The Acting General Secretary`s view point

3 August 2009

Letter to the Editor of Business Day

The utterances by Khehla Shubane and RW Johnson on Business Day`s 29th July edition under Management and Leadership cannot go unchallenged.

The article denigrates and makes a mockery of the Alliance partners namely the South African Communist Party, ANC Youth League, Cosatu and its federation member - the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU). The arguments presented by the two gentlemen lack depth.

On education and SADTU, the article negatively portrays the union as being the stumbling block towards education transformation.

As a union of education employees fighting for better remuneration and working conditions, SADTU also provides strategic leadership in among other things, the professional development of members to provide quality education.

As SADTU, we have always shown keen interest in working with the department on teacher training and development programmes.

We committed ourselves to work with the Department of Education on the Quality Teaching and Learning Campaign launched in November last year. We said that as role players we need to identify our individual responsibilities and commit to carry these out. In particular, we said that teachers must be on time, on task, well prepared and professional at all times.

In July, SADTU was one of the main stakeholders in the Teacher Development Summit. The Summit had representatives from teacher unions, higher education institutions and practicing teachers.The issues of unqualified teachers and their lack of motivation are not of Sadtu`s making.

As a union representing the interest of its members as workers, SADTU would defend the "weeding out of bad ones (teachers)”. Any attempt to do that will have to take into account conditions in each school. Your article goes further to suggest that Sadtu has no interest in the training and development of teachers because, to date it has not organized a seminar for the ongoing training of teachers. This is not true. We have programmes right through the year, all over the country, aimed at training and developing our members.

Some of the highlights include the training of 63 master trainers to work in provinces to train teachers on OBE – for understanding, buy-in and the philosophy behind - in the provinces in 2000/01; workshops on curriculum training in all the provinces since 2001; a three-day seminar on the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in April 2008. Other activities include training on HIV, racism and violence in schools, human rights and leadership.

In KwaZulu/Natal, SADTU had a massive winter school programme in July at the union`s expense. Across the country, there are a number of high schools running Saturday classes without the support from the Departments of Education. Education is everyone`s business. We must therefore, all work together in trying to find solutions and stop apportioning blame.

Mr Mugwena Maluleke
SADTU Acting General Secretary.