SADTU’s response to the DA leader Theuns Botha on the decision to close 27 schools in the Western Cape.
DA leader Theuns Botha’s defence of the Western Cape government’s decision to close 27 schools is ill- informed and misguided.
SADTU would like to put the record straight.
On 9 November 2010, SADTU placed on the agenda of the Provincial Education Labour Relations Council, a request to be consulted on the Education Plan for the Western Cape. The response from the Western Cape Education Department was that they were not ready to consult the unions at that stage. To date, the WCED has not presented its plan in the chamber for consultation with teacher unions in the Western Cape. SADTU is not aware of the plan Mr Botha is referring to. It does not surprise the union that a secret plan exist in the office of the leader. It shows the DA government’s disregard for social dialogue in the Province.
This “unDemocratic Alliance” culture of unilateralism, in which they impose imaginary plans on the people of the province, is ludicrous.
What has consultation meant in the past? Education forums were called in the city and towns where communities were consulted on educational provisioning for the community. These proposals were collated in a comprehensive education plan for the Western Cape. The Plan was presented to the teacher unions and School Governing Body Formations in the Province. The plan was then adopted as a consultative product for educational provisioning for the people of the Province.
We want to agree with Botha that results have improved in the Province in poor schools where SADTU organise. We will humbly accept his acknowledgment, on behalf of the SADTU members for their hard work in these schools. We will also humbly accept a thank you for the afternoon, weekend and vacation classes conducted by SADTU teachers his party constantly attack. We also urge him to also thank us for the:
- Music Seminar we held for Teachers, to conduct choirs at the SASCE competition;
- The CAPS training for Foundations Phase teachers;
- The Text Books we provide to teachers to enhance their teaching;
- The training of the Employment of Educators Act to minimise misconduct;
- The training of teachers in First Aid to assist learner who are injured at schools;
- The list is endless.
We again reiterate our stance on the closure of schools: SADTU is against the proposed plan to close 27 schools. We believe this will cause harm to working cause harm working class black learners. We are calling on Premier Helen Zille to fire MEC Grant for the short-sighted plan.
SADTU says the Department cannot close the schools in the absence of a cohesive education plan in the province which should define which schools must close. The department has also not consulted with the unions and communities on the matter. We therefore see this as another plan to take back the right to education of a black child as the schools targeted have black learners.
The department announced earlier this month it would close the schools due to underperformance and low enrolment numbers.
SADTU says the reasons for closing the schools are not educationally sound. The issue of low registration numbers is incorrect as statistics show that numbers have increased. The issue of under- performance is experienced in schools, where English is the first language, whose population are changing to mainly African Xhosa speaking learners. We say the results will improve once the language in these schools is changed to Xhosa.
“Poor learner performance should not be the reason to close down a school. If the learner performance has not improved, the district should be called to account.
SADTU is also questioning the timing of the announcement which took place in the middle of examinations causing instability in the schools affected as both the learners and teachers do not know what is going to happen to them.
SADTU would oppose the plan until there is a clear policy in place. We call upon that policy to be made together with the communities and teachers.
Statement issued by Jonavon Rustin, SADTU Western Cape Secretary, July 5 2012