Magope Maphila (foreground), deputy president of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union attends their national general council at a Kempton Park hotel in eastern Johannesburg on Friday, 25 October 2013. The decision to suspend Sadtu president Thobile Ntola was not made lightly, Maphila said on Friday. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Durban - Teacher union Sadtu has called on the Department of Education to prioritise on-the-job training of teachers.

Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, said training and development of teachers must take precedence.

A recent survey of 253 KZN maths teachers revealed a quarter of them got below 39 percent when tested on a past maths paper. Their average mark was 57 percent.

“When those results came out, we said tell us something we don’t know,” said Mathonsi.

“Teacher development must take precedence, in fact issues of staff development in general should.”

He was speaking during the launch of Sadtu TV on the sidelines of the union’s KZN conference in Durban.

The TV initiative is a Sadtu brainchild and aims to empower teachers through lessons to be broadcast on DStv channel 319. During the broadcasts teachers will be given lessons on how they can teach certain subjects.

KZN Education Department head Nkosinathi Sishi welcomed the move, saying it would ensure easy dissemination of information and knowledge while also mitigating against poor quality in teaching.

Sadtu stressed that for the interventions to work, the unions would have to be involved, Mathonsi said

“There can be nothing about us without us, because we are where the tyre meets the tar.”

He said the union had been responsible for the improvement of the KZN matric results in 2009. The pass rate had jumped from 57 percent in 2008 to 63 percent, and Sadtu believes its intervention programme targeting mainly rural districts had been largely responsible for this improvement.

“The quantitative failure (in matric) was as a result of the neglect of two rural districts.

“We then dedicated R1 million and called for the rand-to-rand partnership from the department, but this never came. We nevertheless partnered with them,” Mathonsi said.

Sadtu has also called for more support staff at schools, saying the shortage at some schools meant teachers at those schools also had to act as administrators.

[email protected]

Daily News