that we need to intensify the drive to recruit more learners”.

“The Mpumalanga we envisage requires that we develop our learners when they are still young and receptive in the area of digital skills, coding, robotics and entrepreneurial fields of study. This requires us to act in unison and move with greater speed and determination”.

The Teachers Day celebration at the Fortis Hotel was attended by teachers from NATU, NAPTOSA, PEU, SADTU as well as leaders from South African Council for Educators and Sector for Education and Training Authority.

The unions raised the issue of the freeze in Mpumalanga government posts and said the overwork they carry as the result of the moratorium is affecting teaching. 

They also suggested that in order to make teaching an attractive career the issue of better payments should be addressed as well as teachers safety and the purchase of technological equipments that can make teaching and learning simple. 

(edited by ZK) 

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