SADTU Free State welcomes the State of the Province Address

17 February 2016

The South African Democratic Teachers Union in Free State have welcomed the State of the Province Address by the Honourable Premier Ace Magashule on the 16th February 2016.

The Premier was eloquent on educational matters and clearly aligned his address to the Freedom Charter. Indeed, the Premier considers education as an apex priority of government. The address also reflected on other critical priorities of government namely social development, health, human settlement, economic development and agriculture as these cannot be divorced from the well-being of learners and are interrelated with education in general.

The Premier outlined massive investment in skills development of learners post matric where over 7,000 bursaries have been allocated to students to pursue their studies at institutions of higher learning both in the country and internationally since 2009. This is commendable and demonstrates that the doors of learning and culture as enshrined in the Freedom Charter are open. This will immensely contribute in alleviating poverty and unemployment in the province and the country.

We would however have expected the Premier to reflect on the situation of Grade R Practitioners in terms of improving their stipends which have not been adjusted since 2012, considering that this is the foundation of learning.

With TVET Colleges being placed at the centre to produce Artisans which is the skill the country is in dire need of, we had hoped the Premier would talk about the situation of our TVETs and in particular that of Motheo College where the levels of corruption have sky rocketed and that defeats the efforts and vision of government.

As SADTU we welcomed the appreciation by the Premier that teacher-learner ratio should be balanced and we are optimistic that the department of education will be guided by this reality as we move towards MTEF Consultations later this year as the contrary is recipe for low morale and added workload on teachers and will deprive learners of quality education.

We are also looking forward to the speedy permanent conversion of qualified temporary teachers by the department as pronounced by the Premier. This is a bold stand by the Premier as it ascertains and speaks directly to the issue of job security.

We welcome and are looking forward to the Education Indaba planned for 25 to 26 February 2016 as a platform for stakeholders to review and assess the performance of the department throughout the grades.

We further appreciate the recognition of the significance of teaching of our indigenous languages in schools as emphasised by the Premier. Language is a barrier in many of our children. We are therefore looking forward to the full implementation and introduction of teaching of indigenous languages.

The ANC-led government has done extremely well in the delivery of the Freedom Charter in education and other spheres of government. We condemn in strongest terms the conduct of an opportunistic DA who accuses SADTU of taking charge of provincial departments of education. They are at pains to admit and will remain in denial that SADTU`s contribution in education cannot be matched by any other political party. They have for years waged a serious campaign to dislodge SADTU without any success. Their sentiments are no different from what is contained in the leaked report of the Ministerial Task Team chaired by Prof Volmink.

As SADTU we remain committed to Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign and will continue to advance our 2030 Vision.