School principals and community members have raised concerns after a matric maths paper was scheduled to be written on the same day as Eid al-Adha. The paper and Eid al-Adha coincide on September 12, 2016. According to principals, the matter was raised with district officers in their areas but no feedback has been given.
Speaking to VOC, principal at Spine Road High School and chairman of the Progressive Principals’ Association, Riyaad Najaar, explained that the paper scheduled to written on Eid is the pure maths exam, a vital subject for acceptance to university.
“This is a common mathematics paper written in the Western Cape by all schools that offer pure mathematics” said Najaar.
According to Najaar, it is not the first time that a paper had to be written on the same day as Eid.
“We have a history of this kind of inconsiderate approach by education officials. It is unfortunate that there was no discussion or input requested from principals regarding the date. It is also unfortunate that the districts and the district officials are not sympathetic towards the impasse,” Najaar stated.
Najaar stated that it is unacceptable that learners be marginalised on that day, further stating that many schools have opted not to write the paper on the 12th but rather on a date that is best suited for its learners.
“The Progressive Principals’ Association will be addressing the matter with the MEC for education. This will at least leave the minority with a representative when these timetables are set up,” Najaar added.
Najaar encouraged parents to appreciate the challenge and the fight against those who are setting the papers.
He said that the challenge is not only for Muslim learners, but for every learner from any race and religion that feels a certain religious day is not being respected.
VOC contacted the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for comment on matter.
The department, however, declined the invitation and presented the statement below.
“The September exams are internal exams and the schools set their own timetables. If the teachers are aggrieved they need to raise it with the school. If they are not happy with schools response they can approach their district office.”
VOC (Imran Salie)