Northern Areas parents threaten to prevent children from writing 2015 Matric exams

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Just two days after Eastern Cape Education MEC, Mandla Makupula, announced that the province was ready for this year's Matric examinations, the Northern Areas Education Forum, which was at the centre of the violent protests that broke out in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas over teacher shortages and other education related grievances, has threatened to boycott the exams, which are expected to start on Monday, 26 October and end on 27 November.

In a statement, the Forum said that it has decided on the boycott after interactions with various government institutions "to secure a better quality education for our children over the last twelve months" failed.

"The Forum has decided to intensify its action to force the DoE and authorities to come to the table with positive actions to solve our grievances. Most of the issues have been plaguing our education system for the last five years and more.Some even as far back as 1996," said the Forum, which consists of parents, principals, teachers and the broader community..

"The Forum has taken various actions but it seems that the DoE is not serious in addressing our concerns. The Forum took very serious decisions recently which include closing of schools for almost two weeks and also a complete stay away for a day." 

It said that it has been engaging with the MEC Makapula, and the Eastern Cape Department of Eductaion's SG, Ray Tywakadi, over promises that they made.

"In following up with DoE district officials, they stated that they do not react to political statements and will only act if written communications is received from the Political heads. The Forum was askedby DoE district officials to engage with Head Office on this matter," the Forum said.

"This stance by DoE officials is frustrating and upsetting our constituents. We interacted again with the Bisho government and also communicated to the Minister of Basic Education,Madam Angie Moshegka, concerning our plight. The Forum requested that the minister come back with answers by the 7th September 2015. 

"The Forum feels strongly that the authorities are not serious and had decided to take action. The Forum with its members at a meeting held on 8th Sept 2015 took a majority decision that the schools in our region will not take part in the Annual national Assessment (ANA) exams, taking place from the 15thto the 18th of September 2015.

"It must be stressed that the Forum has decided that the children's education will not be disrupted and that the schools will remain open for the four days. Normal teaching will take place. The children will be kept of the street. The action we must stress will be peaceful."

The Forum said that it based this decision on the following reasons;

"we still have 102 educator vacancies in our schools. The non- payment of teachers is still a matter of grave concern. Classes are over crowded. The non- teaching staff vacancies still need to be addressed. Learners with Special Education Needs are still not being catered for. The plan for roll-out of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages is still not in place in spite of teachers already allocated to schools at the cost of existing teachers. School budgets not being honoured. Section 21 conversion not confirmed.  Schools are falling apart and the infrastructure of schools needs urgent attention."

It said that it hopes that someone "with a political will can stand up and come to the rescue of our children. The Forum firmly believes that the DoE is applying delaying tactics but the Forum has decided to intensify its actions. 

"A working group consisting of various stakeholders has been put in place to finalise a range of further additional collective protest action initiatives aimed at maintaining the intended pressure on the DBE at all levels. This Collective Mass Action will continue until the DBE takes meaningful action and starts to take the Education of our Children serious."

This is not the first time that parents in the Northern Areas have threatened to prevent their children from writing the 2015 Matric Exams. Read more HERE.