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The President of NAPTOSA, Mr Basil Manuel, commenting on the “20 years of a Democratic Parliament” State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma to Parliament on 17 June 2014, said that whilst there was little in the Address that was contentious, the Union welcomed several aspects that were highlighted, but expressed disappointment about certain omissions.

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENT OF NAPTOSA, MR BASIL MANUEL, IN PRETORIA ON TUESDAY, 17 JUNE 2014, ON THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

“NAPTOSA is disappointed that the President, despite stating that ‘Education was an apex priority for Government’, made no reference to critical issues such as improving the quality of education; measures to improve the state of numeracy and literacy; school discipline and special measures to address infrastructure backlogs,” said Mr Manuel. “The President also failed to explain how planned outcomes that he referred to, such as fighting substance abuse in schools and reducing the drop-out rate, are to be achieved.”

“Given the recent death of a learner in a pit latrine, the planned countrywide eradication of the bucket system is welcomed by NAPTOSA,” said Mr Manuel, adding that this will contribute to improving the health and safety of learners.

NAPTOSA also welcomed the focus on “urbanisation trends” with the hope that this will include education planning to alleviate over-crowding in urban schools and curb the proliferation of private schools in unsuitable inner-city buildings.

Mr Manuel stated that NAPTOSA supported the promotion of socio-economic empowerment of women, and would like to see more women appointed in managerial positions in education. He added that NAPTOSA supported the principle of Inclusive Education and hence also welcomed the Government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“It is hoped that the planned centralisation of procurement will result in schools receiving text books and other resources timeously,” said Mr Manuel.

In conclusion, Mr Manuel said that NAPTOSA supported the view that education was a societal issue and that the Union was pleased that school transport as well as learners’ health and safety in schools were prioritised. “NAPTOSA eagerly awaits the realisation of these priorities for the betterment of education,” he added.

Enquiries: Mr Basil Manuel - 079 508 6228