By Dr Tutu Faleni (MPL), DA North West Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance in North West will bring a motion in the Provincial Legislature to urge the Department of Education not to be held hostage by SADTU anymore, and to implement independent Annual National Assessment testing without delay.
It’s a tragedy for the country that last week the Department of Basic Education decided to postpone the Annual National Assessments (ANA) for a year. This is the clearest indication yet that the SA Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is holding education in our country hostage.
SADTU has once again demonstrated that it has absolute power over the delivery of education in public schools. The Department of Basic Education has been pushed into a corner by SADTU after SADTU threatened that its members would boycott invigilation of the Annual National Assessment exams which were scheduled to start nationwide on 17 September 2015.
SADTU continues to take unfair advantage of its cosy relationship with the ANC by bullying everybody in the public education space, and holding our children’s education to ransom.
SADTU started disruptions in North West on 30 July 2015 when they bussed members in large numbers to stage a protest in Mafikeng next to the premises of the Mafikeng High Court and the Provincial Legislature buildings. SADU members then nearly stormed the legislature building and chanted political songs aimed at humiliating senior government officials, which amounts to disrupting government and undermining the state.
As with all SADTU protest actions, the latest action in the North West left school children without teachers in the classrooms and young learners were seen crossing dangerous roads trying to make their way home.
The march which deprived learners of education, disrupted traffic and disturbed our peace at the legislature was unnecessary and was a mere publicity stunt by SADTU that cost our children greatly.
The Democratic Alliance will therefore push for a motion that the Annual Assessment Exams are independently set and administered, and are not subject to SADTU’s whims.
Where the DA governs, the ANA’s are internationally benchmarked to ensure the best possible assessment, and are comparable year on year and grade on grade. They allow truly credible evidence on which to base meaningful literacy and numeracy interventions. The interruption of schooling is limited to the time it takes to write the exams. The exams are marked independently and not by SADTU.
The Democratic Alliance is of the view that the Annual National Assessments are critical for as long as our literacy and numeracy levels are so desperately low and are critical to the development of the interventions necessary to ensure that every child receives the high standard of education they deserve.
We urge the North West MEC for Education Wendy Matsemela not to be held hostage by SADTU any longer.
The Democratic Alliance appeals to the MEC for Education not to allow SADTU to continue to destroy the future of our children. We must stand up for what is right, and tell SADTU enough is enough.