Jury: Why I’m leaving

2012-02-03 00:00

OUTGOING Maritzburg College headmaster Ron Jury says he is exhausted and it’s time for someone younger at the helm of the city’s top school.

Jury told The Witness his decision to opt for early retirement — he is 63 and would have been due to step down in 18 months — was not an easy one.

“I am exhausted and this position really needs someone younger who can really grapple with the ongoing challenges on a daily basis.

“While I am always one hundred percent committed to my job, I am being realistic about the demands.”

Jury will remain in the post until June. The search for his successor will be advertised through the normal channels.

The school governing body usually draws up a short-list of suitable candidates, which is then scrutinised by the provincial Education Department, which makes the final selection.

Jury said his 34 years at the school, including two as deputy and six as headmaster, had been “very rewarding”.

There had been many high points in his career, but his first love was always teaching.

“Even though I became headmaster I always made time to teach one class a year. Often that class was the highlight of my day because for me teaching is what it is all about.”

When pressed, he said that perhaps discipline issues were the tough ones.

“Very occasionally we have had a boy who just won’t buckle down and despite our attempts to help them fit in, they just rebel. It’s always tough to call it quits.

“As a headmaster I am not on the coalface of the discipline issues. But discipline is essential to the smooth running of any school — discipline and consistency.”

He said the education system as a whole faced challenges because there was a massive unemployment problem and many pupils who managed to pass matric entered a world where they could not find tertiary education or a job.

“It is my belief that these frustrated youths are the exact ‘captive market’ that Julius Malema is speaking to. These young people are angry at what they have to face in the real world.

“At Maritzburg College we have tried to teach our scholars more than just book work. But the real lessons are often what they learn on the sports field or in the debating team. Life skills are vitally important in a difficult world.”

Jury said the school offered teachers more than the average school because of the committed parent body.

“We have 40 teachers who are paid for by the government and our parent body subsidises an additional 35 teachers. Our staff give their all. Our students want to be here and they are dedicated to the ethos of the school.

“I hope for nothing more than that [the boys] will remember me as a good role model. I contributed to drawing up the core values of the school years ago and I believe I have tried to live by all of those.”

Adjusting his tie, Jury said that he was certain that Maritzburg College would continue to deliver quality education to future generations.

“It’s not about window dressing. When the boys give their farewell speeches they are really sad to leave.

“We are sad to see them go — that’s what we’ve got here.”

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