SADTU reacts to the Basic Education vote speech

SADTU has welcomed the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga`s budget vote which has highlighted, amongst others, the following:

  • An increase of the budget by R2 billion from last year. This shows that government is still committed towards making education an apex priority.
  • The Department`s efforts towards making history a compulsory subject is encouraging. We agree with Minister Motshekga when she says, "A country that chooses to hide its heritage and historical footprints from its children takes the risk of having them repeat mistakes of their predecessors." This is consistent with our call to make history a compulsory subject at our schools with emphasis on our South African history.
  • The Department is working on a language development framework and has prioritized the implementation of South African sign language and progress in the development of African languages including implementing the policy on the Incremental Introduction of African Languages.
  • Increasing access to Grade R moving towards realizing access to free and compulsory quality Early Childhood Development to all, in particular, those who can`t afford the expensive commercial centres offering ECD. Denying children early childhood development is tantamount to borrowing from them what one will never be able to pay back in future.

We thus call for the following to be attended to in order to realize all the stated goals in the budget speech:

  • Extensive research to be done on the proposal to make history a compulsory involving our own African historians and researchers. Also extend such research to the people of the country who are a reservoir of wisdom on the subject. Our traditional leaders should form part of the initial work towards making history a compulsory subject. Teachers should be central during this process;
  • More teachers to be trained to assist with the intention on the implementation of the policy on indigenous languages. Encourage writers to produce more books and material in our indigenous languages;
  • The formalization and professionalization of Early Childhood Development; upgrading the qualification of teachers and attending to their conditions of service;
  • The Minister will have to attend to the morale of educators and respond to the financial challenges they are facing which affect their confidence and influence their performance in class;
  • The Minister must respond to the recent spate of resignation of teachers because of issues of work overload cause by the administrative burden and overcrowded classes;
  • South Africa is losing close to 4000 teachers a year through migration. According to a study on teacher migration by Dr Rian de Villiers from the University of Pretoria, teachers are leaving the country due to low salaries and career dissatisfaction;

We must prioritize continuous professional development.

It is a pity the DA is failing to respond objectively to the budget vote because of its anti-SADTU attitude. Instead of responding, it goes on a tirade telling the minister to put SADTU in its position. DA`s Shadow Minister Annette Lovemore cannot accept SADTU`s non-rhetoric and positive input we make on issues affecting education. Lovemore`s call came because she could not take kindly to the positive response from the Minister on efforts to make history a compulsory subject.

We will continue to support the Quality Learning and Teaching campaign and champion Peoples` Education for Peoples` Power; fight for the right of all children who were, for years, denied this human right and unapologetically championing the course for the respect for teachers as professionals and for the improvement of their conditions of service.

We will continue to call for the creation of a conducive environment where learning and teaching can take place. For this we don`t need permission of the DA who is championing a two-tier system of education. The DA believe in a different system of education - for the haves (the rich) and the have-nots (the poor). The DA is a staunch supporter of private education where the majority is denied quality education because they can`t afford to pay the high fees charged by those schools reserved for the rich. It sees Black people as voting fodder only.

Our sin as SADTU is that we represent an overwhelmingly black constituency whereas the DA represents the aspirations of the few advantaged of society with no interest in improving the lives of the poor black majority whose lives need to be changed by free quality education.

The DA sees education as a commodity which is for profit making. They hate SADTU because they know that as long as we are around, education would never be for profit making.

It is a matter of fact that SADTU is an affiliate of COSATU, an ally to the SACP and ruling party ANC. The DA has to accept that reality.

We pledge our support for the transformation of education to contribute towards free compulsory quality public education for all.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat