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Govt mulls response to planned pupils’ pledge

The government has not yet decided whether it will be compulsory for school children to recite a pledge each morning during assembly.

Lunga Ngqengelele, Education Minister Naledi Pandor’s spokesperson, said: ”From the department’s point of view, we would want each and every school to recite it.”

Asked if individual pupils would be compelled to recite the pledge, and what would happen to those who refused, he said: ”We have not yet come to that level.”

Referring to his department’s plan to publish the pledge for 30 days of public comment, and its aim of officially introducing it at schools in time for Human Rights Day on March 21, he said problems with the pledge would be dealt with as they arose.

The intention at the moment was to ”initiate debate” around the issue.

Ngqengelele said it would ”never come to the point where we would compel” pupils to recite the pledge.

However, if those objecting were in the minority, then ”the majority will have to prevail”.

Pandor on Tuesday said there was no reason for parents to panic about the pledge, which was based on ”universal values that you’d want any human being to attach themselves to”.

The proposed pledge reads: ”We the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom.

”We will respect and protect the dignity of each person, and stand up for justice.

”We sincerely declare that we shall uphold the rights and values of our Constitution and promise to act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities that flow from these rights.” – Sapa

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