Sadtu betrays children
The best speech I heard in the parliamentary debates last week on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) came from Gavin Davis, the DA shadow education minister.
It was sincere, told an obvious truth and dealt with a terrible problem, the appalling education of our black children.
Ridicule and insults are perfectly legitimate in parliamentary debate. They are also perfectly tedious. Politicians, like drunkards, are seldom as witty as they think they are. They would spare the rest of us a lot of pain if they stopped trying to make fun of other parties and made clear, honest argument instead.
Davis did so. His five-minute speech condemning the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) for wrecking the education and the lives of most black children was heartfelt and direct. He didn’t mock. He cared.
He gave examples of schools he had visited in rural KZN.
At Dumaphansi Secondary School, 146 pupils have written matric maths in the past three years, but none has passed – and no teacher has been fired for underperformance.
At a school in the Ugu district, there has been no teaching in seven months of the past two years because of a dispute between Sadtu and the district director.
At Bhekisizwe High School in the Umzinyathi district, teachers go on holiday two weeks before the term ends and come back two weeks after the new term starts. No action is taken against them.
The key sentence: “Government officials there [KZN] told us how Sadtu teachers drop their own children off at former model C schools and then go on strike for the day.”
SA has about the world’s worst school results. Sadtu, not the ministry of education, controls the education of the majority of children.
Everybody in parliament knew Davis spoke the truth. None would dream of sending their own children to a school controlled by Sadtu. But Sadtu is an important political ally of the ANC, so the ANC sacrifices other people’s children to low skills and destitution by supporting Sadtu.
Davis noted that the president had not spoken about the educational disaster. He ended with a plea to him: “Tell us what you will do to smash this Sadtu protection racket, so that we can improve the education of every child.”