Are good, critical teachers under threat?

The year 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for the education system, but most importantly for educators and learners as they grappled with the onset of the covid19 pandemic and its disruptions to learning. At the peak of the pandemic, several principals took a bold stand against the opening of schools during the hard lockdown – with some of them holding daily pickets objecting to this decision. One of them was the principal of Heathfield High, Mr Wesley Neumann, who faces disciplinary charges from the Western Cape Education Department. There’s been loads of support for Mr Neumann from the school community and from several other schools in Cape Town. Mr Neumann will in fact appear before the WCED this week for his disciplinary hearing, after an attempt to halt it at the labour court.

Mr Neumann’s story brings to the fore questions concerning the role of the teacher in society and there is concern that good teachers are being demoralized by a bureaucratic education system. Are good, critical teachers under threat?

That’s our Burning Issue tonight.

Joining us instudio is:

-Patrick Schuster from the C-19 People’s Coalition ECD and Basic Education Working Group
-Ashley Visagie from Bottom Up, an NPO that promotes active citizenship and participatory democracy
-former South Peninsula high school principal Brian Isaacs
-Online is Allan Liebenberg, the spokesperson for the Action Committee at Heathfield high school
-TO PLACE ON RECORD: we have invited the WCED to join us, but because of the disciplinary hearing this week, they cannot speak to the media