MEC talks tough to school principals

2010-12-20 00:00

“FIX the problems in your schools. It is no good telling me you have been writing letters to the department for two years, but the problem has not been fixed. No more library of excuses … I want a solution. I want principals who will manage their schools and make them run.”

This was the hard-hitting message from KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Senzo Mchunu to close on 600 school principals and 64 ward managers at the Edgewood campus of UKZN last week.

The MEC addressed participants at the award ceremony for the Principals Management Development Programme.

Run by UKZN’s Faculty of Education, the programme is an intensive, hands-on course designed to build capacity in education districts.

As he announced that the department would hold a three-day summit in February 2011, Mchunu warned that principals will be held accountable next year.

“We want teaching to start next year on the first day of the first week, of the first hour at the first second. Start planning in advance so that this can happen. We will know which principals do not comply with this.”

He added that the department is working on a new organogram so that “everyone will understand what is required of them”.

In a wide-ranging address, ­Mchunu noted that “some of the best schools are run by women” and commented that “underperforming schools that have a matric pass rate of 0% to 20% are not underperforming, they are not performing at all. It’s not the school but the human beings inside who are not performing.

“A row of classrooms is no longer a school. Schools are very complex now and the education system of the country is depending on you — you are the key people to making the system work.

“We have to massify the process to produce the skills that our country needs. The doctors and engineers have to come from your hands,” he challenged the principals.

Mchunu said quality education must be delivered in the classroom, and he pledged his support for principals who stood firmly against underperforming teachers because “teachers must teach”.

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