Teacher strike will hurt matric pupils

2010-07-25 13:58

If teachers go on strike within the next two weeks, as threatened,

it would be disastrous for matriculants as they have only 30 days of class time

left before final exams.

Professor Muxe Nkondo, the spokesperson for the Association of

Black Empowerment in Higher Education, said that pass rates were already

dismal.

“I understand that teachers are allowed to exercise their labour

rights, but they should consider ­society’s interests and the ­learners’

futures,” he said.

Mugwena Maluleke, the general ­secretary of the SA Democratic

Teachers’ Union, which represents 250?000 teachers, said members had rejected

government’s ­initial offer of a 6.5% pay increase and R620 housing

allowance.

“We are consulting our members and will hold a special ­national

­executive committee meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to go on strike,” he

said.

Commenting on a revised offer that would be tabled at a bargaining

council on Thursday, Maluleke said it would take only two days to consult

members.

“We don’t want any more delays. We have given the employer enough

time to come up with an ­acceptable offer. We ­started on April 16 and again on

­July 1. It has been four months,” he said.

Bobby Soobrayan, the director­general of the basic education

department, said a strike would ­affect township and rural pupils the most. He

said the department had a contingency plan in place to ­soften the effects of a

strike.

Soobrayan said the department would rope in its subject and

­curriculum advisers and other government employees. They would use televisions,

DVDs, past exam papers and newspaper supplements to help pupils prepare.

Soobrayan hoped that a strike could be averted, but said circuit

­managers would be dispatched to schools to monitor teacher and learner

attendance if the strike did materialise.

“The no work, no pay rule will ­apply,” he said.

Ezra Ramasehla, president of the National Professional Teachers’

Organisation of SA, accused the ­government of resorting to delaying tactics

while the education of children was at stake.

“In two weeks (matriculants) must sit for trial exams which are

supposed to gauge their readiness, yet we still have the employer ­applying

delaying tactics,” ­Ramasehla said.


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