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Media Release

8 June, 2007

WCED concerned over impact of strike on examinations

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

This morning I met with the top management and district directors of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), who have briefed me extensively on the impact of the strike on schools and examinations.

Having received reports that some schools in histothe townships are the worst affected by the strike, I must express my deepest concern, especially in the light of the fact that the matriculants have less then 60 days in which to cover the curriculum and prepare for the Senior Certificate examinations.

As a department we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that learners are not unfairly disadvantaged. It is clear however, that where there is a complete absense of teachers, the learners in question will be under pressure to complete the necessary assignments and assessment tasks.

I therefore want to appeal to learners not to let the strike affect their enthusiasm for school. In fact, I urge them to support one another by getting together in groups at school and do revision of previous work and complete test papers. I also want to appeal to parents to continue to offer support for their children.

We remain hopeful that a settlement will be reached as soon as possible, so that we can all concentrate on getting our schools back to normal. The WCED will at a later stage announce measures and interventions to support schools and learners in preparation for the examinations.

I have also noted with regret reports of increased levels of aggression and intimidation and in some cases principals were even threatened where exams were taking place.

There has also been an increase in strike-related activities at offices of the department. While it appears that the pickets and demonstrations were conducted peacefully, it is clear that the targeting of schools and certain personnel has the potential to contribute to tension and conflict.

We acknowledge the right of employees to withhold their labour, at the same time, where teachers and learners want to continue with learning and teaching, it should go ahead without interference and intimidation.

I once again call upon the union leadership to restrain their members and ensure that calm prevails. Unacceptable conduct must be condemned. Let us exercise the rights and freedoms we have won in a disciplined manner.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.


Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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2007 WCED