5 teachers arrested each day in KZN


Durban – Five teachers were arrested every day in KwaZulu-Natal for fake qualifications, the head of the provincial Education Department revealed on Tuesday.

Nkosinathi Sishi made the startling admission following his department’s appearance before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) at the KZN legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

The department, which received an unqualified audit opinion for the 2014/15 financial year, had been grilled over its ability to recover the salaries paid to teachers and officials who were found to have lied on their CVs.

In the Umkhanyakude district alone, 200 teachers were axed last year, Sishi said.

He said he received updates on his cellphone from police every day about the arrests made.

Sishi said that the number of unqualified and under-qualified teachers in the province (14 000), and the need for maths teachers, had made schools vulnerable to this type of fraud.

An unqualified teacher has only matric, but is enrolled for a post-school qualification. An under-qualified teacher has a tertiary qualification (such as a BCom), but not a teaching qualification.

Sishi said it took a lengthy amount of time to verify a teacher’s qualifications, and the department did not have the capacity to immediately detect whether a teacher’s CV had been embellished.

DA MPL Mark Steele said the department needed to do better to ensure that teachers with fake qualifications were nabbed before their pensions were paid to them.

Sishi said in some instances, migrant teachers fled to their home country before a disciplinary hearing could be conducted.

He said he was particularly concerned that in instances where pupils were abused, unqualified and under-qualified teachers seemed to often be the perpetrators.

The number of new teachers graduating from universities was not enough to replace the number of experienced teachers who retired, resigned or died.

Sishi said the province was losing 4 500 teachers a year, gaining between 1 800 and 2 500 new ones.

He said the number of teachers who last year retired early or resigned had been especially high – about 4 000. However, most returned to the schooling system.

The mass resignations were owing to panic over a rumour that teachers would no longer be able to access part of their pensions.

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