The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) in KwaZulu Natal welcomes the improvement in the performance of the province in the class of 2019. KwaZulu Natal moved from 76.20% in 2018 to 81.3% in 2019 thus making a big contribution towards the 81.3% average of the country’s performance.
Whilst we congratulate the class of 2019, SADTU celebrates the work teachers performed understanding the conditions they work under. It is a known fact that without their commitment and dedication, the province would not have excelled this much.
As provincial results were presented, the Department made it clear that these results are a product of hard work by teachers, who worked during weekends, holidays and holding evening classes and monitoring evening studies. SADTU concurs with the Department and further notes the anomaly that it has become an accepted norm that teachers must be exploited and that millions of rands are spent on interventions for the results to improve when there are reliable ways of ensuring that quality results are produced.
SADTU calls on the Department to invest more on teacher development programmes, Learner Teacher Support Material provisioning and improvement in the conditions of service for teachers in all schools.
Most importantly, the Department should prioritise Early Childhood Education to ensure that learners get a firm foundation from Grade R and show respect for Grade R teachers’ dignity through paying them a decent salary that corresponds with their qualifications and the critical contribution they make to the system.
Whilst SADTU does not support the unnecessary competition amongst Provinces and Districts in the province we do congratulate Ugu District for attaining 86.30% the highest score ever. It is worth noting that all the twelve Districts have improved as the District at the bottom of the ladder in 2018 had obtained 71.10% whereas this year the district at the bottom is at 77.30%. However, this pitting of Districts against one another will cause an unsuspecting person think that the most bottom District has underperformed which is merely an illusion.
KwaZulu Natal as a rural province has many infrastructural challenges but it was able to move from position six in 2018 to position five in 2019. This is indeed commendable. However, of importance is that KZN contributes a large number of learners of which 94 930 passed and only 21 899, which is merely 18.7%, could not pass. The province for the first time scored 81.3% a score that has been a dream for many years. KwaZulu Natal has recorded an improvement of 20.6% since 2015.
Also, the number of Bachelor passes increased and SADTU members lead the schools that had the highest numbers of bachelors; they managed to score more than 75%. Generally, SADTU members lead the majority of schools that performed well. This negates the narrative created by critics that schools led by SADTU members do not produce good quality results. The statistics are available to vindicate our claim.
SADTU INTERVENTION: SADTU ADOPTED SCHOOLS
As a revolutionary trade union SADTU, in line with her 2030 Vision Pillar Number 2 which calls for the creation of la earning nation, adopted fourteen schools which were struggling. SADTU particularly takes pride in the investments the union has made to assist these schools whose results improved remarkably since we intervened in 2018. The meagre resources at our disposal impacted positively in the lives of many learners of the fourteen schools we assisted through structured development programmes and resources invested. One of the schools in the programme, Idundubala High School at Kwangwanase Branch in UMkhanyakude had obtained 0% in 2017. After our intervention it obtained 57% in 2018 and 100% in 2019. Intwenhle high School in Umlazi had 17% in 2017; it received 76% in 2018 and 100% in 2029. All our schools improved and thanks to the SADTU School Improvement Team and all lead educators who developed an intervention programme which included visiting these schools to assist teachers and learners and developing revision materials for matric.
We invite the Department to expand its scope of interventions in underperforming schools by working in partnership with SADTU to assist more schools. The Department should continue to enhance management skills particularly in curriculum management and delivery as the backbone for great sustainable educational outcomes.
SGB POWERS IN THE APPOINTMENT OF PRINCIPALS
In the wake of the release of results, SADTU has learnt about the intention to resuscitate the call that was once made by one of the political parties that the powers of the School Governing Bodies (SGBs) to appoint principals must be taken away. In 2017 SADTU made an input on the amendment of BELA. Whilst SADTU understands the importance of leadership in running of schools, the proposal suggesting that SGB must only recommend post level educators creates an impression that post level appointments are less important. SADTU reminded the public that schools are part of communities and that School Governing Bodies are organs of mass participation in education. SADTU stressed the point that taking away the role of SGBs in these processes will alienate appointees from the communities they serve. It is noted that challenges faced by schools are mainly blamed on the leadership of schools despite glaring evidence of socio-economic problems and social ills that bedevil the system in many ways. Since the democratic breakthrough our societies have been marginally transformed to do away with the apartheid legacy which undermined and excluded participation of the people in governing structures and institutions of democracy. We cannot, in this new dispensation, reverse the hard won gains by marginalising people from participating effectively in these structures. The call for “The People Shall Govern” should be a reality. SGBs must be empowered to execute a range of responsibilities which included direct participation in the selection of school staff including making final recommendations to the HOD on appointments.
As the system matures, it is doing so through the very personnel whose appointments were largely overseen by the SGBs hence the relevance of acknowledging and appreciating their immense contributions to a maturing system. Recruitment policies and procedures in place have steadfastly ensured stabilised provisioning of human resources in schools not without some challenges. Any call to revisit or review the policies should be informed by the desire to strengthen them for the benefit of the system without undermining the ordinary men and women partaking in the course of transformation for a developmental State. The results that we are all celebratiing are a product of collective effort by all including our School Governing Bodies.
As this remains a national policy matter, the Minister of Basic Education should, as she had done with educators, heed the call by SADTU to provide continued capacity development programmes for all those who serve in SGBs. This will further contribute positively to a “maturing system” if it is manned by well-rounded individuals with requisite skills to execute their responsibilities effectively.
APPRECIATING THE WORK DONE BY ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THESE RESULTS AND WAYFOWARD
SADTU wants to thank the crop of District Directors we have in the province. They are true soldiers and agents of change. The team of District Directors we have in the province is well trained. They understand their political and administrative responsibilities and SADTU is very proud of them. Our accolades also go to all principals of schools and office based members of SADTU who continue with the good work as revolutionary professionals.
SCHOOLS DAMAGED BY STORMS
As schools will be reopening on the 13th of January, SADTU is concerned about the number of schools damaged by storms in the province. We urge the department of education in the province to attend to these schools by providing mobile classes whilst working on permanent repairs to them. SADTU will soon be asking for a meeting with the department and SGBs to discuss this matter including the challenges of municipality bills affecting schools. Schools are billed like business and they find it difficult to pay as some receive very little financial allocation from the department. We are aware that school principals will be receiving exorbitant water and electricity bills for December even though schools were closed. SADTU calls for municipalities to reconsider and review the way they charge schools. This must be done within the understanding that education is not a commodity; it is supposed to be free and as such the environment within which education takes place must have all the basic needs like water. As schools open, SADTU will be focusing on mobilizing the society to Love, Support and Protect teachers, all support staff and learners in schools so that teaching and learning can continue in a violence and crime free environment. This will be done through our “I am A School Fan Campaign” that seeks to lobby people to love, support and protect schools in their communities.
Issued by the Secretariat
082 611 7027
Deputy Provincial Secretary
082 611 7028