I watched with shame as thousands of school kids from different high schools in Joza, led by their CHEATERS (feel free to rearrange the letters), marched to the district offices of the Department of No-Education on Friday morning, demanding the immediate reinstatement of temporary teachers. This happens just over four weeks after the supposed schools were opened.
I watched with shame as thousands of school kids from different high schools in Joza, led by their CHEATERS (feel free to rearrange the letters), marched to the district offices of the Department of No-Education on Friday morning, demanding the immediate reinstatement of temporary teachers. This happens just over four weeks after the supposed schools were opened. I'm starting to believe that this is an annual event because I watched the same thing happen last year.
My mind then took a journey back to my school days in the 80s in rural Peddie. At the beginning of the school year, we would stand in assembly listening to our principal introduce new teachers that replaced those that we feasted to at farewell parties at the end of the previous year. After that we would proceed to get books and stationary from our class teachers.
Those who participated in athletics would soon be preparing themselves for the upcoming inter-house and inter-schools athletics competitions. (But let me not dwell on this because local schools' athletes are probably still sad after the cancellation of the athletics trials that could have lead to their selection for EP teams. This was thanks to South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) members who disrupted the planning meeting for this important sporting event at Archie Mbolekwa Primary School recently.)
But besides taking part in sports – back in the day – those with angelic voices, including myself, would join the school's choir and prepare to compete in the schools' choir festival. All these events didn't disrupt classes as everything was done after school hours, because our teachers and education officials valued education and respected the children's rights and the parents who sent them to school.
Come end of the year, everyone would be celebrating good marks, except those who had individual learning problems. Now this is where the chicken comes in. Just like any victors, we were showered with praises and words of encouragement from our parents. To celebrate the victory, they would slaughter umleqwa (a Xhosa word meaning 'chased', because we had to chase after the chicken, catch it and then slaughter it).
With such a high failure rate in our schools today, very few children get a chance to celebrate at the end of the year. Recently Sadtu members were on a 'go-slow', bringing the already slow-going education system practically to a standstill.
Last week, it was announced on national TV that the temporary teachers would be reinstated soon. This was also mentioned by the President in his State of the Nation address. No one showed any dissatisfaction with this move. But instead of trying to make up for lost time, CHEATERS from Grahamstown schools decided to take pupils out of their classes and march to the Grahamstown education offices to demand the immediate reinstatement of the temporary teachers.
Unfortunately for these kids, time wasted never returns. Will they be able to celebrate at the end of the year? Will these teachers be there to support these young hearts when they are shattered because of poor results? I am proud of my 'Bantu education' and not this Sadtu demolition.