18 February 2015
SADTU in North West is not happy with the Department of Basic Education`s posture.
SADTU North West held its Provincial Executive Committee meeting on the 12th and 13th of February 2016. Guided by vows and commitments the Union has towards Public Quality Education, the PEC reflected on the factors that cause the system not to deliver. The PEC noted an inherent deficient response from the Department of Basic Education to the plight facing learners and educators alike.
On Overcrowding and Post Provisioning Model
The PEC noted with absolute concern that over a protracted period of time, those in authority have displayed an extra- ordinary feeble muscle in addressing the question of overcrowding in our schools particularly the historically disadvantaged ones. In Mphe- Bana Secondary, a school amongst many in the province, the problem of overcrowding lacks appropriate vocabulary to define. One class accommodates 130 learners while the other, 107.
What disturbs the PEC further is the fact that the Union raised these challenges many a times, including the Provincial Protest March that was staged on the 30th July 2015. However, our plea to save the future of the South African child was reciprocated with the employer`s brutal stance to label our teachers as not hard working. The posture taken by the employer in this regard cannot be tolerated any longer. The PEC concluded to intensify its programmes to fight for this basic right if the Department continues not to meet our demands and provide more classrooms.
On Provision of resources and infrastructure
Overcrowding and lack of infrastructure is prevalent in several schools in the province. At Ikgomotseng and Paardekraal Primary Schools, learners have no chairs and tables. All Grade 8 learners receive their tuition while standing because there are no tables and chairs. Toilets are also not in satisfactory condition.
Learners cannot be exposed to this and therefore all ad hoc measures must be employed by the department to remedy the situation. SADTU will never remain quiet as witnesses when the future of our children is diminished and are subjected to prospective sub- humans. If it needs be, SADTU will employ the necessary evil - a strike action until the conditions are improved.
Affiliation to sport and music bodies
SASCE affiliations add to the total disregard of learner rights by the department. Music and Sports are well located as curricular aspects of total process of human learning. It therefore perturbs us to see our learners being barred from taking part in these activities, which are critical to their well being, because of failure by the schools to pay affiliation fees. This is because most of our schools are small and therefore are unable to raise money for affiliation fees.
The PEC took a decision that it will do the following on the day of the music competitions:
On Post Provisioning
SADTU has observed how the department is disregarding quality education through the emphasis it puts on numbers over the practical curricular needs of the schools. Many of our schools have severe shortage of educators. This inflicts heavy workloads on teachers who must sacrifice their personal lives and work long hours, weekends, holidays and work in study camps. We condemn this conduct by the employer with the vigour it deserves. We shall support any programme meant to challenge this stringent provision of educator posts without fear or favour.
Learners and educators at the firing line
SADTU is concerned about the very consistent trend where learners become victims of circumstances during community protest actions. Schools in Khunotswane and Kopela were victims of such actions by the communities in 2015. Amalia Primary and Obang Secondary Schools are not immune to these confrontations following the community`s dissatisfaction over the inclusion of people from outside the village, at the expense of locals, in the local mine. We acknowledge the genuine reasons the communities are raising. In fact, we support their posture ensure the service delivery. This support however, takes into consideration the fact that actions meant to address the challenges are approved by both the law and societal dictates. We have the responsibility to ensure proper ways of fighting for the rights accorded to us by the Constitution.
The delegation from both the province and region is deployed to visit such schools with the objective of according them support, evaluate and assess the situation and also locate remedial actions to mitigate against interference in teaching and learning. In the interim, we urge communities to allow learners go to school. We appeal on them to exercise patience on the matters in a manner that will not squander the education of learners.
We commit to logically fight for the rights of learners, safety of teachers as well as provisions of quality basic education.
Provincial Secretary, Keoagile Kale