A delegation from the department revealed this to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on Tuesday. The delegation had come to present their second quarterly reports on the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign and the Technical Secondary Schools Recapitalisation Programme.
While the reports were welcomed, of concern to some of the committee members, was the issue of overcrowding in schools as well as shortages of teachers, which they said negatively affected learning.
ANC member James Skosana said dealing with classroom overcrowding was long overdue, despite having discussed the issue for many years, and asked the department what their plans were in this regard.
His colleague Florence Mushwana concurred, saying: “We can’t continue mass teaching. If we want better results, let’s reduce classes.”
The delegation responded by saying they wanted to have 140 000 teachers participating in targeted priority teacher development activities this year.
In the first quarter, their report said that a target of 35 000 teachers had been met and in the second quarter, a target of 31 710 had been achieved.
It said that the number of teachers aged below 30 entering the public service was targeted at 6 200 and nearly 3 000 had entered in the first quarter and 2 000 in the second quarter.
The delegates also said that 5 000 and 1 326 bursaries were awarded respectively in the first and second quarter for students to enroll in teacher training. Their overall target had been an enrollment of 8 517 students.
ANC Committee Member Gina Nomalungelo asked why they kept getting several reports on the shortage of teachers in schools, despite the information in the reports.
Highlighting some of their successes, the delegation said that 24 million Grade 1 to 6 language and mathematics workbooks were printed and delivered to almost 19 000 public schools in nine provinces for the 2011 school year.
A total of 12 million volume 2 workbooks were also delivered to all schools by 29 July for work to be covered from August to December.