Media Release : NAPTOSA statement on calls to declare teaching as an essential service
STATEMENT BY NAPTOSA ON ATTEMPTS TO DECLARE TEACHING AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE- 24 JULY 2018
NAPTOSA is opposed to teaching being declared an essential service.
Essential services are commonly defined as those services that if interrupted, might inflict substantial harm on the population at large. Policing, firefighting, and emergency medical care are examples of essential services. In recent years, however, some governments have resolved that primary formal education should be added to this list of essential services.
The Labour Relations Act (LRA) defines an essential service as “a service, the interruption of which, endangers the life, personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the population”.
“NAPTOSA wishes to remind those who are calling for education to be declared an essential service that South Africa is a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and that the Freedom of Association Committee of the Governing Body of the ILO has found that the education sector does not constitute an essential service”, said Mr Basil Manuel, Executive Director of NAPTOSA.
The debate on whether teaching should be declared an essential service is not new. In 2010 NAPTOSA reacted to the Democratic Alliance’s call for teaching to be declared an essential service. NAPTOSA pointed out the many critical issues that needed urgent attention in education, including, inter alia, reduction of class sizes, provision of adequate resources, fixing school infrastructure, supply of new teachers, retention of teachers, correcting the use of teachers outside their areas of specialisation, addressing the quality of teacher training and development, and ensuring that suitable people are appointed for the job.
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Sub-Regulation 4 (5) (a) This sub-regulation contains an “escape clause” which makes the Minister subject to the resources and cooperation of other organs of state in the implementation of these norms. In the words of the Judge “As I understand the argument put forward by the Minister, her hands are tied . . . This simply compromises the constitutional value of accountability.” Para. 182. This “escape clause” has allowed the DBE to delay implementation of the norms and standards. The Court ruled that the sub-regulation is unlawful and invalid.
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