Cosas to continue with talks

2010-09-20 15:24

Johannesburg - Talks between the department of education and Congress of SA Students (Cosas) on whether to postpone writing matric preliminary examinations will continue on Monday afternoon, the student body said.

The parties did not meet over the weekend, but planned to continue discussing arrangements to support the postponement of prelims, Cosas president Ndoba Msimanga said.

Cosas wants prelims to be postponed, two hours added to school days, teaching to be conducted on Saturdays, and the September school holidays to be scrapped.

In the meantime, the organisation had instructed pupils to return to class, on condition they be taught, instead of writing prelims.

The organisation said pupils were not prepared to write the exams, which count for 25% of their total annual mark, following the almost month-long civil servants' strike that also included teachers.

Violent protests

The youth body's demands had seen the writing of prelims in the past week disrupted countrywide, with children in some provinces becoming violent and intimidating their classmates.

A 17-year-old Free State schoolgirl was shot dead, allegedly by police, during a protest against the writing of the exams last week.

The disruptions continued until the education department agreed to meet Cosas, other youth leaders and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) on Thursday.

Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said he was not aware of any agreement reached on postponing prelims, but that discussions were ongoing.

A task team appointed by the department, in agreement with the organisations to investigate their concerns, was expected to present its findings by Tuesday.