The President of NAPTOSA, Mr Ntantala, welcomed the Department of Basic Education (DBE) vote speech for the 2017/18. He applauded government’s effort in prioritising education by increasing its budget allocation by 5.1%. The identified key programmes that the department aimed to prioritise for the 2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), in particular, the allocation aimed for Mathematics, Science and Technology, Funza Lusaka and for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) programmes was appreciated, said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA commend the minister for raising issues of safety and security in and around schools. Whilst NAPTOSA acknowledges the importance of speaking against gender-based violence on media platforms by the minister, without appropriate funding and implementation of programmes specifically earmarked at addressing the current scourge of criminality, and School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), the safety of learners, especially young women and girls and teachers will continue to torment our communities ,said Mr Ntantala. The failure of the police to protect the learners and teachers travelling to and from schools was alarming, he added.
The DBE should seriously view fifty days of absenteeism from schools by girls due to lack of sanitary pads as a matter of serious concern. South Africa will once again fail to achieve its target as stipulated in the global education agenda, Education 2030, said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA urges the DBE and the department of transport to expedite its plans to implement the learner transport system. The lives of many children that have been lost on our roads on the way school, which is perpetuated by the usage of inappropriate transport facilities borders on criminality and social injustice on the part of the government, said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA acknowledges the DBE endeavour to and the minimal achievement of the department in ensuring valid and credible marking processes of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS). The recruitment of markers needs to be closely monitored. NAPTOSA does not support the inclusion subject advisors as markers, said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA recognises that the DBE is pursuing the introduction and implementation of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) under the guise of the “National Integrated Assessment Framework “(NIAF). The NIAF is clearly undermining the current consultative process that the DBE is engaging in with the unions, said Mr Ntantala. NAPTOSA will not stand by and watch learners be subjected to the onerous systemic testing and the unnecessary overloading of the curriculum, he added.
Whilst NAPTOSA supports the department’s intention to ensure that the South African education system is benchmarked against international standards, this should not be done without taking into consideration the current challenges and disparities that persist in delivering the NSC, said Mr Ntantala. Furthermore, the department’s endeavour to meet the global education agenda, Education 2030, the African Agenda 2063, the NDP – Vision 2030, and the Action Plan 2019 to improve access, redress, equity, efficiency, inclusivity and quality of learning outcomes through the implementation of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the National Strategy for Leaner Attainment is cautiously supported, he added.
NAPTOSA welcomed DBE’s acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the implementation of the Introduction of African of African Languages (IIAL). Whist NAPTOSA supports the intention of the department to strengthen social cohesion. NAPTOSA once again cautions the department’s plan to implement the IIAL universally for the Grade 1 learners. The department should seriously consider how this will impact on the length school day and the ability of these young learners to cope with the already demanding curriculum for this age cohort, said Mr Ntantala. NAPTOSA support the department’s intention to ensure that appropriate interventions happen in the earlier Grades to limit the amount programmes that have been implemented thus far, to increase the number of matric passes rather than the quality of passes, added Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA support the Second Chance Matric support programme and the advocacy that the department is engaged in ensuring that learners who were previously marginalised by the demand of the NCS curriculum demands are included. NAPTOSA also welcomes the department effort in training technical subject specialists and subject advisors, said Mr Ntantala.
Mr Ntantala in his concluding remarks welcomed and endorsed the role played by the NECT in facilitating the professionalisation of teaching; promoting courageous and effective leadership; supporting the department in building its capacity to improve the quality of education. The NECT’s attempt has contributed to improving parental and community involvement and thus improving learner welfare. This has been NAPTOSA’s vision since its inception, he concluded.