KZN education must show its mettle and push for marker competency tests

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

The Democratic Alliance calls on KZN education authorities to show their mettle and exert pressure on their national counterparts not to give in to trade union demands and settle for second best when it comes to competency tests for matric markers.

The on-going saga around testing has placed in sharp profile the fault lines between the various players in delivering quality education in South Africa.

On the one side are teacher unions Sadtu and Natu, whose members come mainly from previously disadvantaged schools and rural communities, who are concerned that their members will be “humiliated” if they are forced to write competency tests to qualify to mark matric papers.

On the other side are learners, parents and the general taxpayer who consider it perfectly fair and sensible that if teachers are to be paid for marking matric papers, they should be capable of performing the task and that competency needs to be assured in some way.

In the middle is government, represented by the Minister of Education, who despite a lot of noise about proficiency tests at the beginning of the year, is now, at the eleventh hour, unable or unwilling to overcome teacher union objections.

This stands in strong contrast to the Western Cape, where the DA administration has already carried out testing for aspirant markers, with two rounds of evaluations involving ten subjects already administered.  Each competency test has assessed the knowledge of subject content, application of that content to the examination situation and marking ability.

In that part of our country governance is done properly, fairly and on time. In that part of our country the welfare of the customer is placed before the demands of the servant. If it is possible to do so in one part of the country, then it should be possible to do it here.

KwaZulu-Natal’s matric learners must not be compromised by markers who are not equipped to evaluate papers. Good sense and responsible decision-making must not be allowed to take a backseat to political expediency.