Sadtu says teaching in mother tongue will boost education

Sadtu wants teachers to be trained better in mother tongue languages.
Sadtu wants teachers to be trained better in mother tongue languages.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) wants better funding and development of teaching in mother tongue languages at schools to improve education in South Africa.

"We have not debated this enough. Countries like Cambodia and Singapore are doing well because they prioritise teaching learners in their mother tongue‚ said Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke‚ addressing the 2018 Education Indaba in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The indaba‚ a national gathering of education stakeholders‚ is being held on Tuesday and Wednesday. The gathering will take a close look at early childhood development.

Maluleke said teachers needed to be trained to instruct pupils in their own language. "If we allow teachers to teach in mother tongue‚ we will get good results and good teachers."

The process of hiring permanent teachers also had to be accelerated‚ along with having adequate support staff‚ added Maluleke. "Schools that are doing well academically‚ prioritise support staff."

Maluleke also called for a "resuscitation" of Mathematics at schools: "Mathematics and LOLT (Language of Learning and Teaching) must be a focus area and let’s not commit suicide by doing away with mathematics."

Basic Education director-general Mathanzima Mweli said challenges faced by the education department were‚ mostly‚ due to budget cuts. "The economy of the country has not been doing well. Revenue has been shrinking.

"Over the years‚ education has suffered because of the funding of OSED (Occupational Specific Dispensation) posts‚ salary increases and budget cuts that happen every year‚" Mweli said.

He said the department was faced with a problem when trying to fill vacant teacher posts due to constrained budgets. "The number of Hods (Heads of Departments) and deputy principals have reduced because of the reasons I have mentioned.

"There is no money to fill vacant posts. If you fill those posts‚ the budget will overheat."

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