Teacher annual assessments must take place

2015-11-04 06:00

TEACHER unions opposing the annual assessment exercise have their reasoning immersed deep in the clouds of ignorance­, shame and denial.

Let us as stakeholders in the education of our children and their educational future in this country ask these basic questions - what is assessment, what is the purpose of assessment and if educators (sic) formerly known as teachers, attempt to give their honest, educated definition, this ought to be their response - annual assessments are conducted to determine or establish the extent or success of the noble undertaking of the twin process of teaching and learning.

Failure by either segment calls for assessment. There can be no doubt about this most logical undertaking.

The term “educators” indeed has an aura of honesty, dedication and service. Do you believe me and support this view? Sadly this view seemingly has lost its meaning. Add to this the meaning of the calling of the noble profession ... the teacher.

Teachers themselves conduct examinations, tests, analysing and hopefully professional remediation of weaknesses and shortcomings throughout their careers until retirement at 65. Thus, we pose the legitimate question - why in the name of God is Sadtu so vehemently opposed to the annual assessment?

If you have been faithful, honest and dedicated in your purpose as a teacher, as defined above, you should welcome the annual assessment and not be afraid or shy away from it. Are you actually afraid? Come on Sadtu members, speak the truth.

Why Sadtu and other like-minded teacher unions should welcome assessments has been eloquently answered in his letter in the The Mercury dated 22 September by Peter Hill of St Lucia.

Herewith I give a brief summary of this letter:

• World Economic Forum report states that”South Africa comes last in the quality of science and mathematics education”.

• We are listed 146 out of 146 countries - even behind Haiti and Afghanistan.

• South Africa is fourth last in overall quality of education.

• This (the above) is catastrophic compared to what India and China give to education.

• 50% of pupils drop out before taking matric.

The cherry on top of the sad-looking cake is that pupils only require 30% to pass.

Editor, pardon me for the length of this letter, but please regard this as an opinion piece and allow me to conclude with a quotation by the head of Fedasa­, the governing body of South African schools.

Sadtu must guard against confronting this parent body. It is the sleeping giant that can be roused to anger.

The quote: “If unions are going to hold the ministry to ransom, that constitutes insubordination, which is misconduct.”

Finally, thank you Minister Angie Motshega - the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher must be smiling from the grave, but please minister, let the annual assessment take place in February.

Don’t stress the pupils and teachers so soon after year-end examinations.


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