KwaZulu-Natal matric preliminary exams should be cancelled and the time used to prepare for the final examinations, Sadtu said on Tuesday.
“We have written a letter to the department of education requesting the cancellation of the preliminary exams. We need time to implement the recovery plan,” South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi told the South African Press Association.
He said the preliminary exams, which were scheduled to start on September 13, would waste time needed to prepare pupils for the final examinations, following the public sector strike.
“The department wants to create an impression that everything is normal. The situation we are in is not normal. There was no teaching for a long time.”
He said his union had prepared enough material to help matric pupils get ready for the examinations.
National Teachers’ Union deputy president Allen Thompson disagreed with Sadtu’s call.
“We will definitely not support that. Preliminary exams are not a requirement but a need. They are an instrument to determine whether pupils are ready for the examinations or not.”
Preliminary examinations are used to identify areas of concern for teachers to address before the final examination.
Thompson said his union did not believe there was a crisis, saying Saturday classes would help equip pupils to prepare for the exams.
“The employer will have to make sure that teachers are compensated for working during weekends,” he added.
Mathonsi said most teachers went back to work on Tuesday.
“There was effective teaching on Tuesday in most of our schools.
“Those who did not go to work are only those who had to travel long distances from their homes to the areas where their schools are situated.”
The provincial education department was not immediately available to comment.
Public sector unions suspended a 20-day national strike on Monday, after the government tabled a revised offer that included a 7,5% wage increase.
About 1,3-million public servants rejected the government’s opening pay offer of a 7% increase and R700 a month housing allowance. The government later increased this to 7,5% and R800. The unions want 8,6%, and R1 000 housing allowance and the addressing of other issues, such as medical fund payments. — Sapa