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National News Flash 30 of 2015: Minister declares unilateral deadlock in the ANA mediation

NAPTOSA learnt with surprise and shock that the Minister of Basic Education has decided to withdraw from the mediation process which was seeking to find a solution to the DBE intention to force learners at schools to write the ANAs at the beginning of December this year.  The mediation process was one which all education sector unions were happy to participate in, and we assumed that the DBE was as well.

Therefore after a meaningful process since 2 November and with an agreement insight it was extremely disappointing to learn that the Minister decided to declare a deadlock.  In fact an agreement had been virtually hammered out and was due to be signed on Friday 20 November 2015.  There may have been a phrase or two that required refinement, but the essence of an agreement was in place.  No meeting to sign took place after the DBE postponed, and on Monday we learnt with shock from the mediator that the Minister had withdrawn by declaring a deadlock.  We can only conclude that the DBE were participating in bad faith.  We are aware that the Minister hastily convened a meeting with Governing Body associations, principal associations and student formations in an attempt to elicit support, but failed to contact any of the Unions involved (NAPTOSA, SADTU, SAOU, NATU or PEU).

The DBE has issued a Circular (No 4 of 2015) to Provinces, District Directors and School Principals instructing, inter alia, that
- The writing of the ANA 2015 will take place from 26 November to 4 December 2015, at a time and place that is convenient to the school.  The school must determine the timetable for the writing of these tests.
- The Provincial Education Departments must issue a provincial circular to schools confirming the date on which the tests will be available for collection.
- The marking will be done by teachers at school and should be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
- During the first quarter of 2016 ANA scripts will be collected from a sample of schools for external moderation.

pdf ANA 2015 Circular (No.4 of 2015) (57 KB)

NAPTOSA and all other Unions in the Basic Education sector have once again stressed that the ANAs are NOT fit for purpose.  Indeed the DBE has acknowledged this.  Why then are they insisting on a deeply flawed process?  No learner will be disadvantaged in any way by not writing these tests whose validity and reliability has been criticised by education experts and academics.  We remain convinced that the only way forward is to relook at the tests and engage in a remodelling process.  Union will meet this morning (25 November 2015) to discuss these developments.

NAPTOSA also questions the sudden haste with which the DBE is attempting to have learners write these tests.  In addition to the issues of validity and reliability we must question whether the papers have not been compromised, whether the process has any integrity, and what of the large number of learners who have finished for the year and are no longer at school.

NAPTOSA advises members:
- We remain committed to our stance that these tests should not be written for the reasons we have stated repeatedly.  We urge members not to administer these discredited evaluations.
- NAPTOSA however recognises that there are many different situations in which schools, principals and teachers may find themselves, and appreciates that in some instances principals of schools and teachers may feel compelled to collect the question papers and even administer the tests.  This is a decision that members must make taking their circumstances into account.  However no member should feel compelled to perform the duties of another teacher who has decided not to administer the ANA.
- If members are intimidated in any way from which ever source we urge you to contact your provincial office.