19 October 2016
SADTU Limpopo Province recently held its Provincial General Council meeting on 03-04 October 2016 at Magoebaskloof Hotel in Tzaneen; amongst their resolutions made; the following are flagged:
The Union condemns attempts by Limpopo Department of Education to modularize matric learners i.e progressed learners from Grade 11 to 12; must write few (3 subjects) during the forthcoming examinations and other subjects in the coming years.
It is our conviction that the department is doing this not to advance the interests of the learners, but to satisfy its narrow and parochial interests of doctoring positive matric results at all costs. The matriculation results have of late been reduced into a high stake competition game amongst provinces, and provinces whose results are the bottom of the pyramid cannot therefore resist the urge to venture into this type of social engineering of placating poor performers in schools in pursuant of instant gratification. It is precisely for that reason that we suspect that our province would like to jump into the bandwagon of taking shortcuts to an otherwise very serious and systemic educational challenge. This should then be achieved by making the affected learners to be sacrifical lambs in the quest to achieve short term results.
Limpopo Province did not conduct modularization the previous year. It was found that majority of the progressed learners passed in many of their subjects including those that they were not expected to pass. The department and the public must be reminded that modularization is not an assessment policy of the department but a sudden incorrect and inadequate makeshift to try to reduce failure rate at the expense of the future of the children.
It is the view of the Union; that the department is addressing symptoms of its dysfunctional progression requirements rather than the root cause of the problem. The main problem is the progression requirements wherein learners who did not pass Grade 11 are progressed into Grade 12.
Assessment requirement policies of the department are confused and not in line with its curriculum deliverance which is based on standardised tests whilst the automatic progression of learners is not based on standardised tests but on outcome based achievements.
The Union will encourage parents not to allow their children to be reduced into result producing machines; by refusing and rejecting modularization of their children wherein they write few subjects and extend their years in matric to write other subjects in the following years; even without support nor guarantee that they will pass the few subjects they write. The department is playing games with the children in order to simply gain praises on statistical results whilst the quality is ignored and the future of the children is gambled and risked upon.
We further note lack of any support structure or programme for the progressed learners and non-commitment by the department to assist such progressed learners and treating them generally like other learners in terms of teaching and learning; but want to discriminate progressed learners in terms of examinations. This discrimination is unacceptable; and we urge the department to give these children an equal opportunity to write all subjects they were taught through-out the year and prove themselves; provide additional opportunity for them to continue to write matric until they succeed and provide continual academic support.
2. Provincial Treasury Instruction note no. 7
The Union has observed with serious concerns; the austerity measures contained in instruction note no. 7 from Provincial Treasury which has led to many (i.e more than 385) temporary teachers not being paid since April 2016.
Vacant schools based posts cannot be filled due to the stringent measures of this instruction which has further burdened teachers and principals in schools to an extent that they cannot take it anymore and worse that it compromise effective teaching and learning resulting in poor learner performance.
The Union rejects these austerity measures due to the inconvenience they causes on educators and the education system. We anticipated clarity from the recent Provincial Executive Committee and the Premier to provide clarity on the matter. It is against this background that will seek clarity from Treasury; MEC of Education and also from Premier. Should it not provided or be inadequate; the executive committee of the Union will consider proper mass action to resolve the impasse. It is regrettable that more than 1 786 promotional posts were advertised long ago have not yet filled; whilst teachers and principals are expected to perform miracles.
It is our view that the entire education system is sick and need urgent diagnostic intervention and the leadership of the department must stand on their toes to address the matter and their lukewarm attitude is not assisting; leading to the Union; educators and principals loosing trust and hope on the leadership and system in general.
Treasury is requested to either withdraw the instructions immediately or alternatively relax some of those prohibitions to enable the easy appointment and payment of teachers and functionality of the system.
3. Post Provisioning
SADTU has been on record; calling for the review of the current post provisioning model in schools. Limpopo will continue to perform poorly in matric and other grades because most schools do not have sufficient teachers especially small schools are mostly affected by the poor post provision model used in the province and the country in general. Teachers are over burdened as the province continues to cut number of post in schools; therefore reducing educators in schools especially for scarce skills subjects. The Union rejects attempts to treat other subjects as less important especially subjects taught in rural areas and general stream subjects.
The Union hereby joins communities in demanding adequate teacher provisioning in their schools and calls on communities to rise-up to demand this basic human right; for the benefit of their children.
4. SA SAMS (South African School Administration and Management System)
It is the Union's considered view that teachers are trained to teach and they should therefore be given the opportunity to do exactly that; without compromising their services by rendering unnecessary administration services.
It is against this background that the Union demands that clerks be appointed in all schools and that teachers should not spent their valuable time administering SA-SAMS.
5. Early Childhood Development (ECD)
The Union demand that all ECD educators in the mainstream schools be appointed permanently by the Department of Education taking into account their qualifications.
The stipend paid to ECD be improved to the same status of other provinces in the meantime; whilst their conditions of service are properly nagotiated.
It is our call that conditions of service for ECD educators including community centres must be regularized as a matter of urgency because these educators are currently working under precarious conditions. We want the ECD Sector to be formalised with effect.
6. LSEN Schools (Learners with Special Education Needs)
The Union is noting with serious concern the underfunding of these schools; and the lack of skilled educators support structure. LSEN is a highly technical sector and therefore the provision of highly skilled educators is necessary and provision of support staff like therapists, psychologists, etc remains critical. It is shocking that the entire province has only one therapist to service all ELSEN schools. It is further against this background that we demand that the department to increase funding for ELSEN Schools in order to provide meaningful educational intervention for this sector.
7. NCS - CAPS
The Provincial General Council meeting expressed a view that current National Curriculum policies need to be reviewed to address some of its curriculum gaps; excessive testing of learners; administrative burdens over teachers with less focus on effective teaching and learning. It is against this background that the Union agreed to commission a study on the matter and ensure that provision of education in Foundation Phase is part of the broader curriculum statement.
8. The Alliance
The provincial general council reaffirmed that the unity of the alliance and her independence components to be sacrosanct. We call for an urgent alliance summit to respond to current challenges in the alliance but also in the ANC led government . We are calling on the centre to hold and provide leadership and inspiration to all of us. We condemn factionalism and the bullying tactics employed by some leaders in our movement.
The PGC resolved not to be apologetic of our support for the ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from the incumbent President Jacob Zuma in 2017; we have no reason to as we will be advancing our own resolution on the principle of succession.
Prepared by SADTU Limpopo Secretariat