PE schools boycott annual national assessments

2015-09-09 17:30

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Port Elizabeth - Schools in Port Elizabeth's northern areas will boycott this year's annual national assessments, because the education department has allegedly failed to respond to their concerns.

Violence broke out in the area in July when residents closed down their schools in protest against a shortage of teachers and non-payment of those who are already employed, among other problems.

The Northern Areas Education Forum (NAEF) later reopened the schools based on promises made by the department.

However, it claimed on Wednesday the department had failed to deal with the problems in the area.

District officials also told them to contact the national Department of Basic Education.

The forum asked basic education minister Angie Motshekga to respond to their concerns by Tuesday and claimed they had not heard back.

"The forum feels strongly the authorities are not serious and had decided to take action. The forum with its members at a meeting held on September 8, 2015 took a majority decision the schools in our region will not take part in the annual national assessment [ANA] exams, taking place from September 15 - 18," NEAF secretary Richard Draai said.

He said schools would be open during the four days and education would not be disrupted.

"The action, we must stress, will be peaceful."

He said there were still 102 vacancies in the area's schools; some teachers were still not paid; classes were overcrowded and special needs pupils were not being catered for.

"Schools are falling apart and the infrastructure of schools needs urgent attention."

He also noted the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) called on its members not to invigilate the ANAs for "other similar valid reasons".

Sadtu said in a statement last week the department was imposing policies creating "an environment that will compromise education and labour peace".

It said there was an "ongoing attack on collective bargaining and a lack of proper consultation" by the department.

National education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga did not directly address the NAEF allegations when approached for comment, but told News24 the ANAs would still go ahead as planned.

"All we need is a representative sample to give us an idea of the current literacy and numeracy skills and levels of our learners."

He said the department had met with Sadtu and other unions  and a "dedicated team" would be established to look into concerns raised by them.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  education

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