Suits and ties won't fix poor schools
The article "Sisulu wants suits and ties for teachers" (March 15) showed the ever-growing good intentions of our government. South Africa needs more than good intentions, however, after 19 years of democracy.
I support a professional dress code for teachers, but it doesn't make sense to see a teacher in a suit teaching in a mud school or in one of our well-documented "open-air" rural classrooms.
Public Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu needs to clear the landing strip first if she wants to ground her plane of good intentions.
Does she really expect a teacher with an urban primary residence, who also rents a midweek accommodation next to his or her rural school, to have money to buy suits to look good in their dusty mud school, which has no proper sanitation and running water?
Does the minister expect the teacher to swag the corporate-business look in front of barefooted starving pupils, whose school-feeding scheme and school transport have been suspended because the basic education department didn't pay the service providers?
It's puzzling that the call for a professional dress code and school inspectors is made by the minister of public service and administration, not the minister of basic education.
Angie Motshekga is a humble, warm person who means well. But maybe the problems of the basic education department are bigger than dress codes and school inspectors or political posturing. – Luthando Lukhozi, Centurion
I see an imbalance between the levels of professionalisation of teachers and that of their unionisation. In that regard, I submit that the interplay between these two variables decisively determines whether in the end we have unionised teachers or simply unionists in teaching.
To redress this imbalance, we must work on the deficiency in professionalisation and desist from misguided attacks on unionism. Teachers well grounded in their profession, its values, ethics and principles, will take unionism in a manner consistent with their profession. Unionism becomes a tool of the teaching profession to enhance its best interests and not the reverse.
The challenge is the reclamation of the teaching profession and that starts with training institutions and doesn't stop. We seem to produce people good at teaching, but not so good at being teachers.
The reason for this anomaly goes to the heart of the matter: Who trains our teachers? Over time, the trainers are more degreed, but the product is poorer. Why? The teacher is in the clutches of these contradictions and also needs to be rescued and not fought. – Dr Masitha Hoeane, Pretoria East