Department to meet unions on recovery plan

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By MATT MEDVED

The Western Cape Education Department is to meet teachers’ unions today to discuss its four-pronged plan to help pupils catch up following the month-long public servants’ strike.

“It’s clear that teachers will have to be involved in the effort,” said Gert Witbooi, spokesman for Education MEC Cameron Dugmore.

“They will be able to interact with the department on the recovery plan and discuss certain details. We also intend to discuss the role of the teachers in making up lost time.”

The R7 million plan announced by Dugmore is to include winter and spring classes facilitated by the Education Management and District Centres as well as the distribution of additional learning materials.

Dugmore also set an August 8 deadline for schools to complete mid-year examinations.

“All schools that have not written Grade 10 to 12 examinations must begin examinations in July so that they are completed by August 8,” Dugmore said.

The winter classes are to be in the mould of past inter-school camps, hosted by specific schools and taught by teachers from various schools.

Although the winter classes would not be mandatory, Witbooi said the department expected most of the schools that had not written exams to take part.

“There are at least 50 schools where exams have not yet been written and we are looking to invite them to the camps, depending on when they are,” said Witbooi.

“We will look at schools that struggled during the strike and try to target those particular schools.”

Witbooi said the winter classes would be focused on recovering lost ground and preparations for examinations.

Education Department head Ron Swartz said teachers would be given recovery maps to guide them in covering the curriculum by the end of the year. He ruled out “rush-rush” teaching.

Meanwhile, some schools have decided to forego the winter classes and proceed with examinations ahead of schedule.

“Some schools in Bellville, at their own initiative, decided to hold examinations today,” said Witbooi.

“They are expected to continue to write them this week. We obviously welcome their initiative.”

Dugmore also said matrics would have no time off before they began their end-of-year exams.

“To maximise learning time, matrics must remain at school right up to the start of the examinations, and lower grades must not stay home once matric exams begin,” he said.

“For them, intensive teaching and learning must continue until at least mid-November.”

Dugmore’s plan also includes the use of local media and the SABC to broadcast educational programmes, study material and study guides for pupils.

“Television and radio will be extensively used to teach concepts and support learners,” said Dugmore.

“Interactive television shows will be broadcast from mid-July up until the exams begin in November. Radio will be used to inform learners and parents about collection points for materials.”

Meanwhile, Sapa reports that Education Minister Naledi Pandor and leaders of teachers’ unions are to meet today to discuss an education recovery plan designed to help pupils catch up on the 10 days of schooling missed during the strike.

Pandor’s spokesman, Lunga Ngqengelele, said the National Professional Teachers Organisation (Naptosa) and the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) had been invited to the meeting in Pretoria.

Both said they would attend.

Dave Balt, president of Naptosa, said the union believed the recovery programme should be led by teachers, with pupils being expected to “put their heads down” to catch up.

Teachers from his organisation would not demand pay for overtime should this become necessary.

Also expected to be discussed is a review of the results of the interrupted June examinations and a suggestion that they be scrapped, and a change in some universities’ deadline for applications.

The national executive committee of Sadtu is to meet on Thursday to get mandates from its members.

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~ by Matt Medved on July 3, 2007.

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