Give us proof, Ramphele: iLIVE
Dr Mamphela Ramphele's derogatory and ill-informed remarks cannot go unchallenged. To be labelled as heavily indebted drunkards who are hooked on drugs is beyond insulting - it is defamatory.
From a person who once said Bantu education was better than the current system, we should not be surprised by such assertions. They prove our suspicion that she has a deep hatred for our government and any power in the hands of a black majority.
It would be interesting to find out how many schools she visited to arrive at such a conclusion. Thus we challenge Ramphele to bring forth evidence to support her case.
Our members are professionals who do their best under trying conditions. Also, most of them work in far-flung corners of South Africa, where the media deigned not to set foot.
As the SA Democratic Teachers' Union, we have always maintained that we should not heap blame for the failures in education on one sector - all stakeholders should take responsibility. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.
It is for that reason that our government has declared education a societal issue and subsequently launched a quality learning, as well as teaching, campaign, which we are a signatory of. The initiative calls for government, teacher, pupil, parent and community involvement.
If the aforesaid stakeholders were to take their roles more seriously, we would have well-resourced schools, conducive working conditions and ongoing teacher development.
Contrary to the propaganda that we have abandoned the interests of poor and working-class children, they are at the core of our programmes. It is a well-known fact that minimal training took place after the closure of teacher colleges. That affected the number of teachers who were produced by the system as well as the quality of teaching.
As a union, we have therefore launched our Curtis Nkondo Development Institute to train future teachers in this ever-changing education environment to ensure that the rights of working-class and poor children to a quality education are protected. We do that as we simultaneously continue to engage in the fight for better conditions of service for our members.
Our understanding is that conducive work conditions are the critical ingredients required for improved pupil outcomes, which are needed in South Africa.
We have always insisted that no child must be subjected to a demoralised, under-compensated and under-trained teacher as those factors may rob a pupil of the constitutionally guaranteed right to a quality education.