Education big worry for Zuma

HARMONY: President Jacob Zuma and gospel star Solly Moholo in Limpopo yesterday. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 25/10/2009. © Sowetan.
HARMONY: President Jacob Zuma and gospel star Solly Moholo in Limpopo yesterday. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 25/10/2009. © Sowetan.

WITH the matric exams starting today, President Jacob Zuma yesterday hinted at making education an essential service - a move that could severely curtail the right of teacher unions to strike,

WITH the matric exams starting today, President Jacob Zuma yesterday hinted at making education an essential service - a move that could severely curtail the right of teacher unions to strike,

Zuma also expressed concern at the state of learning and teaching, mainly in African schools.

Essential services include any service which, if interrupted, may endanger the lives, personal health or safety of South Africans.

Zuma, who was speaking at a packed Lenyenye Stadium, outside Tzaneen in Limpopo, was in the province to thank the party faithful for voting for the ANC during the April elections.

Zuma said ihe was still to discuss this with education sector.

He also expressed his displeasure at the country's laws on crime, which he said were soft on criminals.

He also used the rally to report back on talks he had with school principals, police and other important players in government.

Teacher unions have vowed to fight against their sector being declared an essential service.

South African Democratic Teachers Union general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke said making education an essential service was "opportunistic" and would be resisted.

"It is problematic because it goes against International Labour Organisation conventions and international practice.

Maluleke said Outcome-Based Education had caused more harm than any teachers' strike.

Dennis George, general-secretary of the Federation of Unions of SA, said the president did not have the powers to make education an essential service.

He said professions regarded as essential services were those with life and death characteristics.

X