Recently, members of the National Teachers’ Union (NATU) received certificates in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution. This programme was a collaborative effort involving the ETDP-SETA, the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and NATU. The ETDP-SETA gave NATU 120 bursaries for the Programme, while UKZN provided tuition which, for the first time, was delivered online as a result of the safety issues and protocols brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
About the Programme
The Programme was customised to include cases of conflicts and disputes typically found in South African school environments. In this regard, the Director of the NATU Teacher Development Institute liaised with the programme designers from the University of KwaZulu Natal and agreed on the case studies which contextualised the activities within the aegis of South African schools. This made the training both appropriate and relevant to the candidates’ felt needs.
With reference to the content of the programme, it equipped the candidates with the tools to be able to apply the law effectively to discipline, grievance and dismissal procedures. To achieve this, the programme not only examined the Human Resource regulatory framework but highlighted the long-term benefits of constructive engagement across all spheres of work. It was designed in a practical way to ensure that the necessary techniques and processes to deal effectively with conflict, were embedded and supported through experiential learning.
More specifically, this course taught the participants to:
- Recognise the rights of the employee and employer
- Understand employment codes of conduct and policy implications
- Create an employee-friendly environment
- Adopt a proactive approach to managing conflict and resolving disputes
- Carefully and systematically investigate alleged misconduct
- Act in a decisive manner in handling grievances
- Understand disciplinary procedures
- Compare and differentiate between procedural fairness and substantive fairness
- Prepare professionally for hearings, appeals and settlements
- Manage publicity and organisational impact.
Accordingly, the programme’s key focus areas were:
- Fair labour practice – the recognition of rights
- Codes of conduct and policies and procedures
- Employee-friendly environments – everyone benefits
- Investigating alleged misconduct
- Avoiding constructive dismissal(s) claims – effective grievance handling
- Procedural fairness vs substantive fairness
- Hearings, appeals and settlements
- Publicity and organisational impact
- Negotiation skills
- Crucial conversations and critical dialogue
Presentation of Certificates
In order to give NATU’s Acting President, Mr Sibusiso Victor Malinga, and the entire NATU Central Executive Board an opportunity to congratulate and honour the successful candidates for this achievement, it was decided that the certificates be given out to the successful candidates at NATU Regional Conferences. So far, the following candidates have been honoured in this way:
The Institute congratulates all the above candidates, as well as those still to receive their certificates, for a job well done. They were the first group to take this course online, so we are happy that the majority of the candidates successfully completed the course. Going forward, the Institute wishes to encourage all NATU Members to take advantage of the training opportunities which will be availed in future, including those which do not lead to qualifications but focus on classroom practice or self-development.
Prof Sitwala Imenda
DIRECTOR, NATU TEACHER DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
22 May 2021