News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Pupils teach themselves while teachers strike

Grade 11 pupils at Sinethemba Senior Secondary school in Philippi emulate their Grade 12 colleagues and revise their schoolwork while their teachers were on strike. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

While many classrooms at Cape Town schools stood empty on Wednesday  as teachers joined the public servants strike, learners in a number of schools formed their own study groups.

Although thousands of learners took the opportunity offered by the teachers strike to stay home, there were those who met in school libraries, computer labs and classrooms to revise.

In some of the schools, learners asked obliging matriculants who left school last year to help them with their work.

Most of the dedicated learners who gathered in five schools visited in Philippi, Nyanga and Samora Machel were also not impressed with the fact that their teachers had joined the strike action, particularly because there was only a week of school left before the Grade 12 preliminary exams.

A Grade 12 learner at Philippi’s Sinethemba Senior Secondary, Unathi Mthombo, said he and about 50 other fellow students “decided to use this time positively by revising school work”.

“We hope the matter is resolved soon because we are going to suffer at the end of the day, but we are helping one another in this initiative,” said Mthombo.

He said he heard about the strike on the news on Tuesday night and phoned some of his fellow classmates and urged them to come revise at school.

Besides his classmates, learners from other classes in his grade also joined Mthombo.

“It is up to me to push myself and not wait for teachers because they passed grade 12 long ago. They are on strike and I am not,” said Mthombo.

He said he did not think teachers should be striking so close to the end of year exams.

“I doubt teachers will be able to complete the remainder of the curriculum (before preliminary exams).”

Oscar Mpetha High School Grade 12 learner Mzikabawo Nxiwa said he decided to stay at school and revise with classmates because he was behind in his work.

“We speak openly here without the fear of being judged and learning is amusing because some other students from other classes are willing to help when I need assistance,” he said.

However, Mzikabawo did not blame his teachers for striking, saying it was government’s fault for not paying them better.

“Teachers are paid lower than any other profession and they deserve better. If the government had given them what they needed, we would not be sitting here without a teacher,” he said.

Congress of South African Students (Cosas) president Ndoba Msimanga said Grade 12 pupils could be badly affected by the strike.

He said teachers should not be striking at such an “awkward time” and urged pupils to carry on going to school and working in study groups.

“Instead of staying away from school and do nothing on the streets, this is an opportunity for us (learners) to revise the curriculum because the final examinations are around the corner.”

Failure to reach an agreement between public servants wage demands of an 8.6% salary increase and R1 000 housing allowance and government sticking its 7% with an R650 housing allowance could see protracted strike action by the South African Democratic Teachers Union and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu). – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News

Tags: cosas, nehawu, Nyanga, philippi, Samora Machel

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One Response to “Pupils teach themselves while teachers strike”

  1. Shakila says:

    Hi there, I am a mother of 3, 2 of which is school going.
    I am totally appaulled by the fact that educators are striking. They earn a generous package and work under much better working conditions than the private sector.

    Besides earning a minimum gross salary of R160 614 p/a, they are entitled to an excellent pension package, medical aid, subsidiced for housing privilages. They receive 13th cheque bonuses, perfomance increases and annual increases.

    They are entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, study leave, compassionate leave, family responsiblity leave, sabatical leave and sometimes even “depression leave” is granted. They are off every school holiday, public holidays and weekends. Their working hours are from 8am till 3pm and most schools close earlier on Fridays. They were the only work force that was on paid leave for the full duration of the World Cup.

    So tell me again why are they striking?????? I work in a private sector and some of them get paid much much much less than their nett salaries. Then we have to still cough up money when medical assistance is required as we dont have any medical benefits…..

    The only people suffering through this whole ordeal are the poor students and their parents. OMG! I cant even imagine what the 2010 matrics are going through.

    After all this the pressure will be on the kids with extremely heavy work loads and parents to help them at home. So are the parents also gonna receive some sort of allowance for doing the educators jobs for them?

    They are just pathetic. The teachers back in the day pursued a teaching career as they had a passion for it. The teachers of today is all about the money and the strike is proof there of. They dont give a damn about the childrens welfare and about how they progress at school. All they care about is going to work every day with no interest at all but await patiently for the 15th of each month when their sms`s are received to confirm their salary is available.

    What a bunch of inconsiderate individuals do our country have as role models!!!!!

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