Department blasted for importing Chinese teachers
The Department of Basic Education "has the nerve" to open a market for Chinese teachers when its own teachers remain unemployed, the SA Democratic Teachers Union said yesterday. At a press briefing in Durban, the union said its KwaZulu-Natal executive council had noted a newspaper article in which a "pronouncement was made, which is exactly what the union suspected, that there will be [an] import of teachers from China descending on the country to teach Mandarin."The department has approved the Chinese language as part of the school curriculum and pupils from grades 4 to 12 will be given the choice of taking Mandarin as a third language option from next year."The public must not forget that the country has thousands of qualified teachers who remain unemployed. KwaZulu-Natal alone has more than 2000 qualified teachers who have studied through Funza Lushaka [bursary programme] and others who are jobless are paying for themselves. Yet the department has the guts [nerve] to open the market to Chinese teachers," the union's provincial secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, said yesterday.She said teaching indigenous languages instead would absorb some of the unemployed teachers.The provincial executive council will hold seminars throughout the province to explain why the union says no to Mandarin.Last month, the department said it had partnered with the Chinese government to assist with the initial roll-out of the programme and the training of teachers. The Chinese government will send 100 volunteer Mandarin teachers to South Africa every year for the next five years. One hundred South African teachers will be taught Mandarin each year.