Making schools work

2008-03-03 00:00

With education and health being allocated some 71% of the provincial budget, none can complain of a lack of financial investment in these two areas. Public health care and education are both crucial to alleviating the sufferings of disadvantaged people and empowering them to uplift themselves and build meaningful, fulfilling lives. The people of this province can be grateful that the leadership is responding to these needs and indeed setting the mark for the rest of the nation.

At the same time, in both sectors, and perhaps particularly in education, money is not, as Finance MEC Dr Zweli Mkhize emphasised last week, a cure-all. What is needed most is good leadership and a positive attitude, with management personnel at departmental and school level setting the tone that will filter down to each and every classroom.

It has been said that leadership has three main pillars: competence, values and the ability to get on with others. Regrettably, reports (many of them admittedly anecdotal) raise questions about all three elements in the current educational dispensation. Again, however, this province may count itself fortunate that in Education MEC Ina Cronjé it has a leader who is committed and energetic. The filtering-down may be a slow process, but adequate funding should help speed the day when every child has a competent, dedicated and caring teacher in his or her classroom.

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