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South Africa: Union slams mentorship scheme for poor schools

published 27 April 2006 updated 27 April 2006

EI affiliate the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has criticised the Eastern Cape education department’s initiative to hire mentors and retirees to help solve the education crisis in the province.

The education department has advertised mentorship and motivational speakers’ vacancies at 50 under-performing schools as part of an initiative to help schools that achieved poor exam results last year.

SADTU provincial spokesman Mxolisi Dimaza said the initiative was not the solution to the education crisis and in fact this approach was exposing two critical problems.

He said the problems are a lack of political vision for the education transformation project and the narrow, even punitive, measures against schools to force results.

“It is an act of desperation that undermines the education fundamentals and mission,” he said.

Dimaza said the critical issue in the province is the lack of strategy for teacher development, highlighting the shortage of both material and human resources, both teaching and non-teaching staff in schools, and the lack of a strategy to address apartheid backlogs.

“How on earth do you reconcile the systematic retrenchment of teachers on a daily basis with the rehiring of pensioners and retirees? This thinking is highly ridiculous,” he said.