Mr Star Ntantala, President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), commenting on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma to Parliament on 9 February 2017, lamented the irresponsible behaviour of some national leaders in the House, as it does not instil confidence in the public at large. He added that the Union welcomed several aspects of the Address, but expressed disappointment that critical issues were not highlighted.
NAPTOSA welcomes the State President’s reflection on the importance of education especially that it remains an apex priority for Government. “Whilst NAPTOSA acknowledges the eradication of unsuitable school buildings and the construction of 895 schools through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), this is still insufficient as vast inequities still exist across the Country”, said Mr Ntantala. He added that too many learners are still trapped in unsuitable schools throughout the Country. Freedom and democracy have had little impact on their life chances and quality of education. NAPTOSA is perturbed that to date, more than 4000 learners have not been placed in schools in Gauteng. In addition, the shortage of Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) in Limpopo and Eastern Cape schools have negatively impacted teaching and learning in these provinces. “NAPTOSA noted that whilst some communities have modern classrooms, they are devoid of furniture and equipment which has resulted in learners sitting on the floor”, said Mr Ntantala.
Mr Ntantala commended Government’s initiative to train 15 000 artisans, however, the concerns of students and lecturers at TVET Colleges have fallen on deaf ears, which has forced many Colleges to suspend lectures at the beginning of this academic year. NAPTOSA calls on Business to commit to providing ‘on the job training’ for the unemployed youth, he added.
The NAPTOSA President, Mr Nkosipendule “Star” Ntantala, on behalf of members and learners objects to the circular issued by the Free State department of education (FSDoE) on “Non- appointment of personnel until March 2017 other than educators for Mathematics, Science and Accounting”. This implies that all other schools will go without the much needed qualified personnel in the province for the better part of the 2017 schooling year. Is the FSDoE really concerned about the holistic education of ALL learners or is just focused on a ranking of first position at the expense of the majority of learners?
The FSDoE issued a circular dated (15 December 2016) that refers to the “Non- appointment of personnel until March 2017 other than educators for mathematics, Science and Accounting”. NAPTOSA views this decision as the bad management on the part of the department.
NAPTOSA reminds the FSDoE of its own strategic objective which states:
“…promotion of sound corporate governance through sustainable use of resources to provide overall management to the Department, support and related services to educational institutions…provision of effective and accessible quality basic education to provide effective teaching and learning to all children/learners from Grade 1 to Grade 12, access to quality education for learners with special needs, and expansion and universalisation of Grade R; …” (extract from FSDoE website), said Mr Ntantala.
Mr Nkosipendule “ Star” Ntantala, the newly elected President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), commenting on the results of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) commended the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on its management of the NSC examination involving approximately 800 000 candidates. The modest increase in the overall pass rate from 70.7% in 2015 to 72.5% in 2016 is welcomed.
However, NAPTOSA’s congratulations are muted by the continued dishonesty and ongoing cheating by learners and officials in the 2016 NSC examination, said Mr Ntantala. NAPTOSA is concerned that the continued crisis in Limpopo which includes the Vuwani tragedy, exam question paper leaks, and group copying, is a sad reflection on the National Departments' administration of the province and calls into question the effectiveness of the administration of the province. This is evidenced by the poorer results from Limpopo.
NAPTOSA welcomes the modest improvement and sees the increase in overall results, as the system stabilizing itself. NAPTOSA is very concerned about the drop in performance in some African home languages .We as a nation need to urgently look at how the Incremental Introduction to African Languages (IIAL) can be effectively implemented moving forward from Grade R through to Grade 9, he added. In addition, the Mathematical Literacy results are still disconcerting as Mathematical Literacy was designed to improve numeric literacy.
South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November and 3 December which is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is: “Persons with disabilities – Equal participants in shaping a sustainable future.”
In terms of the Constitution (Act no 108 of 1996) access to basic education is a fundamental right without limitations (Section 27) and no child of compulsory school-going age should be discriminated against on the basis of disability (Section 9), to date the majority of these children have not had access to public funded education and support, leaving them vulnerable and outside . NAPTOSA has been calling on the DBE to pay closer attention the education of children with severe to profound intellectual disabilities (SPID).
The Department of Basic Education’s call for comment on the draft policy for the provision of quality education and support for children with severe to profound intellectual disability (SPID) coincides with the National Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM). All relevant stakeholder bodies and members of the public are invited to submit comments to both draft policy documents by 9 December 2016.
Draft policy for the provision of quality education and support for children with severe to profound intellectual disability (SPID)
Draft Policy for (SPID)
Draft learning programme for children with severe to profound intellectual disability
Draft Learning Programme
GEMS this week announced in the PSCBC that its Board has approved increases, ranging between 13% and 16,8%, in the contributions of members for 2017. On average the increase will be 14,98%. The approved increases, per option, as announced by GEMS are the following:
• Sapphire – 13%
• Beryl – 13%
• Ruby – 14,76%
• Emerald – 14,98%
• Onyx – 16,8%
Included in the tariff increase is a portion of approximately 5, 5% to build the reserves of GEMS (an issue raised in the media earlier this year).
GEMS members are reminded that the contribution increase will, to some extent, be offset by the adjustment of the medical subsidy on 1 January 2017 by the Medical Price Index, which according to GEMS, will be in the vicinity of 8,6%.
A new option, called the “Emerald Value Option”, is to be introduced by GEMS in 2017. This option, will allow members who are on the Emerald option to opt for the “Value Option” of which the benefit will be a zero increase in contributions for 2017 in exchange for the following limitations:
• Every family member covered by GEMS to choose a family practitioner, with the allowance of consulting another GP when far from the chosen family practitioner, e.g. holiday
• Referral to a Specialist (excluding emergencies) only through the family practitioner
• Only utilisation of hospitals on a GEMS hospital network (excluding emergencies)
GEMS will, in due course, be corresponding with members on the increases for 2017, as well as changes to benefits.