Minister bemoans teacher strike threat

2011-11-09 21:08

Cape Town - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed disappointment at the threat by thousands of Eastern Cape teachers to go on strike.

However, she had been assured by officials that the exams would not be compromised, she told the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Motshekga was responding to Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Koos van der Merwe, who noted that teachers belonging to the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) were threatening to strike in the middle of the matric exams.

"Sadtu want 53 000 Eastern Cape teachers to strike from Friday," he told the House.

They were demanding that the provincial education department reinstate about 4 000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated last year.

Sadtu also claimed the department failed to consult them over the number of teaching posts the department would fund next year.

"Almost every year now, teachers aligned to Sadtu find some or other excuse to disrupt exams, putting learners' future in jeopardy," Van der Merwe said.

Right to education

Teachers should respect pupils' right to education. Teachers should also demand that Sadtu realise that every pupil had the right to uninterrupted teaching, especially during exam times.  

It was only a matter of weeks before all the schools closed and pupils began their annual holidays.

"Why must a strike be called now? Only to punish innocent learners or pure blackmail."

The IFP strongly condemned Sadtu's actions.

"We call on the department of education to demand that teachers put a stop to disrupting schools during examinations," Van der Merwe said.

Motshekga responded: "I have to say with quite sadness... we are very disappointed that Sadtu has decided to go on strike for many reasons which I think [are] even beyond the dispute around post provisioning.

Exams will be protected

"I had a meeting with officials, both from national and provinces... and I can report that we got an assurance that exams will be protected," she said.

The strikers would "make sure that the integrity of the exams is not compromised".

However, the reasons for the strike were due to broader problems in education in the Eastern Cape.

"But, I agree with you, it is quite disappointing," Motshekga said.

Her department earlier said efforts were underway to try and avert the strike.

"We have been in discussions ever since we learned about that strike. We are hopeful that we can avert the strike," spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said.

Sadtu in the Eastern Cape, which claims a membership of 53 000, is planning to march to the premier's office in Bhisho on Friday.

It intended handing over a list of demands it felt were being ignored, provincial Sadtu secretary Mncekeleli Ndongeni said. He said there would be no disruptions of matric exams as invigilators had been told to carry on with their work.

"We have told those invigilating exams to stay at their posts and those who are not invigilating that they must join the march."

  • Peter - 2011-11-09 21:37

    Beyond belief. Time to weed out the rubbish teachers (yes, there ARE plenty of them). Time to spend the money saved on giving kids far great opportunities to use the Internet and Kindles to learn from the best minds on the planet, and download their books on time.

  • chris.khanye - 2011-11-09 21:53

    They are free to strike - the educators own kids are in faraway schools and wouldn't be affected. Evey year such educators kids attain best Grade 12 results because their schooling is never interrupted by strikes or rumours there of. This brings me to my assertion - Africans are their own worst enemy!

  • mzolisi.vonqongo - 2011-11-09 22:21

    Mmmmm...indeed when authors say that there is no education that is neutral they are right why should the department of education have to pay attention to the protesting sadtu teachers during this critical time of examination..yes i understand that teachers or sadtu want their needs to be served but come on let think critically (let us no act as if we can't reason). Mmm... i can feel that this strike is just beyond what is said to be a rationale for it (there political interest behind this). Order!!! where will our kids learn order we don't order as elders "role model"

  • Helen - 2011-11-09 22:22

    This happens every year,at this time of the year, black teachers don't give a damn about their pupils.The way things are going it will be a miricle if the pass rate improves.White teachers are dedicated that is why the white pupils do better.There is no differance in the tuition they receive.Ican just hear it now apartheid is to blame because they gave the blacks inferior education,get it through your thick skulls you blacks do not want an education,thats why you'll always remain stupid &backward gullable.

  • Louis MAre - 2011-11-09 22:27

    The sad thing for me is I can't get a sace clearance because I did not study education. I studied in my field of IT and got a job at a school. I cannot medical or housing or even pension. I am the regional moderator for goodness sake. So why and how does these useless teachers get SACE clearance with all the benefits.

  • Heinrich - 2011-11-09 22:44

    When the educators talk of "quality" education (you know, like "temperature" water) then you know we have a quality problem. I tend to agree with Peter above. If we cannot give our children excellent education through well trained (high quality) educators, we must tap into other resources.

  • MarkusNicholas - 2011-11-10 08:10

    ANC, you created this environment where teachers and other workers have absolutely no concern for the work they are supposed to be with it. That's why my child goes to a private school!

  • ludlowdj - 2011-11-10 10:03

    We already know beyond a reasonable doubt that the ANC led government has failed everyone in this god forsaken country, is it such a stretch of the imagination to believe that they have broken promises and undertakings with the teachers as well, To everyone pointing fingers at the teachers and saying they should take one for the team, time to remember that taking one for the team is usually a dead end route that leave the people taking one always being expected to do so and always being on the loosing end. The ANC led government has over 18 years changed our teaching system to many times to mention and has landed up back at the starting point, something that has happened with almost every sphere or government including the police. Although one cannot deny that in the final analysis its is the children who suffer, however in a country where the government successfully "looses" in the region of 30 Billion rand a year it is not being unreasonable to demand basic utilities and a decent living wage. The middle class needs to remember that it is easy to demand sacrifice when you are not the one doing the sacrificing.

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