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We the Nation: JORETA Participates in eNCA Discussion – October 11, 2023

Background: South Africa faces a shortage of highly skilled teachers, especially in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With only 15,000 new teachers graduating yearly, well below the required 25,000, and 18,000-22,000 teachers leaving the profession annually, addressing this crisis is imperative. JORETA, led by Mr. Ashley P Mojela, Ms. Ellen Mabusela, and Dr. Mduduzi Mathe, participated in a discussion with key figures from education and related sectors.

  • Participants:
    • Mr. Enoch Rabotapi: Chief Director DBE
    • Mr. Mugwena John Maluleke: General Secretary of SADTU
    • Ms. Nomsa Cembi: Media Officer SADTU
    • Mr. Matakanye Matakanya: General Secretary NASGB
    • Dr. Batseba Mbokane: Vice President AMESA & Wits Lecturer
    • Dr. Vlok: Teacher Training Representatives
    • Ms. Marina Van Zyl: MP DA ECD College Director
    • Ms. Nkanyezi Thabethe: Regional President COSAS SAOU
    • Trevor Noah Foundation Representatives (OLONA) FEDSAS

Topics Discussed:

  1. Looming Teacher Shortage in 2024:

    Highlighted the shortage of highly skilled STEM teachers and the oversupply of teachers in other fields. The discussion delved into teachers’ preferences for urban over rural schools and the need for improved conditions to retain skilled educators.

  2. Retirement of Teachers:

    Explored the factors contributing to the yearly departure of 22,000 teachers, including early retirement, socio-economic pressures, and challenges adapting to new educational demands like 4IR, Coding, and Robotics.

  3. Quality of Teachers:

    Discussed the impact of low teacher salaries, poor working conditions, and societal perceptions on attracting high achievers to the teaching profession. Emphasized the need for improved remuneration, policies against unruly behavior, and continuous professional development.


Participants, including Mr. Ashley Mojela and Mr. Basil Manuel, stressed the need for drastic improvements in school conditions and increased government investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD). Mr. Mugwena Maluleke emphasized continuous support for teachers, better salaries, and specialized training in 4IR, Robotics, and Coding. The discussion concluded with a call for JORETA to play an active role in improving teaching and learning in township schools and mobilizing parents to be more involved.

Way Forward (JORETA):

JORETA’s General Chairperson urged the organization to be more relevant in improving teaching and learning in township schools. Ms. Ellen Mabusela and Dr. Mduduzi Mathe echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the organization’s potential contribution as experienced teachers. Informally, Mr. Matakanye Matakanya and Ms. Nkanyezi Thabethe highlighted the importance of mobilizing parents, teaching STEM subjects in indigenous languages, and creating violence-free learning environments.

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