THE Department of Education appointed Dr Musawenkosi Madondo as the new iLembe District Director as of Wednesday, 8 February.Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said in a statement: "This was based purely on operations requirements by the employer."Madondo replaces Thembinkosi Vilakazi, who recently came under fire when the ANCYL in the Greater Kwa-Dukuza region took to the streets on the first day of school and demanded she be removed from her position because of the district's poor matric pass rate which has declined since 2014.This was not the first time that Vilakazi was in the firing line. In 2015 members of the Sadtu eThekwini North Region brought schooling in the district to a standstill for more than a week as they picketed outside the district offices demanding that Vilakazi vacates her post due to her being an incompetent district director.Speaking at a schools functionality stakeholder engagement last Friday, KZN MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwane listed several challenges faced by the education sector in the iLembe District including the insufficient number of teachers and the placement of teachers being affected by the number of pupils.He said another issue is that the district does not have enough physical science and maths teachers."The decision to appoint a new district director was not taken because we favour one individual over the other, the decision was taken in the best interest of education in KwaZulu-Natal, especially to ensure that education improves in this district," the MEC said.Madondo pledged that the district's quality of education and matric pass rate would improve in due time. He said that the district DoE will work on a plan to recruit suitably qualified teachers.Another plan Madondo said he would work on was one that would ensure that school governing bodies, principals and unions participate in the education sector."We want a district that will respond to the needs of its communities," he said. Speakers on behalf of each of the stakeholders listed challenges faced by schools in iLembe that their respective groups noted.These challenges included a lack of subject advisors in the iLembe District, a lack of parental or community involvement in the education sector, a school shortage, schools poorly managed by principals and a lack of a strategy meant to address and improve the maths pass rate.Other challenges are the prevalence of drugs either being sold or consumed on school premises, violence on school premises in some instances stemming from community faction fights, teachers engaged in sexual relations with pupils, overcrowding in classrooms, the theft of teaching aides, absenteeism and pupils facing challenges like coming from child-headed homes.A representative from the Department of Health said another challenge is the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy among pupils.She said sexual assaults are another concern, including the high prevalence of pupils with sexually transmitted infections and diseases.The ANCYL in the Greater KwaDukuza region applauded the provincial Department of Education for this appointment and welcomed Madondo as the new district director.