Sadtu gives progress the middle finger

Teachers marking papers. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Teachers marking papers. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

During their recent national congress, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) rejected progressive and much-needed steps that are aimed at addressing challenges and shortcomings in our education system.

It is indeed disappointing, to say the least, that the union, which is a major stakeholder in the sector, has taken an official position to reject measures that are a step in the right direction for our education system.

It is a widely accepted view that a comprehensive strategy is needed to overhaul the education system in South Africa: a strategy that will seek to address loopholes in the sector.

Measures such as performance contracts with headmasters, a biometric reporting system for teachers, and declaring teaching an ­essential service are all steps in the right direction and should be welcomed.

If we want to do away with mediocrity and a culture of complacency, these measures should be welcomed – or is Sadtu thinking otherwise? It is gravely concerning when the largest teacher union in the country shows a middle finger to such progressive measures.

Is Sadtu sending a message that they condone poor performance, the failing education system and the massive challenges facing our country?

It is a sad day indeed in South Africa and especially for education.

As a society we ought to stand up and defend measures that are aimed at addressing challenges in the public education sector.

School governing bodies, student organisations and the community at large should not allow Sadtu to stall progress and development in the sector. We should reject in the strongest possible terms the union’s position, if indeed we want to see our nation prosper.

We should never forget the words of our beloved Nelson Mandela, when he said: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Ofentse Mokae, Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders Initiative 2014, Kimberley

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