IkamvaYouth is deeply concerned about the negative impact that the teachers’ strike will have on the education of our country’s learners. Many classes were already significantly behind in covering the curriculum, and the negative impact of this protest action is tragic.
As the public servants’ strike intensifies, small groups of township school learners across the country are meeting in local libraries and community centres and working together to ensure they don’t fall behind while out of the classroom. We call on all South African citizens to step up and help mitigate this sabotage of our nation’s learners and our future. Please contact your nearest IkamvaYouth branch, and volunteer to support our learners through this challenging time. If you cannot afford to volunteer your time, we urge you to instead contribute the financial equivalent of a few hours of your time, to assist us with covering unanticipated extra transport, photocopying and coordination costs.
While the unions and the state use learners’ education as bargaining chips, ikamvanites are refusing to let their futures be gambled away. Showing wisdom and maturity beyond their years, our learners are supporting, encouraging and educating one another. They are instead helping each other get to grips with their school work by working through Answer Series workbooks, teaching one another as yet uncovered or particularly tricky sections of the curriculum, and working through past exam papers. Our learners are a real inspiration, as are the volunteers who’re stepping up and getting involved; encouraging and supporting all the way.
According to Joe Manciya, coordinator the IkamvaYouth branch in Ivory Park (Midrand, Johannesburg), “Many of our learners start the day by going to their schools to see if they are open, when they find that the gates are locked and there are no teachers they make their way to our centre. Here they find a table and chair and they start working together on their school work. This is particularly admirable given that it would be far easier for these learners to simply go home watch TV, listen to music or play video games. These learners are a real example to all of us.”
IkamvaYouth acknowledges that teaching is one of the most important and difficult jobs in the world, and that South Africa’s schooling environment is highly contested, with multiple (and often competing) agendas at play. We fully support the irrevocable rights of educators and public servants to raise grievances about their salaries and working conditions through legitimate protest action, and believe that with these rights come responsibilities. We acknowledge that many teachers would far rather be in class teaching than on the streets demonstrating, and hope that they are able to return to their learners soon. Many educators are making plans to ensure that their learners are not prejudiced during this time and we want to commend them for their efforts.
The learners of our country do not deserve the current treatment and lessons they are receiving. It is our responsibility to play our part and invest in our future. Come join us!