Sadtu be­trays chil­dren

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - LETTERS - An­drew Kenny

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.”

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