23 July 2019
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) in KwaZulu-Natal notes the announced programme of Education MEC, as reported in the Daily News: 22/07/19 p.3, to meet with principals whose schools got below 65% pass rate.
Whilst SADTU appreciates any leader who is prepared to meet with subordinates, we are concerned about the timing of these visits. It is already the third term of the year and schools are working on concluding their programmes and will soon be engaging in revision.
Whilst SADTU is equally concerned about the schools that do not perform as expected, we are also of the view that the MEC be considerate of the fact that the department contributes to poor school performance. The department, in 2018 and this year, failed to pay norms and standard allocations on time. The department could not place or appoint teachers needed by schools leaving school principals with no option but to operate with skeleton staff. The employer which the MEC is now part of caused confusion with the procurement of text books as many schools were informed late that the department was not going buy for schools; this again left learners with either no textbooks or were made to share a book.
With all the above, SADTU calls on the MEC to be unlike others who always go to schools without any plan except to tell principals what they know - that their schools did not perform last year. Principals need support more than anything because it is these visits that waste time. The MEC must declare additional funds to support the turnaround strategies that schools are expected to develop. SADTU will not support any exploitation of workers by the department through calls for teachers to do extra work in the form of extra classes in the morning, afternoons and holidays. By the way, our teachers have their own additional programmes which they have willingly developed and they need no one to put pressure on them otherwise they will be demoralised and withdraw.
We call on the MEC to also consider a meeting with Unions especially SADTU to get our view on what we believe contributes to low learner outcomes and how Unions can partner with the department and schools to improve results.
ISSUED BY THE SECRETARIAT ON BEHALF OF THE PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE