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Was the Teacher’s Strike Really Necessary?

The recent protest march held by the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) solely affected pupils from poor communities, the department of basic education says. Reports indicated that the North West province was the most affected, with 2 048 teachers reported to be absent while 18 schools were shut down across the four districts said department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi. In the Western Cape,  2474 teachers were reported absent from school while 163 schools were affected and a total of 48 schools were closed. .http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/Dept-Poor-hardest-hit-by-teacher-strike-20130424

The Democratic Alliance said it was “disgusted” by what it called Sadtu’s abuse of children’s rights for political point scoring.” We share the anger that both parents and children must feel at the loss of such crucial teaching time,” DA MP Annette Lovemore said in a statement. The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry applauded the education department for warning teachers not to take part in the marches. The matters could have been resolved through negotiation, it said. “So there is no need to disrupt education en masse. It is worth noting that a ‘march’ or strike has exactly the same impact on pupils; if teachers are not in classrooms, then the education system falls apart,” it said in a statement.

It goes without saying that the schools most affected are the schools needing the most attention at present. These are the schools whose teachers get low salaries, the schools without textbooks, where the dropout rates are highest. These children already suffer from a sub-standard education, where teachers often fail to show up for classes and where violence disrupts daily life. The wide scale strike can only add to this neglect and distraction. It could also encourage apathy, as if teachers do not show up for school, why should pupils?

Even at schools that were not directly affected, it was reported that children were seen playing, going home or walking to the shops. Many teachers not involved in the strike also left and took the day off.  “Teaching didn’t take place in Soweto schools. A lot of the teachers didn’t go to the march but they didn’t teach… we are disappointed in the manner in which they approached this, said National Association of Parents in School Governance chairman Mahlomola Kekana. http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/pupils-lose-in-teacher-strike-1.1506314#.UY_z3KJqng0. How is this acceptable, it is not an occasion for a holiday, but a normal working day where teacher who cared for their pupils should have been there, teaching. As has been said, the demands could have been met without such a disruption, therefore why did teacherS go on strike? They were clearly looking out more for themselves then for their pupils. I do feel that these teachers are not looking out for the best interests of students in the way that they have conducted themselves this last month, they have shown that they have not the right attitude or dedication, which is worrying indeed for the future generation.

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