Newspaper clipping – iol online – 3 June 2009
Teacher unions welcome Zuma’s comments
Teachers’ unions on Wednesday welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s comments on education in his state of the nation address to Parliament “(The speech) speaks to the challenges we face as a nation in the midst of an international economic downturn and recession,” SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) president Thobile Ntola said in a statement.
It was, however, disappointed that Zuma avoided talking about problems in the public service and the occupation specific dispensation (OSD).
Ntola said the protecting and creation of jobs were crucial and the union was concerned about whether the current budget allowed the government to meet the targets that had been set.
Sadtu said the rollout of ECD was crucial.
Ntola also said the union fully supported the president’s stand on sexual abuse of pupils by teachers. “(Sadtu) have called on our members to blow the whistle on abuse wherever it occurs. We have called on the Department of Education (DoE) to use its powers under labour legislation to discipline and dismiss….police must enforce the law with regard to statutory rape and we must fully support the actions of SACE (South African Council for Educators) in removing abusers from the teachers’ roll and banning them from teaching in South Africa,” she said.
Ntola said it was necessary to encourage pupils to complete their secondary education as around 40 percent do not reach matric. She also placed emphasis on Further Education and Training (FET), saying that skills training was vital.
“School sports should be boosted and be part of the mainstream curriculum, not just an extra-mural activity. It is ironic that as we move towards 2010 the majority of our schools have no sports facilities or physical education programmes.”
Ntola said the union was looking forward to see the details on how access to higher education would be extended to children from poor families.
The Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unio (SAOU) said it was evident from Zuma’s speech that stronger emphasis would be given to quality service delivery in the public service.
Klopper said they fully supported the principle of establishing schools as centres pf excellence.
Like Sadtu, the SAOU supported the objectives for ECD, creating better discipline and a proper culture for learning and teaching in schools and the intention of the education department to establish an OSD. It condemned sexual harassment of pupils by teachers.
Klopper said stronger emphasis should be placed on the role of technical schools in more effective training and skills development.