Competency tests for principals condemned

2011-11-19 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal educators’ unions and associations of school bodies have condemned Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s call to subject principals to a competency test before being appointed, without consulting them.

The SA Principals’ Association reported yesterday that the Council of Education is considering amending legislation to allow provincial education heads to appoint principals instead of School Governing bodies.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union’s provincial secretary, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, said the department should first look at addressing the issue of lack of resources, which hinder principals from doing their jobs.

“It is a lack of understanding on the department’s part as principals currently undergo interviews before they are appointed for the position.

“To us that is a competency test. You cannot manage a facility if the windows are broken, the teachers are lacking skills and training and the pupils do not have textbooks …” he said.

National Teachers’ Union deputy president Allen Thompson said his members welcome plans to improve the education system, but that consultation is an important part of the process.

“We are aware that the department wants to appoint qualified people for this important job. We would like to know what this competency test will be about … we need an explanation,” said Thompson.

Principals’ association spokesperson Sundrum Subramoney said his members accept the the minister’s proposal because it will equip school heads with the tools they need to handle the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Said School Governing Body Association chairperson Reginald Chiliza, “When we select principals and put them through the interview process. We do it in consultation with the Education Department and the unions, not alone.

“Therefore we want to hear the reasons for these suggestions and have them debated. If the department is saying that its reason for doing this is that principals are under-

performing, then it needs to provide us with statistics to back up this analysis.”

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