Union wants Education MEC ‘to stop micro-managing schools’

2012-09-19 00:00

While the department stressed there was “no crisis”, the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) with its head office in Empangeni said this failure was because the department attempted to micro-manage schools.

Local television station 1KZNTV reported that Education MEC Senzo Mchunu had told a group of parents at Cwakeme High School in Hluhluwe last week that various schools had not met the deadline of August 31.

Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi told The Witness that the deadline set by the department was a type of early warning system. “If we know the state of the schools by August we have enough time to react before the end of the year.

“There are 6 200 schools in the province servicing from Grade 1 to 12. We don’t see this failure of schools as a crisis.

This date was set so that we could then assist schools battling for any number of reasons through various initiatives over September and October,” said Mahlambi.

He said schools that had not completed their syllabus had experienced school closures due to school boycotts, fighting, a lack of teachers and service delivery protests.

“It is not only rural schools affected as one would assume. The MEC has just finished a tour of the 12 education districts in a bid to turn around the reporting system within the department and to ultimately get better results.

“The June exam results seem promising and we are hoping for a better pass rate in Grade 12 for 2012 as opposed to last year.”

He said there was difficulty in attracting teachers to rural areas such as uMkhanyakude District, one of the worst-hit districts.

However Natu’s deputy president, Allan Thompson, is adamant that the failure to meet the curriculum date rests solely on the department trying to micro-manage education throughout the province.

“The department has taken the responsibility of appointment of staff away from the principals.”

He said the added bureaucracy meant schools could go for months either being understaffed or if a teacher was supplied, they did not teach core subjects such as mathematics, science or accounting.

“Principals are being forced to put their own jobs in jeopardy by employing suitable teachers without the approval of the department.

“This brings an added problem of these teachers not being paid. We want the department to empower schools, let them make their own decisions and put trust in school leadership,” said Thompson.

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