Teaching the teachers:  Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says the target is for 65,500 bursaries for the education of teachers over the next five years. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Teaching the teachers: Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says the target is for 65,500 bursaries for the education of teachers over the next five years. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The SA Council for Educators (SACE) and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) are calling for the swift reopening of teachers’ training colleges to increase the supply of teachers in public schools.

This comes as Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said her department would set a target to provide 65,500 bursaries for the education of teachers over the next five years through the Funza Lushaka bursary programme.

Public education has a severe shortage of teachers, with one teacher to about 30 pupils, compared to 15 in the private sector.

While both bodies welcomed state interventions to tackle staff shortages, they called for the reopening of colleges that were closed and converted into technical vocational training and education centres.

The closing of teachers’ training colleges had had a negative effect on the profession, SACE spokesman Thembinkosi Ndhlovu said. SACE members felt that the colleges were better at equipping student teachers with practical knowledge.

The ANC had pronounced on reopening the facilities in 2007, but little was done to activate that plan, he said.

Ndhlovu called on the private sector to come on board.

Sadtu preferred the reopening of teachers’ training colleges as they provided better practical experience for teachers than university training, which was inherently academic in nature, said union spokeswoman Nomusa Cembi.

Twenty-three universities in the country are involved in the education of teachers.

About R1.1bn was allocated to the Funza Lushaka bursary programme for the 2017-18 financial year, up 5% from the 2016-17 allocation.

It has been estimated that 31,750 bursaries will be awarded for the training of primary school teachers and 33,750 bursaries for the training of high school teachers.

gumedem@businesslive.co.za

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