Thumbs up, says Mchunu

2011-01-20 00:00

OTHER than “a few exceptional cases” of reported disruptions, the KZN Education Department has given the first day of school the thumbs-up.

MEC Senzo Mchunu believes the province did well in maintaining order after the department last week met with school governing bodies and district officials to allow opportunities to report challenges that could disrupt teaching and learning when schools re-opened.

Problems arose in the Umlazi district where parents staged a protest at a primary school over the suspension of its principal, which they said had happened without their knowledge.

Along with departmental officials, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube was one of the delegates who visited the school to try to resolve the matter.

At a high school in the Amajuba district in the Newcastle area, people who have no involvement with the school locked the school premises.

Mchunu instructed officials in the area to break the locks.

In another incident, Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo opened a case against a teacher who allegedly locked teachers and pupils out of classrooms and the school.

The MEC was working in the area when he received a phone call about disruptions at Khethokuhle Secondary at Osizweni.

He found teachers and pupils locked out. Police forced the school gates open and found that classrooms were also locked.

“The principal said they were having a problem with that specific teacher,” said Health spokesperson Chris Maxon.

Agriculture MEC Lydia Johnson visited schools in Kokstad, Ubuhlebezwe, KwaSani, Ingwe and Um­zimkhulu municipalities.

The region scored lowest in the province with a matric pass rate of 16,7%.

The MEC’s surprise visits to schools exposed serious challen­ges such as lack of facilities and the non-attendance of several teachers without proper reason.

Schools damaged by storms, as well as schools that were vandalised during the December holidays are also areas that require attention.

Mchunu said plans were underway to provide assistance, which will include mobile classrooms for affected schools.

Members of the KZN Legislature will be drafting a report after their visits around the province to monitor the functionality of schools during the first week.

A report from the midlands highlights poor conditions at a farm school in Weenen where pupils of different grades are allegedly sharing a shed as a classroom.

ANDILE MOSHOESHOE of the Department of Agriculture MEC Lydia Johnson visited schools in Kokstad, Ubuhlebezwe, KwaSani, Ingwe and Umzimkhulu municipality.

The region came last in the Province but has improved its passing rate with 16.7 %.

The minister’s surprise visit to schools exposed serious challenges such as lack of facilities and even the non- attendance of teachers who failed to pitch up or report to their headmaster.

At Mfulamhle high, the principal Sizwe Mayekiso was not unaware of the whereabouts of three teachers as only one reported to have taken her child to the doctor.

“This is not a valid reason that could lead to the absence of a teacher, especially on the first day” said Johnson.

She ordered that the teachers should give reasons in writing as to why they were not at school on the first day.

“The worst part is that the school is one of those which performed very badly as it achieved a pass rate below 20%,” said Johnson.

Other underperforming schools she visited were Diepkloof and Reitvlei. Diepkloof principal, Mthetheleli Jauza shifted the blame on the high rate of pregnancies.

“You find that some learners get married and miss classes for months and then come back to school when we are about to start writing exams” said Jauza.

He said the insufficient school budget was deposited into their account late and this results in them {teachers} having to take money out of their own pockets.

“We have scheduled a meeting with traditional leaders and parents on Friday in order to curb the problem of early marriages and pregnancy,” said Jauza.

Johnson also highlighted the poor quality of teachers in term of their qualifications.

 

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