The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union used its Youth Day statement to lash out against the findings of a “jobs for cash” report – suggesting these could bring back apartheid.
“Teachers are part of the school governing bodies and taking away their powers is taking us back to the apartheid Verwoerd era,” Sadtu said.
“How can a minister who has dedicated her entire life to fight against apartheid and the liberation struggle tell the country that six of the provinces are run by Sadtu without any shred of evidence?”
Last month, a leaked report by a ministerial task team found that there was some truth to claims – originally published by the City Press in 2014 – that corruption had seeped into the appointment process for school vacancies.
According to the leaked report, the education department was effectively only in control of education in one-third of South Africa’s provinces, as other influences, including teachers’ unions, have left various appointments in the sector, “riddled with inconsistencies”.
One of the recommendations of the team – headed by Professor John Volmink – was that teachers and principals could be banned from being office bearers in political parties or unions. School governing bodies could also have their wings clipped regarding their right to recommend people for senior posts.
Sadtu hit back at these recommendations.
“Tampering with parental rights was a recipe for disaster and an insult to our ancestors who fought against Bantu education … Any attempt to take away powers from governing bodies is counter revolutionary.”
The union also said that while there had been success in education since 1976, “many challenges still prevail”.
“The African working class child” was the kind of student left most disadvantaged. “They are subjected to overcrowded classroom conditions.”
The union also cited access to teacher development, school infrastructure and the non-implementation of the African languages policy as problematic: “Language is life and with it comes unity of purpose to defeat an ideology that oppresses the working class.”
Sadtu criticised certain assessment practices, suggesting that “rote learning, as entrenched in the testing regime, has become the killer of our children”.
“We cannot allow the gains that were made through the sacrifices of the Class of 76, to go in vain.”
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of student uprisings in Soweto, when thousands of black students took to the streets in peaceful protests against apartheid-era
“Bantu education” practices and were violently attacked by police, leading to numerous deaths. –News24