Exhausted teachers need break to refuel

As it ignores the real problems faced by SA schooling, the government’s crackpot idea will only make things worse

Have you ever tried to teach several classes for six hours a day for 50 days straight? You will drop to the floor out of sheer exhaustion. Now imagine you have a brutal, cold-hearted employer who then decides to take away a burnout-saving break of 11 days as you are forced to return to put in all your energy to prepare the many children in your charge for the final examination of their young lives, now merely weeks away. It’s the type of mercilessness you’d expect from the Taliban in Afghanistan, which recently told western journalists, with a straight face, that it is about to respect the rights of women and give girls access to education. I am not suggesting the department of basic education (DBE) is like the Taliban, just the straight face bit — that they really care about those under their rule(r).

I am not surprised several of our teacher unions rejected this highly irresponsible decision. The scheduled term runs from July 26 to October 1. There was supposed to be a much-needed break from October 1 to 11, but now another week (October 4 to 8) of teaching has been scheduled. The umpteenth lockdown meant five days of teaching were lost earlier this year and this cancellation of the October break is meant to “make up” for those missed days...

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