PMB principal demoted

2008-11-09 00:00

The principal of a local primary school has been stripped of his title and demoted to the rank of a level one educator for misconduct after 32 years of service.

Jayraj Jugwanth, who was the principal of Panorama Primary School, was found guilty of unjustifiably prejudicing the administration and efficiency of the Education Department by deliberately inflating enrolment figures at the school during 2001 to 2004.

This would have brought the school benefits such as additional staff and influenced the funds received by the school for the primary school nutrition programme in order to remunerate an unofficial grade R teacher, among other things.

The Witness has in its possession documents recording the final outcome of a disciplinary hearing against Jugwanth in 2004. They refer to a breakdown in the employment relationship.

In his report, presiding officer P. Jenkins said numerous documents that were not disputed were placed before him, indicating that the claimed pupil numbers exceeded the true numbers at the school on the date of the submission of the documents. This was supported by numerous witnesses.

One of the witnesses, a teacher at the school, admitted to being complicit in the charges, but turned state witness. He testified that he used to submit the enrolment statistics at the beginning of the academic year to include numbers of pupils who were at the school in the previous year, but had not returned. According to the witness, this was done under Jugwanth’s instruction.

This witness claimed that the head count for 2001 was 603 under another principal, but a pupil roll of 771 was submitted by Jugwanth to the nutrition programme for the 2001/2002 financial year.

Again in 2002, numbers were misconstrued and a figure of 710 was submitted for the nutrition programme. This was under the guise of having a grade R class of 40 pupils. However, it was later established that there were no grade R pupils in 2002.

This inflated pupil enrolment was apparently inspired by an old policy of the House of Delegates, which controlled Indian schools. The policy said if a non-returning pupil had not taken transfer to another school, he should be kept on the register for 40 days.

However, Jenkins said the 40-day policy applies only to pupils for whom school attendance is not compulsory and since Panorama Primary’s pupils must attend school, the policy does not apply.

“After considering the nature of the case, the seriousness of the matter, your previous record of almost 32 years of service, as well as the mitigating and aggravating circumstances that were put before me, I have decided to impose a sanction of demotion to the rank of post level 1 educator, with the status of senior teacher, to be appointed to an appropriate notch within salary level eight, with effect from November 1, 2008,” Jenkins said.

He recommended that Jugwanth be placed at another school so he can make a fresh start.

In addition, Jugwanth was found guilty of some of several charges of victimisation of fellow employees.

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