By Sibusiso Menzelwa
The teaching profession seems to be the least favourite among young people entering tertiary level.
Pamela Mabengwana Mtotywa works as the assistant manager for the faculty of education at University of Fort Hare in East London. She says that she does not understand why so many applicants come to apply for teaching as their last option: “It is an important job, it is where everything starts.”
“Applicants usually come when they have been rejected by other departments.” She also said that teachers in the country leave to work abroad because the government does not pay teachers enough.
“An increase in the teachers’ salaries would be the only way to motivate young people to take teaching as a field they want to study for,” she said.
A report by the South African Council for Educators (SACE) says that according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2004, since 1990 there has been a marked increase in the international migration of highly-skilled people in three sectors, one of them being the teaching sector.
High school learners gave their reasons for disliking the profession and not considering it as a field to study at University.
Twenty-year-old Sifiso Tyomfi and 21-year-old Siphe Songoni who are both in grade 12 at the Centre of Excellence in East London said teachers teach a lot of children who come from different backgrounds along with different issues and as a teacher you have to deal with that stress.
Another reason they mentioned was that teachers are not paid well enough for the work they do.
“I wouldn’t work for so little money and I disagree with whoever says that teaching is an important profession because one does not need to have an education to make a living, you could just start a business.”
There are those citizens who do not even feel the need to be educated because they live in a country with a president who has a low education level. “Our president, Jacob Zuma does not have a proper educational level for the position he holds,” said Sifiso Tyomfi.
Akhona Blou is doing her third year in teaching at the University of Fort Hare. “I was inspired by my high-school teacher’s passion. In this course we do training and I love teaching especially children from disadvantaged schools because to see that they appreciate being taught something new gives me joy.”
She says she wishes to bring life into teaching. She said her mother was shocked when she told her that she had decided to study teaching.
Ms N Mhlope has a daughter in matric. “I would be reluctant to encourage her to study teaching because children these days are disrespectful to their teachers. There’s little money in that field and there are many other difficulties teachers are faced with like having learners from disadvantaged homes who then struggle to focus at school.” – WSU-SNA