29 September 2015
Minister of Education, Angie Motshegka, will meet on Friday with stakeholder groups in a bid to resolve the deadlock over the annual national assessment tests (ANAs), scheduled for December.
Speaking to GroundUp yesterday, the spokesperson for the minister, Ms. Troy Martens, confirmed that the planned meeting is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to resolve the deadlock over the scheduled date of the test, as well as discuss options for the future remodeling the assessments.
“We’re engaging with a number of stakeholders, and we already have commitments from learner groups who will attend. In addition to this, governing body organizations have also voiced their support of administering the tests in December,” said Martens.
By stakeholders, Martens means the teachers’ unions, student organisations and school governing bodies.
Five major teacher unions: SADTU, NAPTOSA, SAOU, NATU and PEU, have vowed to block the tests should the department go forward with their plan to administer the tests from the 1 to 4 December.
Mugwena Maluleke, the general secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) said that the Department of Education had reneged on their earlier commitment to postpone the tests.
“We had a commitment with the department that the tests would be postponed this year, to give adequate time for the task team to do the work of coming up with proposals for a re-design of the ANAs. But the department went on to make a U-turn, and decided on the date without consulting us,” says Maluleke.
Muleleke is adamant that teachers affiliated to SADTU would not conduct the tests as the department planned.
Speaking on behalf of the ministry, Martens said that the tests would go on as planned, and that the department would explore options to make this happen.
“The ANAs will be written as the tests are an important measurement tool for the country’s education system. Even if it means getting a smaller sample of learners to write the tests, we will explore this option. It is also important to remember that not all teachers are unionized. Some teachers have indicated that they’re keen on administering the tests as planned,” said Martens.
Basil Manuel of NAPTOSA told GroundUp that his union had received the Minister’s invitation. He said, however, that the unions would like a separate meeting with Motshekga before Friday’s meeting.
See also How can South Africa redesign its annual national assessments?.