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

ANC Youth League flik-flaks over matric awards ceremony

Asavela Rawe who received seven distinctions at Masibambane Secondary School in Kraaifontein, waits to received his award at Leeuenhof. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

Criticising the Western Cape education department’s award ceremony for outstanding matriculants held at the Premier’s Leeuenhof residence on Wednesday, the ANC Youth League directly contradicted its vocal criticism of last year’s event.

Last year the ANCYL and the South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) were up in arms over the fact that there were two separate awards events, one for privileged schools, and one for learners from previously disadvantaged schools.

ANC Youth League spokesperson Ndoda Ngemntu said at the time that the previously disadvantaged learners needed to be honoured as equals to those from private and former model C schools.

The department stated separate events were held due to the results from previously disadvantaged schools arriving late. They apologised and promised to have one event for all schools in future.

But following all schools being incorporated into one event on Wednesday, ANCYL Provincial Coordinator Senzeni Mphila said there should have been two sets of awards as it was “difficult” for matriculants from previously disadvantaged schools to compete with those from “privileged” schools for the top achievers awards.

Mphila said pitting the results of previously disadvantaged learners against those from “well resourced schools” was “discriminatory”.

He said privileged learners were studying in more conducive educational environments while their counterparts in the township had to deal with overcrowded classes and a lack of resources.

Sadtu provincial spokespern Jonovan Rastin said the organisation stood by their remarks made last year that there should be one event for all learners.

However, he said the education department had to improve resources at previously disadvantaged schools so that all learners were working on an equal footing.

“We have always stood by our arguement that the event should be incorporated into one event, because only one matric examination has been written, not two. (But) the government needs to eradicate the inequalities of the past and equip all students,” he said.

But although one award ceremony was held, there were two different sets of awards.

The first was the top 20 achievers in the province, which was handed out to 27 learners, all who studied at private or former model C schools.

A second award section titled ‘Special Awards for Meritorious Academic Achievements from historically disadvantaged contexts’ lauded 20 top achievers from schools predominantly located in township areas.

Premier Helen Zille and Education MEC Donald Grant handed out certificates, handshakes and hugs to the winning learners, with the top five in the Merit awards category, and those from ‘historically disadvantaged’ schools who received six distinctions or more, also receiving R6 000 each to further their studies, and a laptop.

Eight schools, most of them located in townships, received cash ranging from R20 000 to R2 500. – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News

Tags: ANC, anc youth league, ANCYL, cape news, DA, Education, Education MEC Donald Grant, Helen Zille, matric, sadtu, zille

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