Failing school heads to be sacked

2012-01-27 00:00

LAZY and under-performing principals will be fired in accordance with the KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Education programme of action.

The blueprint programme launched yesterday focuses on the education system’s weaknesses, displaced teachers and infrastructure backlogs.

Education MEC Senzo Mchun­u said KZN was the only province with such a plan, which would be used as an instrument to measure progress.

“We have taken action against principals who have not performed and some have been fired or resigned,” he said.

In some cases, principals maintained a pass rate of zero or five percent for four years and nothing was done about it, he said.

“We also need to stop and put a ban on the displacement of educators who are removed from their schools because of violence or social issues because the numbers are too high,” he said.

Mchunu also touched on the plans to fix schools that needed urgent attention after having been damaged by storms on New Year’s Eve and the filling of 143 vacant posts by the end of the month.

“We have also received reports on overcrowding in schools and the non-functioning of laboratories in schools,” Mchunu added.

“Out of the 1 125 high schools we have in the province, about 800 of them do not have a science lab, which is very bad.

“We want to move into a new era and look at how independent schools and former Model C schools are doing it.”

Although education unions are happy about the department having a sense of direction, they still have concerns that have not been addressed.

South African Teachers Union (Sadtu) secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said the plan needed to highlight how it will benefit the teachers.

“We are impressed that for the first time the department has a long-term plan,” he said.

“However, there are still issues that they need to clarified.

“They still need to employ more teachers and finance adequate resources for schools.

“They must also look at the teachers’ salary scales so that they can keep teachers from leaving the education system.”

He also said that for teachers to get paid only after seven months of being employed was unprofessional.

“Not forgetting the way teachers are treated in a barbaric and vicious way when they are sick. Those are things that the plan needs to focus on as well.”

National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) spokesperson Anthony Pierce said the plan was nothing more than empty words from the department.

National Teachers’ Union deputy president (Natu) Allen Thompson said they will monitor the plan closely.

“If a principal is under-performing, it means that the ward member who is meant to be monitoring the principal is also not doing his or her job.

“We support the plan, but we are willing to fight for our members if they are compromised in any way,” said Thompson.

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