SANTACO taxi strike keeps over 128 000 children home from school
While Western Cape matric candidates were all able to write their exams this week, the rest of our learners were severely affected by the SANTACO taxi strike held on 21 to 22 November 2022.
On Monday, 128 699 learners in Grades 1 to 11 missed school, and on Tuesday, 128 747 missed school.
What this means is that the strike cost 11% of the Grade 1 to 11 learners of the Western Cape two days of schooling.
School staff were also negatively affected, with 2 435 missing work on Monday, and 1 965 on Tuesday. Most crucially, many schools had to reschedule exams, disrupting the end-of-year revision, marking, and administrative processes at our schools.
While the SANTACO taxi strike had a severe impact on the other grades, we have received no reports of a candidate missing a matric exam on either Monday or Tuesday.
Two major exams were written: 32 490 candidates were registered for Life Sciences Paper 2 on Monday, and 27 055 were registered for Geography Paper 2 on Tuesday.
The preliminary analysis indicates that:
On Monday, 354 Life Sciences candidates were affected by the strike, of which 297 wrote at alternate exam centres, and 57 arrived late at their designated centre but were nonetheless afforded the full time allocation for their exam.
On Tuesday, 415 Geography candidates were affected by the strike, with 358 writing at an alternate exam centre, and 57 arrived late to their designated centre, and were also afforded the full time allocation for their exam.
The fact that the exams went ahead as planned is a testament to the preparations our schools and districts have made to ensure that our candidates could get to their exams safely.
I want to especially thank our principals and teachers for the way in which they took charge in developing and executing contingency plans for their learners to reach their exams, with great success.
Our districts, exam officials, and invigilators, did a fantastic job of providing an option for candidates who, despite their best efforts, could not reach their designated exam centre as a result of the strike. These candidates could instead go to their nearest exam centre, where they were assisted by our staff to ensure that they could write their exam.
But they should not have had to do so.
While we respect the right to strike, other options should have been explored that would not have had such a disruptive impact on our learners. The best interests of the children of the Western Cape should always come first.