Sadtu members want longer school holidays for teachers

2014-07-25 00:00

WE want even longer school holidays.

That was the sentiment of South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) members who yesterday expressed outrage at the reduction of school holidays, meaning teachers must stay in schools until mid-December.

Their anger was expressed at Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal conference held in Durban when the union’s general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke outlined challenges facing teachers and education sector.

Maluleke said in the past teachers would go on holiday at the end of November and return to classrooms towards the end of January. “We were not working until December 13 and re-opening on January 7,” he said.

As if that were not enough, Maluleke said teachers found themselves having to work during school holidays.

“How all of a sudden do we see a situation where a teacher has got to conduct examinations on the last day of school before we close and then is further expected to work throughout the holidays?” he said.

Maluleke was referring to teachers having to mark examination papers during holidays. He said teachers deserved more school holidays because they also spent their weekends marking papers and preparing for lessons.

Maluleke’s comments come in the context of teachers being expected to conduct morning, afternoon, Saturday, winter and spring classes as a way to improve matric results, in particular.

While no specific resolution was taken on the holidays, Sadtu listed a number of issues it was prepared to take up with the department.

KwaZulu-Natal Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools manager Paul Rencken said he was not aware of changes in the legislation reducing school holidays.

However, he said increasing the school holidays to suit the needs of the teachers would be a disadvantage since the already existing school days did not provide enough time to teach pupils.

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