Cheerful Black woman with student against whiteboard. Representational Image.
Cheerful Black woman with student against whiteboard. Representational Image. Katerina Holmes/

Deputy President Paul Mashatile urged all global leaders to address the teacher shortage issue in South Africa as well as other countries, suggesting that there should be "competitive compensation and recognize teachers' achievements" to encourage teachers to participate in the teaching profession.

Speaking at the 14th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education in Illovo, Johannesburg, he said that this kind of recognition and compensation can bring a sense of pride and purpose among potential teachers, motivating them to join this profession.

"As we gather here today, we are faced with a stark reality, which is a shortage of qualified and motivated teachers across the globe," he said, SA News reported. "Instead of disregarding the situation and continuing as if everything is going according to plan, we need to acknowledge the problem and devise a solution that is both effective and efficient."

The deputy president pointed out that the shortage of teachers not only jeopardizes the quality of education but it also makes it harder to achieve the SDG 4 goal (Sustainable Development Goal 4) of giving good education to everyone.

Mashatile acknowledged the teachers' role in shaping the country's future as they impart knowledge to the future generation. He noted that teachers are crucial for nurturing, fostering critical thinking, inspiring dreams and pushing the limits of human potential.

"We thus owe it to these titans of our society to recognize, honor, empower, and value them as well as the job that they do," he said, adding that the governments should "improve their working conditions and remuneration as a way of appreciating their hard work so that they can be able to fulfill their important task without getting discouraged."

Furthermore, the deputy president noted that the governments should keep the teachers updated with the new technologies so that they can remain efficient in their work and keep up in this digital age.

"As South Africa, we feel privileged to have been allowed to co-chair the steering committee of the Teacher Task Force in collaboration with Germany," he said.

Talking about solutions, he noted that South Africa is optimistic about the Policy Dialogue Forum and highlighted that the forum will come up with solutions to problems such as inadequate training and qualifications of the teachers.

He noted that there are more teachers for the Further Education and Training (FET) band than for the General Education and Training (GET) band due to which FET band teachers are being migrated to the senior phase and teach Grades seven and eight grades.

However, the deputy president assured that the South Africa government is working on this matter via the Fundza Lushaka Bursary Scheme, which will provide increased salaries and better working conditions for the young teachers who choose teaching as their profession.