No plan for KZN’s Grade 12s

2010-09-29 00:00

WHILE matriculants across the country are expected to be hard at work in learning centres that were to be set up by the provinces during the September school break, no such programme is in operation in KwaZulu-Natal.

The message communicated to schools when they broke up for the 10-day holiday last week was that they need to use their own discretion and conduct holiday classes if “deemed necessary”.

Granville Whittle, national spokesperson for Basic Education, says 43 sites have been set up in partnership with a non-profit organisation called Mindset. He added that that there are about 48 other sites that have been established in Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KZN. This was with the intention of helping matrics get up to speed with their work.

However, different teacher unions contacted by The Witness in the province expressed surprise that there is no specific recovery programme set up in KZN.

Anthony Pierce, spokesperson for the National Association of Teachers of South Africa, said he was taken aback that no intervention is in place, adding that unless the department plans to pull a rabbit out of a hat or has a magic wand to wave at a later stage, it will be gloom and doom for learners in those schools worst affected by the strike.

He said it is the department’s responsibility to set up a recovery programme after a strike of this magnitude. Teachers then offer their services based on a number of conditions, one being that they should be paid.

“We had and still have teachers interested in volunteering their services, but can do nothing if the department doesn’t come to the party,” Pierce said.

“We know that there were discussions within the council of education ministers at national level on the recovery programme, but that information has not cascaded to the provinces. All we know is what comes through the media.”

Sources in the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union said they suspect the KZN Education Department expects teachers to work voluntarily during the holidays. But teachers are reportedly taking the same stance shown by the government during the strike and are unwilling to work for free.

Some township schools in the city, which are among the worst affected by the three-week strike, are working during these holidays.

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