Teacher unions slam DBE over matric Covid-19 exam decision
Teacher unions have slammed the Department of Education’s (DBE) decision to allow matrics, who tested positive for Covid-19, to write their exams in isolation.
The DBE and Department of Health issued a joint statement saying they had agreed that pupils with Covid-19 should not be exempt from writing their finals. They agreed special protocols would be made to accommodate those pupils.
Basil Manuel, executive director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said teacher trade unions were surprised by the announcement and that they were not consulted.
“While we acknowledge the right of all learners to sit for an examination, we will not have the health and safety of our members compromised. If teachers are expected to be responsible for the invigilation of such learners, Naptosa will support and defend members who do not see their way clear to do so, because we believe any such instruction will be both unlawful and unreasonable,” said Manuel.
The union asked which department would be responsible for the invigilation of the pupils who tested positive for Covid-19.
“Invigilation responsibility for the learners who have tested positive – to fall on the shoulders of members of that Department; and that all learners who have tested positive should report to the Department of Health and not the school where the health and safety of learners and teachers – could be compromised,” he said.
South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said teachers should not be responsible for invigilating pupils who have tested positive for Covid-19, but rather nurses.
“We understand that the pupil has the right to write his/her exam, but it is a risk to have that pupil right in the same vicinity as other pupils albeit in isolation. Also, travelling to that exam venue is a problem. They should have Covid-19 isolation facilities that are specifically designed for such pupils.
“And nurses should invigilate and not teachers,” she said.