Educators Asked to Put Interests of Learners First Ahead of Tomorrow's Planned Protest
Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
Tomorrow, Cosatu will be leading a nation-wide protest against labour broking and e-tolling.
While the Western Cape Government acknowledges the right of employees to take part in lawful industrial action, we cannot condone the call to have teaching and learning disrupted.
Cosatu has called on both educators and learners to take part in the protest action.
Let me be clear. Learners are not allowed to participate in the one-day protest and should not be encouraged to do so. For organisations to issue this call is simply irresponsible and shows callous disregard for the future of our young people.
Equally, our educators should not limit the chances of these young people gaining the education and skills they need to improve their lives and build our economy.
We are hopeful that our educators in this province realise the value and importance of "time on task" and that every teaching and learning day is important. I am optimistic that the majority of our educators will therefore put the learner first.
In preparation for any eventuality, the department has developed a comprehensive management plan to ensure that we do everything possible to protect the interests of learners in this province.
This plan is based on three main objectives, namely: keeping our learners safe and supervised, ensuring that teaching and learning continues as far as possible, and finally, managing the system so that it functions as effectively as possible despite the disruptions.
All our resources will be used to ensure that these objectives are met.
By taking part in the protest, educators not only limit the rights of their learners to an education but are also potentially jeopardising their safety.
As educators and the department, we are responsible for the safety of our learners during school time. By leaving learners unattended, we are putting them at risk.
Therefore, the department requires our district offices and schools to ensure that no learner is without supervision. No school may be closed without notice or permission from the relevant district office via the circuit manager.
Parents and caregivers are still advised to send their children to school, unless notified otherwise officially.
The WCED requires school principals and departmental managers to keep an accurate record of the situation in their areas of responsibility, make arrangements to ensure order and to keep a register of staff present or absent on the days of the protest action.
Educators are reminded that we will be applying the established policy of "no work, no pay".
I encourage our educators who are considering taking part in tomorrow's protest action to reflect on why they became an educator in the first place. I sincerely hope it was because of their love for education and children and their belief that every learner has the potential for success through education.
Let's put the interest of our learner's first and tomorrow confirm that in the Western Cape we believe future economic growth and opportunity lies in each and every classroom in this province.