Cosatu: 'Get to school on time!'

Trade union federation Cosatu has thrown its weight behind an education NGO’s campaign to encourage learners to get to school on time.

Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi was the keyonote speaker when Equal Education launched its “Late-Coming Campaign” at Chris Hani High School in Kayelitsha, Cape Town, at 7.30am on Wednesday.

“We have been running our Late-Coming Campaign since 2008, after noticing the large number of learners still roaming the streets around our offices here in Khayelitsha,” campaign coordinator Yoliswa Dwane told the Mail & Guardian.

“Further research showed us that across the country 20% of schoolkids arrive late for school every day.
Pacing and timing, along with quality, are issues affecting education in South Africa and these latecomers are deprived of valuable learning time.”

As part of the campaign, Equal Education members went door-to-door in the community last week, speaking to parents about how they can aid the campaign and handing out pamphlets explaining the importance of punctuality. A mass meeting was also held for learners in the community

Dwane said that while schools are not managing the problem of late arrivals very well, learners themselves have to take responsibility and ensure they are in class on time.

“Strategies such as lockouts, where the school gates are locked after a certain time, disadvantage learners because they could miss up to half the day, but they should also be the ones taking charge and arriving for school on time,” she said. “We have encouraged learners to manage their time better after school to ensure that they are on time.”

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven told the M&G the federation is fully behind the campaign. “The message is not just for the learners, but for parents, teachers and the wider community. They all have a contribution to make to quality education,” he said.

“This is not the first time we are working with Equal Education. We were part of their campaign for school libraries last year and will continue to support them as we would like to see a library and computers in every school.”

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