Cosas ‘has no hostility’ towards Annual National Assessment decision
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) on Tuesday said “parent and learner organisations have come out in support” of its decision to hold the Annual National Assessment (ANA) in December. And‚ according to the DBE‚ the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) “indicated…that there was no hostility towards ANA by learners and they would be happy and ready to write the assessments this year in December”.This‚ a DBE statement said‚ was the outcome of two meetings minister Angie Motshekga had on Monday after teachers unions had earlier in the day reiterated their refusal to participate in this year’s ANAs.The first meeting‚ the DBE said‚ was held “with all seven parent organisations” which expressed their unequivocal support for the CEM (Council of Education Ministers) decision to conduct the ANA” from December 1 to 4.The unions’ refusal was dealt with as “parents raised concerns over the perceived blurred lines of the responsibility of the employer and the employee especially with regards to ANA”.This too was a concern at the second meeting‚ with Cosas‚ which “expressed concern over the public furore between unions and the department over the writing of ANA and requested that the issues be resolved as swiftly as possible as not to have any negative effect on learners”.The SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) said at the weekend that the decision to have the tests written in December‚ and subsequent announcement‚ was done without consultation.Spokeswoman Nomusa Cembi told EWN on Sunday night: "The decision they took shows utter disrespect for the union. We are stakeholders in education."Salim Vally‚ director of the University of Johannesburg's (UJ) education faculty‚ warned of the danger of excluding the unions."There has to be meaningful consultation with the unions. One cannot push ahead unilaterally. There have been concerns expressed‚ not by just one union. Sadtu‚ Naptosa [National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA] and other unions have expressed concern‚" he said.On Monday‚ at a press conference in Pretoria‚ the unions said that they did not the believe the ANAs‚ in their “current form”‚ were in the best interests of learners.They said they would “not be administering” the ANAs‚ but were cautious not to label their refusal to do so as a “strike”‚ and rather called for a task team to be set up to address their concerns.The assessments are standardised national assessments for languages and mathematics in the intermediate phase (grades 4-6) and in literacy and numeracy for the foundation phase (grades 1-3). They were introduced by Motshekga in 2011.