All the South African teaching unions, including the largest SADTU have united to boycott the so-called Annual National Assessment (ANA) standardised tests. The tests were due to take place in September of this year, but owing to union action they were postponed pending mediation. However when the mediation failed to reach agreement, the government imposed the tests, instructing principals to administer them this month.

The unions object to the lack of meaningful consultation. In a statement in September, SADTU said that this '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 to be used to assess the competence of teachers and schools, a methodology central to the corporate reform movement which is spreading like a virus (GERM) round the world. The unions rightly object to them on the grounds that  '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”'.

Teachers turned up at the annual meeting of the trade union confederation COSATU this week, wearing T shirts with slogans like: 'Education + ANA = Human Robots'.