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South Africa: Union decries plan to import teachers

EI affiliate the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) is angered over proposals to import maths and science teachers from India and Botswana.

The national Education Department recently announced plans to recruit foreign teachers for the key subjects which are compulsory at school from this year. But the SADTU leadership yesterday vowed it would never let the plan go ahead, as there are more than enough maths and science teachers in South Africa, some working as temporary teachers in the Eastern Cape. "We cannot let this happen. We have teachers, but they need to be employed before doing any (more) recruitment. The teachers we have must all be absorbed," said Sadtu general secretary Thulas Nxesi. In September, more than 11,000 people submitted their CVs to the national Education Department of South Africa after it announced that it was compiling a register of unemployed teachers to help them find work. Nxesi said that SADTU confronted Education Minister Naledi Pandor over the recruitment plans "...but she denied this. She said there is no such plan to recruit teachers from outside the country." Pandor's spokesperson Tommy Makhode also said there was no formal plan. "This came up after the Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine-Fraser-Moleketi and Education Deputy Minister (Enver Surty) visited India early in December on a recruitment drive for the civil service, not only for teachers," said Makhode. He said they were exploring opportunities to import the required personnel. However, on December 31, Eastern Cape Education MEC Mkhangeli Matomela was quoted as saying his department did not have adequate and competent teachers and that the state's aim to make maths literacy compulsory at schools this year gave the planned recruitment a degree of urgency. He said that besides the plan to recruit from India, there were also plans to recruit from Botswana and to use retired teachers.