The 4th Biennial NAPTOSA Congress was held on the 30 October – 1 November 2014 in Benoni. The theme of the Congress was, “Racing to the Top: The Challenges of Quality and Equity in Education.”

Mr Basil Manuel (President), Mrs Anthea Cereseto (Deputy President) and Mr Nkosiphendule Ntantala (Vice-President) were all re-elected to their positions for another term of office.The following resolutions came from robust discussions amongst delegates. Congress resolved the following on issues listed below:
The proposed one textbook per subject policy
NAPTOSA Congress resolved on several issues including a rejection of the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) proposed “one text book per subject” policy. The proposal did not find favour with NAPTOSA delegates for numerous reasons, including the removal of “freedom of choice”. “No one author or set of authors can effectively include different perspectives of the content, nor can one textbook contain all relevant information”, said Mr Manuel.  A motion was adopted to urgently request that the DBE conduct further extensive research before pursuing this initiative.   

School discipline
Speaking to a motion regarding school discipline Mr Manuel warned the Congress that the nation must be wary of “institutional decomposition”.  He expressed concern about ill-disciplined behavior in schools and also made reference to the recent disturbances in the South African Parliament. Not only learners, but teachers too do not always demonstrate discipline, including when they do not arrive on time in the classroom or at school.  

Annual National Assessment
There was discontent about the Annual National Assessment (ANA) which was meant to be a standardised test to assess the school system as a whole but which is now being used to grade schools. “As a result schools are tempted to teach to this test, rather than focusing on the curriculum as a whole.  Quality teaching and learning is suffering from the assessment spree.”

Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Congress lamented that issues in respect of Grade R remain unresolved and insisted that the universalisation of Grade R must occur, with the DBE providing the necessary infrastructure, physical and human resources, including fully-qualified and remunerated Grade R teachers. NAPTOSA supports the notion that Early Childhood Development (ECD) is crucial for successful continued schooling.

A call to review various policies
A call for the review of: White Paper 6 on Inclusive Education; the DBE Policy on Promotion and Progression and the implementation of the DBE- Screening Identification and Support (SIAS) Policy document. There was also a call for an increase in time allocation for career guidance in Life Orientation in the Senior Phase (Grade 7-9) to facilitate learner decisions regarding subjects and post school choices.

The leadership of NAPTOSA is resolute to confront the challenges in education that were highlighted at the Congress.