DECLARATION OF THE COSATU EDUCATION AND SKILLS CONFERENCE LAKES HOTEL:
We, workers, Labor Service Organizations, Sections of Government, progressive civil society and Internationalists under the auspices of COSATU’s Education and Skills Conference gathered at the Lakes Hotel on the 3rd to the 5th July 2012, recognize and abhor the deepest and longest global financial crisis at its zenith which worsening unemployment, poverty and inequality between and within countries in the world.
This financial crisis has brought into question the very credibility of the entire capitalist system resulting in hasty responses by captains of industry seeking to restructure work at the point of production in order to mitigate and offer breathing space to a suffocating economic system.
This has led to closure of productive industries, massive retrenchments, neo-colonial encroachment of the African continent all which have resulted in springtime uprisings deposing one toothless neo-liberal government after another throughout continental Europe and North Africa.
It is clear, long decades of neo-liberal assaults against the working class globally have resulted in the toiling masses finally turning the screws against perceived or real representatives of neo-liberalism.
The direct consequences of this global crisis in South Africa are mushrooming service delivery protests springing up on every pore of our country on various issues reflecting the degree of insertion of the South African economy in the global capitalist system as a dependent junior partner.
This has resulted in the de-industrialization and erosion of the real economy and the corresponding elevation of financial markets undermining the capacity national economies to create decent, sustainable and permanent work in a dash to align to worldwide profit-maximization.
The exclusion of worker education from mainstream discourse is tailored to service the logic, values and desires of capitalism to produce machines out of workers ready to be inserted into the production process in service of the capitalist market regardless of the social cost.
This has led to poor investment in education infrastructure, zigzags in curriculum quality, lack of attention to childhood development and a gap between policy formulation and implementation. The conference deliberated and called for the following to advance the struggles for free compulsory education across all spheres of our education system free from the dictates of neo-liberalism:
On Skills Development Recognizing the present orientation of skills development which invests narrowly towards meeting market demand and imperatives of accumulation, the conference called for a skills revolution that does not reproduce capitalist relations but a developmental approach that puts transformation firmly at the centre of skills development.
We need a public post school training system that is coherent and that articulates and ensures transformed ABET centers broadened to cater for skills development in communities.
Elements of such an approach would be geared to overcome the divide between mental and manual labor through skillfully weaving theory and practice while strengthening early childhood development, revolutionizing adult education and recognizing prior learning.
We must build fully operational community centers dealing with recognition of prior learning and transform the RPL system so as to facilitate career development and articulation Consistently coordinate COSATU representation and interventions in SETA boards.
Develop capacity to articulate the mandate of the federations including the transformation of SETA Boards. We should reestablish the link between skills development and the bargaining process. Ensure the mandatory payment of 1% towards the skills levy is extended to the public sector, and that the public sector should develop a clear framework for skills development towards the sector.
We must ensure access to the higher education system for the working class especially young adults and workers with disabilities making use of RPL for this purpose. We must explore how best to establish dedicated worker education facilities across the higher education system.
We should set up structures that would be responsible for synergizing the process of higher education and be accountable to the NEDCOM. We should ensure that higher education institutions should be accountable to parliament and should be empowered through legislation to exercise oversight and hold the management and the governance structures accountable for their acts and omissions.
We should be campaigning for the mobilization of the centers providing ABET and the creation of an atmosphere conducive for attracting as well as retaining the learners Union-based education and training should be accredited by the universities and create a channel to join the mainstream education Worker Education Endorse 2010 Mass Education Conference Resolutions, and building and sustaining a mass education programme.
Worker Education must be under worker control and independent from the state and other rival class forces. It must be popularized and included in the green paper for the skills development landscape COSATU and affiliates must work with Ditsela and other Labour support in advancing worker education.
COSATU resolves to re-instate the 10% allocation of worker education. The role of SADTU in the worker education must be encourage Chris Hani Brigade must feature prominently in Worker Education Basic Education ECD is the foundation of learning that must be properly administered from providing adequate resources, trained personnel and form basis of seamless progression of our schooling division (spaces) from primary, Secondary to Higher levels to assist growth of the learners Must ensure creation of professional development and in-service training with the help of colleges and Universities to identify synergies
Avoid these white elephants by utilization of unused buildings of former colleges that were amalgamated to be turned into (community) training centres Voluntarism by communities by taking ownership of the schools close to them to keep them safe and safeguard them against vandalism to ensure security measures that must be available at all schools Introduction of a Curriculum mix that include music, sports, arts and culture as part of the school curriculum relevant to the needs of the communities.
We have seen Curriculum 2005 – to Revised – review and strengthening, now ANA –PANA- CAPS. This causes instability – affect moral of teachers. This ought to be attended to. A centralized distribution of resources, good management and administration of the system to promote fairness including scholar transport, school feeding scheme and provision of Learner teacher support materials (LTSM)
Other resources like Language centre, library in addressing language will help improve language barriers Adopt a School campaign must involve all stakeholders and Alliance partners in conjuction with separate core duties and noncore duties and delegate to appointed community stakeholders Participation and involvement of parental and community leaders in education system, in structures such as SGBs
We need to have Specialists in the subject matter, provision of services like Psychologist at all schools to identify learners with learning problems at an early stage, or that will assist to recognize the potential in learners Monitoring and evaluation system that must take place at all levels to promote efficiency and accountability, able to trace former learners in the whole system, including those who previously fell off due to pregnancy etc.
Reviewal of Post-provisioning model to address challenges of teacher/pupil ratio and teacher allocation according to number of classes to develop campaign on these Multi grade classes, mudschools and those learning under trees must be eradicated from our education system
Systems and Curriculum that are introduced by the Minister who come into office must be consistent and address developmental issues Implementation of the Basic Education Accord entered between social partners.