n Journal of Educational Studies - A South African educational crisis? Promoting quality education through the elimination of out-of-field teaching




After having encountered the phenomenon of teaching out-of-field in South Africa (teaching a subject that teachers are under-qualified for or even unqualified), the authors felt compelled to research the manifestation thereof in two adjacent provinces in South Africa namely KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Quality teaching is directly affected by this phenomenon but it appears as if the influence of this phenomenon has so far been overlooked. The two areas that were selected in these two provinces are in close proximity but because they are controlled by two different provincial administrations, the study made use of triangulation to render credibility to the results. The researchers followed a qualitative research approach with open-ended interviews, observation and document analysis as data collection instruments. The social learning theory, as well as the social development theory formed the theoretical framework for this research. The research sample was selected from 10 different schools in northern KwaZulu-Natal and eastern Mpumalanga. Fourty participants, including teachers, head of departments (HODs), and principals, participated in the research. The actual extent of the out-of-field placing of teachers exceeded the expectations of the authors. Given the fact that there is a quantifiable shortage of competent and qualified teachers, the miss-placement of teachers would appear to be extremely counterproductive.The research culminated in an important recommendation that a professional licensing system be devised by the authorities in order to address and to terminate this situation and expectantly promote quality education.


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