The South African Democratic Teacher Union (Sadtu) has commended the KwaZulu-Natal department of education for prioritising the training of teachers, attributing the move to the provinces 2016 matric results.
“The positive response by the department in heeding our call for rapid teacher development programmes coupled with development and provision of support materials and filling of critical posts have patently yielded enviable results,” Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said.
The province recorded a 66% matric pass rate, a 5% improvement compared to the 2015 results.
“It is a culmination of the work of all progressive forces, including the Education Alliance and PYA, who were determined to end mediocre results in all our schools in the province.”
Caluza said the manner in which the examinations were managed was proof of the extent to which the department was committed to restoring the integrity of examinations in the province following the 2015 mass copying scandal where more than 10 schools were implicated.
“In the 2016 examinations the number of schools dropped to four and there are only two that are being investigated after a preliminary investigation had cleared two of the four schools.
“As Sadtu in KZN we are extremely excited with these developments as they demonstrate that when working together with all relevant stakeholders, a lot can be achieved within our education sector.”
Statistics presented by Dlungwane during last week’s provincial matric awards showed that one of the districts where the cheating probe is being conducted, iLembe district, registered a dismal performance.
“Sadtu sharply raised the challenges confronted by all stakeholders in education in Ilembe district as early as 2013 and we continued to call for intervention from the provincial department to address what had notoriously stymied progress in this district.
“The matter was elevated to the office of the Minister of Basic Education after it became devastatingly obvious that the district director was not at all prepared to work with all stakeholders to address causes of poor performance.”
Meanwhile, the DA in KZN says it is disappointed that the worst performing schools in the province are not part of the provincial legislature’s annual schools functionality visits.
“Disappointingly, it is the second year that this situation has presented itself. Such selective oversight does nothing to improve the circumstances of our pupils and achieves nothing more than entrenching a failed ANC education system in the province,” the DA’s Francois Rodgers said.
He said the party would be visiting some of the non-performing schools as well as a number of schools which the DA believes are beacons of hope in order to find out what they are doing right in a bid to share this information.
However, KZN legislature spokesperson Wonder Hlongwa said the annual schools functionality visit was a comprehensive programme covering performing and underperforming schools.
“It is important to visit that are performing schools in order to get a better understanding of the elements that make them excel as one needs that kind of information when doing oversight in underperforming schools.
“It is unfortunate that the DA has chosen to politicise the programme,” he said.