Members of SADTU, the largest teaching union in South Africa have been instructed not to administer tests which are due to take place in the middle of September. SADTU says that the tests, known as Annual National Assessments (ANAs) are changing their function without consultation with the union and are of a piece with the government's determination to sideline unions. The leadership of SADTU said in a that this 'approach is destroying the culture of teaching and learning because teachers are tired of being undermined and are going to defend themselves with everything they have in defense of education.'

The tests were supposed to be a purely diagnostic tool but are now high stakes and being used to assess the 'competence' of teachers and schools. As the union points out, 'high stakes tests like ANA can, and do, cause learners and teachers to focus their efforts on maximizing test scores which result in teachers “teaching to the test”'. They are also extremely time consuming, taking teachers away from their most important work with children - teaching and learning.

SADTU is a leading member of an Education International campaign against the privatisation of schools, which is becoming more prevalant in South Africa. As SADTU put it in a recent tweet: 'Learners are not commodities and cannot be auctioned to the highest bidder'. Needless to say the UK giant education corporation, Pearson, is in on the act, both in the private school market in the country through its in Spark private schools and in producing for the ANA tests.