Lazy teachers warned

2010-01-12 00:00

THREE top teacher unions have united to act against lazy, absent and unproductive teachers, making it unequivocally clear that unions won’t protect guilty teachers.

This will perhaps prove to be the biggest motivator to date for teachers to turn over a new leaf this year. But for this giant leap for education to become a reality, they said government has a role to play in creating an enabling environment.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), the National Association of Professional Teachers of SA (Naptosa) and the Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU), together representing more than 312 000 teachers, have signed a social contract binding themselves to “dedicated professionalism and the development of a true culture of learning, teaching and discipline in public schools”. They have committed themselves to giving practical support to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign.

More than just establishing all schools as centres of excellence, this solidarity at the very least will demand that schools draft a realistic plan of action to improve the quality of education within the shortest possible time, according to the statement issued by Sadtu yesterday on behalf of all the social partners.

The contract further calls for teachers to prepare adequately for classes, fulfil their administrative responsibilities and attend relevant in-service training courses on the school curriculum and management that will ensure that they are able to teach and govern schools in an effective manner.

They should also act as positive role models to their pupils and communities.

This united front and what could be seen as a rap on the knuckles by teacher unions against their own, follows the criticism of teachers by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who singled out bad teaching as the main reason for poor results in 2009.

Announcing the results in the province, the KZN superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi even went as far as blaming teachers who avoided teaching certain parts of the curriculum for the poor performances in physical science and accounting.

“Less than satisfactory” grade 12 results for 2009 were some of the issues discussed by the union presidents recently.

They pointed out that of the approximately 1,4 million pupils who entered the education system in 1998 for grade one, roughly 24% successfully completed their National Senior Certificate in 2009.

While they said there are no quick fixes to this large education system, they believe the solution lies in quality learning and teaching in all grades and professional management of schools.

However, they said this requires the provincial education departments to offer the required quality curriculum and managerial infrastructure in order to adequately support schools, as well as ensuring that all department officials are competent to be able to monitor education.

In addition to all learning and teaching support material being provided on time, they also called for all in-service training courses to be administered timeously and by competent officials. They also called for remedial steps to be taken in support of under-performing schools; all school funding to be allocated timeously and all incorrect salaries and appointments of teachers to be corrected.


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