Newspaper clipping – The Daily News – 3 October 2008

School’s pledge to start from 2009

By Irene Kuppan

The final version of the school pledge will “most definitely” be recited in South African schools by the start of the next school year.

Department of education spoksperson,Lunga Ngqengelele said a team set up by the department was currently sifting through the many submissions put forward on the proposed pledge.
“We have received a number of submissions and are making it a point to go through each of them thoroughly, because it is important we take each into account. The minister (Naledi Pandor) will make an announcement on the pledge soon. The pledge will most definitely be recited in schools in 2009,” he said.

Ngqengelele said the submissions received had proved very helpful.
“Some people raised issues with the wording, others said it was too long and some suggested something else altogether.”

The wording of the pledge could be changed depending on the response the department received from the public. He was quick to point out that the school pledge was not compulsory, but something the department “strongly recommended.”

The department received thousands of submissions from teachers, pupils, parents, individuals and other groups earlier in 2008. The controversial pledge sparked an outcry from political parties, teachers, parents and academics when it was first released by Pandor in February.

When the pledge was released, political parties and several organizations voiced their unhappiness with the wording. They felt the references to the past in the pledge would undermine instead of promote the principles of the Constitution. Some complained about the length of the pledge, others said pupils should not be forced into reciting it. The pledge will have to be recited by pupils at least once a week before class starts or during assembly.