MEC reprimands principal of ‘highly dysfunctional’ school

2013-01-16 15:50

A KwaZulu-Natal school principal was reprimanded by an MEC because textbooks that had arrived on time were still in storage on the first day of school.

Members of the provincial legislature visited Indala High School in Richmond as part of the Schools Functionality Monitoring Programme – a project aimed at monitoring if teaching and learning takes place on the first day of school.

By 10am today, a Grade 12 class at the school had only completed the class register and received stationery.

When Finance MEC Ina Cronje unexpectedly dropped in on a class of matriculants and asked what the group had learnt so far one pupil answered that they were preparing to learn.

Indala High School, which Cronje described as “highly dysfunctional” achieved a matric pass rate of 43.8%.

Principal Mlungisi Maphumulo was rapped over the knuckles because textbooks, which had been received on time, were still in storage. He was also warned about the storage room that was being used as a makeshift office for the heads of departments.

“It is not a little illegal. It is completely illegal. With all this clutter around, it is a fire hazard. If something happens to one of the educators, the department will be in big trouble,” Cronje said.

Maphumulo highlighted the issue of late enrolment as a challenge.

While enrolment stood at 1 400 for 2013, it was estimated that about 700 pupils were present during the visit.

Scores of parents and their children were turned away.

Esther Mbanjwa said her daughter, Buyisiwe Nzimande (20), fell pregnant in 2009 and dropped out of school. She wanted her to return to school but she was turned away.

Sphelele Hlongwa wanted to enrol her daughter, Luyanda (14), for Grade 8. She said she had started as early as last year to secure a place for her child.

“The school is popular because it is the only one offering physical science,” she said.

Another parent said she had been camping outside the school since 7am.

“It’s now after 12pm, we have not eaten and have not been attended to,” she said angrily.

“Our children went to local primaries here. This school is the closest to us. If we are turned away, where are we supposed to turn?” she said.

Another challenge for the struggling school is high staff turnover.

Tom Stokes, DA education spokesperson, said to improve the school’s results qualified teachers in maths, science and accounting were needed.

The local inkosi, Lindiwe Dlamini, said the area suffered from a prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse and pregnancies.

Twenty-two pupils fell pregnant last year.

But Cronje acknowledged a marked improvement in the school’s performance. “I actually have hope for the future,” she said.

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