DA slams Sadtu over meetings on eve of exams

2010-10-20 00:00

WITH just five days to go before the start of the matric final examinations, the Democratic Alliance in KZN has expressed shock that the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in the province still calls meetings that keep teachers out of classrooms.

But Sadtu leaders insist that in the long run, the meetings are for the good of education.

Tom Stokes, the DA’s education spokesperson in KZN, lambasted Sadtu for what he called a “careless attitude towards the needs of learners” after learning that teachers were scheduled to hold a meeting yesterday.

The Witness has since learnt that the meetings are to promote the laptop initiative, which was first announced under Naledi Pandor’s tenure. The idea is that every teacher owns and uses a laptop to ensure that information and communications technology is improved in teaching and learning.

It is understood that the different clusters around the province meet on different days.

In a statement yesterday, Stokes labelled the union’s actions deplorable.

“By calling teachers to a meeting during school hours today, Sadtu has effectively wiped out yet another valuable day of learning time.

“It is absolutely astounding that the MEC for Education condones this blatant disregard for the president’s instruction to “be in class, on time, teaching”.

“It is quite clear that Sadtu regards learners as mere grits in the wheel of teacher politics.”

Willy Naidoo, secretary-general for the midlands region of Sadtu, confirmed that a cluster of its region met yesterday to discuss the laptop initiative with their members.

He said the objective of the roll-out programme is to reach as many Sadtu members as possible so that they are better equipped.

“That is part of our quality teaching and learning campaign. We want to enhance teaching,” said Naidoo.

By providing teachers with laptops, Naidoo believes, more schools will be better resourced and it will ensure that learning programmes are accessible to more teachers.

He added that this will improve communication among teachers, as well communication between teachers and subject advisors.

“All that contributes to service delivery. You would think that the critics would appreciate that. We are actually helping the department of Education to reach the teachers and get the message across. We’ve been very understanding not to disrupt education.”

Naidoo said teachers still report to school before the meetings until 12.30 pm. He said the meetings occur after hours because some Sadtu members are based in rural areas.

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