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For Newly-Qualified Teachers, It Is A Dog-Eat-Dog World

It isn't difficult to understand how so many teachers are choosing to go overseas...

24/11/2016 05:55 SAST | Updated 27/11/2016 23:05 SAST
Shutterstock / Luna Vandoorne
Young businessman holding sign Looking for a job

After graduating at UCT with my honours degree in Education, specialising in mathematics, and having studied abroad in Finland, which is renowned for having the most progressive education system in the world, I was certain that I would be employed in no time. I thought principals would be over the moon to have me teach at their school and bring my passion, creativity, spunk, innovation and energetic addition to their teaching community. To my dismay, I slowly realised that this was as far from the truth as I would ever imagine.

I uploaded my CV onto different job websites, Pnet, Career Junction, LinkedIn, Careers24, to name a few. I sent out countless applications to both private and public schools in South Africa. I also looked up different schools and sent them my CV in the hope that there would be a job available even though I had not seen an advertisement.

How can this be? Are qualified educators not a demand in a country where the education quality is so low?


The WCED website is the most useless website I have yet to come across. The method of applying is so complicated and unnecessary and God forbid you forget your password, retrieving it back is the longest most dreadful experience. I applied for teaching jobs at both intermediate and senior phase, hoping that this would broaden my scope and allow for more opportunities to open up. During my search towards finding a teaching job I came across 10 teaching posts, to teach abroad, to every one South African job available. How can this be? Are qualified educators not a demand in a country where the education quality is so low? Apparently not, there seems to be an abundance of English teachers required abroad, even though English is not a well spoken language in many parts of South Africa.

There are so many qualified teachers graduating every year and not enough posts available. Furthermore, old teachers are not going to leave their cushy WCED posts where they are receiving housing subsidies, pension and medical aid regardless of how little innovation and creativity they have left within them.

It's not difficult to understand why newly graduating teachers are leaving our country to work in the UAE and China. These countries are paying far more than South Africa would ever be able to, along with much better benefits to passionate teachers who want to share their passion and knowledge with learners. The South African community is therefore disadvantaging drastically as there are no fresh teachers moving in to the schooling community. Newly qualified teachers are flocking to teach abroad and are taking with them their ideas and passion that could have been used to benefit our country and in turn the quality of education here is remaining stagnant.

Perhaps I am naïve in my method of searching for jobs, although after applying to almost 60 schools thus far with no response, I highly doubt it. I definitely do know how to apply for a job given that I just resigned from one. Reason being, it was a Montessori based school and I had very little knowledge about the philosophy. I was not equipped enough to be able to benefit the children completely. I suppose it is pretty obvious what my next move will be. As much as my dream is to improve the quality of education in South Africa, in a world where money plays such a huge part of our daily activities, I need a job to survive and at this very moment it feels as though I have no other option but to take flight.