There is a great need for teachers to place their focus on their designated task of teaching and stepping away from politics. This call from the IFP comes after the national assessment results were released and revealed that pupils in Grade 1 to 6 and Grade 9 cannot do maths and few can get more than 50 percent in a class test. The IFP has described this as an unmitigated disaster.
IFP Spokesperson on Education, Mr Alfred Mpontshane said, "These results are shocking to say the least and reflect badly on teachers if learners are not able to read or count in class. We are calling for further effective teacher in-service programmes for teachers, not the current touch and go programs, and for the improvement in school infrastructure so that teachers are able to provide better teaching to pupils in secure environments. Above all, the implementation of performance assessment is now a matter of urgency, because for the past three years performance agreements for principals and their deputies have been held to ransom by the unions. The department cannot move past this point and this situation has resulted in problems arising in schools"
This is not the first time that the IFP has called for the reduction in influence of unions on our education system. Many problems, especially in the Eastern Cape, have resulted from the actions of unionised teachers.
"Three things must happen to change this situation: teachers must be properly qualified and motivated, minimise the unionisation of teachers and an increase in classroom evaluation. In addition, the Department of Basic Education must prioritise the training of Grade R teachers as they are not properly qualified and do not have maths skills," said Mpontshane.
The IFP calls on the Department of Basic Education to urgently improve teacher empowerment programmes. Without having teachers who are well trained our education system will continue to be a disaster and will result in the Department not reaching its targets, which call for 60 percent of pupils to pass numeracy and literacy tests with a mark of at least 50 percent by 2014.
No system in the world is better than its teachers.