Pandor tells of crisis in education
by Poloko Tau
(November 2005)

The Department of Education is set to release an internal study revealing that pupils are not learning.

Speaking to the national general council meeting of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Boksburg last night, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said 30 000 pupils had been tested on writing, reading and numeracy, and the study had revealed
"a crisis in our system".

"The report says our learners are not learning. For that, everyone should take responsibility.

"We must assume collective responsibility: myself, the department and teachers. There should be no pointing fingers at anyone," she said.

Sadtu general secretary Thulas Nxesi said that according to the Freedom Charter, the doors of learning should be opened to all.
"We will take up the challenge if the government takes its responsibilities," he said, adding that the government was responsible for providing resources for proper teaching.

Pandor said her department would provide reading books to 5 000 schools next year.

She added that legislation was in the pipeline to allow for temporary teachers to be employed permanently.

"I was surprised when I heard there were teachers who had been 'temporary' for over 12 years.

"That is exploitation, and it has to come to an end," she said.

The minister also said she was keen to begin an exchange programme of teachers with Cuba.

After indicating the department's plans to revive the country's education and teaching systems, Pandor urged teachers to pledge their commitment.

"We should secure quality education and instil the passion for education in our learners. I'm confident that Sadtu is not a mere stakeholder in this drive and is committed to education transformation," she said.