Mchunu warns teachers who cane

2013-06-06 13:27

KwaZulu-Natal’s education MEC Senzo Mchunu has issued a stern warning to teachers who still practice corporal punishment in schools.

This comes after a 14-year-old Durban pupil died last week following a stampede at a school in Umlazi. Children were allegedly running away from a teacher who was chasing latecomers with a stick.

While presenting his budget speech at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature this morning, Mchunu said his department is currently investigating the matter, insisting corporal punishment was strictly prohibited in schools.

Mchunu said ignoring this has already cost teachers their jobs.

Education has been allocated a budget of more than R37 billion for the 2013/2014 financial year in the province. This is considerably more than the R26 billion budget of 2009.

As much as 87% of the budget (R28.7 million) goes towards salaries. This leaves only 13% (R8.2 million) for service delivery. Mchunu said as much as R1.2 billion will go towards acquiring textbooks, exercise books and stationery.

At the top of the department’s curriculum-management strategy will be the matric improvement plan, targeting an 80% pass rate.

To this end, the department has launched “operation scaffold” to help eliminate under-performance in schools.

According to Mchunu, schools that achieved a pass rate below 35% last year are considered nonperforming. These schools will be enrolled on winter and spring school-camp programmes.

The camps will accommodate about 15 000 pupils and will be facilitated by leading teachers in the province.

“The learners will be put in residences and learning will go on in broad daylight and at night ... principals will be given six months to turn things around. If they still fail to get results, they will be shown the gate,” said Mchunu.

He also spoke against what he referred to as the “growing tendency” of parents and communities who vent their frustrations about bad service delivery by disrupting schools.

Mchunu said the scale of disruption presents new challenges, which can neither be tolerated nor ignored.

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