Learners on strike

2016-10-19 06:00
THE learners will be on a go-slow regarding their school attendance until their demands are addressed.  Photos: Supplied

THE learners will be on a go-slow regarding their school attendance until their demands are addressed. Photos: Supplied

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THIS week, learners of the RD Williams Primary School in Prieska will for the course of this week be attending school only until ten in the morning, until the Northern Cape Department of Education addresses their gievances regarding the shortage of teachers.

This comes after the learners marched to the office of the mayor of Siyathemba, Howard Tsume, on Thursday (13/10) to ask for more teachers.

The march was supported by parents, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the community at large.

The school has reportedly entered the fourth term short of two teachers.

The department, however, does not see this as a crisis. It says the learners must return to class and prepare for their examinations.

Not everyone agrees with this. According to the deputy chairpeson of the school governing body (SGB), Jacobus Plaatvoet, concerns have been raised after two teachers could not be permanently employed by the department.

He says more than ten teachers at the school have been employed in temporary posts.

He further reveals that some of the teachers have been in temporary posts for over two years.

“We have been trying to engage with the department, but it seems like our concerns will never be addressed. This time, we have decided to go on a go-slow, until such a time as the department listens to us,” he says.

“Last year we had the same kind of march and it did not get us anywhere.”

Regarding whether the learners are ready for the examinations, Plaatvoet says it is a difficult question to answer, as the existing teachers are also overworked.

Speaking at the Emang Mmogo High School where she announced that the Northern Cape is ready for the matric exams, the MEC of Education, Martha Bartlett, said the shortage of teachers is due to the high number of teachers that have recently resigned or taken early retirement.

“Any protest or strike affects us, because we need those learners in class so that they can get ready for the examinations which start in three weeks,” said the MEC.

The head of the departmnent, Tshepo Pharasi, added that the department should be careful in appointing susbstitute teachers at this time of the year, because most of the teachers are basically doing administration work and assessment.

“There is currently no serious need of substitute teachers,” added Pharasi.

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