News clipping – – 20 September 2010

Cosas to continue with talks

Talks between the Department of Education and Congress of South African Students (Cosas) on whether to postpone writing matric preliminary examinations continued on Monday afternoon, the student body said.

Cosas wants prelims to be postponed; two hours added to school days; teaching to be conducted on Saturdays and the September school holidays to be scrapped.

In the meantime, the organization had instructed pupils to return to class, on condition they be taught, instead of writing prelims. The organization said pupils were not prepared to write the exams, which count for 25% of their total annual mark following the almost month-long civil servants’ strike that also included teachers.

The youth body’s demands had seen the writing of prelims in the past week disrupted country wide, with children in some provinces becoming violent and intimidating their classmates.

A 17-year old Free State schoolgirl was shot dead allegedly by police during a protest against the writing of the exams last week.

The disruptions continued until the Education Department agreed to meet Cosas, other youth leaders and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesuti said he was not aware of any agreement reached on postponing prelims but that discussions were ongoing.

A task team appointed by the Department, in agreement with the organizations to investigate their concerns, was expected to present its findings by Tuesday. - Sapa