Statement of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) following its National Executive Committee from the 19th to the 20th of August 2016:
The Congress of South African Students set its normal National Executive Committee meeting as per dictates of the constitution. The NEC deliberated on many issues affecting learners; the recent local government elections and other international organisational matters. There were many instructive resolutions taken which will ensure the struggle of students is taken forward and the organisation continues to grow.
On the Recent Sex Video Scandal of a Teacher and a Learner:
COSAS is utterly disgusted and angered by the video making rounds of a teacher and learner. As an organisation we are cautioning that we must not be alarmed only because there is a video made of this scandal, this is a true reflection of the rape and sexual harassment that goes on in schools with school management and sometimes even parents protecting the perpetrators from the law.
As an organisation we welcome the immediate intervention from the MEC of education in KZN who has already opened a case against the said teacher, the NEC has instructed the Provincial Executive Committee to follow the case closely, COSAS will also be sitting in in all the court proceedings until the teacher receives a befitting sentence for all his gruesome acts.
The Organisation expects that all learners of the affected schools receive counselling even those who were not directly affected. They are children and such a video in their school grounds is trauma. The counselling should also serve as means to educate them that it is wrong for a teacher to make any sexual advances to a learner and if any teacher does so it should be reported immediately. The organisation will be engaging the department of basic education on this case.
The movement calls on the reviewing of the South African Council of Educators (SACE). This institution which is supposed to hold teachers accountable to appropriate behaviour has dismally failed to make teachers stick to rules. The structure has been lenient in dealing with criminal teachers who rape and beat up learners in school grounds. SACE is toothless and useless and has continuously failed to decisively identify and permanently take out of the system all the teachers who give the profession a bad name.
On Free Education:
The movement recommitted to the struggle of attainment of Free Education. As COSAS we believe that we must however properly communicate that we are speaking of Free Education for the poor. The organisation welcomes the 0% fee increment in studies that was declared by the President of the country again this year, this may not be the ultimate destination we want to reach but it is a step towards the correct destination.
The organisation supports the call for the private sector to also come on board and lend a hand in ensuring that the youth of South Africa get educated. The Progressive Youth Alliance will be marching to Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to demand that all rich companies must contribute toward the 1 billion rand and above which must be coughed up by these rich companies towards higher education. COSAS will mobilise its members as well as young people who have passed grade 12 but don’t have funds to study further to form part of the march.
The organisation distanced itself further from the supposed “Free Education” march that took place last week and saw learners being taken out of school in Alexandra. The movement will be taking disciplinary actions against its members that went out of school and joined a march whilst not instructed by the organisation to do so. COSAS does not join undefined marches and which have not been resolved upon by correct structures of COSAS. Teaching and Learning must not be disrupted just because certain organisations can’t mobilise their own members.
On the Education Curriculum of South Africa:
The National Executive Committee engaged extensively on the curriculum of South Africa. In this women’s month, we looked at the extent to which the curriculum of South African education addresses the eradication of patriarchy, we located the importance of education addressing it because people are socialised by society in terms of how they view gender roles, they are socialised from the level of family and all other social institutions including schools then reinforce this.
COSAS believes that schools remain a progressive tool in terms of the shaping of the social transformation we want to see in South Africa. The meeting ruled out that the curriculum still needs to do extensive work in including the gender struggle in everyday learning.
The National Executive Committee welcomed the introduction of offering of African languages in schools from grade 1 then incrementally every year. This is a progressive step towards transformation of the curriculum. COSAS demands an increased pace in implementation of offering of compulsory and correct history in all grades and classes.
On the Recent Local Government Elections:
A thorough review of the elections campaign and election results was done by the national executive committee, part of the issues we looked at was the turnout of learners eligible to vote in the elections. More needs to be done to encourage young people at that level to participate in electing their government. The organisation was part of the campaign for people of South Africa to place their hopes and aspirations in the hands of the African National Congress.
The Congress of South African Students still believes that the policies of the ANC are relevant and carry a promise of the transformation needed by the majority of people of South Africa. The election results needed to be accepted by the ANC as a sign of the changes that need to ensue within the movement so as to regain the trust that they have placed in it so far.
The Congress concluded its analysis with reaffirming its support to the policies of the ANC. As a movement, we still have not identified another movement which resembles intentions to build a stable society which takes care of all its citizens as well as delivers all the services it needs equally. COSAS committed to do its part to plead with the ANC to go back to basics, work the ground more and developing of the ANC to be relevant to a now extremely dynamic country.
On COSAS as an organisation:
The national executive committee resolved together with provincial leaders to work even harder to strengthen structures of COSAS in all levels to ensure that students continue to have a voice in all issues affecting them. The national executive committee has instructed that recruitment of new members of COSAS must be increased as there are many students who wish to join the student’s movement. The NEC members committed to all do their part to build an even stronger and united organisation.
The NEC further instructed that all structures of COSAS must have gone to their regional and provincial congresses by 31 October 2016 in line with guidelines that qualify the structures to seat for these gatherings. This is important as the organisation moves towards its National General Council in the beginning of December. The congresses must apart from election of leadership in all 9 provinces take resolutions which will be submitted to the National General Council.
Issued by the National Executive Committee of the Congress of South African Students
Zama Khanyase- 074 334 8248
Khulekani Skosana- 082 346 7959