It is deeply perturbing that more teachers are leaving the profession while fewer are entering the field.
The Department of Basic Education says 13417 teachers left the profession last year. New entrants into the profession are approximately 7000.
The government's shortsighted policy of closing training colleges is partly to blame. It will take many years to replace or bring the number up to par at a time when the country desperately needs qualified and dedicated teachers.
South Africa is a developing state that has not reached a stage where we can relax and expect the profession to right itself. Poor salaries and bad working conditions have forced many teachers to seek greener pastures.
Ill-disciplined pupils, indifferent parents and an unwieldy education department sap the vocation of teachers.
There is a dire shortage of teachers in the rural areas.
The Outcome Based Education policy is failing both teachers and pupils. While the department tinkers with it, teachers are voting with their feet.
Teachers are the bedrock of the nation. They can help to eradicate the high levels of illiteracy and poverty.
The department's Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme is a belated effort to bridge the gap but it is woefully inadequate.
The government must act swiftly to solve this problem. Piecemeal efforts will not work. It would be tragic if our developing economy were derailed by a lack of will to solve the problem.
It is imperative that we all come together to make the education system work.