School apologises for Zuma cartoon test question

2016-05-24 20:49

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Johannesburg – A private Christian school has apologised for a Grade 6 test paper that had questions about a Zapiro cartoon of President Jacob Zuma, the Gauteng education department said on Tuesday.

"Given that the matter had largely been viewed as insensitive, offensive and distasteful by the public, the school principal has apologised sincerely for any hurt or distress caused by the use of the cartoon in the English visual literacy test,” it said in a statement.

The principal assured the department there was no malice intended and that the school would stop using any cartoons that could cause “distress or confusion”. 

The department welcomed the apology. The Johannesburg-based IEB school used the cartoon of President Jacob Zuma drifting in a pool of cash. The work by Zapiro, whose real name is Jonathan Shapiro, was a reaction to the R246m spent on so-called security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead.

These included a swimming pool.

Pupils were instructed to name the man in the photo.

Another question asks if, based on the cartoon, the child would vote for the man to be president.

One pupil answered: “No I wouldn’t because he looks way too stupid to think about others and he’s swimming in money which shows that he is selfish when it comes to money.”

The answer received two ticks, along with a note in red pen reading, “Good”.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said a concerned parent brought the paper to his attention.

Officials interviewed the principal and Grade 6 teacher on Monday.

The school writes Independent Examining Board matric exams and follows the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

The department defined CAPS as giving “expression to the knowledge, skills and values worth learning in South African schools”.

"The question regarding whether learners could vote for the individual depicted in the cartoon could be viewed as being sensitive to CAPS requirements, however, does not influence the thinking of the learner,” the department said.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  education

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