The Department of Basic Education is stuck with more than 5,000 underqualified or unqualified teachers it cannot eliminate because of a tremendous shortage in teachers. On Monday, department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga confirmed the figures, but said removing the unqualified teachers from the system would create a crisis. Unqualified teachers were deemed to be those whose highest academic qualification was matric. They were allowed to teach only the subjects they passed in matric. Underqualified teachers were those who had obtained post-matric qualifications, but have received fewer than three years of on-the-job training. Mhlanga said teachers in this category created a poser for the department because they taught mathematics, the sciences and technology at all levels, as well as African languages, especially at foundation phase, making them crucial in the basic education system. He also revealed these teachers were on the same salary scale as qualified colleagues. "They are teaching ...

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