News24.com – 21 September 2010

Cosas urges teachers to volunteer

The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) urged teachers to give voluntary lessons during the school holidays.
“We are urging teachers to teach during school holidays. We are aware of difficulties that they could face in terms of transportation and their own time that they would invest in the pupils,” Cosas national deputy secretary Sbonelo Shezi told reporters in Durban.

According to a recovery plan devised by Cosas, pupils from Grade 1 to 12 should arrive at school at 07.00 and leave at 16.00 daily. During weekends, Grade 12 pupils should be taught between 08.00 and 13.00.

Shezi said they had called on the national education department to postpone final exams to the first week of November. They are scheduled to begin on October 25th.
“We are still standing firm on postponing final exams. It must be a running battle,” said Shezi.

Last week the organization said pupils were not prepared to take their preliminary matric exams, which count for 25% of the total annual mark, following the almost month-long strike by teachers and other civil servants. They said they were ill prepared.

The youth body’s demands had seen the writing of preliminaries in the past week disrupted countrywide. Children in some provinces had become violent and intimidated their classmates.

Shezi said the preliminary exam strike had been suspended. Cosas chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal Andile Mkhize said the recovery plan was being implemented.
  “Since last week, everyday, pupils were arriving at 07.00 until 16.00 in KZN. There were also Saturday classes for matric learners,” he claimed.

Shezi said only the Eastern Cape, Free State, KZN and North Cape had a recovery plan.

South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said no Sadtu member would teach without being paid.
“There is no member of Sadtu that will volunteer…..We will not allow teachers to be abused.”
He said Sadtu teachers were ready to teach during the holidays and between 07.00 and 16.00 only if they were compensated.

KZN education department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said schools had been told to use their discretion on whether to close for the September holidays.
“Schools are at liberty to set up a plan that will suit them. It is different from school to school. Other schools may feel that they are on track in terms of work.”

Thusi declined to comment on payment of educators during school holidays saying it was a matter for the national department. - Sapa